Wednesday, December 31, 2008

12:00 Eastern Standard Time

New Year's Eve is not my favorite rite of passage. There's something about all that forced gayety at midnight that just leaves me cold. I remember when I was a kid, my friends and I ran up and down the street a couple of times banging pots and pans. That sure was fun. Then there were the years dashing from party to party not exactly sure WHERE the hippest place to be at midnight was but boy, we needed to find it!!! Usually we ended up somewhere in between a bar and a party, usually in the car. And perhaps my favorite dud of all- the big Y 2 K moment when all the clocks were supposed to stop, the internet go haywire, aliens ready to attack- and the last place to be according to the official Y2K survival manual was in a city or an institutional setting. I managed both as I was in Georgetown Hospital in an elevator.
But there are a few good memories in my arsenal- mostly spent outdoors at a bonfire or in the country when the new year slipped in.  One year in particular does stand out though I can't remember the actual date- maybe 1981.  I do remember it was early in the evening, and a few friends and I were sitting around my group house living room pondering what to do. We could hang out in College Park and continue drinking being as we were within walking distance of the bars on Route One. We could cab it down to DC and watch the Love Stamp fall or some such weirdness. Or we could hop a plane to New York and stay at the Waldorf Astoria where my friend's brother had a suite of rooms. 
Next thing I knew we were at the airport.

Okay that was a good one- I have to admit.

At any rate- no matter what you do this evening- I do wish everyone within my readership all the best for 2009- including all my lame friends that DON"t read me and you know who you are because I will have to personally send this link to you.

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Slickees Rock Baltimore

(photos by LC)

Otto Bar
Dec 26

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Slickees Rule Surf Club!

(photos by Alan Kresse)
The Surf Club was packed last night, and it was a great rocking show thanks to all three bands-Monsters from the Surf, Ottley! and The Slickee Boys.

And hats off to Marshall Keith who pulled off being in two bands back to back. My friend Alan Kresse was there snapping the memories.
Alan and I go way back in the time machine to the University of Maryland, College Park 1979 when we were housemates. It was four guys and me, and the phone rang all the time. There were outrageous parties, and people we didn't even know would show up because they'd heard of The Dog House-aptly named because we shared the couch with Alan's gynormous Great Dane, Shea. We were hippies and jocks and nerds, but we were a gregarious crew. I came home from school one Friday afternoon, and there was a guy hanging out who looked familiar. It took me a minute to realize it was because I often passed him playing guitar and panhandling on Route One. Another time I walked in, and the living room was full of Hare Krishnas dancing around and making dinner. I have a feeling our vegetarian housemate Stuart was responsible for that one.
Anyway Alan was taking pictures back then, and he is still at it now.
Thanks to the glory of the internet- you can see pix of the Dog House - (what a time capsule!) and more importantly shots of all the bands last night plus other shows if you follow the links.

Friday, December 26, 2008

N.B. Slickees Shows Tonight and Tomorrow

Lyn2 says this is a show not to miss. So does the Express Night Out.
Shake off that mistletoe and shake a leg!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Long Ago Around this Time Of Year A Child Was Born. His Name Is Bob

Tuesday Night December 22 it's the birthday bash of the year, and Bob Berberich's bringing it home with The Rosslyn Mountain Goats- a band which always draws a veritable who's who crew of our local rock 'n' roll world to The Quarry House in Silver Spring. Ottley! will also be appearing. (Perhaps they'll slip into the celebrity phone booth to change.)
Every show I've seen (and I'm not sure that I've missed one) has been different and marvelous thanks to the ever revolving gang of guest stars. Last time I saw Mark Noone (Slickee Boys) do a set that couldn't be beat until Joe Dolan (Beatnik Flies) got up and did something completely different, but equally crazy good. With all that talent in the room, it's all good.
The time is 8 sharp. No cover. Three jamming sets. It'll be over around 11 so the working man can drink a toast to Bob and still hit the hay at a reasonable hour. Any and all donations will go to benefit Jr Cline.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sweet Home Yell County by Lyn2

While it was the band's name that first made me check out Yell County, it's the performance that keeps me going back for more. Named for a county in Arkansas that happens to be where my family lives, this trio puts together a 21st century punkish/new waveish sound in songs about being trapped and breaking out. They haven't played since bass player Arthur Noll took time out to become a Dad, so Monday night is a good chance to see them play some new songs and wash away any holiday stress you might be feeling. To top it off, you can check out The Bickersons, new to this writer. Give them a listen and you'll be heading to Virginia. Despite my bridge-crossing issues, the Galaxy Hut is growing on me. It has a remarkable beer selection for a small place, serves up good simple food and the cover is always $5.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm glad someone else pointed out that Prez Bush-in shrugging off the flying shoes so appropriately aimed at his head-was also shrugging off the devastation of the war in Iraq. Hats off to the people from Code Pink who showed up outside the White House and put names to shoes to honor the dead. I also liked what local DC musician, Karl Straub had to say about the whole mess in his posting "Bush Just Glad Shoe Incident Didn't Happen in Holland."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rally Round The Cause, Boys and Girls

The economic hard times are hitting.  I was in the bank just today and heard a guy loudly forecasting the doom we will face with the new "zero" interest rate. Closer to hitting home, a DC staple musician, JR Cline and his family are in dire need of a place to live. A benefit will be held at The Outta The Way Cafe THIS Thursday featuring a local band that was dear to my heart way back in the 70s when my cousin used to sneak me into bars- Harbison, Bond and Goddard. (You might remember their song that Weasel would include every week in his "Frantic Friday" set on WHFS.) Also look for other DC favorites including soul/blues power singer Mary Shaver with Dan Hovey (Root Boy Slim, Jr Cline and The Recliners) Rico Petrocelli, (Rosslyn Mt Boys, Mary Chapin Carpenter) and Danny Schwartz.
The show starts at 8:30.

