With its second record, Fine China breaks the news that, really, rock 'n' roll isn't that big a deal

A rock band they are, though one with uncommon preoccupations. They all work full-time jobs, so they can only squeeze in short tours during vacation weeks. They even passed up a gig at SXSW last week because it clashed with keyboardist Joshua Block's wedding. And when they do hit the road, they may be one of the few bands that makes sure to pack gardening books with them. But one of the most refreshing things about this band is the sense that they don't equate rock with irresponsibility. They clearly love what they do, but can see through its trappings.

"I think the whole rock 'n' roll lifestyle is a joke," says Markov, a Moscow native who moved with his family to the United States in 1991, at the age of 14. "I look at all these people, and they're trying so hard to be what they call rock 'n' roll, and things just don't measure up. Here's this big, bad rock guy in leather pants, smoking up the guitar on Saturday night, and on Monday he's at Best Buy selling VCRs."

"I love the three-minute pop song, and we'll always be writing those," Withem adds. "There's some beauty to that; I'll never get over the fact that you can do that. But it's not it. There's a lot more to life than three-minute songs."

Fine China: Returning to their guitar-based roots on sophomore album.
Fine China: Returning to their guitar-based roots on sophomore album.

Fine China is scheduled to perform on Saturday, April 6, at Modified Arts, with Starflyer 59. Showtime is 9 p.m.

Scofield of Dreams: Drew Verbis of the Rhythm Room was initially mystified last week when people started calling up to inquire about jazz guitarist John Scofield's March 11 show at the club. The only problem was that Scofield wasn't actually scheduled to play at the Rhythm Room that night. Curious about how this apparent urban legend had spread throughout the Valley, Verbis found that Scofield's reps had mistakenly put the Rhythm Room date on his Web site, and also submitted it to the music industry magazine Poll Star. Scofield doesn't have any local dates set up, although Verbis says the Rhythm Room would love to have him back soon.

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