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TWISTED BRAIN CELLS: Sure, Chubby Checker is the man responsible for giving the world "The Twist," "Let's Twist Again," and a host of more forgettable songs with the word "twist" in the title--not that he actually wrote any of them, mind you. But he's also responsible for one of the most bizarre and unintentionally funny things I've ever read.

In the July 28, 2001, edition of Billboard magazine, ol' Chubs showed us his humble side by placing a full-page ad, begging for the recognition he feels he so richly deserves. Following are some highlights from said ad, with the exact syntax and punctuation left intact. If you'd like to read it in its entirety--and I strongly recommend you do--log onto www.chubbychecker.com:

"This is my message to the Nobel Prize nominators and the nominators of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, T.V., Radio, Motion Pictures, Entertainment, Entertainers, and the general public at large world wide. Should you choose me I'll consider it honorable. However I have conditions for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

"To place the 'Twist' symbol that's on Chubby Checker's Beef Jerky, this statue on top of a thirty foot or so pedestal in the courtyard of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I would like to be alone thank you. I changed the business ... Before 'Alexander Graham Bell' ... no telephone. Before 'Thomas Edison' ... no electric light. Before 'Dr. George Washington Carver' ... no Oil from seed or cloning of plants. Before 'Henry Ford' ... no V-8 Engine. Before 'Walt Disney' ... no animated cartoons. Before 'Chubby Checker' ... no 'Dancing Apart to the Beat.' What is 'Dancing Apart to the Beat?' Dancing Apart to the Beat is the dance that we do when we dance apart to the beat of anybody's music and before 'Chubby Checker' it could not be found!

" ... Chubby Checker gave birth to aerobics.

"He gave to music a movement that could not be found unless you were trained at some studio learning something other than dancing apart to the beat. It's fun. The 'Twist' the only song, since time began, to become number one twice by the same artist. Oh yes, we're talking about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But let's face the truth. This is Nobel Prize Territory.

" ... I want my flowers while I'm still alive. I can't smell them when I'm dead. The people that come to see the show have given me everything. However I will not have the music business ignorant of my position in the industry. Dick Clark said, and I quote, 'The three most important things that ever happened in the music industry are Elvis Presley, the Beatles and Chubby Checker'. Now I ask you. Where is my more money and my more fame? God bless and have mercy. You know I Love you.

"Yours truly, Chubby Checker ... "

Did I mention he didn't write "The Twist?"

Chubby Checker appears at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, at the Desert Diamond Casino, 7350 S. Nogales Highway. Advance tickets are available for $20 to $30 at the Desert Diamond Casino Box Office and Yoly's Music Shop, or by phone at 393-2799. For more information, log onto www.desertdiamondcasino.com.


RECYCLED ROCK: Everything old is new again these days, thanks to the resurgence of retro-styled garage rock. This week, catch a glimpse of what the fuss is all about, as local torchbearers The Okmoniks share a bill with likeminded Californians Salem Lights.

It's easy to imagine a tune from co-ed four-piece The Okmoniks' debut 7", Take a Spin With The Okmoniks (2001, In+Fi) turning up on a future installment of Lenny Kaye's lauded Nuggets collections (if there were to be such a thing). All the ingredients are there--the fuzzed-out guitar, which never seems to hit upon more than three or four chords per song; the breakneck pace that reminds that punk rock didn't really begin with The Stooges, after all; and perhaps most importantly, the cheesy organ, placed way up in the mix. Sure it's all been done before, but you'll be having way too much fun to mind.

(Two quick criticisms of the band's live performances: Singer/organist Helene Grotans should drop the psuedo-snotty vibe given off by her onstage banter; some bands can pull off that sort of thing, but when it comes across as contrived, it can often be cringe-inducing. She's a compelling enough frontwoman without it. Second, the band could stand to pad its set list with a few more songs, as a 20-minute set simply isn't long enough. That said, it's a fine 20 minutes.)

Meanwhile, the press kit for Oakland's Salem Lights sees them compared to '60s British Invasion bands (The Who, The Stones, The Kinks), '70s glam-rockers (Mott the Hoople, the New York Dolls), and melodic pop outfits like Big Star and Badfinger. Kinda gives you a pretty good idea of what you're in for, right? But wait, there's more. They're also likened to such diverse acts as Lou Reed, Blue Oyster Cult, Television, The Saints, The Cars, Guided By Voices, The Replacements, Kiss, the Plimsouls, the Ramones, and yes, even The Beatles. Enticing, yes?

Salem Lights and The Okmoniks perform at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3, at 7 Black Cats, 260 E. Congress St. For more info call 670-9202.


DUTCH TREAT: As part of an ongoing cultural exchange of sorts, Dutch singer/pianist Eric-Jan Overbeek, who records under the name Mr. Boogie Woogie, and Tucsonan singer/pianist Lisa Otey will play a series of shows together this week. In September, the two paired up for some dates in town, before Otey jetted over to the Netherlands in January to do the same on Overbeek's home turf. Both performers hit upon barrelhouse, blues, and jazz styles in their playing, but Otey's vocals lean toward the sultry, bluesy jazz variety, while Overbeek's reveal him as more of a blue-eyed soul man than anything.

Mr. Boogie Woogie and Lisa Otey perform at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, at the Tucson Blues Society Performance Studio, downstairs at the MUSE, 516 N. Fifth Ave. Admission is $7, or $5 for TBS members. For further info call 617-4617. The duo will also be performing at 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 30, at Boondocks, 3306 N. First Ave. (690-0991; $6), and at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 1, at the Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway (886-9428; $12).


GOOD MAGIC: Taking their name from The Velvet Underground and The Grateful Dead--both bands were called The Warlocks in early incarnations--the L.A. band that records under the name these days seeks to "conjure up music as an experience," just as both of the aforementioned did in their day. The eight-piece comprises a bunch of dudes on guitars, two drummers, a female organist/tambourinist/vocalist, and one Bobby Hecksher, the band's frontman, on vocals, guitar, and bass. While often compared to psych-rock bands like Pink Floyd, Spacemen 3, and Spiritualized, and prog-rock bands like Neu! and Hawkwind, it should come as no surprise that the band most often name-checked in Warlocks reviews is the Velvets themselves. And as for that nod to the Dead, the Angelenos aren't ones to shy away from 15-minute songs.

The Warlocks perform on Wednesday, July 3, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Locals Viva Maria and Shotstar kick the festivities off at 9 p.m. Cover is $5. Need more details? Dial 622-8848.

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