And across town- another benefit at Bangkok Blues in Falls Church. This one is for "Hungry For Music"-a great organization that raises money so that kids can get their hands on musical instruments. A variety showcase of local music will start at 7 with Harry Blevins and continue until 10 with Little Pink. In between look for David Kitchen, Dulcie Taylor, Bumpkin Pie, Jelly Roll Mortals and Esther Haynes.
And for you guitar buffs- a Les Paul Epiphone Special II signed by Mr Paul himself will be available for gawking at. (The guitar will be raffled off at a later date.)

Both of these benefits are not high dollar events, but every little bit will help. You can make the difference here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Get Out And Spend

(Greenland - photo by shervin lianez)

DC Rocks hopes you are not bowing under the weight of holiday angst, but if you are- don't forget there are outlets, and I'm not talking about Potomac Mills. Start the weekend early in Virginia with the annual Santa Jam thing- a benefit and lots of bands at The State Theater Thursday night- or you can head over to JVs and lay back with Dan Hovey- ace guitarist.

Saturday night in DC's northwest quadrant there's Greenland- the opening band of three at Comet Ping Pong. Also on Saturday-in the can't be two places at once category- another great show - Sister Ex and The New Standard will be rocking Surf Club Live.

Spend that hard earned dough wisely-a few dollars will go a long way in supporting our local music scene which could easily become a casualty of the economy.
Plus- gosh darn it- you could have fun.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Close Encounter with Bo

This area is just teeming with live music, and I mean TEEMING- "abundantly filled or richly supplied; swarming."
Swarming indeed. 
I hope this blog opens the door for some of you to the lesser known DC music scene which includes a lot of musician/writers like Mystr Treefrog.
Check out his story- it's about rock and roll and serendipity or what can happen when you are open to the universe and about to be blown off a roof.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Don't miss the show this Saturday night at the Velvet Lounge-a tiny little club planted in our new/old U Street night scene. Seeing live music there is always an up close and personal experience. There are no big screens- you don't need binoculars, and the cover is always under ten bucks. The show this weekend is well worth it-a winning combination of veteran talent and new music. Here's the scoop from Glenn Kowalski of 7 Door Sedan:

This Saturday 7 Door Sedan is having the first show in over month. We slowed down a bit after a mad mad October that almost did us in, but we're back baby!

We're thrilled to perform with former members of Razz—
The Howling Mad. I've been trying to get a gig with these guys for awhile now. They have been doing this for quite some time and one of my most powerful memories is seeing them at the now legendary Keg in Georgetown. They're howling for sure.

Thanks to Phil Duarte of Pup Tent for putting this gig together, and we're happy to share the bill with them as well. They have amazing material and are a unique experience. A paranoid power trio. I just made that up. But seriously, check these guys out if you haven't yet.

This is a real "Guys with Guitars" show. We're talking major guitar slingers, seasoned singer/songrockers, and a hot Saturday night. 

My understanding is the following Velvet Lounge schedule:
Doors open at 9 for access to band area. Schmoozing, warming up with a drink, etc.
10 pm sharp: 7 Door Sedan, followed by Howling Mad, then Pup Tent.

Lyn2 would like to add: 
Puptent and 7 Door Sedan are so special to me that it should be illegal that they are playing together when I am out of town for work. Howling Mad are one of a kind and previous iterations of these guys' talents define DC music history for me. Please be there for me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Shopping Tip #1 and A Tale

Yes. It's inevitable. Ready or not the holidays are coming and sometimes that involves hiding assorted items in colored papers and passing them off to other people. (You know what I mean.) For some of us it's a time of joy and for others a time of dread, but make it easy on yourself. For all the rock 'n' roll fans on your list-Mark Opsasnick's book "Capitol Rock" can't be beat. It's an amazing collection of local rock lore and information. Mark is scrupulous about detail, and has scoured libraries and old haunts for information. I asked him how he got started:

My interest in rock and roll goes back to my childhood when my older siblings (brother and sister) would play Beatles and Monkees albums on the family phonograph. I was hooked, and I remember how, at age ten in 1972, my mother brought me Alice Cooper’s “Killer” album from the Greenbelt Library. The music was incredible, though now, some 36 years later, I’m horrified by the lyrics of “Dead Babies.” Good thing I couldn’t understand anything those maniacs were saying back then. Anyway, after watching this shock-rock band on “In-Concert” I went out and, using my saved-up allowance, bought all their albums at the Beltway Plaza Waxie Maxie’s for $3.33 a pop (I also have a recollection of scooping up albums by Santana, Deep Purple, the Doors and Mountain on one piggy bank-depleting afternoon at that particular outlet.) I remember staring for what seemed like hours at the incredible Mothers of Invention album covers, trying to figure out what kind of music could possibly be contained on the vinyl within – I later heard the entire “We’re Only In It For the Money” album on WGTB and was completely mesmerized by the surreal waves of sound that poured out of that cheap radio. And all of this occurred before I turned eleven.

