While there's not enough room here to recount the entire situation, here's a very brief run-down of what Schumacher calls his "quagmire": A couple years back, when CD-Rs and home-publishing technology were first starting to become affordable to those outside of big business, Schumacher had the idea to make Wavelab a one-stop recording and pressing facility. His intent was to acquire a CD burner and a professional-quality color copier so that bands could not only record their material at the studio, but also have the option of very cheaply pressing the discs and printing up j-cards and inserts for the CD packaging on-site. Schumacher began to inquire about the cost of such technology.
Enter a sleazy salesman for a huge, well-known corporation who wanted to sell Schumacher one of his professional color copiers for a tidy $36,000. When Schumacher explained that there was no way he could afford the machine, the salesman told him that he could use the copier for a three-month trial period, risk-free. With (ostensibly) nothing to lose, Schumacher signed the appropriate papers to enter into the free trial period. Almost immediately, the studio began receiving billing statements for payments of the copier. When Schumacher contacted the company to alert them to the mistake, they retorted that the document he had signed was a lease agreement, that there was no such thing as a "three-month trial period." To make matters worse, the salesman who sealed the deal was no longer working for the company. Not to mention the fact that the copier itself was faulty right from the start.
Schumacher returned the copier about six months after first receiving it. He obviously had no use for a defective piece of machinery which he acknowledged he couldn't afford in the first place. Rather than try and work something out with Schumacher, the company opted for the legal route and sued. Although he realizes his mistake in signing a contract without legal council, Schumacher convincingly makes the case that he was taken by a con man, plain and simple; and he's confident enough about it that he's counter-suing. The problem is this: How does a guy who couldn't afford the copier to begin with have the money to pay for his skyrocketing legal bills? The answer, of course, is that he doesn't.
What he does have, however, is a great relationship with a lot of friends in bands. A lot of friends who are happy to step in and help Craig out in any way they can. Which brings us to the Wavelab vs. The Man Festival, a one-night extravaganza of local bands who have all been involved in recording projects at Wavelab, and who are pooling their talents this weekend to raise money to help defray Schumacher's legal expenses. While the lineup may undergo some changes, at press time the event is scheduled to include performances from Giant Sand, Willis, Downtown Saints, Creosote, Spacefish, Interlocking Grip (whose Nick Luca works as an engineer at Wavelab) and Greyhound Soul, as well as DJs, including Tasha Bundy, to keep things moving between the live sets.
The Wavelab vs. The Man Festival takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 20, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Admission is $5 at the door, or $4 and a can of food to be donated to the local food bank. (In typical unselfish fashion, Schumacher says, "I don't want to be the only one to benefit from this, and with Thanksgiving coming up, I think it's a good time to remind people about the importance of the food bank.") So come on out and enjoy a killer lineup of local talent and help the community at the same time. For more information, call 798-3333.
LEFT HOLDING THE TRASH BAG: If you haven't bought your tickets yet for the Garbage/Lit show at Centennial Hall on Saturday, November 20, then fuhgeddaboudit: it's sold out. If you got shut out, keep your eyes on these pages for an upcoming review of the show.
ACOUSTIC ALCHEMY: Tribal-trance guitar master Scott Huckabay makes a local appearance this weekend hot on the heels of his newest release, Alchemy (Soundings of the Planet), a digitally recorded live collection of 13 self-composed tunes. While Huckabay has been compared to Michael Hedges, his instrumental compositions are less frenetic and more subdued than that of the late acoustic guitar master, and show a bit more range than Hedges typically did, employing the occasional effects pedal to delve into a more fusion-y and light pop approach.
Catch Scott Huckabay, along with the "rainbow didge creations" of special guests Allen and Audrey Smith, at 8 p.m. Friday, November 19, at the International Arts Center, 516 N. Fifth Ave. Advance tickets are available for $10 at Antigone Books, Hear's Music and Zip's University, or by phone at 881-3947. They'll be $12 at the door.
BUENA'S DíAS: Anyone who's come into contact with the music of the Buena Vista Social Club -- whether through Wim Wenders' recent documentary (which continues to enjoy an uncharacteristically long run at the Loft Theater) or the band's Ry Cooder-produced self-titled album on World Circuit/Nonesuch Records -- has almost uniformly been both charmed and wowed by what they've heard. It is truly one of the greatest success stories of the broad "world music" genre in recent memory.
