Thursday, August 16, 2018

Post Jurrasic

photo circa Vinyl Cretaceous Period

Hey you all, remember Milo from WHFS? When I hit the Google Image Wand looking for old school things, the above photo popped up of Milo with Mark Noone of The Slickee Boys. Not a great shot of Milo, but doesn't this pic pretty much say it all about deejays?  They are the unseen voices who connect the dots of the music they choose to play for  us. Check out the pale flesh colored phone on the console. Classic, eh ? 

It's been a while since Milo had a radio gig, but he's back every other Wednesday morning from 10-12 on Takoma Park's low powered highly diverse WOWD. The show is called Borderlines, and due to the miracle of modern times, we can all tune in over the internet waves. Milo promises to play "just records from home" which sounds good to me. His next show is August 22.

This weekend The NRIS are at Jammin Java - an early show on Friday. A Dead-Head Alert is being issued for Black Muddy River Band at JV on Saturday and Rock -A- Sonics are at Glen Echo Ballroom if you are feeling another kind of retro. 

these shows.  

Friday, August 10, 2018

Gimme Shelter

The relentless downpours of July and early August have had their natural consequences. The Potomac is roaring. Weeds are ecstatic, and brigades of ants are living it up in my couch where my son likes to leave them offerings like wrappers from Fruit by the Foot or popsicles. Mosquitos are mocking me from the other side of the screen door, and even though my basement finally dried out,  the Georgetown library had to close for four days this past week after snakes were found congregating near a meeting room.

Speaking of congregating, this Sunday marks a grim anniversary in Charlottesville. As an antidote, check out this video from The Fishermen Band and please don't forget to support live music this weekend.  Valentine Slim celebrates a birthday at Takoma VFW and Goin' Goin Gone will hold forth at Villain and Saint. Both on Friday.

Spread the love.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Zany Postcards

I went on a vacation of sorts last week and learned a lot about Zanesville, Ohio. The town was founded in 1797 and named for Ebenezer Zane who was the great grandfather of the fiction writer Zane Grey.

Zane grew up in Zanesville, dreaming about the wild west and getting into numerous fights as a boy, quite possibly because his first name was actually Pearl. As in Pearl Grey. His middle name was Zane. As in Pearl Zane Grey.  I admit the name has a nice ring to it, but what were they thinking?

Zanesville was once a thriving town, perhaps best known for American pottery. Amelia Earhart called it the most recognizable city in America because of the remarkable "Y" shaped bridge which spans both the Muskingum and the Licking Rivers. (Unfortunately you have to be up in a small plane with Amelia to get that perspective.)  Back on the ground, the Y bridge leads from downtown proper to "Vasehenge" where one can contemplate those bygone days.

One of the best pit stops in Zanesville is Weasel Boy, a local brewpub come living room kind of a bar with an outdoor patio overlooking the mighty Muskingum. Coal Fired Bicycle, a cool little band from Columbus, was playing on the stage right next to the brewing equipment.

Back in Washington this month our town is emptying out a bit as Congress takes a recess and leaves us locals to our own devices. Here is DC ROCKS' belated and changeable concert schedule for AUGUST:


(Is Anybody out there?)


Parthenon Huxley @ Jammin Java

Catfish Hodge @ JV

The NRIs @ Fort Reno


Valentine Slim @ Takoma VFW

Goin Goin Gone @ Villain and Saint


Thrillbillys@ JV


NRIs @ Jammin Java ( early)


Thrillbillys @ JV


Ruthie and the Wranglers @ JV 4pm


David Kitchen Band @ Takoma VFW


Dave Chappell @ JV


Split Seconds @ The Pinch

Thursday, July 26, 2018


Most of my pictures from the d.c. space/9:30 Club days are either blurry or badly lit, and almost all of them are chaotic shots of people who don't want to hold still.

When I think about it, it's amazing I have any pictures at all. We didn't have cell phones and good cameras were too cumbersome to take clubbing unless you were serious about taking photographs like Charles Steck was. He took this one at d.c. space for our friend Art's poetry reading.

I still have the flyer.

Back in the day, Charles was involved with both music and photography, and that hasn't changed. His band these days is called The Rambling Shadows, and they'll be playing with X-Motorcycle Couriers and 7 Door Sedan this Friday at Slash Run.  All these bands have more than a few old school members so this show will rock. Here's another cool flyer featuring a picture of Charles' grandfather's Brooklyn motorcycle club.

