TAMMIES REVIVALOK, I'm not gonna yank yer chain, nor mince words. The Weekly-sponsored TAMMIES (the Tucson Area Music Awards--don't ask me what the acronym stands for) usta sorta suck. We all know it, so I'm just not gonna tow the corporate line and tell you they've always been awesome. They haven't.
That said, those of us who truly care about all things musical 'round these parts have worked hard in the last couple years to ensure that both the awards and the ceremony have become a more worthwhile endeavor.
The revamping started back in the late '90s, when the event's organizer, Jeb Schoonover, along with then Weekly-owner Doug Biggers, decided that the ceremony was a bit stuffy, a bit lacking in entertainment value. To improve things, the focus of the hoo-ha was shifted to make things more interesting by adding a slew of live performers to the slate of events, and lessening the emphasis of who actually won awards. It was a good move, with slightly encouraging results: More people showed up, for one.
But things had remained stagnant since then, and when Jimmy Boegle took over editing duties of this paper 2 1/2 years ago, he saw that things needed a boost. By that point, I (and, I imagine, most) had sort of written the TAMMIES off as a less-than-legitimate entity--if only because I thought the readers' ballot results each year weren't representative of what was actually happening in this town musically. I credit Jimmy for asking why, and actually attempting to do something about it.
Last year saw the debut of the awarding of Critics' Choice TAMMIES, which was met with exactly the kind of response we'd hoped for: We got nothing but positive feedback. Voting was limited to Weekly music contributors, although we vowed then that the following year, we would get more people involved by inviting more people who have a serious hand in musical goings-on in Tucson to participate. This year, a dozen contributors, from a wide-ranging variety of sources, took part in voting. That number will only increase next year.
The true motive for the TAMMIES all along wasn't so much to reward the winners, but to give a big shout-out to local musicians everywhere: We see what you do, and we enjoy and appreciate it. All local bands suffer indignities throughout the year, be it playing to an empty house; opening for a touring band with a good draw, only to not get paid at the end of the night in the name of "good exposure"; or financing the recording of a CD via credit card and hope. The TAMMIES were conceived as a way to honor and pay back bands that make sacrifices to keep us all entertained throughout the year.
Similarly, I and a lot of other amazing people have worked hard over the last couple years to make the TAMMIES something truly worthwhile. Whether you place stock in what our (voting) readers think or not, whether you respect the opinion of our assembled critics or not, we've tried to at least salute some people who work hard to make great music, whatever the returns. And even if you dislike the idea of giving out awards in the first place, it's tough to argue with the awards ceremony itself, which is completely free to people of all ages, and features live performances from some of Tucson's finest bands and artists, specifically: Chango Malo, Al Perry, Mankind, Little Kings, LemonMan and Friends, Mariachi Luz de Luna, Arthur Migliazza and Kevin Pakulis.
We humbly invite you to attend and share in the celebration.
Doors open at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15 for the 12th annual TAMMIES ceremony, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Admission is free to all. For more information, call 740-1000 or log on to rialtotheatre.com.
BENEFIT ROCKThough we'd love to convince you that the TAMMIES ceremony is the only worthwhile event happening on Wednesday, June 15, we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't also inform you that a little local band called Calexico will be performing just a hop, skip and jump away, at Plush, on the very same night. They and openers The Sweat Band will play a benefit show for the Rock School starting at 9 p.m. Admission is $12. Advance tickets may be purchased at virtuous.com. The number to call for further details is 798-1298.
And, for those who don't have to be at work bright and early the following morning, Club Congress is throwing a free TAMMIES after-party featuring indie rock karaoke, in which two traveling DJs spin instrumental versions of your favorite small-label-residing bands, and you get to unleash your inner indie rocker by providing the vocals. The fun begins at 9 p.m. at 311 E. Congress St., right across the street from the awards ceremony. For bonus info, including a list of bands you get to massacre, log on to hotelcongress.com or call 622-8848.
SCREAMING YOWLAnyone out there remember the Laughing Hyenas, the Michigan nutbags who merged the sleazy proto-punk of the Stooges with the dirty blues-rock of the Stones in the late '80s? They were some potent motherfuckers, and anyone who was into them at the time likely digs up those old albums from time to time still. If you wonder what ever happened to bloody-throated singer/guitarist John Brannon, who also fronted Midwestern hardcore progenitors Negative Approach prior to forming the Hyenas (Fun fact: The band's original rhythm section left the fold to join Brannon's brother, P.W. Long, in the fabulous, tension-filled blues-punk band Mule), wonder no more: Brannon's latest outfit, Easy Action, is heading our way this week.
The band's second full-length, Friends of Rock and Roll (2005, Reptilian), finds the irrepressible Brannon essentially mining and combining the sound of his two previous bands. There are charging, straightforward punk blasts ("Get the Fuck Out My Way"), rumbling blooze-punk rants ("Kool Aide") and almost goth-punk brooders ("Dead of Night," "There Was a Time"), all laced with Brannon's toxic, screaming yowl, which time has not diminished in the least. While the faint of eardrum may run from the room in horror, fans of Brannon's previous groups and anyone who likes the raw stuff--myself included--will eat this shit up on a platter.
Easy Action takes the stage at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St., on Saturday, June 11. Tucson's The Knockout Pills open the show at 10:45 p.m. Cover is an Abe Lincoln. For more info, call 798-1298 or log on to plushtucson.com.
ON THE BANDWAGONUnicorn- and rainbow-obsessed former Helium frontwoman Mary Timony returns to Tucson this week in support of her Lookout! debut, Ex Hex (2005). The album is said to be a slight return to her Helium days, leaving behind the mystical bent of Timony's two previous solo albums. She'll be at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Saturday, June 11. Dischord Records' Medications and locals La Cerca kick things off at 9 p.m. Admission to the all-ages show is $8. For details, call 884-0874 or log on to solarculture.org.
It's been a while since we've heard anything from the weirdos of Tucson's Bloat Records collective, but all that is about to change, as this week brings the inaugural installment of a monthly Bloat Night at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Featuring performances by Camaro rockers Winelord and potent punks Swing Ding Amigos, the kickoff doubles as a pajama party, with those properly attired gaining free entry and "special deals." Toss on those jammies (bonus points to anyone wearing footsies) and get thee to CC at 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 11. Lame-o's who wear street clothes will be charged $3 admission. Questions? Call 622-8848 for answers.