NO MORE HOOKY
Many thanks to the fabulous Gene Armstrong, who filled in for me last week while I was in Austin watching stuff like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band perform in a 2,700-seat theater with special guests such as Jimmy Cliff, Eric Burdon and Alejandro Escovedo. (Yes, I'm trying to make you jealous.)
But there's plenty of stuff to discuss happening in our own fair burg this week, so let's get on with it.
We were saddened to learn that Bill Wooldridge passed away on Saturday, March 17.
Since the late '90s, Bill and his wife Kathy have operated Skrappy's, an all-ages venue and youth center. While Kathy may have been the face of the venue, Bill was the friendly, quiet, behind-the-scenes guy. Over the years, they not only provided a safe place for kids to hang out and play music; they served as something like surrogate parents for a generation who needed them, and touched hundreds of kids' lives along the way.
A memorial was held at Skrappy's last weekend, and at least two benefits are forthcoming. The first, the Benefit Concert for Patch and His Family, takes place at Sky Bar, 536 N. Fourth Ave., from 1 to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 1. Music will be provided by The Outlaw Rebels, Widow's Hill (for which Bill played guitar), Ashbury, Cinder Bridge, Thom Gelineau and others. There will also be an open-mic and a raffle. The suggested donation is $5. If you'd like to help out, or have any questions, call Ruthie at 869-3798.
Our sincerest condolences go out to Kathy and her family, and to all the kids who are missing a second father today.
A WIZARD, A TRUE STAR
Where does one begin in discussing the contributions Todd Rundgren has made to popular music?
To some, he's the hit-maker who scaled the charts with classic songs like "Hello It's Me," "I Saw the Light," "Can We Still Be Friends," and "We Gotta Get You a Woman." To fans of sports and morning-jock radio shows, he's the guy who recorded "Bang the Drum All Day." To music-tech geeks, he's a dazzling multi-instrumentalist; to pure technology geeks, he was the first person to release a mainstream interactive CD, TR-i: No World Order, which allowed listeners to reconfigure and remix the album's tracks. To some, he was the frontman for the garage-band Nazz, and to others, he's the leader of the more-experimental Utopia. To those who pay attention to liner notes, he's produced albums by a dizzyingly diverse list of acts over the years: the New York Dolls, Bad Religion, Hall and Oates, Meat Loaf, Cheap Trick, the Psychedelic Furs, and Badfinger, to name just a few.
One of my favorite Rundgren stories comes from his production of XTC's 1986 album Skylarking. The producer and the band clashed during the recording of the album, with the band claiming Rundgren was smoking such copious amounts of weed that they had no doubt the album would turn out to be a disaster. Instead, it became a masterpiece, one of the greatest-produced albums of an era not known for great production.
He'll be touring large venues this summer as part of Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, but before that, we get the chance to see him perform in an intimate theater. Will he play the hits? New stuff? Obscure stuff? Who knows? But it's Todd Fucking Rundgren, and I'll be there to find out.
Todd Rundgren performs at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., at 8 p.m., Sunday, April 1. Tickets are $31 for reserved floor seats, or $41 for gold seating. For more information, head to rialtotheatre.com, or call 740-1000.
CONSIDER THESE CAUSES
Two benefit shows deserve your time and attention this week.
The young local band Diver City has been sitting on an EP for nearly a year, and there's a good explanation why: The band's co-founder, songwriter and lead guitarist, Hector Sanchez, was killed in a car accident at age 20 on May 14, 2011. Sanchez had already recorded his tracks for the EP before his death, and this week, the CD will finally be released.
It won't be like any other CD-release show you've ever attended. The opening acts, which will include Atwood, Jeremy Denny, A.M Eyes and Signals, will perform as scheduled. But when it comes time for Diver City's slot, the group will pay homage by setting up the stage as if to perform, but instead shining a spotlight on Sanchez's mic and guitar, and playing the recorded EP over the PA.
The Diver City CD-Release and Hector Sanchez Memorial Benefit takes place at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., on Friday, March 30. Doors for the all-ages show open at 6 p.m. The suggested donation is $5; proceeds will go to the Hector M. Sanchez "Stay Posi" Music Scholarship/Grant. For more details, head to rocktucson.com, or call 629-9211.
Eight women constitute this year's Tucson Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's triathlon Team in Training, aka TNT, the world's largest endurance-sports-training program, according to a press release. "TNT has trained over a half a million runners, walkers, triathletes, cyclists and hikers, and it has raised over $1.2 billion to fund lifesaving research on blood cancers. TNT members compete in sporting events throughout the country while raising funds for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) research and support services."
This week, the team expands its scope by holding a benefit concert featuring a performance by the fine flamenco fusion band Tesoro. The event will also feature food trucks, a silent auction and exhibitions by Metal Arts Village artists.
Blast Out Cancer With TNT! begins at 4 p.m., Sunday, April 1, at the Metal Arts Village, 3230 N. Dodge Blvd. Advance tickets are $25 at tnttesoro.ticketbud.com; they'll also be available at the door. For more information, call 907-3380.
The sprawling, Texas-based ensemble Polyphonic Spree has been described as an indie-pop Up With People for its exuberant performances (and, let's face it, slightly cult-like vibe). The Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., where they'll perform on Friday, March 30, describes them as "choral symphonic pop rock," and that's as pithy of an accurate description as you're likely to find. New Fumes open the all-ages show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $19 in advance, and $22 on the day of the show. For more info, head to rialtotheatre.com, or call 740-1000.
Fans of garage pop bands like Harlem, Thee Oh Sees and their ilk would do well to check out The Growlers at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. on Friday, March 30. Also on the bill are Orange County-based TRMRS (pronounced "tremors") and an increasingly rare performance by Golden Boots, whose Dimitri Manos has been touring as a member of Dr. Dog. The show begins at 9:30 p.m., and admission is $8. Head to plushtucson.com, or call 798-1298 for more details.
With a French/Chinese/American upbringing, Jessica Fichot draws from those backgrounds and more with her unique fusion of gypsy jazz, the French chanson tradition, and Chinese and Latin American folk music. Oh, and she also plays the toy piano and the accordion, and will be backed by a band featuring clarinet, sax, guitar and upright bass when she performs at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 30, at Suite 147 at Plaza Palomino, 2970 N. Swan Road. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, and $10 for students. For more information, check out rhythmandroots.org.
Actress, singer, author and Tucson resident (though she's moving soon) Angela Bowie has written a book, Lipstick Kisses (self-published), focusing on the glam-rock scene of the '70s. She's got a pretty good background for that sort of thing: She's the ex-wife of David Bowie. She'll be on the patio at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 31, to sign books and perhaps do a reading (and maybe even perform a song or two with Clif Taylor, who will be spinning glam-rock tunes for the event). Questions? Head to hotelcongress.com/club, or call 622-8848.
ON THE BANDWAGON
Chain and the Gang (featuring Ian Svenonius) and Acorn Bcorn at Solar Culture Gallery on Wednesday, April 4; Arlo Guthrie at the Fox Tucson Theatre next Thursday, April 5; Jameson Clay Koweek CD-release with Loveland, Amy Rude and Hank Topless at La Cocina tonight, Thursday, March 29; Hunter Hayes at the Rialto Theatre next Thursday, April 5; Clan McCallion and Friends at La Cocina on Saturday, March 31; Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, April 3; Bright and Childers and Ice-9 at Abounding Grace Sanctuary on Saturday, March 31; Super Water Sympathy at Skrappy's on Saturday, March 31; God-Des and She at New Moon Tucson on Friday, March 30; Lisa Otey and Eric Hansen at the Z Mansion on Tuesday, April 3.