(Two of the greatest rock and roll mysteries of all time still haunt me – where did the Beatles plug in that mess of guitar wires on the cover of their “Something New” album; and what was that crap on the Coop’s face??)

I maintained my love of rock and roll music into my adult years, but it wasn’t until I started venturing into the bars and nightclubs of Prince George’s County in the 1980s that my interest took a unique turn. In places like the Paragon and the Riverdale Pizza Pub I began hearing tales of forgotten killer rock bands that had ruled Washington, D.C.-area stages (the British Walkers, the Cherry People, the Hangmen, Lawrence and the Arabians, etc.) and spellbinding guitarists who had actually resided right in my home county (Danny Gatton, Roy Clark, Link Wray, Roy Buchanan), but I was dismayed to discover on my trips to local libraries that no books existed that documented the lives and times of these remarkable musical heroes.

I decided to try to fill that void.

The rest is history; the future is a Work-in Progress!

All seven of Mark's books including “Capitol Rock” and “The Lizard King Was Here” are available at Xlibris.

Or take a break from the frenzy and read about Mark's trip down F Street, Christmas morning 1999-a Washington DC My Hometown exclusive.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Beam Over, Scottie

Dear Readers Who Get This Blog by Email Subscription:

This note will run every so often because we KNOW you all have ADD like we do, and don't have time to read everything much less remember a thing once you've read it, but please come back to the DC ROCKS' site to read postings by hitting the DC ROCKS link in the email. (It's at the top of the page.)
This way you will be able to see the calender which gets up dated fairly and has more shows . Also there are links to older posts, bands and clubs and other great sites to explore.

Also the site itself gives you the chance to comment by hitting the little word that says- frankly "comment" on the bottom of each post. Please do as feedback fuels the beast.

Thanks and thanks for reading DC ROCKS.

Friday, November 28, 2008


The Nighthawks. GHz. The Grandsons. The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours.
What do these groups have in common? They are four fantastic DC bands, and they are all playing this Friday night.  Unfortunately they'll be in four different places:

The Nighthawks, one of our longer lasting straight ahead rock and roll bands which has played at many a legendary event will be at The State Theater in Falls Church. The State is one of my favorite places to see a show. There's the old theater balcony seating upstairs - two bars downstairs- a big dance floor/mosh pit and tables and chairs in case you want to have dinner. I especially like being able to roam around as there's no ticketed seating. $13.

 GHz brings back the legends of yesteryear. They'll be at Outta The Way Cafe in Derwood (which really is out of the way) but  you can sit and have a bite to eat and jettison yourself back in time. According to Scott this show will include "Scott and Dan’s explosive psychedelic originals, uniquely orchestrated remakes of some of Cream’s greatest B-sides and classic compositions from Mr. Hendrix and Mr. Morrison. Plus an extra special Cream-block in honor of the 40th anniversary of their farewell concert in 1968." No cover!

The Grandsons playing The Barns of Wolf Trap the day after Thanksgiving has become such an event that they captured the show on a CD last year and the band won a Wammie. It's an all ages dance party with a number of  luminaries sitting in such as Jon Carroll, Derek Huston (all the way form NOLA), and Moe Nelson. The Barns is another good place to see a show- a great open "barn" of a room, good acoustics and a bar with tables in the room right next to it. $16

And last but certainly not least- The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours named after a legendary DC watering hole will be playing Iota. Their shows are becoming harder to find then a cheap strong drink in this town so this might will be a don't miss event if you are a fan. And don't be surprised to find Tom Clifford of King Soul sitting in. Plus Derek Huston and Chris Watling will be joining the fray once the show at Wolf Trap is over. (Truly devoted fans- take note-and carpool!) Pete Kanaras formerly of The Nighthawks will ALSO get in on the act after playing with opening band The Remnants--another talented crew featuring known for its "Southern tinged rock with Annapolis grit." Who knows who else will show up or what will happen at this show, but it's bound to be a whole lot of fun and talent for just $10. 

So forget the madness of the malls-what can you get there for under twenty bucks besides fast food and a headache? Have fun! Boost the economy by supporting our swinging local  music scene!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thank Heaven for DC Girls

Give thanks for local music, and our own wise and wild women on Wednesday night, November 26 at the Quarry House in Silver Spring. DC-area burlesque star, Shortstaxx reports: "I am honored to share the bill with 2 of my favorite rock'n'roll bands fronted by 2 fantastic rock'n'roll women. Sister Ex is led by the amazing Claudia Neuman and Ottley! fronted by the legendary-and I am not dropping the word casually here-yes, the legendary Martha Hull! ...I will perform 2 burlesque acts in between sets. Come on down to the Quarry House for a pre-holiday throw down. Burlesque, Beer, Booze, Burgers and kick-ass rock'n'roll!!!!
No cover
AND it's 50% off all whiskeys on Wednesday! Who could ask for more?"

DC ROCKS agrees. Who could ask for more than to hang out with friends and strangers in a cool cozy club while enjoying great performances by women AND men. Note that
Ottley! also includes 2 other local rock 'n'roll legends Marshall Keith* and Bob Berberich. You can get your metabolism rolling on the dance floor so that a little bit of pie on Thursday won't hurt you. And Shortstaxx will have you rethinking burlesque if you haven't already.
Last one there's a turkey.

