Saturday, May 31, 2008

Harmonica Wing Ding This Sunday

Wayne of Right On Rythm Roots and Blues Newsletter asked me to pass this on:

A long time ago in a storied music city (could it be DC?) in the pre-Nighthawks blues days of Washington-
numerous players inspired by the likes of Paul Butterfield (yes white boys could play this music)
began to assemble and share their ideas of a musical vision that encompassed the roots of all popular music:


Now get ready for a reunion of VERY DC players gathering together:
The Right on Rhythm HARP HOMECOMING #3
MARK WENNER (NIghthawks)
DOUG JAY (back visiting from Germany)
PHIL WIGGINS doing an acoustic set with MARK PURYEAR
Backing band for Doug, Mark & Bret
PETE KANARAS (guitar) (Nighthawks)
other surprises possible
4711 Kenilworth Ave Hyattsville MD

7:00 TIL...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Outta The Way -The Name of The Cafe Where Ghz Play

It might be out of the way, but people do find this place called Outta The Way Cafe in the wilds of suburban Maryland especially when GHz is playing. Gigahertz consisits of Dan Hovey, Scott Giambusso and John Zidar. Together they're a power trio of musicians with a passion for Cream, Led Zepplin, Hendrix and the like, and the ability (emphasis on ability and then some) to deliver the goods. Original materiel, too. They're playing tomorrow- Saturday night in beautiful downtown Derwood.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Musings on Haley, Mott the Hoople and Other Things DC by Lyn2

Today I had to let our dear dog Haley go- it was a hard thing to do, but also an easy decision since it was the right thing. Haley was around 15, a stray hound who came to us 12 years ago. My girl, Nicole named her Princess Haley Sparkle Diamond Eyes because she was 8 and in a fem stage when we got her. My son, Richard doesn't remember life without her. She was a sweet dog who loved all her dog and people friends, hated thunderstorms and would not fetch a stick or ball even if it was wrapped in a hot dog. Driving home, I got to thinking about how it's the nature of things to be both fleeting and enduring. Haley was here one minute, then gone, but like so many dear friends, she won't be forgotten.

The other day I was listening to Mott the Hoople's All the Young Dudes while riding to a reunion of sorts in New Jersey. I was struck by what a kick in the ass that record was to the world when it came out, but the band didn't last as long as it should have given its innovation and influence. Thirty six years later it has endured quite well. Have a listen. Meanwhile my friends back home were at DC's own Urban Verbs reunion at the 9:30 Club, and by all accounts that music has held up, too. (Listen for the concert to be broadcast on NPR soon.)

Washington, the city also endures. After 9 years in exile working uptown, my office is moving tomorrow- down to Vermont and K. Before this job, I worked on U Street for 10 years. While downtown has changed a lot in the almost 20 years (yikes count 'em) since I went to work there every day, it's still the DC I grew up in. There is something local to this town that is hard to explain- especially to the political world. Anyway I can't wait to eat lunch in McPherson Square and Franklin Park, fending off pigeons and handing out money.

The more things they always say.

(Haley was always very compliant with kids.
Last year the teenagers dressed her up as a graduate student)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Weekend Update from DC Rocks

Still on the fence about going to see the Urban Verbs tonight DC's finest rock venue-The 9:30 Club??
Or if you just want to soak in more information- check out the interview that was written up in Brightest Young Things.

Also PRABIR and The Substitutes ALERT!!!!! Tomorrow night that funky, funny bunch o' boys will rock The Galaxy Hut just across the river from DC in Arlington town.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Quarry House Rocks Tonight

Check out both these bands tonight at the one and only Quarry House in Silver Spring.
Come fight the man, chain restaurants, Ticketron and service charges.
Give over to low cover and cheap tater tots. You can support INDIVIDUALITY and have money left over to drink beer, too!
DC Rocks!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Urban Verbs Planting the Flag

This week when I talked with Roddy Franz, lead singer of The Urban Verbs , he mentioned the phrase "planting the flag" more than once. He was referring to grabbing this band from the mire of obscurity and getting it back on the DC map where it belongs. (Although I kept picturing astronauts on the moon, I know what he means.)

