THEY'LL PASS YOU BY: Back in the glory days of Tempe rock--mid-'80s to mid-'90s, we'll call it, well before corporate interests dumped piles of dough into developing Mill Avenue into the soulless stretch of Starbucks and Urban Outfitters that now attracts ASU's Greek set--the strip was home to a burgeoning music scene. The Meat Puppets were still a local powerhouse (and Cris Kirkwood was still a functioning human being), jangle-poppers the Gin Blossoms were making waves opening for every famous band that came to town (and Doug Hopkins was still alive), and Dead Hot Workshop were right up there with both of them, combining the pop-hook smarts of the Blossoms with the harder-edged, desert-tweaked guitars of the Puppets (well, sorta). And lest we forget, local schizoid Elvis Del Monte would stumble onstage and insist on singing out-of-tune and out-of-time covers with all of 'em. It was truly a hell of a time.
But things change, of course, and since then, the Puppets have relocated to Austin (if they actually still exist at all); the Blossoms have soldiered on (well, sorta), outliving their best songwriter (Doug Hopkins committed suicide in 1993); Del Monte died in 1998; and all that's left of the Mill Avenue hub is that glorious shoebox of a venue, Long Wong's (and even that mainstay's status is now in question, as the building that houses it, the only one with any character left on Mill Ave., is set to be demolished after the first of the year). Somewhat amazingly, Dead Hot Workshop has persevered.
In 1994, the band signed to Atlantic Records in the post-grunge feeding frenzy, and issued an EP and a full-length on that label before being dropped when under-promotion ensured their records didn't go gold--the same fate that befell hundreds of their peers. Since then, they've re-formed with various lineups and gone on several hiatuses, but in recent months, the band has been again performing regularly in Tempe. Their co-headlining gig with Greyhound Soul this week marks the first time they've performed in Tucson in more than four years.
Show Dead Hot Workshop some love when they take the stage of Plush, 340 E Sixth St., at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19, opening for Greyhound Soul. Cover is $4. For more information, call 798-1298.
HOLIDOOZY: All you fans of local music will want to glue your ear to your transistor radio (they still make those, right?) no matter where you are on the evening of Monday, Dec. 22. The folks at 91.3 FM KCXI are tossing together a not-to-be-missed extravaganza they're creatively calling the KXCI Holiday Show. From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., four DJs--Don Jennings of Locals Only, Laurie Starr of Starr Tracks, Mary Buckley of Desert Dancehall and Kristi Lloyd of The Home Stretch--will be your hosts for five solid hours of locally brewed, holiday-themed songs, old and new. There will be the standard pre-recorded tunes, sure, but the real treat comes in the form of at least a dozen local musicians performing a song or two each, live in the studio. As of press time, the roster of participants includes Jesse Stanley, Joey Burns, Namoli Brennet, Nowhere Man, Tom Walbank and Maggie Golston (spoiler alert: she's slated to perform The Pogues' classic "Fairytale of New York," and frankly, we can't wait to hear Maggie spew the lines "You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, happy Christmas yer arse, I pray God it's our last"), Ted Ramirez and the Santa Cruz River Band, Cathy Rivers, The Wayback Machine, Al Perry, Mitzi Cowell, Duncan Stitt and The Hillwilliams. More are sure to be confirmed before airtime. It should be a show for the ages; as Steve Wynn once said, don't say we didn't warn ya.
SEXXXY SANTAS: So, it's Saturday night, and you're in your sexy-ass jammies. You thought you were going to just stay home tonight, maybe watch Saturday Night Live, then hit the sack. But all of a sudden, you feel the urge to go out, even though you don't really feel like dealing with the hassle of changing your clothes. Man, have we got the party for you.
Kicking off at 10 p.m. and stretching into the wee, wee hours (heh-heh, he said "wee-wee") is Late Night at The Sangin: A Christmas Lingerie Party, a combo Christmas party/lingerie show/fire dance performance/concert/DJ dance party that asks the question: How much action can be crammed under one roof in a single night? Things kick off with the rock 'n' roll portion of the night, courtesy of the backward-looking-yet-still-contemporary psych-rock sounds of Sun Zoom Spark. (Says SZS guitarist/singer Eric Johnson: "Honestly, we don't usually play lingerie gigs, so we are all looking forward to the event." We bet you are, Eric.) Next up is the lingerie show, with attire courtesy of Forever, and then it's "fire dancers extraordinaire" Pyroluscious (sic). In between acts, special guests DJ Whatamelon, DJ Cherubic and DJ Kate (from KXCI) will be spinning tunes to keep your booty moving. And be sure to wear proper attire: Those wearing either lingerie or Christmas-themed costumes will get a discount on the door charge.
Late Night at The Sangin: A Christmas Lingerie Party kicks off at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20, at The Sangin Building, 300 N. Sixth Ave. Cover is $8, $6 for those in costume. Email any questions to email@example.com.
WE COULDA SWORN IT WAS CALLED SHITTER: We never cared much for Mariah Carey's seizure-inducing high notes, but her debut starring role in a film--well, that's another story.
Seriously, have you ever seen Glitter? It's one of the campiest, most unintentionally funny films of the last several years. In it, Carey stars as Billie, a fresh-faced, scantily clad, aspiring singer who just knows that, against all odds, she's gonna make it to the top (and who, ironically--given the scantily clad part--later walks out of a video shoot because she objects to wearing a bikini).
Billie's rags-to-riches story begins when, as a child, her mother burns down their house after falling asleep with a cigarette in her hand, then dumps little Billie at an orphanage (no, we're not making this up). Eventually, she makes her way to New York City circa 1983, where she becomes semi-famous for her dance moves at local clubs, affording her the opportunity to get fellow clubbers to hear her singing voice. Inevitably, everyone who hears her has the same reaction, along the lines of, "Girl, I've heard some good singers in my time, but you can really sing!"
One of the club's DJs just happens to also be a producer, and he takes her under his wing--and later, under his bedsheets. In the span of six short months, Billie goes from mere destitute club regular to big-time singing star (when she's treated to her first dinner at a fancy restaurant, her remark when they bring a plate of escargot to the table is, "Somebody went all the way to France for this?"), but there's still a bit of drama in store.
She and her producer/boyfriend have a lovers' spat, the resolution of which is our very favorite part of the movie (aside from the horrendous editing, acting and lipsyncing): While the two are apart, they funnel their respective creativity into writing separate songs about each other. When Billie comes across her boyfriend's song, she finds it really neat and romantic--not completely bizarro world weird, mind you--that the two have written the exact same song. (Again, I swear we're not making this up.) I mean, what are the odds? Were these two meant to be together or what? Cue Big, Happy Hollywood Ending.
We were initially convinced that the film must be autobiographical, but then, after wiping away our tears--of laughter, that is--we remembered that Carey never fucked her producer; she married the head of her record label instead.
Mariah Carey's Charmbracelet Tour hits the Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church, at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19. Advance tickets are available for $55.50, $45.50, and $35.50 at the TCC box office and all Ticketmaster locations, or online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.calproductions.com. For more ticket info call 791-4266.
SMOKE THIS SUPERJOINT: What do Pantera and Hank Williams have in common? Musically, not a hell of a lot. But Superjoint Ritual, a hardcore thrash combo that features the vocal stylings of Pantera's Phil Anselmo, also features the bass-playing talents of the country crooner's grandson, Hank III. The in-the-red pummelmeisters will perform an all-ages show at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19, at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. Advance tickets are available for $16 at the venue and all Zia Record Exchange locations, online at www.calproductions.com, and by phone at 1-800-514-ETIX. They'll be $18 on the day of the show. For further details, call 733-6262.