Music News

L.A. Confidential

Margaret Cho has had her own TV show, a couple of bestselling books, a Grammy-nominated comedy album, and two feature films based on her national tours, but 2007 saw a new conquest for the comic: She became a viral video queen. Cho's sexy, traveling circus-like spectacle, The Sensuous Woman, which melds music, comedy, and burlesque and is performed by her and myriad talented pals, was a critical success in L.A., New York, and Chicago. But when a clip from the program showing the comedienne twirling her ta-tas with awe-inspiring speed (clad in nothing but panties and tassel'd pasties) was posted on YouTube and subsequently every blog on the Net, Cho became not only a national cybersensation, but a champion for voluptuous women everywhere. "I got really good at twirling those tassels. It was very popular online and quite controversial," she says. "Women loved it and felt empowered, but a few straight guys were furious because I challenge the stripper archetype."

Perhaps inspired by the hubbub her half-naked gyrations caused on the Web (but more likely just another extension of her never-ending quest to challenge the status quo), Cho's next project, titled Beautiful, will be a stand-up show that ponders the age-old question of what real beauty is. It will be her first stand-up show since the Assassin tour in 2005, and her personal blog will play a role.

"Right now, I am doing a big list of who I think is beautiful," she says. "People can log on to to see if they made the list. It's famous people to friends to anyone who happens to catch my eye."

Surely, there'll be some music artists on the list. Cho, who just got tattooed like a rock star on TLC's LA Ink, is definitely a music enthusiast with diverse tastes. She can be seen in The Dresden Dolls' "Shores of California" video (which parodies David Lee Roth's "California Girls"), and even directed a clip for one of her '07 faves. Here are the sounds she wiggled to this year.

Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger
"The best album of this year. I just listened to it over and over and over and over. It makes me feel like I am one of those girls who can wear a very, very short dress with cowboy boots and I don't have to wear tights because my legs are perfect and tan. I also saw him play with his band the Cardinals at the Wilshire Theatre and I screamed myself sore."

Girl in a Coma:
"So cute. So young. They opened for Morrissey at the Hammerstein Ballroom and rocked it."

Crowded House, Time on Earth
"It's amazing. I love Neil Finn and have had a solid crush on him for nearly 23 years. I got to tell him so after their awesome show at the Greek Theatre this summer. Love them."

The Cliks, Snakehouse
"An incredible record. I went on the True Colors Tour with them and also directed their video 'Eye in the Back of my Head.'"

Björk, Volta
"This was in heavy rotation. I love her and she is insanely cute. On the cover, she looks really Super Mario Brothers or Donkey Kong. Her fashion sense is crazy. So cool."

Antony Hegarty:
"When he's singing, he sounds like he is clutching the pearls around his neck and spilling a gin and tonic all over the place."

Looks as if Dave Navarro is going to be all about instant gratification next year. The L.A.-born and bred guitarist, who launched his own Internet TV show and directed his first porno in 2007, has obviously become inspired by both the immediacy that the Web provides and the quick turnaround of the adult film industry.

And though the status of Navarro's band The Panic Channel, featuring his former Jane's Addiction bandmate Stephen Perkins, is "up in the air" after a less-than-well-received Capitol release in late '06, Navarro still has music to make and fans eager to see what he'll do next. That may include performances with his all-star cover band, Camp Freddy, jamming on live guitar over his pal DJ Skibble's scratch attacks for select club dates, or one day maybe even reforming Jane's. "There haven't been any conversations, but at the same time, it's something very close to my heart," he says. "It seems there's such a space right now for great live bands. If the Eagles can get together and do another tour, I don't see why we can't."

In the meantime, making more artistically minded porno films might be in the cards. Broken, the flick he cowrote and directed for Tera Patrick's production company, Teravision, was nominated for five Adult Video Network awards, including best director.

Spread TV, the talk show he launched this past spring on Mania TV, is definitely his main focus. The show features everyone from actors to local freaks to people with problems (he often brings on a psychotherapist to help). Think Dr. Phil, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jon Stewart with a rock 'n' roll twist.

"The overall feel of the show is fun and lighthearted, but at the same time, we want to get into serious issues as well," Navarro says. "My show is anything and everything me and my partner Todd Newman find captivating."

That includes up-and-coming bands, which often play live on the show. A few have become favorite artists for Navarro to listen to off air as well. Here are Dave's current musical addictions:

Gravenhurst, The Western Lands
"I discovered them [while] watching The Unit, the TV show about an undercover military group. During the end credits on one of the episodes, I heard this song called 'Black Holes in the Sand.' It just struck me. I'm never one to search something online that I happened to hear on a television program, but it just really hit me hard. They're pretty mind-blowing — my favorite band right now. Instant melancholy. I have to be careful what time of day I put them on because I could easily find myself in a suicidal state, which is actually saying quite a lot if a band can evoke that much emotion out of you."

kHz, Reality on a Finer Scale
"I played on a track from their next album. They're a metal band from New York with an amazing lead singer named Raiana. She's got this beautiful operatic voice that goes on top of this real hardcore metal. Just a really nice juxtaposition. A lot of females in the metal world try to emulate the singing chops of men. She remains feminine and the combination is really sexy."

The Start, Ciao, Baby
"A great band. Love Aimee Echo's vocal abilities. They're close friends."

Mickey Avalon:
"Don't believe he's put anything out this year, but I think he's just an incredible genius. His personality really comes through in his vocals. The music is very simplistic and there's something to be said for that. It's all about highlighting the personality, and he does that really well."

The Procussions and Mr. J.:
"Kind of a hip-hop thing. Real emotional. Stripped-down and positive lyrical content. These guys came on my show with a microphone and a drum set and pretty much blew everybody away."

Datarock, Datarock
"Fun. Kind of reminds me of Love and Rockets with the sax and the hokey guitar stuff."

Daniel Johnston
"He's a bipolar schizophrenic who's a really brilliant songwriter. Heavily influenced bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth. I would highly recommend looking into this guy, and the documentary about him."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lina Lecaro
Contact: Lina Lecaro