Cooder went to Cuba to discover the roots of their indigenous music and found that some of the pioneering masters were still alive, though many had not actually played in years. Cooder proceeded to assemble an all-star group of these musicians, some in their late 70s, to record the album, which would eventually go on to win a Grammy Award and sell over one-and-a-half million copies worldwide, including over 500,000 in the U.S. alone. The band is currently on its first American tour, and features singer Ibrahím Ferrer, whom Cooder has called "the Nat 'King' Cole of Cuba," and pianist Rubén González, who, in the 1940s, helped invent the Cuban sound as we know it today.
Lucky for us, Tucson is the last stop on this monumental tour. Lucky for us because when tickets went on sale for the group's November 21 show, they sold out immediately, just as they have nationwide. But since the Club had no other commitments following the scheduled performance, they were able to add another local show, thus making Tucson one of only two cities to be treated to two performances (the other being Montreal). In other words, you've been given a second chance to witness this historic performance; don't blow it.
As of press time, there were still tickets available for the Buena Vista Social Club's second appearance at 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 22, at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., on the UA campus. Tickets range from $22 to $34, and are available at the Centennial Hall box office and by calling 621-3341.
TAKE TWO: The most unusual performance I've witnessed in a while came courtesy of Mr. Tidypaws and his Ad Nauseam project, in which he and a bunch of other local noteworthies (including Chick Cashman, Gene Ruley, Lucas Moseley and Al Perry) played a variation of two chords for hours straight. While the original intent was to "use the concept of time within a musical composition to illustrate ways in which we perceive our physical and mental limitations," by playing two chords for two hours, the ensemble, which began at 10 o' clock high, was still playing the same two chords when I bowed out just after midnight. It was an endurance test, all right, and apparently I failed.
See how you fare when the project continues at 10 p.m. on two consecutive Tuesday nights, November 23 and 30, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. Admission is free. Call the club at 670-9202 for more details.
BUNGLE BEATS: Fronted by former Faith No More vocalist and bona fide eccentric, Mike Patton, Mr. Bungle brings a unique brand of sonic weirdness to town this week in support of the band's brand-new third release, California, on Warner Brothers. The press materials state the band's musical influences as the following: "death metal, Romanian gypsy, surf, rockabilly, disco, film, hits from the '60s, '70s and '80s, Herbie Hancock's Sextant, Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King, voodoo drums, psychedelic Brazilian bands, and various keyboard instruments," so expect the unexpected.
Mr. Bungle takes the stage of the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., at 8 p.m. Sunday, November 21. Tickets are $16, and may be purchased in advance at all Dillard's outlets, or by phone at 1-800-638-4253. Call 798-3333 for more info.
HOME TRUTHS: Though she recently relocated to Durham, NC, former Tucsonan Jamie Anderson returns to town to play a show in support of her newest release, Drive All Night, released in February on the Tsunami Recordings imprint. The album is a wonderful collection of self-written songs which range from the haunting anti-gun tale of "Mama Come Quick," to the sheer sensuousness of "Dark Chocolate," from the traditional road-song title track, to her witty retort to Loudon Wainwright III's "I Wish I Was a Lesbian," entitled "I Wanna Be a Straight Guy," which manages to be socio-politically relevant and hilarious at the same time, replacing the heavy-handedness that often accompanies such issues with humor. And through it all, her powerful voice and appealingly homespun folkie delivery ensure the songs aren't just telling an interesting story, but that the story is completely enjoyable to listen to, as well.
Jamie Anderson appears with special guests The Therapy Sisters and Martie Van der Voort at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 20, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd St. Advance tickets are available for $12 at Antigone Books. They'll be $15 at the door. Call 795-4135 for details.
MODEL FORD: Former House of Pain ("Jump Around") frontman Everlast brings his hip-hop folk hybrid to town this week in support of his solo debut, Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, which has been all over alterna-rock radio this year. Get your fix at 8 p.m. Sunday, November 21, at Gotham, 4385 W. Ina Road. Advance tickets for this all-ages show are available for $18 at Gotham, Hooters, Dillard's, Zip's University, Western Warehouse, or by calling 1-800-638-4253. They'll run $20 at the door. Call 744-7744 for the 411.
BOTTOM'S UP: The Band Formerly Known as Shindig, local roots-pop trio Big Bottom, is celebrating the long-awaited release of a self-released debut album, High Impedance, with a CD release party this weekend. The band, comprised of singer/guitarist D. Shayne Christie, bassist Kerry Dinsmore and new drummer Danny Hernandez, has been playing with a harder, less jammy focus lately, and the members feel they're finally truly coming into their own, just in time for the gig.
You be the judge when Big Bottom overtakes the Velvet Tea Garden, 450 N. Sixth Ave., at 9 p.m. Saturday, November 20. Call 388-9922 for more information.