Music News

S.O.D. Story

Curious, this half-page ad for upcoming shows at the downtown Manhattan venue Irving Plaza that ran in the club section of last week's Village Voice. Curious not only because it advertises a super-rare live show by underground heroes S.O.D. (Stormtroopers of Death)--headlining a bill that also includes Biohazard and Unsane (a notable event unto itself)--but also because of the ad's not-so-small print above the December 10/$20 cover charge graphic: "A BENEFIT FOR MAX AND GLORIA CAVALERA'S SON DANA--TO RAISE MONEY TO HELP SOLVE HIS MURDER."

Ah, we have a local angle. Max Cavalera is the lead singer and guitarist for speed-metal demigods Sepultura. His wife, Gloria, is a veteran band manager (she handles Sepultura, among others) and a well-known, well-liked matriarch in the global metal scene. Early in the morning of August 16, her 21-year-old son Dana was killed in a one-car crash near the intersection of 23rd Street and Cactus. A procession of heavy-metal celebrities came through the Valley in the wake of Dana's death to pay their respects, including Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, who helped Cavalera make a mix tape Dana was buried with. Deftones singer Chino Moreno was one of the pallbearers at the funeral.

For reasons they won't go into at length, members of the Cavalera family are convinced Dana was murdered--intentionally run off the road. Gloria Cavalera was on tour with Sepultura in Europe at press time and could not be reached for comment. Her daughter, Christina Newport, said November 22 that while the family endorsed the benefit in New York City, it was independently organized. Some of the guys in S.O.D. are old family friends, she said, and they put it together. The money is going to a fund for "several" private investigators who are already working the case. The family has also posted a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction, etc.

"We can't really give any details of what we know right now, we just want everyone to know that we're determined to find the truth, and no one is going to sweep this under the rug," said Newport. "We're not going to just forget about it." The Cavaleras' reward/information hot-line number is 404-1991.

'Zine and Heard
A pair of new Valley publications covering the music and lifestyles of two separate, specialized, music-based subcultures (hip-hop and rave) recently came mewling and gooey into the world. Both infants show promise. The first, P.U.B., or "Phoenix's Underground Beat," claims on its cover to encompass "Hip-Hop, R&B, Reggae, Dance, and House," but judging from P.U.B.'s November, debut wide-distribution issue, the first two forms on that ambitious litany will get the lion's share of attention. Majik 107 FM gets crazy coverage (not saying it's entirely undeserved, just a little suspect), but P.U.B. also devotes space to comprehensive hip-hop/R&B album reviews, interviews with local talent, a profile of OutKast, a Vibe-inspired "Why Is It" humor column that asks, among other things, "Why is it that Coolio still looks like he's smoking crack?", and an editorial from "Da Publishers" that takes a certain local music editor to task for treating a rap group unfairly in a recent, somewhat infamous live review. Good to see someone else take a stand in the local hip-hop scene, even if it is against me.

Much props also go out to the publishers and staff of Step Up, a magazine covering Valley rave culture that was distributed at the Genesis rave November 23 at the Icehouse. First issue articles include Top 10 charts, a Q&A with the Roots that scoops P.U.B., and an article on MDMA that reflects a refreshing, "educate and moderate thyself" attitude, balanced about halfway between "Just Say No" and "Gobble Like Candy." The snapshot fashion spread is weak, as are the overall design and layout, but the content and editing of Step Up are surprisingly good. Also, how can you go wrong with a regular opinion column by DJ Emile ("Emile's Rants & Raves")? First sentence, first column: "Welcome to my first attempt to educate and enlighten one and all." I can't wait.

SXSW, etc.
Memo to local musicians: Stop calling me and grab a pen. Details on applications to South by Southwest Music and Media Conference: 1-512-467-7979 (deadline is December 15). Other major contests/conference showcases with looming deadlines: Undercurrents '97, May 15 through 17 (it's in Cleveland, but it's legitimately international); info 1-216-463-3595. Deadline is February 1. Musician magazine's best unsigned band contest: Deadline is December 31. Info line 1-888-BUB-2WIN. Tori Amos, Joe Satriani, Bob Mould and Buddy Guy are judging, so better go for that shivering-waif-in-the-forest, indie-fuzz soul sound with lots of guitar sorcery.

--David Holthouse

David Holthouse is now wired.
The Web site is Mothership. The address is The options are myriad (multigenre criticism, archives, rave data, freak links).

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David Holthouse
Contact: David Holthouse