I spent too much time in San Francisco this weekend sucking on the wisdom-engorged teat of motivational speeches about "alternative press" to compile a column that would be actually useful. You know, the sort of column with news, updates and shout-outs to homeys of sonic grandeur. That sort of post-collegiate drivel that headphone-stricken/baggy-eyed writer sorts do when they don't want to get a real career and figure grad school is, like, totally expensive and they probably couldn't find parking anyway.
I could tell you about what the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) thinks is a gripping narrative, but my subject is squabbling with my verb right now, and I've forgotten my password for the narrative conflicts I purchased per-download at www.youreawriternow.com.
But figuring you turn to these pigeon-gray pages weekly for insight, I thought I might share a few recent aneurisms on the music scene from a man whose melatonin has long since been lost somewhere in the night.
First a question: Do people actually like 94/9 "Peter Pan" FM, or is it a wife-and-kid away from being pitifully post-alternative? Is it purgatory for those with an 1986 Clash concert t-shirt in a box in the attic who haven't been to a rock dive since the last time Anna Nicole Smith was vaguely sexy-a frequency they program into "favorites" just before they kick off into the aural narcolepsy that is Adult Contemporary? Or is it a hip, span-the-ages alternative, not bound by the need to give up today's thing for what's hip later today, motivated more by the worth of individual songs than by the market research on those with expendable income? I happen to dig it, but then again I remember a Padre named Bevacqua and a grocery slum called Alpha Beta. Plus, it's comforting to feign belief that this is a world where assistant program director Michael "I Dare You to Fire Me" Halloran is employable.
In the ever-popular move of defending the beast of button-down marginality that is Clear "The Fucking" Channel(s): did anyone notice that Scott "My Brother's in Radio, Too!" Riggs-formerly DJ for 92/1"Little Engine That Could" FM-has landed at Rock "Post-Mullet" 105.3FM? After pitching every "independent" station his ideas for both a local show (always needed) and "Coup d'etat" (a marvelous concept that let local and non-local celebs and non-celebs commandeer the airwaves, so that loony music outcasts took over for two hours to play Quaker death metal and Hungarian nose flutists), it was Rock who eventually gave him total creative freedom (so says Riggs) for shows. And though no one likes tickling the G-spot of the Big Bad Wolf, isn't Rock 105 a Clear Channel station? Maybe San Diego's Little Red Riding Hoods of radio-the self-proclaimed "independents"-need think outside the basket or at least need a little more college radio blood? More ghastly, did Clear Channel just do something cool? I hate it when The Man's black gets all up in my white.
Does it surprise anyone that the Barney-purple, bad carpet septuagenarian dive bar known as Scolari's Office is really the new Casablanca of indie rock? After all, indie rockers could smell the stink of any high-rent place that tried to open its doors selling itself as a hip establishment... true DIY kids like old crusties, cheap beer and men with two packs of Benson and Hedges fighting for pocket space over a pacemaker. Cool is as uncool does.
Speaking of Scolari's, did anyone else hear the thunderous whispers that spilled onto the sidewalks outside of the geezer-punk mixer club when new local band Prizefight played last week? Though it sounded as though they pulled a Super Bowl maneuver and lip synched to Drive Like Jehu's Yank Crime, every single one of the patrons was blown away by the sheer animalistic violence and scarring grooves the band laid down. One of those "have you heard...?" bands.
In the only real news in this column-after being discovered in Hawaii and extradited to San Diego, Alex Conate, a.k.a. DJ Liquid Groove, a.k.a. the man charged with the Great Bjork Scam, pleaded "not guilty" to charges. Hmmmm..... only trial will tell.
Every year, South by Southwest's panel of judges decides what San Diego bands best fit its festival, which is meant to cull the most cutting-edge artists from various cities around the world-all of which play "showcases" for drunken industry snobs (including CityBeat staff) in downtown Austin from March 12 to March 16. This year, they have selected: Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, Convoy, The Dragons, Incredible Moses Leroy, Kill Me Tomorrow, The Locust, Maquiladora and Pinback. What do you think? Did those damn Bush-harboring Texans hit it on the money or did they screw the Casbah's pooch?
And finally, in "don't let your girls grow up to be pop stars" news: we have just received a super-secret, watermarked (read: "they can tell if it's you who uploads it to Kazaa and then they send Hilary Rosen to your pad with Basilisk on a quick-release leash") advance copy of the first single by local sister duo, The Troys. And let's assure you, as far as Avril Lavigne has melded the "princess behind that pouty skate chick" demeanor, these East County girls will be huge stars. Predicted impact: March 3, 2003, the day their single is serviced to pop radio. A more snide prediction: Within a week, Star "One Hundred Soccer Moms" Point Seven will spill their Starbucks lattes in their medicated laps when hearing the single. They will have the girls on for mind-blowing interviews about teenage fashion issues, which boy stars they hope to meet and "coping with the big time." They will probably play up the fact that the girls write their own songs, which, sadly, coming from the overly perky mouths of Star jocks, will sound like artifice (which it isn't).
And finally, it seems that everyone has figured out the location of the rented house in San Diego where blink-182 is recording their record. It was supposed to be a secret, but the address is-oh, just call me on my cell phone.