* Check out Marshall's piece about growing up at Washington, My Hometown

Friday, November 21, 2008


I was raving about Prabir and the Substitutes the other day when a friend asked me-what was a Prabir exactly?
I explained that Prabir wasn't an "it," but a "he." And I looked it up- Indian male name meaning"hero." Very cool and very appropriate. But the talent of this band doesn't stop there- all of these guys have IT. Mark Noone remembers: Lyn2 and I saw Prabir and the boys for the first time at Dogfish Head in Delaware. After 2 minutes into the first song, I turned to her and said, "I wanna be in this band!"
Come and see 'em, and do it now. They are playing The Galaxy Hut in Arlington THIS Sunday with The Palominos. (Prabir describes The Palominos as : "rock and roll with a little dirty South in them now and then.")
Mind the poster -they won't be back this way for quite awhile. Just $5. You can't beat this show anywhere in the universe for that price.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stuff by Lyn2

I don't know why Rambling Shadows' CD is called "The Tools and Stuff," but lately I have been thinking about how stuff can weigh you down. Clutter, money worries, work annoyances and various real life things take over your psyche and it becomes counter-productive. Music slows the brain parade of issues and reorganizes the thought patterns for me, and no one does it better than Rambling Shadows. They'll be at the Velvet Lounge this Saturday, November 22. Sharing the stage are the Tail Draggers, a high energy garage band which includes members of The Beatnik Flies and Rhomboid. They will have you dancing. The Left originally "a real punk rock band from Hagerstown" will also share the stage. Can you get more real than that?
Get your brain rearranged by local indie talent.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Who Is He?

(Photo by Tom Shea)

Marshall Keith might be best known as a founding member of one of Washington's most celebrated local bands, The Slickee Boys, but he has remained extremely active in the music scene for many years in other bands and as a solo artist. His two solo CDs are out of print but much sought after. Look for them. Part singer, part song writer, part chameleon he is all musician and a heck of a guitar player. Lately he technically reinvented the instrument by utilizing a baritone neck on a rhythm guitar thus enabling him to play bass, rhythm and lead all at once with Ottley- the group he is in now.

Things have changed in this town since Marshall arrived almost fifty years ago. And things are changing again. Change for the good. Marshall reflects on the good, the bad and the sometimes really ugly in his piece for Washington My Hometown.

You can catch Marshall playing live next week- November 26- when Ottley plays the Quarry House in Silver Spring. And don't miss The Slickee Boys reunion gigs just after Christmas. Stay tuned to this blog for details.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Palisades Rocks

(Palisades Museum Of Prehistory )

My DC neighborhood used to be a hide away for people seeking relief from the torrid summers here. We're near the Potomac and up hill from downtown. Now we're a haven for artists and writers by the dozen, but we also have a one of a kind renaissance man named Doug Dupin. He designs his own long boards. He built himself a wine cellar/cabin that Martha Stewart would kill for with little touches and innovations that might have intrigued Thomas Jefferson. Then he turned it into the Palisades Museum of Prehistory which is filled with artifacts from the neighborhood which otherwise would have been lost to bulldozers. He grows his own hops, makes his own beer. He rides around on an old black bike.
As if that all weren't enough, Doug is also a film maker, and he's made a short documentary about another neighbor, James McMahon. Maybe you saw some of the pictures I posted of James' art project in the woods. Now you can get the whole story thanks to Doug from the horse's mouth. Check out this great little film:Portrait of the Artist as A Middle Aged Man.

A truly DC centric thing.

(James' World) Photos by LC

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dance x 4= Great Show

Thursday may be the new Friday, but this week that ole reliable- Saturday night- stands out with four wild and crazy good young bands conveniently located under one roof at the Rock and Roll Hotel down on H Street. I would go to this show just to see one of my personal favorites Greenland-so I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was even more talent on the bill as follows:
 The Dance Party-
I've not seen them, but they've gotten raves for their high energy pop sound and played plenty of well received gigs.
Another high energy band. We've written about these guys before and had a great time at their shows. 
Ra Ra Rasputin- Lyn2 and I saw them  at Fort Reno last summer and were impressed.  Another band that can do.

All of these groups have that indie tag going for them- original music and personality galore. 
So if you are looking to lose those Autumn blues- come out and shake the dust off your tail feathers. Four bands -just TEN BUCKS!!!!  Show starts at 9.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

And continuing the theme for the mandated Thursday night out- across the river from the Quarry House in another galaxy far far away (i.e. Northern Va.) GHz is playing at Bangkok Blues in Falls Church. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Dan Hovey is one of the best guitar players around, and GHz is one of the only cover bands that gets coverage here. If you can't wow 'em, why bother with retreads? Because this band delivers the wow.

Also on Thursday- Dave Kitchen, a versatile guy in his own rite with a great band will be doing his usual gig at the Sunset Grille in Annandale. All the bands and bars we cover here at DC Rocks need your support. PLEASE don't let these small venues and great players disappear with these challenging economic times. Just get out and shop. I mean drink. Be merry- it's Thursday.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thursday is the New Friday

Now that we're in the beginning of a new age, it's actually mandatory to go out on Thursday nights. So this Thursday, November 13, it would be really cool if you went to the legendary Quarry House in Silver Spring to see the even-more-legendary Tru Fax and the Insaniacs. Presidents may come and go, but Tru Fax is a constant. Witness the Ronald Reagan song that evolved over numerous iterations into the W song. This might be your last chance to hear it. Dollar Bin has just been added to the bill too.

