On the morning of Sunday, July 27, Fred Janis and Derrick LeVeque, members of the seminal Tucson punk band Zero Tolerance Task Force, were killed in a one-vehicle rollover accident that occurred about 50 miles north of Santa Fe, N.M.
Singer/guitarist/songwriter Janis was the band's primary force and leader, having founded ZTTF in the early 1980s. Over the group's roughly 20-year history, Janis weathered a slew of member changes, though in recent years the line-up was solidified to include drummer LeVeque and bassist/singer/ songwriter J.J. Styles, who is recovering from injuries suffered during the accident.
Along with like-minded punk bands formed in the same era, such as the Dead Kennedys and Crucifucks, Zero Tolerance was known for being thought-provoking and confrontational, gleefully challenging topics like religion, government, racism and corporate greed. During its run, the band released more than a half-dozen full-length albums, including its latest, Punk Rockery (released this summer, on Sound and Fury), as well as numerous 7-inch EPs and singles.
Onetime Zero Tolerance Task Force member Joey Siedel has organized three benefit shows to take place over the next couple weeks, to provide financial assistance to the families.
On Wednesday, Sept. 3, Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St., will host a nine-band salute to ZTTF, which will include performances from the Last Call Brawlers, Mikki Sixx and Joel Ford, Disowned, Fusty Luggs, False Promise, Closed Casket, Then It Was Over, STDs and Last Laugh. (Though the show time wasn't available at press time, it will probably start early. Your best bet is to call the club, at 622-3535, for complete info.)
The following week, Skrappy's, 201 E. Broadway Blvd., will hold a pair of all-ages benefits: On Friday, Sept. 5, the bands performing are Disowned, Fusty Luggs, Ladies and Gentlemen and one band yet to be confirmed at press time; on Sunday, Sept. 7, the line-up includes the Knockout Pills, the Jons and the Mean Reds. For more information call 358-4287 or log onto www.skrappys.com.
The suggested donation for each show will likely be $5, but attendees are encouraged to give more if they can.
Janis and LeVeque will be greatly missed. Soundbites extends its condolences to their families and friends and urges you to attend the benefits.
VIVE LA FRANCE: A pair of shows that feature French acts performing varieties of world music go down in the Old Pueblo this week. Feel free to munch on some "freedom fries" before you head out.
Hot on the heels of a performance as part of the Rhythm and Roots concert series at the Berger Center in May, French ensemble Les Yeux Noirs makes a return appearance. Led by a pair of virtuosic violin-playing brothers, Erik and Olivier Slabiak, the band also incorporates cello, accordion, electric guitar, stand-up bass, cimbalom and electronic samples to arrive at a modern take on a variety of worldly styles.
Central to the group's sound is gypsy music, which itself embodies a hodgepodge of styles that came from the displaced and wandering peoples of Europe and the Middle East; but the band also tosses in elements of klezmer, Manouche (French gypsy) jazz and Far Eastern music, all while attempting to stave off the endangerment of a dying language by singing in Yiddish. And yet, the sextet also manages to keep things contemporary. Aside from the fact that the band tends to keep its compositions short and sweet and utilizes vocals, it shares much in common with Tucson gypsy collective Molehill, most notably a kitchen-sink sensibility and song structure--beginning a song as a slow lament, only to build to intense heights of joy.
Word of mouth on the band's past Tucson performances does much to recommend this week's appearance, set to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30, at Temple Emanu-El, 225 N. Country Club Road. Tickets are available at the temple, and cost $18 for the general public, $15 for congregation members and $10 for students. For further details, call 327-4501.
Hailing from the gypsy settlements in Arles and Montpelier in the south of France, the Gipsy Kings need very little introduction, as they are the biggest-selling French act in America. Much like Les Yeux Noirs, the band took a style--in the Kings' case, flamenco--and modernized it by adding pop elements, as well as musical styles cribbed from the Middle East, Latin America and North Africa. They call it rumba flamenco, and the American music-buying public can't seem to get enough.
The Gipsy Kings perform at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31, at the AVA at Casino Del Sol, 5655 W. Valencia Road. Advance tickets are available for $45 (gold section), $35 (pavilion), and $25 (lawn), and are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 321-1000. For more information, call 883-1700 or log onto www.avaconcerts.com.
IF IT AIN'T GOT THAT SWING ... : Local jazz fans will surely remember the name Kyle Bronsdon from his days in local swing-jazz combo the Kings of Pleasure, as well as his post-KoP threesome, Kearney, Grams & Bronsdon (aka the KGB Trio), which also included Kings vets Brenden Kearney and Steve Grams, and won the 2002 TAMMIES award for Best Traditional Jazz Artist.
About a year ago, the trio disbanded when Bronsdon packed up his drums and relocated to Los Angeles; before he left, the trio--along with a healthy roster of guests--headed into WaveLab to record an album. Released under Bronsdon's name, the just-out Kitchen Swing (Vitalegacy) will see Bronsdon returning to his former hometown to support it this week.
The album is slightly less jump-swing-oriented than Bronsdon's aforementioned former bands, preferring a cool, lounge vibe instead--call it lounge jazz that swings--that includes traces of ragtime and blues. His singing style is mostly half-sung, half-spoken, with his phrasing reminiscent of that of blues-jazz legend Mose Allison. And happily, Bronsdon's trademark clever, humorous lyrics remain intact.
Highlights on the 14-song disc include opener "The St. Louis Vipers Club," one of two homages to Louis Armstrong--"Satchmo Say" is the other--that benefits from the tenor sax of Billy Kerr and the trumpet of Cass Preston, resulting in one of the jumpiest tracks on the album; "Go Around Back" is an infectiously swingin' musician's in-joke about poor treatment from a bandleader at a crappy gig: "Go around back/to the alley/by the Dumpster/on the loading dock/to the back door/through the kitchen/past the men's room/around the bar/That's where you're gonna play/and that's where you gotta stay"; and "FMC Stomp," an ode to the Future of Music Coalition (a Washington, D.C.-based organization that seeks to empower musicians in the face of the bottom-line-centric consolidation of the music industry) that addresses a topic pulled from today's headlines while sounding rather old-timey in its execution, with vocals treated to sound like something from an old 78 and a smoking piano contribution from Carl Sonny Leland (Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys).
The Kyle Bronsdon Swing Trio performs at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31, at Boondocks Lounge, 3306 N. First Ave. Cover is $5. Questions? Call 690-0991 for answers.