When Roddy returned to DC a few years ago, he was not happy to see The Verbs being overlooked in film and books about DC music. He feels their band was a precursor to the somewhat significant DC punk scene when they formed in 1978 and practiced in that gloomy basement of The Atlantis- later the 9:30 Club on F Street. (if you ever went downstairs at the old club- you know it's not a place you wanted to spend a whole lot of time unless you were getting stoned)

Back in the day, I don't remember another group around here sounding quite like the Urban Verbs. Roddy's haunting voice combined with the rich sounds of Robert Goldstein on guitar and Robin Rose's synthesizer drove their songs. Every day life situations about subways and love affairs and friendships gone awry became mysterious and lyrical in their hands.
The Verbs were not without notoriety in their own time. They were the first local band to play New York's legendary CBGBs which resulted in Brian Eno (Yes, Brian Eno!) writing them a two page fan letter. Roddy feels their music was both immediate and personal, and better experienced live. But the recordings of The Urban Verbs somehow managed to sidestep that dated eighties sound; their music still stands up. Many thought they were ahead of their time- and many still feel that way. Their sneak preview at Comet Pizza a couple of weeks ago managed to catch The Washington Post's attention and caught a rave.

Now Roddy is on a mission to see that this band is not forgotten, and Seth Hurwitz, owner of the 9:30 Club is supporting that cause by giving them a gig this Saturday night- back at the place where-if not geographically at least spiritually- the band was born. They will be performing mostly older materiel, but will also have three new songs to unveil. And Roddy's son, Max will be on drums. It's an early show- doors open at 6. Martin Royle (Roddy says think Jonathan Richman- only better) will be opening, and The Verbs hit it at 8 p.m. sharp so I'm told.

Something strange is the theme of the evening. It should be something to behold.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

They're Coming

It's been some time since The Urban Verbs played around here. In fact the last time I saw them they were one of the bands closing down the original 9:30 Club on F Street in 1995. So I am very happy to report their return to the scene this Saturday night. When lead singer, Roddy Franz returned to DC a few years ago, he was dismayed to find hardly a footnote of their significant impact here, but here's what my trusty correspondent, Lyn2 remembers:

So the thing about the Urban Verbs is that I was not someone who saw them all the time, but I did see them. Everyone I know had the first record and somehow the sound defined a period for me, despite there being many other great sounds at the time in local music. I never got the record on disc, but last summer when I got a turntable I popped it on. I knew every word and every note like I had been hearing it every day, even though I hadn't heard it much at all for over twenty years. Favorite lyric? "I get n-n-n-n-nervous whenever you're n-n-n-n-near me." Just recently when Roddy posted the Eno version of Next Question, I could barely work for the rest of the day. It blew me away because it sounded so right.

If you are pining for The Verbs or just curious and have a screwed up turntable or other such technical difficulties, check out their myspace page ( see link above) or Wounded Bird Records which has re issued their albums on CD. Look for another story this week as I had a long talk about the show with Roddy earlier today. I am one of many that thought this band was ahead of its time. (way ahead)

And, as an aside, something weird is going on with the titles to my post. They only appear if your cursor waves over them like a magic wand. If anyone knows how to break this spell-please email me. (This blog is managed by Luddite Inc. a division of The Knownothing Party)

NB: The Rosslyn Mountain Goats play The Quarry House TONIGHT.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rosslyn Comes To Silver Spring

The Rosslyn Mountain Goats return to the Quarry House this Tuesday night May 20, and it's becoming quite the scene-not so much a matter of who was there, but who isn't there. Guest star rockers sitting in so far include: Mike Henley,Bob Perilla, Mark Wenner,Bill Hurd, Jeff Kurtz, John Guernsey, Johnny Castle and Bill Holland. (Some of those bands represented are Big Hillbilly Bluegrass, The Nighthawks, Claude Jones, The Thrillbillys, Bill Holland and Rent's Due)