The Quarry House has the best beer selection around, good food including their famous tater tots and it's a cozy place that feels like home. Just north of the next state's border on Georgia Avenue and convenient to the Ronald Reagan Silver Spring Metro too. Did I write this whole entry without mentioning Jamie Cramer? It won't happen again.

Lyn2 (photos courtesy of JB at Surf Club Live)

DC-Are You Experienced?

It happened in San Francisco. It happened at Woodstock. But what I love is that it also happened here in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1967. What was it? A genuine psychedelic phenomenon in the form of rock and light shows at the now defunct Ambassador Theater in Adam's Morgan. Jeff Krulik, local film maker, organized a reunion/forum last year for those who made the happening happen, and it was one of my favorite topics for this blog. If you missed the story-here's my post from last November. Plus now you can experience part of the reunion for yourself thanks to Jeff's film on Youtube.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Random Thoughts

I was at Lyn2's election party- surrounded by people cheering and crying when the results came in for Obama, but here it is four days later, and I'm still waiting for the good news to really sink in. But I also feel like I'm waiting for
another shoe to drop. Maybe it's from the toll of so much BAD news for eight years running- both personally and politically. My daughter is a cancer survivor, but the year 2000 was a bleak one as she was just starting a two and half year regime of chemo therapy. And GW became president. Before 9-11 I could barely stand to hear him talk, but at least he seemed semi- harmless.Then on September 11th, he hid in an airplane leaving us to make do on the ground.

I was sure that four years later people would have had enough of the horrors of the Bush administration. I don't think I've ever been so depressed after an election as I was in November 2004. I couldn't believe the level of fear mongering that went into justifying an invasion- the loss of life and limbs and torture. And here at home the environment was sacrificed for the oil people and the coal industry; basic rights were stripped away in the name of Homeland Security. Even the right to speak out was quashed whenever possible.

But now there is hope as Mark Noone keeps telling me. Yes, it's a very scary scene the Bush people are leaving behind, but at least they are leaving. And my friend, Eric Brace who has been battling a weird and worrisome mystery illness seems to be on the mend as well. He is hopeful, too; ecstatic about this election which is a quantum leap from four years ago.

Maybe I should stick my head out of the covers and begin to believe that it really is going to be okay. At least we have hope.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Asylum Friday Night - Our Time is NOW by Lyn2

Sometimes nostalgia is annoying because it makes people live in the past rather than the now. But I am looking forward to seeing my childhood friend Danny Ingram in King Mixer, playing at Asylum with Fight the Bear Friday night. I'm not going for nostalgic reasons, even though it's tremendous to find so many old friends playing music these days. I'm intrigued by this description of King Mixer's sound: "King Mixer draws on all of these influences to create a sound that blends intense and melodic guitars with songs that tell stories about the things you did but shouldn’t have, and things you should have said but didn’t." Been there. As if that's not enough, the Falls Church-based Fight the Bear guarantees ".... a dose of something genuine." Asylum is a place you want to know - 2471 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan. Doors at 8.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

WE WON!!!!!

So far, for me anyway, Bill Hanke said it best when he put this message on his MySpace page: "LOVE  has defeated evil."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

With Justice and Liberty For ALL?

DC is rocking with voters today. I hear that the line went two blocks out the door, past the playground, past the parking lot- all the way to Sherier Place earlier this morning in my neighborhood. But being the later bird who usually misses the worm,  I voted in about ten minutes around 9 a.m. I met an older woman in line, and she agreed with me that this was the most exciting election ever- though she did give a nod to the Hubert Humphrey campaign.

Still not all is well here in Washington. The citizens here vote for shadow representatives since we don't have the right to decide our own destiny in Congress- although we CAN vote for president and do. Perhaps we need our own Rebel Alliance to Restore the Republic? (Perhaps I watched Star Wars twenty years too late?) 

Anyway-please- vote heavily and often today, and think of us colonists residing right here- in our Nation's Capitol- who would if we could.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

6 Day Bender

Was a 2 night Halloween weekend enough?
Do you want to keep the momentum going until that wildly swinging Election Day party you're going to on Tuesday? (right after you vote)
Well, here's a late breaking bulletin from Bill Hanke, our own local guru of rock. He wants everybody to go see 6 Day Bender -an original young band from Charlottesville tonight at the Quarry House in Silver Spring. Early show so you can have your cake and get some sleep, too. And say hi to Bill- you can't miss him.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Breaking News for Saturday Night and Beyond

From a secret DC ROCKS contributor..... this is fun and chock full of great info! Just click the title.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On Philvis, Lester Bangs, Frank Zappa and Decorating

A few years ago, inspired by a particularly hot Rhodes Tavern Troubadours show, I announced that I would write about them in the style of Lester Bangs, who some call the first “modern” rock critic. I even reread the Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung collection. Truth be told, there’s no way I can imitate Lester but the project g0t me wanting to write.

A recent New York Times article on teaching uses a line attributed to Bangs in the movie Almost Famous to suggest a way to reach the student: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you are uncool.” Bangs could be irreverent and even downright hostile. (Check out his famous piece on Lou Reed’s Berlin.) I've always loved his sentimental undercurrent.