And don't miss the David Kitchen Band at the Takoma VFW on Saturday.  I've seen these guys tear up JV's in Virginia many times, but this is a rare river crossing for them. (Hope it doesn't rain again this weekend (!)

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Confessions of a Summer Slug

Summer may bring warm days full of flowers, and the temptation to go barefoot, but stepping on a slug is one of life's cruel little jokes. First they squish and then, like a bad sci-fi movie,  they adhere to to your skin. Ugh. I remember a backyard party long ago when my friend Dan and I were beating the heat of that extra warm night by sitting with our feet in a kiddie pool with cold beers at hand. We should have known better. 

By the time we became aware of the invasion,  at least a dozen slugs were sliming over the walls of the pool and one was happily attached to Dan's Budweiser. He screamed like a girl, and I'm pretty sure I was shrieking right along with him as we scrambled to evacuate.

Many moons later,  from the relative safety of my desk,  I realize the time has come to look for middle ground. I realize, if I look hard enough, that I have several things in common with Mister Slug. We're both mostly made of water, and we both like gardens, malted beverages and going out at night. I do have a few qualms about their sex life which, like a lot of things in Mollusk World, is not for the feint of heart.  But, just like humans, it's complicated. Embrace your inner gastropod and slime step out with me this weekend.  Saturday night is jam packed with shows including the irrepressible Tom Clifford working his show with King Soul at Villain and Saint
For those in the mood for something completely different check out Herschel Hoover, Death House Blues, Fake Bodies and A Very Special Episode. Yes, that's right, four bands, one club- all at Slash Run.

In other news, our friend Mary Battiata has a choice slot opening up for Ray Wylie Hubbard at DC's newest venue City Winery where you can get a "barstool" ticket for $22 which squeaks by as far as the DC ROCKS' price range goes.

And for those of you near Takoma Park- a ramble down the hill into the holler will bring you to Goin Goin Gone at the Takoma VFW in Hell's Bottom. Definitely a bargain to be had here both music and bar wise. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

JuLy Calendar

It's a somewhat tumultuous weekend coming up with the 13th being Friday and Bastille Day on Saturday, but personally, I think my summer slump is hitting early. I wonder how hot it was in Paris when the crowd decided enough was enough? 

I have trouble getting up the energy to battle my own arch enemy "Mr Bindweed" never mind having the gumption to storm massive buildings on these hot summer days. 

Little Red and The Renegades want us to dismiss the bad juju and come to their Lucky Friday the 13th Dance Party at Haydees in Mount Pleasant where margaritas meet Louisiana squeezebox. Also here is the belated and imperfect DC ROCKS' calendar for July:


Messthetics @ Fort Reno


Goin Goin Gone acoustic happy hour @ JV

Little Red and The Renegades @ Haydees


The Thrillbillys @ JV


King Soul @ Villain and Saint

Herschel Hoover etc @ Slash Run

Goin Goin Gone @ Takoma VFW


Ray Wylie Hubbard ww/ Mary Battiata @ City Winery


NRIs @ Fort Reno


Cigarbox Planetarium @ Fort Reno

Dave Chappell @ JV


XMC/& Door Sedan/Rambling Shadows @ Slash Run


David Kitchen Band @ Takoma VFW

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Seems Like Old Times

A Last Hurrah on IOTA's patio September 2017
Any fan of Kevin Johnson and the Linemen, Karl Straub and the Last Train Home crew will remember many a show at the now shuttered IOTA. I recall the days when the club was really tiny, and we'd all sit on the slightly ramshackle back patio in between and after the bands- everyone smoking and yacking their heads off. In the summer, the warmer weather would allow us to linger long into the wee hours nursing a beer and gossiping - hoping for a bit of cool air from the alley.

IOTA may be gone, and we miss it, but the musicians are still alive and kicking.When I asked Eric Brace of Last Train Home to tell me something about the upcoming show,  he was eerily close to my wavelength.

"It's hard to imagine a world without IOTA, where Karl, Kevin, and I spent so many nights -- separately and together -- making music, seeing music, just hanging out. Now that it's gone, we're going to recreate that feeling at this new club, that has all the promise of delivering what IOTA delivered all those years. I play a lot of music these days, but mostly with my acoustic duo and trio. I can't wait to play with the big 8-piece LTH! It'll be a pleasure to play with all my friends again, and I hope to see more than a few in the audience as well."