Again all this talent - low money down. They pass the hat if they can get one- or a box if they can't. And happy hour drink prices all night. Truly a great deal worth dragging out for early Tuesday evening entertainment.
Rock Note- Martha Hull will be staying on her mountain and won't be on this gig due to a broken ankle. She'll be missed.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


If you are looking for something to do- RTTS are at The Taste of Wheaton at 4 p.m. today- and 7 Door Sedan will be At Artomatic at 7 p.m. Both bands are only doing one set- both events are free.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Line Ups

It's just like the grocery store. You go in - you see no one as you cruise around- then you get to the check out aisle, and boom there's a line as long as the Post Office when they up the cost of a stamp on you. You get in the back of line. You are last. No one comes after you. When you leave the store, it's empty.
So tonight and tomorrow are empty on my calendar, but Thursday night, May 15, there are TWO good shows: (at least) Alice Despard Group and Cashmere Jungle Lords are playing at The Quarry House in Silver Spring and 7 Door Sedan and Sister Ex are at The Red and The Black on H Street.

The Jungle Lords and Alice go way back. How far? Well, The Jungle Lords met Alice when they double billed with Hyaa at dc space back in 1986. They see themselves as: (albeit through a glass darkly) Frank Sinatra backed by tequila-sodden cow punks posing as a mariachi band trying to be rock n roll.
Alice says this about Jungle Lords: They play this infectious combo of surf, rockabilly and jungle music. Dominic is a phenomenal guitarist in the style of Eddy Cochrane, Duane Eddy, and that ilk. Lately, he has been a adding a Latin flavor to some of his songs. CJL is always fresh and sexy, and always reinventing themselves.

And Dominic had this to say about Alice: I've always had tremendous respect for her songwriting and guitar playing, as well as the timbre of her voice. Beyond that, she is one of the most deeply spiritual people I've ever met... She handles her music career with a lot of wariness in terms of avoiding doing anything crass or commercial.

Now that you are primed for that show - think again- 7 Door Sedan and Sister Ex are also playing at The Red and The Black down on H Street. I know good established bands that are afraid to play with 7 Door because they've seen people get up and leave when they finish. I guess Sister Ex can hold their own. 7 Door has been described by Lyn2 as having "a glam, psychedelic rock and soul thing which will wow you," and I haven't heard anything to dispute that.

Now it's time to flip a coin. (You do have have another chance to see 7 Door and Sister at Artomatic May 18)- or try to get all four in one night. (Write me if you do!)

Places That Aren't Gone

Anyone following my random acts of writing has probably noticed my penchant towards music, however my first love is food. It was not always the case. As a child I was The Picky Eater.
Tuna fish was a staple. Vegetables could take a hike. I quickly developed survival skills- hiding peas by slipping them onto the table then smashing them so they adhered to the underside of the plate. If need be I could stare down a plate of Lima beans for hours rather than gag one down. I did like to go out to eat, but my parents rarely took me with them. (smart) Somehow between then and now however, I did a complete flip and will eat darned near anything put in front of me, and I still love to go out to eat. I have written before about places that have slipped away, but we still have quite a few around that I remember from back in the day.

When I was thirteen or fourteen, a favorite French teacher took me out to lunch at The Hamburger Hamlet in Georgetown. We might as well have gone to the moon and eaten green cheese- I thought it was that exotic. Out with a teacher? Out to eat with a teacher? I've never forgotten it. She treated me like I was grown up- like a friend. I could order whatever I wanted to which included dessert- their fudge cake. I remember actually being encouraged to get dessert. What a treat. The Hamlet is no longer there in Georgetown, but there is one lone hold out in Bethesda which feels pretty much like the same place- dark and kind of clubby, and you can still get that fudge cake.

Also in another part of Bethesda is The Tastee Diner- my home away from home as soon as I could drive. What a great place to hang out. It was always a scene late at night-kids and working stiffs, musicians and drunks (and drunk musicians) all coming together for eggs or a burger or just coffee and dessert. They always had cakes and pies on the counter. I remember a lot of people yelling and laughing-including the staff. My friend, Lisa and I would sit there for hours talking rather than go back to her house which was just down the street. There was a juke box at each table with everything from Patsy Cline to the Rolling Stones to Tex Rubinowitz. They 're still open 24 hours a day-breakfast anytime- and they still have the jukeboxes and pies on the counter.