When I think about how much I like going to see our local bands, some of them repeatedly, it's a bit uncool, or at least obsessive. It’s like watching Buffy reruns, spending 17 hours learning how to do SuDoKu puzzles or reading the whole article about the discovery of dark matter. You know it’s uncool, but it sure makes you feel better. More so if you are geeking out with someone else.

That’s why I’ll be out to see Puptent , Beatnik Flies and Ottley at Surf Club Live this Saturday, even though I have seen them all before. Lots. Consult previous DC ROCKS posts for details. Call me uncool, but these are bands which will rearrange your psyche, and they are people you will be glad to share it with.

It’s also the birthday celebration for Phil “Philvis” Duarte of Puptent, my buddy since college and partner in noise therapy. I found a Frank Zappa line on a beer bottle the other day: “Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.” I've been decorating with Phil for a long time, and when I see a picture of us decades ago, I think how lucky we are to have people to share the uncool with, and plenty of decorating to do. This Saturday, at the last great honky tonk and newly reborn Surf Club Live, the spirits of Lester Bangs and Frank Zappa will be haunting.


Friday, October 24, 2008

A DC Boy

Anyone who knows Mark Noone (and that will include a LOT of DC natives) knows that he is a man of many, many talents and often driven towards perfection. You might know him as the lead singer of The Slickee Boys or a mainstay in the Hula Monsters. He's been in bands around here making music all his life, and may very well hold the world's record for the most performances ever at the 9:30 Club. He also has the gift of gab, and a phenomenol memory. Washington is his home town. Click here to find out what Mark was talking about on the playground at Lafayette Elementary-in 1964. He's still talking about it today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mark Noone Says

I was pondering what to write about The Surf Club Live show featuring Ruthie and The Wranglers and The Billy Coulter Band this Saturday night when the brilliant idea hit me. I would enlist the help of  a consummate professional- a guy who has been in the music business around here for many many moons- Mr. Mark Noone. Here's what Mark has to say:

"Ah yes, Wranglers at the Surf Club! Back when it was Chick Hall's Surf Club, and I was holding down the bass guitar duties with Ruthie and the Wranglers, we played there every Wednesday for about a year or so. We even recorded a live album there that turned out quite well! That was back when we were more of a honky tonk band. Now Ruthie and the Wranglers is a more refined country/roots act, I saw them last at the Rams Head in Annapolis. They were very good! Very polished. Great to see that Wranglers are back at Surf Club again.

A band I'm in now- Hula Monsters played a rather posh wedding reception, which boasted a stunning blond bride. This was a couple of years back, but the groom looked very familiar. He turned out to be none other than Billy Coulter. Billy, in another life, used to be in a band called The Inserts. Inserts were a cool kind of 80s band, they played with Slickee Boys a few times, and after the reception he played his current stuff for us. It was catchy and rockin’! A bit like if the Stones met Jon Anderson at a Mott the Hoople show. We were all very impressed. That's what you will hear from him and his talented band this Saturday night."

Stay tuned for more writing from Mark Noone this weekend. In the meantime- make your entertainment dollar stretch- go see local live music. Remember DC can't rock without you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Roll with 7 Door Sedan Thursday

7 Door Sedan. We've always been fans here at DC Rocks, and just lately they've gotten good press from the City Paper as well. Help this original DC band keep going by goin' to see them. Glenn Kowalski sent this shout out about their next show:

"We're excited about our gig with the Dexter Romweber Duo at the Red and Black. Dexter Romweber (formerly of the Flat Duo Jets) is the cult legend that influenced Jack White among others, and is the subject of a recent documentary. The Dexter Romweber Duo is comprised of Dex and his sister, Sara (formerly of Mitch Easter and Let's Active).

The show is Thursday night at 9 at the Red and Black on H Street. Pretty sure we'll be going on first, so get there early. I don't know what kind of turnout this will be. Possibly an unusual crowd!"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Natural Local Phenomenon Is Back:

Rosslyn Mountain Goats*
Lonesome Hobo Tuesday
October 21st, 8-10pm
at the historic
Quarry House Tavern

no cover, pay what you can!
*Joe Triplett, Peter Bonta, Bob Berberich, Rico Petruccelli, and
Martha Hull

Friday, October 17, 2008

Do you know Jon Carroll? (Does anyone know anyone?)
I think Jon is another area rock star that perhaps a lot of people don't know but should. He's a prize winner in his own rite, (literally- a BUNCH of Grammies and Wammies) but he often sneaks in and out- sitting in with a lot of bands around here. You might not notice him because he's not the kind of guy to hog the spotlight, but if you hear really good piano playing going on- take a look- it just might be him. He can also play a small boatload of instruments- writes songs... sings- if you look in the dictionary you'll see a little picture of him by the entry "multi- talented."
 Jon will be doing his own thing with hand picked musicians at the Barns of Wolftrap this SATURDAY night. I guess some people must know what's going on because his show last year sold out. So get in the know- and get to know Jon Carroll.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Surf Club Live Loves You - Love it Back

This Saturday is a good night to play some pool, have a beverage or two and see 3 great bands at the legendary Surf Club Live. I used to think Dollar Bin's name was derogatory. Then I realized the dollar bin is where you find the surprise gems you didn't know you needed. These veterans of many DC and Baltimore rock and roll wars will surprise you with their new songs and unexpected covers. Sister Ex burst upon the scene this year, and is developing quite a following. Another band of veterans, they bring you songs with a purpose served up with passion, skill and speed. Speaking of veterans, Rambling Shadows may have the most badass line-up of veterans going. You'll love the band that converted me to earplugs. What I think of as their trance punk riot will keep you coming back for more.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Spoonful of Strange Brew This Friday on U

