It’s 2004, and who would’ve ever even considered that the New York Dolls would be crawling along at two-fifths speed, reunion style, 30 years after the fact? Minus the Thunders/Nolan /Killer Kane (all RIP) triumvirate, what price “In Too Much Too Soon”? In a million years we would never have guessed that, say, Detroit pop group the Singles would be sharing a bill with David Jo and company, much less the Stooges, Nancy Sinatra, the brilliant Dictators and the Chocolate Watchband! What’s going on?
Well, Little Steven’s Underground Garage Festival will no doubt see adult men weeping like children at the altar of Iggy, and no shortage of harpies doing their best Cyrinda Foxe, just like it’s 1973! But hey, it’s 2004 and no one gets older any more. They just get wrinkly.
And E Street guitarist and “Sopranos” star Little Steven … here’s a guy who is, on one hand, a middle-aged dude gazing back fondly at his generation’s music as if it’s pre-eminent, with a platform (the “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” radio show) of countless radio stations (here and abroad) to do so. And on the other, the syndicated show has aided heaps of Motor City bands in finding an audience beyond the 313. Hence, the Paybacks, the Romantics, Gore Gore Girls, the Fondas, and the aforementioned Singles have all been invited to share this wonderfully bizarre bill that also sees Big Star, the Pretty Things, Bo Diddley, the Fuzztones and many others. The fest — which is the biggest rock ’n’ roll day all year, to be sure — is this Saturday, Aug. 14, at Randall’s Island Park in NYC. Tickets are but $20 in advance, available through ticketmaster.com. Go to littlestevensundergroundgarage.com for more info.
Speaking of fests, if you attended the Rock City Festival, you may have a hazy memory of hook-sludge stalwarts the Go performing an oh-so-slightly rocked-up version of OutKast’s saturation-overload hit “Hey Ya.” Yup, to paraphrase, “Fellis, er, Fellas, what’s cooler than cool? Ice cold!” Or, alternately, co-opting the song of 2003 to give a band that extra bit of gas and buzz to help survive ’05 , y’all.
Kudos to motorcityrocks.com ’cause we’ve learned that the song has now made the leap to the Interweb and is available at said Web site for F-R-E-E. Of course, Bobby, Johnny and whomever else they’ve recruited at the moment had their rough mix of the jam aired on the program “Radio Fever” too last Saturday. We smells a “grassroots” marketing effort afoot. Here’s hoping it works.
Speaking of Radio Fever, the fist-hoisting, Hit Singles-endorsed program heard on 97.1 WKRK-FM every Saturday night is cooling its heels for three weeks to make room for, of all things, sports. That’s right, Lions football. But fear not, haters of sweaty man-tit, the show will be back Labor Day Weekend, we’re told, with some sort of Greatest Rock Jams From Detroit Ever! countdown. Plus, DJs Sassy & the Wolf have invited area bands to record a cover version of the program’s theme song, the winningly titled “Radio Fever Theme Song.” Submissions will be met with open arms and the best versions win some sort of prize package (that a cursory glance of the show’s page on live971.com has yet to reveal). Deadline for cover versions is Sept. 6. Send demo din to WKRK c/o Radio Fever, 15600 W. 12 Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48076.
In yet more beef churned out as excreta, Motor City mixtape juggler DJ Exclusive has brows furrowed over his newest release, The Boiler Room. The mixtape, hosted by Paradime, features a track with ’Dime and Kid Rock called ‘Foul Mouf’ that swings a killer left hook at New York’s vitriolic Nas. The dis was long overdue, stemming from a 2001 Nas grouse that saw the emcee call out Rock on “Got Ur Self A Gun.” On it Nas raps, “This is real harcore/Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit’s soft.” Paradime (Kid Rock’s tour DJ) — who claims he and Rock deposited “80-something beers” in the gut before recording the ditty — says the dis was born of drunken, truculent attitude. To chirp lines like, “Hey, Nas, I heard what you had to say/ Muthafucker, I took your album and threw it awaaay,” you gotta be lit like Christmas, or just plain stoopid. Anyway, most of us would rather see Pam Anderson square off with Kelis.
In an even goofier hip-hop joust, the Big Aristotle himself, Shaquille O’Neal, recently released “You Not The Fightin’ Type” that takes a poopy pop at Detroit Piston Ben Wallace. Hit Singles figures gettin’ whalloped by Wallace five games straight in the NBA finals left Shaq a tad briny. The song, which appears on DJ Vlad’s mixtape Hot in Here Part 5, features O’Neal — rapping over Em’s “Say What You Say” beat — calling Big Ben a “Spiderweb head,” among other things. The Grand Floridian went on to dis former teammate Kobe “whose cum is it anyways” Bryant and Detroit-born/Va.-bred, hip-hop ghostwriter, Skillz. Wouldn’t it be great if hip hop had a Royal Rumble?
What’s in a Name?
Former Binary Star wordsmith OneManArmy (who is, by the way, also known by a host of other monikers and happens to be one of the Mitten’s illest underground lyricists) has had appellation issues in recent months with a minor San Francisco punk trio, One Man Army. Hence, OneManArmy is now OneBeLo, as on his 2003 release Project F.E.T.U.S. OneBeLo’s next project, (he’s now signed to indie Fat Beats Records) S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M., should see the light in September.
Flash, paper, scissors
This Saturday sees the long overdue release of Flashpap’r’s proper third album, a self-titled affair recorded more than two years ago with one Warren Defever. Flashpap’r, you’ll note, is Saturday Looks Good To Me’s ubiquitous Fred Thomas (guitar and vocals), Showdown at the Equator’s Ben Bracken (guitar, electronics and glockenspiel), Zach Wallace (upright bass), Jacob Danziger (violin) and collage artist Ida Pearle on violin. And the record is, at the risk of sounding spongy and mawkish here, a heartbreakingly gorgeous thing of beauty.
Given that Fred Thomas is Michigan’s DIY monarch of baroque pop and melancholic turns, it ain’t surprising that much of this self-titled release could easily be filed next to, say, the Dirty Three or Nick Drake.
Flashpap’r plays Saturday with Fela freaks Nomo at the Magic Stick, and this may be your last chance to catch ’em, as Bracken is off for Mills College in California and Wallace, Danziger and Pearle are now living in a far-off land known as the East Coast.Send quips, comments and bitch-slaps to firstname.lastname@example.org