Look for this reunion to happen this Saturday at the new Wharf's new club Union Stage. I do miss the old haunts, but at least DC is reinventing the wheel with three live music venues where local music and traditions can continue to thrive.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Just Need Another Shot of Rock and Roll

As the political atmosphere continues to heat up along with the weather here in town,  I can hardly listen to the news anymore without feeling like this.

The Fourth of July lands right smack in the middle of the work week extending the weekend and giving all a good excuse to choose music and mayhem over the usual grind. Start the week out with the Fort Reno Concert series which kicks off on Monday July 2nd with Lotion Princess, Time Is Fire and Desdemonas. 

On Tuesday help bail out Vinyl Acres, the record store, owned by longtime DC musical legends Martha Hull and Bob Berberich. The shop flooded again this spring during yet another historic rain storm. The old school benefit at Villain and Saint is shaping up to be quite the event and will feature Grin Again- joined by none other than DC's own Nils Lofgren!! Holy crap!
(I just found that part out and am still excited)

Plus Rock- A- Sonics- The Sidleys, DC Ratso, surprise guests and more. In a time when things seem overwhelmingly sad and bad, here's a little piece of the world that we can try to fix.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer Distractions Like Camp and Other Things

Little Feat had quite the cult following here in DC back in the day, and my friends at WHFS got us all whipped up into a frenzy whenever they came to town. Much of the album "Waiting for Columbus" was recorded live at the Lisner in 1977- probably because of all the enthusiasm. (I wonder if we trashed the place because it doesn't seem like they have rock concerts like that there anymore.) Two short years later, on June 29, 1979, Lowell George died after playing a concert at the same hall.  He was only 34.

I remember that summer.  I was working in the stable of a somewhat downtrodden camp in the wilds of Mitchellville, Maryland. We had sixteen horses and ponies to look after with names like "Champ," "Red" and "Buck." After the news broke, I promptly renamed "Taffy," one of my favorite ponies, and made all of the kids call him Lowell. I don't have a picture of him, but above you can see my comrades hanging around the barn.

This Friday the Newmyer Flyer crew will bring back some of those memories with A Tribute to Little Feat Tribute at Bethesda Blues and Jazz.

On Saturday- Lunch with Bob takes its old school scene over to JV in Virginia on the self proclaimed "Let's Get Drunk and Be Somebody" tour while The Split Seconds celebrate their new release with a high energy party at the Back Room of the Black Cat. Opening bands include Canker Blossoms and Board Room Heroes. (Gotta love that name. )

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Sun Stand Still DC

The June Solstice always comes too soon in my mind. Seems like we are just delving into summer time things when the longest day arrives. How can this be Midsummer already? I looked it up, and here are a few things I didn't know about the June Solstice:

Number One

Solstice translated means "sun stand still" which I think is a highly romantic turn of phrase and am not sure how I got this far in life not knowing this except I didn't take Latin in school.

Number Two

Due to the vagaries of sundials and time pieces, the earliest sunrise and the latest sunset do not happen in most places (including Washington D.C.) on the solstice itself. This year our earliest sunrises start happening on June 7th at 5:42 a.m. And the latest sunsets begin on June 22 at 8:37 p.m. And yet, June 21st is officially our longest day of the year clocking in at twelve hours and some change depending on where you live. Trying to understand this makes my head hurt, but let's just say time is not a precise science when applied to Nature and leave it at that. I can live with this.

Number Three

The solstice technically occurs at the same time all over the world when the sun is above the Tropic of Cancer.

WHAT? Now my head hurts again.

Number Four

June Twenty-first will sport fourteen hours and fifty four minutes of daylight- five hours and twenty-eight more than the December solstice so at least there's that to be happy about unless you are a slug or some such creature of the night.

 Celebrate the Solstice itself- all twelve plus hours of it-topping off your light filled day with The Thrillbillys at JV on Thursday evening. These guys never disappoint. The band is an ass kicking well oiled machine, and JV is a scene in itself where Christmas lights crisscross above the dance floor all year long.

Friday night we've got one of DC's best songwriting roots rocking bands- The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours opening for The Iguanas at Pearl Street Warehouse which is just the right size for seeing music and has an excellent sound system, too. It's a pain in the ass to find any kind of parking at the new waterfront, but there is a Metro shuttle and new water taxi routes to try besides car services.  If you want parking, go out to the suburbs where Goin' Goin' Gone is throwing down their boogie blues thing at JV -also on Friday

And for those of you who really want to buck the work week, The Beanstalk Library and Bal Boheme play the Galaxy Hut on Monday.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Capitals Fan Chris

In light of hockey fever, I feel compelled to remember my irracible and ever loyal friend Chris who was a Washington native and, literally, a die hard Capitals fan. His sons grew up breathing hockey with a goal perennially set up in their front yard in Silver Spring.