Finally, I left home for good and went to the University of Maryland. That's when I discovered Ledo. Now Ledo is a franchise with branches all over the area. The sauce is the same, the pizzas are almost the same- but nothing beats the original restaurant on University Boulevard. For one thing they make the pizza just right. Somebody there has probably been training the next guy for over fifty years. AND there is a bar, and though I don't go there to drink, the bar helps give the place atmosphere. To me it feels like a scene from a JD Salinger novel- where one of his characters would go to to break up with their girl just before she gets on a train. Not much daylight penetrates- it could be lunch time - it could be dinner time-1960, 1977 or 2008. Check it out.

It's nice to know some things don't change- at least for now.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Artomatic For the People

There are some treasures in DC neighborhoods, but one thing we don't have is one area where all the artists live. So once a year (since 1999) that space gets created at Artomatic. From May 9 until June 15 ArtoMatiC will reign at the Capitol Plaza 1 building - 1200 First Street NE (on the corner of M and First St. NE, New York Ave. Metro it on the Red Line) One building- 1000 artists. Artomatic is a great place to see art, meet artists, bump into people, see bands and just hang around. Watch for 7 Door Sedan to play May 18 , MYSTR Treefrog on June 8 and Puptent on June 13, but check out because there is always something happening. Artomatic is By Artists For Everyone, and it starts Friday. A pre-party with bands from the upcoming Artomatic 2008 CD will happen at Ibiza Nightclub from 6 -9 Thursday night, right next door to the Artomatic building.

this posting brought to you by: Lyn2

Monday, May 5, 2008

Gaffney Benefit Part TWO Coming Up

Local rock stars will be performing Bob Dylan And Bob Wills tunes in this second part of a benefit to help Chris Gaffney's family happening this Wednesday at Jammin' Java. The first show at the Surf Club was a hoot- bands played with special guests sitting in including Bill Kirchen, the organizer and one of the greatest guitar gurus around. These benefits are unique showcases of local talent (with an emphasis on the word talent) Plus they are loads more fun than a telethon.
Click on the poster to see the all star line up, and all the details. ( if you don't recognize those names- here's a clue to some of the bands being represented-past and present: The Grandsons, The Slickee Boys, The Rosslyn Mountain Boys, The Hula Monsters and The Nighthawks)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Federal Reserve MONDAY NIGHT

My friend Bobby Lee Birdsong told me about this Federal Reserve thing happening once a month at at Iota. This Monday, a band I'm intrigued with, Greenland will be playing so I wanted to find out more. ( Also I wanted to use Bobby 's name in print because he has one of the best names I know- Bobby Lee Birdsong- real name-plus the guy's a musician/piano tuner. Anyway Bobby says:
Check out the web page for Gypsy Eyes-- you will infer from that more than I can tell you exactly. Federal Reserve is the name for the collective group of bands that comes to play on first Mondays of the month at Iota. I would say it is kinda alt country/rock/folk... some of it is in real slow tempo, but some is just straight rootsy guitar rock... the sensibility is maybe Velvet Underground- Rolling Stones- Gram Parsons. Rose is kind of post- modern Etta James.

These United States
is a major component of this show, and their self described ringleader is Jesse Elliot. Here a description of the group from their blog: These United States is the songs of Jesse Elliott, flipped, forged, phased, and fermented; stolen, re-taken, elongated and elevated, beaten and bruised, occasionally imbued, by an ever-battling band of music-mad robber-barons, enthused aesthetic thieves of the long and winding subway tunnels and underground railroads of our cacophonous nation.

I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds good.

Jesse says that the show starts at 8:30 Monday night - everyone rotates sets every 10-15 minutes, just 2 or 3 songs each, in quick rotation. So check it out if you want to see a lot of music -once again -for very little money- a fin gets you in.