Otey's smoky vocals are front and center throughout, and it suits the wide scope of styles immaculately. But it's Otey's piano work that really dazzles, flawlessly shifting from south-of-the-border flavor to weepy ballads to traditional blues, all with a dexterous soul that never sounds forced. A fine work by a considerable talent.
Catch Otey's CD release concert, which will also feature a roster of musical guests too long to list here, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 26, at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Tickets are $15 for orchestra seats, $12 for balcony, with a $3 discount for TBS and TJS members, students and seniors. Children 12 and under will be admitted for free. Log onto www.lisaotey.com for more information.
SPLIT SECONDS: Roughly a year ago, when 7 Black Cats opened its downtown doors, the first band to play the club was a drumless three-piece unit from Kansas called Split Lip Rayfield. Technically, the first band to play was local alt-country mavens Creosote, but they were opening that night for the former, who they'd seen play earlier in the year and urged to put Tucson on their tour schedule. And thank God, they did.
One of the very best shows I witnessed last year, Split Lip tore up the club's tiny stage with the kind of melodic, speed-bluegrass rarely glimpsed in these parts, and the crowd was small but fervently appreciative. The band is made up of guitarist Kirk Rundstrom, Eric Mardis on banjo, and Jeff Eaton on "tank fiddle" -- a homemade, one-string bass made out of (unless I'm mistaken) an old gas tank. All three sing, both individually and in twangerrific harmony. It was downright impossible not to get up and slap your knee to the rhythm, and I found myself listening to their debut album on Bloodshot Records incessantly following the show.
And now the boys are back, with a brand new album called In the Mud, also on Bloodshot, and another stop through town to support it. Do not miss this show! Rayfield hits 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St., on Saturday, August 28. Al Perry, Clovenhoof and Interplanetary P.O.T. open the show. Call 670-9202 for details.
OLD BOYS, NEW TRICKS: Back in 1992, when the Rusty Lantern was still kicking on Fourth Avenue, vocalist/guitarist Paul Gallant and guitarist/harpist Bruce Blackstone met up at the club's weekly open mic night. The two hit it off well enough to play together regularly, along with a revolving cast of supporting members, and decided to call themselves the Rusty Boys after the spot where they'd met.
Their sound was Chicago blues-based, but also delved into swing, reggae, jump blues and Grateful Dead-style electric jug band music, combining covers by the likes of J.J. Cale, Jimi Hendrix and Bo Diddley with original compositions. Though many of the band's members have split off and moved away, earlier this year the Boys put out a live, self-released CD for posterity called Here We Go! They haven't played live together since the disc's release, but this week they're ready to re-enter the arena, so to speak.
Gallant, now residing on the East Coast, works for a Tucson-based company, thereby affording the occasional tax-deductible trip back to the Old Pueblo to play with his old friends. Welcome the Rusty Boys home for a spontaneous (read: unrehearsed) reunion at the Boondocks Lounge, 3360 N. First Ave.
The show goes down on Thursday, August 26, following an opening set by The Way-Back Machine, a side project which features Blackstone and percussionist Jim Lipson. Call 690-0991 for more information.
THINK HANK: Henry Rollins is many things: onetime vocalist for Black Flag, one of the best American hardcore bands ever; owner of his own publishing company and record label, which puts out everything from contemporary experimental jazz to obscure punk reissues; author of Get in the Van, an interesting if simplistic account of his Black Flag salad days (it won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album); author of endless volumes of really horrible poetry (perhaps that's why he started the publishing company); touring spoken-word artist; frontman for the Rollins Band, an overblown jazz-metal punk band with Rollins' increasingly lame lunkhead lyrics screamed over the din. And did I mention he's one buff motherfucker?
But wait--there's more! It seems that after a decade of putting out crap so bad that it apparently influenced the likes of Korn and all the other predictably boring new hardwave bands out there today, Rollins has, with impeccable timing, decided to put an end to the Rollins Band as we know it. He's ditched his previous backing band for a new crop of hired guns, three guys from L.A. who were previously in a band called Mother Superior. They've recorded a new album called Get Some Go Again, which will be released on the Dreamworks imprint in January 2000.