Chris and his wife Adele religiously attended the boys' games, and months would go by in which the entire family was consumed by all things hockey. Practices. Hockey at school. Hockey on TV. I would text Chris to come to a rock show, and his one word answer would be "game." Even after the boys stopped playing and moved onto college and other things, the family stayed in touch, cheering and screaming through every Capitals season that came to a not so happy ending.

In April of 2015, Chris died suddenly while watching a game on TV, at home in his own living room. This is why I couldn't help but think of him all through the playoffs. And when the team finally declared a long sought victory for Washington, I know Adele and his sons couldn't have been happier except for that enormous hole in their lives that only Chris could fill.

Now that I've thoroughly bummed you all out, let me go on to say that Chris was also a huge music fan and a total gear head.  He left behind a massive vinyl and CD collection which reflected his eclectic and inclusive taste, and he was a booster for local rock. He would have loved the whole idea of Rhizome - that crazy place on the hill in Takoma Park for events outside the box. This Saturday look for another installment of Seventh Stanine, an all ages music festival with bands starting at 2 and rolling through 11 o' clock in the evening. Here's a link to the schedule. Elsewhere JV is jam packed with music all day and night, too,  including Patty Reese with Dave Chappell rocking away the afternoon and The Thrillbillys throwing it down at night.

Friday night  Ruthie and the Wranglers will be honky-tonking at Pearl Street Warehouse. Valentine Slim is mixing things up at the Takoma VFW, and The Nighthawks rock JV.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

No More Pencils No More Books

I started school again in September of 1995, and even though I was ready, with all the supplies and a cute little outfit picked out, it was still kind of scary. My daughter was four years old, and I was supposed to leave her there all day. ALL day.  This seemed very strange to me. I grew up when kindergarten was the starting line, and we only went until lunchtime.

 At first it was a relief to have her socked away in school, but then all the old anxiety triggers came rushing back. Homework. Especially math homework. Deadlines. Boring textbooks.  And don't get me started on the horrors of science projects.

When Zoe started school, I didn't stop to think about just how long I was going to be involved with DCPS which oftentimes felt like Mr Toad's Wild Ride.  Turns out it was from 1995 until this upcoming weekend, when my son will graduate from Wilson High as long as he has turned in all of his textbooks (as of today one is still missing) and if he hasn't been classified as a truant. (That might be a close one, too, with all the new restrictions. If you miss a class- you miss the day.)

I was pretty dang organized back in the Pre- K era, but this year... let's just say little things fell between the cracks. Like teacher conferences and ordering a yearbook. And getting the boy into college. Right about now I am grateful to hear Doris Day singing in my head. You know the one.

Speaking of music here's a few "school's out for summer" parties for those of you counting the days. All are good choices, and all land on Friday night because that's just the way life is. Old school prog rockers should check out The Messthetics opening for Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at the Black Cat. Or kickback to the 80s at JV's with Pile of Rocks, a Nick Lowe/ Dave Edmunds tribute kind of band with The Yachtsmen on board to warm things up first set.

And for anyone in a Cajun frame of mind, Little Red and the Renegades will throw it down at Haydees in Mount Pleasant.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

So Long to May from June

When I was a kid, holidays fell on historic dates, not convenient Mondays. Memorial Day was always May 30th, and it used to mean the end of the school year, and the official beginning of summer.  It's also my parents' wedding anniversary.  Before we move onto June which has no federal holidays, but plenty of music, I'd like to send a shout out to George and Bebe who eloped when they were teenagers on Memorial Day 1935 and somehow stayed married for seventy two years. Here's a link to that story.

As they used to say on Hee- Haw...SA- LUTE !