When my parents got off work in the 1940s, they used to go down to U Street to check out the night life. There was a lot to choose from including theaters, music venues and after hours clubs. The riots which burned through DC in 1968 pretty much put an end to many things. A lot of that area was either destroyed or abandoned. For a while it seemed like Ben's Chili Bowl was a lonely survivor, but one of the good things about living here in Washington is seeing the old town come back- slowly- really slowly- but surely. Now clubs and restaurants dot the corridor again up and down U Street, and I keep hearing about new spots. This week my favorite Cream revisited band- GHz goes urban when they appear Friday night "Upstairs at Almaz" at 1212 U Street NW. John Zidar of GHz sent me the skinny:

The place is directly across from the Lincoln Theatre. Supposed to be great Ethiopian food, and the upstairs has a full stage with sound, full food service, and it’s own bar. The Little Falls Jazz Quartet will play 7-8:30, Doc Volatile from 8:45-10, and we’ll slam it from 10:15 until we’re worn out. (a 90 minute version of "Spoonful" should do it)

All of this for a mere FIVE BUCKS ! A fin. (That's a mere cinquo dinero in Spanglish.)

For those of you hankering for an even more nostalgic sound-that crazy boy group- The Hula Monsters will be rocking a swing dance uptown at the Chevy Chase Ballroom. ( 5207 Wisc. Ave NW -right above Paul's Liquor)

"Spoonful" or "Rock the Hula".
Choose your poison.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Hometown- It's Smaller Than You Might Think

There's that old saying that familiarity breeds contempt, but living in and around DC for most of my life has just led to... more familiarity. I run into someone at a party, and if they are of a certain age and demeanor-given fifteen minutes or so-I can usually find some connection. Just the name Cokinos can do it as my large Greek family has lived here since the early 1900s.

Then there are the circles. My friend Lynn grew up a block from where I live now. (I actually met her Dad independantly of Lynn- he is a very active guy in my neighborhood and not hard to spot taking care of business in his summer suits with the pants cut down to shorts, plaid slip on shoes and yellow happy face socks.) In Lynn's circle there is a couple from her Georgetown U. days who I already knew as parents from my son's school. Lynn said one of her Mt. Rainier neighbors was in a band, and when I saw him I realized I knew him from my dc Space days. Yet another friend of hers-a junk dealer- was a college housemate of mine. I was at a party a month ago, and I talked to a woman I'd never met before. After the aforesaid fifteen minutes or so she suddenly asked me- do you know Lynn ? If you don't know Lynn, and you are reading this- chances are it's only a matter of time.

Read up on why Lynn thinks DC rocks at my other site Washington DC My Hometown.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Columbus Day

When we were growing up, Columbus Day did not bring the word genocide to mind, as it might now. Back then it was all about how Columbus was practically God's gift to the poor savage Indians. These days Columbus Day might have more meaning as a shopping day-except the economy is sinking faster than the Nina or the Penta would have if they had been caught in a perfect storm. So take those hard earned dollars and spend them wisely- support our local music scene. Ten dollars won't buy you much anymore, but it will buy you a whole night of music as all the shows listed here are ten bucks or under.

Tonight for example, you could have dinner with The Loggers- at Bangkok Blues in Falls Church. Saturday night there's the whole Surf Club /Velvet Lounge dilemma (see last posting) But wait there's more!
Sunday at 2 those venerable canine musicians  The Cravin' Dogs will do a matinee at Iota. Bring the kids; see a great band, have a beer and a juice box. It's a hoot.

Then Sunday night the Alice Despard Group (which usually brings tears to my eyes at least once a set) comes back into the fold to play at the sweet club Alice founded- The Galaxy Hut in Arlington. Alice never charged for bands during her reign, and Larry the new owner has kept the cover way low at just five dollars which is dang reasonable. Memphis 59, a rock alt country type band will open. (By the way if you can't make the show, you can read about Alice's DC memories at Washington D.C. My Hometown)

And just across the street from The Hut at Iota the alt country indie rock type thing continues with three more bands.

WAMA Crosstown Jam Presents:
SUNDAY is the New SATURDAY Show (for all you wise crackers with Monday off)
This show features: Little Pink  with Mary Battiata another DC area singer with great lungs and heart breaking potential. Plus David Kitchen, a man of many bands and talent, and 
Leaving, TX which self describes themselves as "a country band with a twang-rock problem.
The shbang starts around 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

From Two Women Who Don't Stay Home To Wash Their Hair: Girl Talk

LYN2: Hey what are you doing on Saturday night? I can't wait to see Sister Ex, 7 Door Sedan and Beatnik Flies all in one show at the Velvet Lounge.

LYN1 Yeah-all of them in that tiny space? I love it! You can stand close enough to the bands there to start a revolution or something. On the other hand that new band King Soul is playing at the Surf Club. They need bodies.

LYN2: I wish more people would check out the Surf Club. It's old-school honky tonk feel makes me feel like Patsy Cline.

LYN1: Yep-The Surf Club is great- plenty of room to dance or you can play pool or just chill at the bar. But you can't beat the Velvet Lounge for tiny rock dive intimacy- sort of like those night clubs in old movies except without the cool tables and chairs and waiters and just about everything else.

