FINALLY, A COLUMN ABOUT MUSIC. PRETTY MUCH.
Okay. No drunken adventures this week. No reckless driving or meandering road trips. No wanton sexual adventures or exploding tubes of Blistex. Oh, yeah, I guess I haven't really delved into, uh, never mind. Fact is, it's been a hell of a work week, nose to the grindstone, all that. Things you have no interest in. But let's see . . . last Friday, I shook the surprisingly small hand of John Paul Jones, and then Saturday night, I went to Sizzler with my grandfather-in-law who's been staying at my place all week. Great guy. Seventy-eight years old, full head of hair. Damn him. One night we stayed up late and watched the Gary Spivey Psychic Friends Network on cable, which I advise all of you to do. This guy Spivey--who closely resembles Benny Hill--wears what I assume is supposed to be a wig, but looks more like a hard-plastic version of a British magistrate's courtroom hairpiece.
And if you ever wondered what happened to gratingly loquacious, ex-MTV video hostess Downtown Julie Brown, well, you don't need a psychic to find out--I'll tell ya. She's one of the lovelies in Spivey's stable of sexy, grinning, umm, friends. At one point, the helmet-wigged psychic and his gal pals were in the hold, or lounge, or whatever you call it inside of a ship, when Downtown stuck her head in the door. "Hey!" she gushed in her awlmaost-baylievabull London accent. "We're in the Devil's Triangle!" Then everybody rushed topside. Why? I don't know. I'm no psychic. Just watch this guy. A Kinder, Gentler Insanity: Those whose lives have been in a black whirlpool of despair ever since Zen Lunatics went toes up some eight months ago, throw away that Prozac and get happy the natural way--the Z.L.s are back! The band has a new, more "sympathetic" drummer, according to Zen boss Terry Garvin, and a load of new tunes, but diehard fans will be pleased to know that old chestnuts like "The Theme From Maude" and "867-5309 (Jenny)" are still in the set list. The Lunatics have a newly recorded tape for sale "if anyone is willing to buy it," mopes Garvin. I haven't heard it yet, so therefore cannot comment, but I have seen, and have been suitably awed, by the large, full-color portrait of Michael Landon that the band sent to me with its press kit. "I'm the big Landon freak in the group, but we all admire him for his incredible family shows," a solemn Garvin told me. Those who feel that Garvin is simply full of shit, cleverly jumping on the Landon kitsch bandwagon as a bizarre promotional ploy, dig this: According to an inside source, the man has a large portrait of the late actor--complete with museum light--hanging in his bedroom.
"I really love Little House, and mainly because of his big hair," confesses Garvin. "Have you seen the movie he made about his big hair? It's Sam's Son--get it? Samson. The way he got to Hollywood was he got a scholarship to USC for throwing the javelin. In the movie, he sees the movie Samson and Delilah and starts growing his hair. This is in the mid-Fifties, and they come down on him they say, 'Cut your hair or you don't compete.' So he fakes an accident, and his dad's brother--who is a doctor--puts this fake cast on his head so they can't see his hair. He competes, gets the scholarship and the rest is history. I knew about this years before the movie I'd figured out the big-hair thing. I'd been telling people, 'Landon gets his power from his hair,' and to have them make a whole movie about it just blew me away. Any chance I get, I do spout off about Landon to people." I don't know how the Landon Vibe will manifest itself onstage, but you can find out on Friday, when the new-and-improved Z.L.s do their thing (along with the Piersons) at Long Wong's in Tempe. Call 966-3147. I Can't See McCleary Now: After nearly two years of dedicated service as editor of Where It's Hot, Jim McCleary is moving on. "There are a lot of rumors going around right now," he says. "The State Press reported that it [Where It's Hot] was going out of business, which isn't true. There's talk of merger with the Planet, which isn't true. There's talk of merger with Music Voice, which isn't true. The rumor that I am leaving is true."
So why is McCleary making Where It's Hot where he's not? "I've been there for a couple years, done everything that I could with the magazine and it's time for somebody else to give it a shot." And what will he do now? "I don't know," says optimist McCleary, chuckling. "You got any ideas?"
The Hotstepper Has Arrived: That's right, the one and only Ini Kamoze (and I checked, there aren't any others in the phone book) is coming to town for a just-announced, last-minute show. As I write this, the man from Jamaica's tune "Here Comes the Hotstepper," a high toast of dub-based hip-hop, is holding down the No. 2 slot on the Billboard singles chart. If you haven't heard of him, Kamoze, an associate of the legendary Jimmy Cliff, has been around for about ten years, combining politically conscious lyrics with bits of bluebeat, ska and dance-hall. Not an act you want to miss; he'll be at Coconuts Cafe on Saturday. The place only holds 350, so act now. Call 866-0766 for more info.
Go See: If you like to bob your head up and down real fast (and who doesn't?), deploy on Sunday to Boston's for an evening of ska and such with England's Citizen Fish and local comers Kongo Shock. Call 921-7343.
Tired Son will be at Electric Ballroom on Saturday, fresh from a working vacation in L.A. The band was there to record demos with Mike Bosley (no, it was Tom who was Mr. Cunningham), who just finished doing the same thing with Soul Asylum. Call 894-0707.
Don't Go See: Greg Brown, whose Thursday show at the Rockin' Horse has been canceled. Come spring, Mr. Brown will return to town, so keep your eyes peeled for a date. Refunds are available at the Rockin' Horse, or at the Ticketmaster outlet where you purchased originally.
It Crawled From the Bins: I hate to make fun of anybody's religious beliefs--well, no I don't, it's actually good fun. Especially around Christmastime. From the bountiful racks at Maggie's Thrift comes the Seventiesish Hi God, 12 inches of stereo Sunday school addressing you on how to address the Man Himself.
But you would think formality would count for something. I mean, why not, "What's shakin', Pops?" Or, "How they hangin', Boss?" If--hopefully when--I get to the Pearly Gates, I intend to muster up something a little more formal than, "Hi." (First, of course, I'll be apologizing for writing this.)
The only unfortunate thing about the double album Hi God is that one of the records is missing; the one with all the good songs on it. With provocative titles like "What Makes Love Grow," "Love That Is Kept Inside" and the truly questionable "Giant Love Ball Song," perhaps they should have called this thing Hello Baby. Say amen, somebody.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.