Now here's DC ROCK"S Incompetent and Incomplete Calendar for June :


Elikeh Afro- Pop @ Gypsy Sally's

David Kitchen and Dan Hovey Happy hour @ JV

Rhodes Tavern Troubadours @ Villain and Saint

Booker T Jones w/ Ron Holloway @ Pearl Street


Rambling Shadows/ 7 Door Sedan/ dc charges @ Takoma VFW

The Linemen w/ Karen Jonas @ Pearl Street


Ruthie n the Wranglers @ JV ( 4 pm)


Ruthie Jamboree @ New Deal Cafe


Thrillbillys @ JV


Ted Leo and the Pharmacists/ The Messthetics @ Black Cat

The Yachtsmen/ Pile of Rocks @ JV


Goin' Goin Gone/ The Traveling Ones @ Hill Country


Ruthie and the Wranglers @Pearl Street


Nighthawks @ JV

Dave Chappell/ Patty Reese @ JV ( 1 pm)



Thrillbillys @ JV


Goin' Goin' Gone @ JV


Jumpin Jupiter @ JV ( 4pm)


The Beanstalk Library/ Bal Boheme @ Galaxy Hut


Dave Chappell @ JV


Lunch with Bob @ JV

Split Seconds @ Black Cat backstage

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Beat Goes On

The Billy Hancock tribute last Sunday was a major rocking love fest.  The event sold out, but the folks at Pearl Street generously threw open their garage doors so everyone could see and hear the show even if they couldn't go inside. The monsoons had stopped, the bar was accessible from the patio, and the music was top notch.

Everywhere you looked musicians and fans screamed at the sight of each other as happy little reunions took place.

Iona Berberich, Chaz Powers and Martha Hull
In case you missed it, here's a short photo essay from the uber talented Alan Kresse who captured moments like these:

Johnny Castle and Ratso 

Eddie Angel
Martha Hull 
Tex Rabinowitz the Original Bad Boy

As much fun as it was, this event did not happen in a vacuum. With the exception of Tex Rubinowitz, who came out of retirement to honor Billy, most of the musicians on stage have been actively rocking lo these many, many moons and are still going strong.

This Saturday Ratso will come down from the mountain once again with his slightly newer project Lunch with Bob. Look for them at the Takoma VFW.  On Friday night long time local favorites Cravin' Dogs and The Walkaways will play Pearl Street Warehouse.   Please support local music and local venues. Don't let them become history.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

True Rock

The last time I saw Billy Hancock, he was sitting in the window at Hank Dietle's quietly playing a solo gig, just Billy and his guitar in a dark corner. My friends and I had stopped in for a drink and had no idea he would be there. Next thing I knew Mark Noone (of the Slickee Boys) got up and sang a couple of chestnuts with Billy. It was a surreal experience, and now that he is gone, it feels a bit like a dream as do a lot of memories from my DC musical past, but here's the picture to prove it really did happen.

I took a lot for granted growing up here.  Didn't every town have radio stations like WHFS and WGTB?  Plus a bunch of little bars where you could see players like Roy Buchanan, Tex Rabinowitz, Joe Stanley and Danny Gatton? Billy Hancock, while a rocking phenomenon in his own right, did projects with all of the above and more.

This Sunday's five hour tribute show at Pearl Street Warehouse will reflect that legacy and bring out names we haven't heard from in a while as well as others who have kept at it. Look for Tex Rubinowitz and the Bad Boys, The Nighthawks, the Tennessee Rockets and Switchblade as well as an army of local talent including Martha HullEddie Angel and Ratso. And more. Way more. It's going to be a humongous hometown reunion for both players and fans from a lucky era when there were real "guitar heroes,"  and before the little clubs were eaten by developers.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Waxing Nostalgic and Funky

 Once upon a time, when the District of Columbia had no shortage of music venues, Desperados or "Despos" was a Georgetown bar and the Wax Museum was in Southwest. Sadly both have been gone since the 1980s, but Desperado's former booking agent Julie Wilson is heroically pulling together a big fat reunion for the second year in a row. Both venues once featured local and national bands, and both were raging rock clubs. Survivors can party down with their memories tomorrow night at the Birchmere which is known for its "sit down and shut up" policy, but fortunately has a huge outer hall and bar where everyone can yack up the days of yore.

The Funk Parade almost didn't happen this year, but the event is ON this Saturday turning the U Street corridor into a massive celebration of soul, funk and the arts.  The street fair runs from 1 p.m. to 7, with the actual parade marching from the Howard to the Lincoln at 5. Music goes all day and all through the night.  Hit the link above for the extensive and impressive lineup.  This year daytime wristbands can be purchased for $10 to help "sustain the artists" which is a good thing for all.

And finally Jimi and Janis. Need I say more? Bring back a piece of your heart with the Newmyer Flyer gang of kick ass local musicians - also on Saturday at the Hamilton.