LYN2: Atmosphere aside, I can't believe how much I look forward to seeing two bands that didn't even exist a year ago-7 Door Sedan and Sister Ex just get better and better. As for the Beatnik Flies, their three decade history has defined my life! I really like their version of the Beatles' "Every Little Thing She Does!"

LYN1: King Soul hasn't been around very long either although all of their members have been in or are still in a ton of bands like Chris Watling from The Grandsons or Jake Flack of the RTTS-speaking of which The Troubadours will be there, too, and they don't play out much anymore. 

LYN2: I saw King Soul at the Takoma Street Festival, and it was a wall of talent and fun. As for the Rhodes Tavern Troubadours- it will pain me to miss that. They rock.

LYN1: It'll pain me to miss you! 

LYN2: So it sounds like one of us might be in DC and one of us might be in Maryland. Let's meet up for a 2 a.m. breakfast!  

LYN1: Amen.

P.S. We heard VL has made a number of improvements including the bar being open upstairs during the bands. Links to all the bands and bars mentioned above can be found in the sidebar of DC ROCKS. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Free Music/Free Spirits

Takoma Park. It's a haven for the oh so politically correct set- plus artists, writers, and musicians. You could shoot a Nerf gun down Carroll Avenue, and your chances of hitting a Republican are probably a thousand to one. (I'll bet Cheney has never even stepped foot in this berg.) At any rate, this Sunday head on up there for a  great escape from all the talking heads and problems of the last week.

Since 1981 The Takoma Park Street Festival has been a great all day party with craft and food vendors and stuff for kids to do.  Best of all, three stages of live music will be happening from one end of town to the other. This year's line up is pretty amazing, including Ruthie and The Wranglers, Janine Wilson, Tommy Lepson, Billy Coulter, King Soul and more! Hit the link above for a list of all the bands, times, and locations. Wake up with 7 Door Sedan at 11 and polish the day off at 4 with Chopteeth and/or The Nighthawks , but whatever you do, don't miss PRABIR AND THE SUBSTITUTES at 2 p.m. at the dance stage.

Parking can be problematic at this event, but The Metro is just a few blocks away.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Maryland Is For Rockers

For many people around Washington, Virginia is a very scary place. The phrase "I'm in Virginia"  locally translates as "I'm lost." But fortunately for Virginia phobes, Maryland seems to have the edge this weekend with things going on Saturday at The Quarry House and The Surf Club- plus the Takoma Park Street Festival will rage on Sunday. 

Saturday night, find good and good for you rock and roll with The Thrillbillys who will be crossing the mighty Potomac from their usual Sunset Grille post to grace us with their presence at The Quarry in Silver Spring. 
If more eclectic, spacier bands are your cup of tea- The Cashmere Jungle Lords (another Virginia band taking the plunge in Maryland)  surf band The Atomic Mosquitoes and back to basics rock band Jonny and The Stingrays will be at The Surf Club in Hyattsville- also on Saturday.

Both venues deliver a heck of a lot of good music for VERY few bucks.

Come back tomorrow for more on the Takoma Park thing which includes yet ANOTHER Virginia band- PRABIR and the SUBSTITUTES. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

DC Rock Homies

Alice Despard- you might know her as the founder of The Galaxy Hut or you might know her for her music. Though Alice sold the club some time ago The Hut still lives on as a great little dive in Clarendon with a great selection of beer and a haven to see all sorts of indie music and meet all kinds of individuals.

What you might not know is that Alice grew up here. Check out her contribution- "The Mobile Party Unit"- as my first guest author on Washington DC- the Hometown blog.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Sky Is Falling in Washington

Here in DC it's hard to get away from the news. Our local PBS radio stations rolled over from bluegrass and classical music to all day talk years ago. The stock market is in a free fall, a possible Depression looms, and, in what may be the greatest back firing move in political history, we have a vice presidential candidate - chosen for her gender, not her expertise. (I think the real key to her limited success so far is her ability to complete a full sentence unlike the guy in office. People just aren't used to that anymore- never mind that she has nothing presidential to say.)
But DC Rocks tries to avoid all that political noise in an effort to promote music over false promises.

Writing a blog started out as a tentative foray into cyberspace for me- an exercise to get myself back into writing and to try out this new venue. I began by producing stories about my DC family history and called that project Washington, DC- My Hometown. That was going well, but my sister copied all the postings and gave them to my parents. Nothing wrong with that, but being true to myself-I soon felt the need to sneak off and start another one just for me. So DC ROCKS was born. (a title blatantly stolen from Ian Hunter's "Cleveland Rocks")

Even though the title was pointing me exactly towards what I would write about- I THOUGHT I was  going to write about whatever happened to be stumbling through my brain at any given moment as a DC resident. Soon however- like a Ouija move- the local rock scene took over my mouse, and the blog took on a life of its own.

The same can not be said of The DC Hometown blog which frankly lost its will to live when my father died. I didn't want to see it go, so I pondered how to keep this thing alive, and "with a little help from my friends" (plus nagging) (there's that music thing again) the blog is about to be reborn and expanded to include all sorts of guest writers. Both natives- or gone native types. There won't be much about politics, but there will be all kinds of stories about growing up here to take our minds off the Other Washington. 

Monday, September 29, 2008

Postcard #2 From James' World

(photo by LC- Woods by James)

"If you go out in the (Palisades) woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You'd better go in disguise.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic."