"I got T-boned by a truck and broke my ass," drawls the now-more-than-ever appropriately named Nick "Bone" (née Norris), frontman for local southern-fried cowpunks The Screamin' Yeehaws. Though not exactly proper medical or police terminology, it's appropriate layman-speak for what happened the morning of July 9 when Norris' car was hit by a truck while leaving his Ocean Beach home.
The accident was severe-Norris' car was totaled and rescue officials had to pry him from the wreckage. In the accident, Norris' pelvis was fractured in the rear and the two bones overlapped in the front, a dangerous injury that normally requires surgery. In a stroke of good luck, however, the bones separated themselves as Norris writhed on the trauma table.
"The doctors have taken to calling him "The Amazing Mr. Norris,'" says Yeehaw's guitarist, Chris Henry. "They say they've heard of the bones separating themselves, but never actually saw it." Doctors are also alarmed by Norris' quick recovery-in the short time since the accident, he has started to use crutches to get around the house.
The band and doctors had to quell Norris' determination to play a scheduled show at The Casbah the following week; they also cancelled a few more local shows and dates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and Arizona.
The band intends to return to the stage Aug. 18 at Brick By Brick supporting Wayne "The Train" Hancock and follow through with a mini tour to Texas in September.
"I'll play that show on the 18th even if I'm sittin' in a goddamned wheelchair," says Norris.
It's that kind of dedication and devil-may-care attitude that have secured the fledgling Yeehaws an already sizeable following. So far, they've only a few demos and a broken tailbone to their name.
Against some pretty significant odds in today's music world, Mike Kamoo's 5-year-old label, Earthling Records (www.earthlingrecords.com), has signed a worldwide distribution deal with Boston's Wishing Tree Records, home of The Moles and the Amos House Collection compilation CDs (which feature artists like Bright Eyes, Wilco and Spoon and raise cash for a Rhode Island homeless shelter).
"We're planning to have the first three titles out in October," said Kamoo. "For the first three we're actually going to do re-issues of recent titles, The Stereotypes' 2 and Mango's Shy Music/ Faux Music, as well as a disc from Greater California."
The deal was an inadvertent after-effect of Kamoo's production work for the label on the upcoming album from San Diego's psychedelic rockers Silver Sunshine, which is scheduled for release in October.
"They'll take care of the press, European distribution and the CDs will be pressed on the East Coast," Kamoo explained. "Other than that, the label will pretty much be the same."
To date, Earthling's biggest successes have been with Tomorrow's Son and The Stereotypes, both of which got a small dose of airplay on local FM stations. Their most recent releases include Static Halo's Save it for the Ages and Rookie Card's Near Mint.
"We'll be moving pretty quickly on this, with another three releases in January," Kamoo said. "So I'm already trying to figure out who the next releases will be from. There's no shortage of candidates."
End of an era?
San Diego's roots music icon Lou Curtiss has been given 30-day notice at his landmark music store, Folk Arts Records.
"Our new landlord just wants to bring it up to fair market value, so he has given us the option of a $700-a-month rent increase," said Curtiss. That's certainly not welcome news for any record store these days, let alone one that specializes in pre-1970s folk, blues and country music-a niche within a niche market.
"We'll work it out somehow, but it's our own fault," said the affable Curtiss. "It's businesses like ours that helped build up the area for the redevelopers to be interested in the first place."
For the sake of local culture, let's hope the funds are found, as every local troubadour worth his salt-from Tom Waits to Gregory Page-has haunted Folk Arts' narrow aisles, built into the front of a funky old house at 3611 Adams Ave.
In related news, Curtiss, a world-renowned music historian, has recently been working with the European label Country Roots on a series of albums culled from rare radio broadcasts and live recordings, including Women of Town Hall, featuring Wanda Jackson and a new Bob Will collection.
News flash: Nixon hates Republicans!
Liberty Mulch, a local group "upset at the state of our American political garden-pests and weeds everywhere," is calling San Diegans to arms and organizing a fundraiser to whack Bush.
Whistle Stop owner Sam Chammas is allowing the group to set up a boxing ring in the bar (corner of 30th and Juniper in South Park), in which a punching bag with Bush's face will be placed. On Aug. 8 at 3 p.m., participants can whack away at the bag for a small fee (suggested donations are $25 for promoters or $10 for fans) and all funds will go to the Kerry/Edwards campaign.
Liberty Mulch urges participants to dress in costumes such as "matadors, caped crusaders, knights, Mexican wrestlers, Rambo-like combatants, cowboys, bad-ass Blues Brothers, singing nuns and space aliens."
Hillbilly-politico-turned-ClearChannel-employee Mojo Nixon will be the emcee and fight commentator. There will also be barbecue and a photo booth.
Heavy-metal haven Blue Meannie Records reopens on July 28 at its new location, 1164 N. Second St. in El Cajon. Look for the store to book live shows regularly, beginning with their official grand opening on Aug. 22.
This week sees the release of Por Vida, the compilation album put together to help cover the costs of Alejandro Escovedo's ongoing battle with hepatitis C. Among the 32 artists contributing are The Jayhawks, John Cale, Peter Case, Cowboy Junkies, as well as locally connected Javier Escovedo, Rosie Flores and The Dragons (whose vocalist, Mario, is Alejandro's younger brother).
Liquorice Quartet, Mark Decerbo & Four Eyes, Rachael Gordon, Static Halo and The Shambles are featured as part of International Pop Overthrow, a music festival being held on July 30 at Molly Malones (the L.A. rock dive where Flogging Molly made their name). Fans in attendance will receive a 69-track, three-CD set, with songs from the likes of Jason Falkner and Tommy Keene, as well as otherwise unavailable material from Decerbo, Static Halo and former Baja Bug Frank Barajas.
The Eve Selis Band's tour of England was such a success that they've already been booked for a return visit in October to coincide with a new single. BBC disc jockey Bob Harris has been particularly impressed with the band and is giving them major airplay. Faces/Who drummer Kenny Jones and his band are also fans, and they made a surprise guest appearance at Selis' Bristol, England show during a rendition of "Stay With Me."
Jason Mraz will appear on MTV2's Backstage Pass on July 29 to promote the upcoming Tonight Not Again DVD. In related news, Mraz will contribute his version of the Muppets' classic "Rainbow Connection" to the upcoming For the Kids Too children's compilation from Nettwerk Records.
The July 31 episode of Celebrity Death Match, also on MTV2, pits Jewel vs. Alanis Morrissette. That same day, cable network Trio will air The Score, a show about creating film music that focuses on Stephen Bishop.
The Electric Prunes, which included local drummer Michael Quint, are suing their former label and publisher over a cool $1 million in unpaid royalties. The band is best known for its 1966 hit, "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night."
Ryan Noel, formerly of Clikatat Ikatowi, was found in his New York apartment on June 11, dead of an apparent heroin overdose. After relocating to the East Coast, Noel had been performing with A.R.E. Weapons.
Black Heart Procession percussionist Joe Plummer is moonlighting with Modest Mouse.
The area's most comprehensive local band site, SDAM.com, has undergone a complete redesign and is holding a relaunch party at Winston's on July 28. The free event gets underway at 6 p.m. with music from 21 Grams, Carol Ames and The Coyote Problem.
Jimmy Lavalle appeared on the BBC's "One World" radio show last week to promote The Album Leaf's latest release, In a Safe Place. The show is still available online at the BBC's website (www.bbc.co.uk).