KXCI MEETS BIG BROTHER
Community radio station KXCI FM 91.3 is in the midst of its semiannual fundraising drive, which means the sooner we listeners pledge to become paying members of the station, the sooner we won't have to listen to the station's programmers babble about how we won't hear that last song on just any radio station.
To be fair, they've got a point. I've always said that my ideal radio station is one that would dare to play Hüsker Dü and Miles Davis back to back, and while I've never heard that particular combination on KXCI, they play similar combinations every day.
To aid in the fundraising, the station holds regular benefit concerts performed by acts local and famous, and this week, the station brings to town a legendary band—without its long-dead legendary singer.
Big Brother and the Holding Company is best known as the original backing band for Janis Joplin, though there's more to the story. The band began in San Francisco in 1966, but relocated to Marin County soon after the band's Chet Helms lured Joplin back to San Francisco from Texas. (She had tried to make a go of a singing career in the Bay Area a couple of years earlier, but things didn't work out.) They rented a house where they could also practice their music, and a year later found themselves playing at the Monterey Pop Festival.
By the end of the following year, Joplin moved on, taking guitarist Sam Andrew with her to start a new backing band. A couple of other members joined Country Joe and the Fish, but they reunited again in 1969 with a new singer and released a pair of albums that were poorly reviewed.
In 1978, the group played a one-off reunion show, and in 1987, they re-formed for good. Featuring original members Sam Andrew, Peter Albin and Dave Getz, the band still tours fairly regularly with a revolving cast of lead singers. (Guitarist James Gurley remained a member until his December 2009 death.)
KXCI brings the current incarnation of Big Brother and the Holding Company to the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., on Friday, Sept. 17, for a station fundraiser. Local Grateful Dead cover band Top Dead Center opens the all-ages show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17 for KXCI members, and $21 for the general public. Call 740-1000, or head to rialtotheatre.com.
It was arguably a trio of bands—Tucson's Sidewinders, and Phoenix's Dead Hot Workshop and Gin Blossoms—that put the style and term "desert rock" on the map in the late-'80s.
The three groups met with varying fates. Dead Hot Workshop signed a contract with TAG Recordings, a subsidiary of Atlantic, before its career stalled. The Sidewinders (later renamed the Sand Rubies due to a threatened lawsuit by a cover band called Sidewinder) signed with RCA, then got tossed around from label to label in the merger-happy days of the early '90s. But the Gin Blossoms managed to strike gold with a string of hit songs including "Hey Jealousy" and "Found Out About You," penned by guitarist Doug Hopkins, who would eventually be fired due to substance abuse. He committed suicide not long after that.
They charted a couple of singles without Hopkins, but broke up in 1997, only to re-form in 2002. Later this month, the band will release a new album, No Chocolate Cake, on 429 Records.
The Gin Blossoms perform at the Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St., at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 19. Tickets range from $15 to $70. For further details, head to foxtucsontheatre.org, or call 547-3040.
TIME FOR JAZZ
The Tucson Jazz Society's annual Jazz Under the Stars series kicks off this week with a performance by pianist Ted Howe and guest vocalist Joe Bourne, who will present a salute to the music of Duke Ellington at 7 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 19, at St. Philip's Plaza, 4280 N. Campbell Ave. Upcoming shows in the series: clarinetist Frank Guldseth leading his Tucson Swings! big band, which also features singer Julie Anne and guest pianist Jeff Haskell, in a tribute to Benny Goodman on Sunday, Oct. 3; and young jazz violinist Christian Howes on Sunday, Oct. 10.
All shows take place at St. Philip's Plaza. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for TJS members, $10 for military with ID and $5 for students. Season tickets for TJS members are $60. For details and reservations, call 903-1265 or visit tucsonjazz.org.
THE RIVETING ROSIE
Also kicking off this week is Jonathan Holden's 13th annual fall season of his Rhythm and Roots concert series, which will bring to town acts such as the New Riders of the Purple Sage, The Texas Tornados and Strunz and Farah in the next few months.
The inaugural show features hot-shit guitarist Rosie Flores, who blends alt-country leanings with rockabilly revivalism. Our favorite press quote, courtesy of No Depression: "Rosie Flores put the sass in Texas, and has the rockingest rockabillity of any Rockabilly Filly alive." Add to that an opening set from Mark Insley and Kevin Pakulis, and you've got quite a show.
It all goes down at 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 18, at Plaza Palomino, at the southeast corner of Swan and Fort Lowell roads. Tickets are $20 in advance, available at Antigone Books, all Bookmans locations, Grey Dog Trading Company, online at rhythmandroots.org or by calling (800) 594-8499. For more info, call 319-9966.
TEJANO OVER TWO NIGHTS
AVA at Casino del Sol will host its annual Tejano Music Showcase over two nights this week.
The lineup for the first night, which begins at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 17, is: Thoze Guyz, Divas Shelly Lares and Stefani Montiel performing a tribute to Selena, and Los Super Reyes/Kumbia Kings. On Saturday, Sept, 18, it's Monica Castro, Jesse Serrata and Los Texmaniacs. Showtime is 8 p.m.
AVA at Casino del Sol is located at 5655 W. Valencia Road. Tickets are $20 per day, or $35 for a two-day pass. They're available at solcasinos.com and the casino gift shop. For more information, call (800) 344-9435.
The Second Annual Tucson Spanish and Flamenco Festival returns to town this weekend at Casa Vicente Restaurante Español. The four-night festival opens at 8 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 16, with a Spanish guitar concert ("Noche de Seis Cuerdas"); continues at 9 p.m., Friday, Sept. 17, and Saturday, Sept. 18, with "a huge cast of flamenco professionals," according to a press release; and concludes at 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 19, with Fiesta Latina, "a lively and energetic Rumba Gitana and Latin music party." The weekend also features a variety of workshops and lectures.
Casa Vicente is located at 375 S. Stone Ave. Tickets range from $15 to $25 per day. For more information, head to TucsonSpanishFlamencoFestival.com, or call 884-5253.
ON THE BANDWAGON
The Arizona Fall Frenzy festival in Tempe will feature three nights of live music by bands such as Weezer, Devo, Stone Temple Pilots, The Cult, Primus, Disturbed and Avenged Sevenfold from Friday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 19, at Tempe Beach Park; arizonafallfrenzy.com.
Also this week: Pepper, Shwayze and Pour Habit at the Rialto Theatre on Saturday, Sept. 18; Film School, Blind Divine and Dead Western Plains at Plush on Monday, Sept. 20; Kittie, Silent Civilian, The Autumn and more at The Rock on Friday, Sept. 17; AM Taxi at Club Congress on Friday, Sept. 17; NBC's Last Comic Standing Tour at the Diamond Center at Desert Diamond Casino on Saturday, Sept. 18; Lenguas Largas, TV Buddhas and Overcast Off at Plush next Thursday, Sept. 23; the B-Side Players and The Jits at The Hut next Thursday, Sept. 23; Andrew Collberg, Ilamir and Project 774 at Solar Culture Gallery on Saturday, Sept. 18; The Mission Creeps and Daikaiju at Club Congress on Friday, Sept. 17; Tom Walbank, The Dusty Buskers, and the Haymarket Squares at Plush on Saturday, Sept. 18; Fourkiller Flats, Greyhound Soul and Kenneth Brian at The Hut on Friday, Sept. 17; The Gallery and The Provocative Whites at Club Congress on Wednesday, Sept. 22; Key Ingredients of African Soul at The Hut on Sunday, Sept. 19; Silver Thread Trio and Amy Rude on the patio at Hotel Congress on Saturday, Sept. 18.