Rollins' new band name is, um, the Rollins Band, and they're embarking on a 15-city U.S. tour right now because they want to, dammit! Will the new Rollins Band sound like the old one? Or will it be a complete reinvention? Has Rollins decided to cash in and start a rap-metal band? Will he ever put his shirt back on? Find out the answers to these questions and more when the Rollins Band hits the stage of the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., at 7 p.m. Monday, August 30.
Squatweiler opens the show, and you can pick up tickets for $12.50 at CD Depot, Toxic Ranch, Strictly CDs, Zia on Oracle and Zip's University. You can also charge them by phone at 1-800-965-4827. Call 740-0126 for recorded info.
POST HASTE: During their SXSW trek to Austin, Texas, this past March, the guys in Calexico serendipitously made some new friends. With a jones for some migas, the duo hit a local breakfast joint where they encountered another duo, playing there in the dining room.
Correo Aereo (Air Mail), husband and wife Abel Rocha and Madeline Sosin, were set up in the corner with their gigantic harp, violin, quinta huapangera, guitar, maracas and other assorted instruments, playing interpretations of traditional folk songs from Venezuela, Argentina and Mexico. With Abel's exotically reedy voice cresting on top of the arrangements, and Madeline taking the low parts of the harmonies, the Calexicans were blown away -- enough that the two duos swapped numbers and made promises to keep in touch.
When Calexico became "musical directors" a couple months back for a project for German television (with musicians shipped in from all over the world to write and perform overseas with our hometown boys), they remembered their friends from Austin, rang 'em up, and off they went to Germany for their first collaboration. A long way from Texas, indeed.
Which brings us to the present, wherein Correo Aereo enjoy a little Old Pueblo hospitality, playing a couple of shows in between.
They opened for Alejandro Escovedo and Richard Buckner on Wednesday, and they'll be back at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., on Sunday, August 29, for a very special Havana night. Call 622-8848 for details on the show.
UNDEAD TED: Uncle Ted Nugent will never have to write his autobiography; he already did it all the way back in 1976, on the title cut of one of his best albums, Free For All: "When in doubt, I whip it out/Got me a rock-n-roll band, it's a free for all." Besides, KISS' Gene Simmons, and then only maybe, does any rock star come closer to self-parody than Ted, or "The Nuge," if you prefer. Or the Motor City Madman, if you must.
Completely outspokenly knuckleheaded, Uncle Ted represents a time long gone in rock stardom--A time when guys with hair down to their ass swung across stages on vines, wearing nothing but a tiny loincloth, and played songs like "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang" to a screaming mass of adoring, wasted, fans.
(For the record: Uncle Ted swears he's never touched drugs, and claims ignorance regarding his debut band the Amboy Dukes' biggest hit, the drug anthem "Journey to the Center of the Mind." Uncle Ted's straight dope is that loud rock music, an endless supply of nameless women, and loads and loads of self-killed red meat have been his only vices. That and, um, conservative family values.)
Anyway, with the Damn Yankees years (hopefully) behind him, he's free to rock like he usta do. So come on, Tucson! Let's all make Uncle Ted proud, get lit like Christmas trees and scream the words to "Cat Scratch Fever" at the top of our lungs at the Arizona Sunset Pavilion at Gotham, 4385 W. Ina Road, on Sunday, August 29. Gates open at 5 p.m., and Jackyl -- the only band I know to have scored a Top-40 hit with a song using a chainsaw as an instrument -- opens the festivities. Advance tickets are available for $18 at Dillard's, Hooters, Western Warehouse, Zip's University and the New West; or charge by phone at 1-800-638-4253. They'll cost $25 on the day of the show, and special gold seating is available for $30 (at New West and Dillard's only). Call 744-7744 for details.
BANG FOR YOUR BUCKS: Just a quick reminder that the Bang Tango show, with openers Thunderosa and Mind Flower (originally scheduled for July 31), happens on Saturday, August 28, at the Double Zero, 121 E. Congress St. Considering the show is back on less than a month after one of the duo's members had a heart attack, we don't want to hear any excuses for your non-attendance. Tickets are available at the club for $9. Call 670-9332 for more info.