FLESH IN THE PAN: Jello Biafra has been punk rock longer than you've been aware of the clitoris. So when the estimable Jello puts his ass on the line for a band, you better goddam well trust him.
Case in point: the East Bay's Fleshies, set to flabbalanche all over the basement of Tucson's Finest Punk Rock Establishment That Isn't Skrappy's--the Double Zero, 121 E. Congress St. The always outspoken Mr. Biafra signed the band to his label because "They are definitely the sort of kick-ass live band drenched in sickness that belongs on Alternative Tentacles," and because he was so gosh-darned impressed with the group's frontman, Johnny Pseudonym, who has been known not only to get naked onstage (virtually passé in the realm of punk rock), but also to stop spinning bike wheels by sticking his unit in the spokes. And you thought you were punk rock. Biafra again: "Nowadays most frontmen don't bother to work very hard onstage at all, so John is a throwback to a much more intense, hardcore era. -- He wound up nude by the end of the set, and I thought, 'Aha, this is what punk rock was supposed to be.'"
Also playing on the bill are Memphis' The Lost Sounds and Tucson's Swing Ding Amigos and The Screenz. The Lost Sounds have that every-song-sounds-different-but-still-by-the-same-band quality that endeared us all to the Pixies a decade or so ago (and if you point your nose in the right direction, you can sniff out some Sonic Youth, too). Swing Ding Amigos are primed to become Tucson's next great punk band, standing toe-to-toe with Los Federales in the bid to fill the shoes of the late, lamented Weird Lovemakers. And while I have no idea who The Screenz are, the fact that they rate inclusion on this bill bodes well for their opening slot performance.
The punk rock extravaganza is set to take place at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 28 at Double Zero. Further questions can be directed to 670-9332.
REGGAELIA: Though he recorded plenty of material before and after its release, reggae artist Junior Murvin will always be remembered for his 1976 album Police and Thieves. That record, a bona fide reggae classic, marked the first and last time Murvin worked with the greatest reggae producer ever, genius/madman Lee "Scratch" Perry. While it's indisputable that Murvin is a talent to be reckoned with--his falsetto alone would merit Smithsonian immortalization, if such a thing were possible--never has he attained the sheer alchemy of song and sound found on that album.
You can bet your last spliff Junior will draw heavily from his masterwork when he billows into Twelve Tribes Reggae Shop, 345 N. Fifth Ave., on Friday, August 24. Advance tickets are available for $10 at Valerie's San Xavier Mission and at the venue. For further details call 620-1810.
CLOSE SHAVE: Every once in a while a band comes along that breaks all boundaries. A band that is so wholly unique that you wonder from what wellspring it's sprung. A band that makes the tiny hairs on your body--wherever they may exist--stand on end.
The Royal Normans is not one of those bands. Rather, the Normans are four guys with good haircuts from Tempe--Land of Good Haircuts--who can write halfway decent pop songs. Nothing more, nothing less. They tend to favor mid-tempo pop songs that might have your head bobbing while you're doing the dishes, but the problem lies in the fact that you'll be hard pressed to recollect a single one once their debut self-titled disc (HeadPop) stops playing. Nevertheless, if you're not one of those pesky overanalytical music-crit types, the band will suffice as background for a night of barroom tomfoolery.
The Royal Normans share the stage with upwardly mobile locals Sunday Afternoon at 9 p.m. on Friday, August 24 at Plush, located at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Sixth Street. Call 798-1298 for more information.
KID STUFF: When we last heard from local singer/songwriter Eric Hansen in April of 2000, he had just released his second CD, Real Slow. He's obviously been busy since then, having recently released his third and fourth collections, Here in the Dark and Nobody Knows (both on Half Moon Full Star Records), the former being another installment in his trademarked earnest-in-a-time-of-irony songwriting, while the latter is a children's album billed as "Music for kids of all ages, shapes and sizes!" Hansen will celebrate the release of both in his first appearance since their release from 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 25, at Bookman's, 1930 E. Grant Road. For more information call 325-5767.
IN MEMORIAM: It saddens us to report that Chad Kerr, singer and guitarist of local punk rock band The Blacks, died on July 27, while on tour in American Falls, Idaho. Our sincere condolences go out to his fans, friends and family. At press time a memorial service set to take place on Sunday, August 26 at Kennedy Park was being finalized, with a possible show in his memory occurring later that same night at Double Zero. For more complete information log onto www.weirdlovemakers.com/blacks or call 670-9332.