Writing this is not going to be easy. On the way down to the New Times command center this past, glorious Super Bowl Sunday, I drove through the drive-through at Omega Burger. Bacon cheeseburger, onion rings, soda; an American meal.
Now here's the ugly part: As I made my way down Washington Street, I accidentally anointed my crotch with roughly 15 ounces of Mountain Dew. So here I sit, trying to crank out something witty and informative with a moist lap and a strategically placed stain on my slacks. You Are a Loser: Unless your name is Laura Robles, Susan Springer, Mr. B, Grady Beard or the person from Majestic Records whose name I can't find right now. Yes, these are the lucky people who sussed out the right Gloria Estefan in last week's "The I Think I Know Which Gloria Estefan Is Made of Wax Contest." God knows, they deserve something for just wasting six seconds of their lives writing the name of the contest on an envelope.
As for the countless others who played and lost, I wish I had heads enough for all of you. But I don't.
Fresh Clubbage: What used to be Chuy's is soon to be reborn as Gibson's; yes, Tempe will have another live-music venue for you to enjoy. Opening night is slated for Wednesday, March 2, with Dead Hot Workshop. "We're gonna have everything from roots and reggae to blues and rock and alternative," says promotions honcho Brian Blush. And if you don't like music--and let's face it, who does?--there will be pool tables and food. Two guys who aren't named "Gibson"--Matt Engstrom and Barrett Rinzler--are the CEOs of the place; their last venture was Bungee Over Arizona, which is a good enough qualification to run a rock club, in my book. Many Mill Avenue regulars (Piersons, One, Flathead, Skinny Jim) are already booked, and the reason I'm writing about this a month in advance is to let other bands know that Blush is open to submissions. Of tapes, I mean. "I hope opening another club will help to create new bands, and get up-and-coming bands out in front of people," he says. A noble sentiment--make him back it up. Send your demos to 410 South Mill, Tempe, AZ 85281. If you have $45, a coffee table and an interest in the blues, you should rush out and pick up a copy of Lawrence Cohn's Nothing but the Blues (Abbeville Publishing). I know, that's a steep price tag, but this is a great, big, wonderful, ultracomprehensive history of America's native music, and it's worth every penny. Cohn has put together 11 essays that trace the genre from its beginnings to early recordings up through regional styles--Chicago, Delta, New York, Tidewater-Piedmont, etc. Though the text is, for the most part, accessible and interesting, the real page-turning feature is the photography. There are rare and evocative images on almost all of the 400-plus pages (my fave is Howlin' Wolf on page 351--go to the bookstore and look), along with a few artifacts. Like Leadbelly's NYPD rap sheet. As B.B. King writes in the intro, "Many different individuals will be encountered. Some are colorful, some are mysterious, all are interesting." And Speaking of the Blues: Local aficionado Bob Corritore will celebrate the sixth anniversary of his KJZZ-FM show Those Lowdown Blues on Saturday, February 5, by giving himself more work to do. In addition to his Sunday, 6 to 11 p.m., slot, Bob will be spinning all those wicked, scratchy records Saturday nights from 8 p.m. until the midnight hour.
And Speaking of Radio: World-beat musician Johnny Clegg will phone Sam Steiger on KUKQ-AM Tuesday, February 8, at 7:30 in the morning. Clegg, who is a white and an honorary Zulu tribesman, will be calling live from Johannesburg to discuss racial and other issues in his native South Africa. If you want to talk to the man, call 260-1060. Call when he's on the radio, I mean--not right now.
It Crawled From the Bins: I drove all the way to Gracie's Thrift in Mesa to dredge up this one, but it was worth it. It's another religious record (remember--who could forget--the Good Twins?), but I didn't realize it til I played the thing. And what an experience. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Sunday school comes Patch the Pirate Goes to Space.
"My name is Patch the Pirate/I sail the ocean blue/I want to please the Lord above in everything I do . . ."
This is what I heard when the needle dropped, sung by Patch (who looks strangely like Vanilla Ice) in a voice that is best described as a mix of Dudley Do-Right and Pavarotti. And call me crazy, but I thought a pirate's main concerns were raping, pillaging and looting. Not exactly the kind of stuff that keeps you on the A list with the Man Upstairs. But who am I to question a silk-pantalooned, space-traveling buccaneer with one eye? (They don't call him Patch cause he's trying to quit smoking, you know.)
And Patch has pals, don't you know! Check out the liner notes: "Get your space suit on for the journey, and get ready to travel with your old friends: Wally Whale, Sissy Seagull and Pee Wee Pirate." Patch followers are, of course, familiar with these old deck hands, but there are a couple new names along for the voyage: Pixie Pirate and Marvin Martian and his Flying Sausage.
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Hey--you think that sausage is kosher?
Marvin invites Patch and company for a "ride" on his "sausage" (named Oscar, no kidding), and when the gang has second thoughts, he plies them with substances. "I brought along a box of antigravity cookies. Simply eat one bite and you will float into space!" Praise the Lord.
Go See: Carmela Ramirez and Mas fire up the joint with their Latin-salsa-jazz thing. That's at the Brick on Sunday, February 6. Call 248-7031. Your life will not be complete unless you see Death Takes a Holiday on February 9 at Boston's. Call 921-7343.
Whitney Barr, 25, a cocktail waitress at the Mason Jar, passed away at home last Wednesday morning, apparently as a result of a heroin overdose.
"She was not a junkie, she was not a drug addict," says Rick Trobman, Barr's brother-in-law. "There are a lot of questions, but apparently someone had seen a rig in her purse the night before and said, 'What are you doing, what is this?' And she said she just had to get it out of her system, and she was only going to do it this one time. She was alone when she did it. There are no answers to this.