CASE IN POINT: Before R.E.M. it was the Plimsouls who were getting The Byrds-y guitar references, particularly after the release of their finely crafted power-pop indie hit, "A Million Miles Away." Even though the comparison to McGuinn's guitar was on target, there was nothing nostalgic about their sound, which was based on solid songwriting and played with equal parts skill and inspired aggression.

Although the band broke up in '84 when Peter Case left to pursue a solo career, Eddie Munoz would frequently join him on tour playing lead guitar. After a 10-year hiatus, Case received a request for the band to re-record "A Million Miles Away" for the Speed movie soundtrack.

"It didn't sound that exciting to me. I thought we got it right the first time," Case tells me long distance from Los Angeles.

After the sessions, it felt right so they began to write and rehearse new material. Although they're playing some of the old songs, the nostalgia factor is still very much out of the equation.

"My memories of that time aren't that clear anyway," he laughs. "They say we had a good time, but I don't really remember. The Plimsouls are about new songs right now. We play the older songs and we do a twist on a lot of them."

He says the band won't conflict with his solo career. "I love to work. I write a lot of songs, and you can only put out one solo album every year or so to give people time to assimilate what you did.

"The Plimsouls period was separate from my folk period, and now, though they're separate, they're both in play. Neil Young is one who kind of keeps both strains going--there's not a lot of people who do that, but I'm going to be one," Case responds optimistically.

As for the Plimsouls connection with Blondie and Dramarama drummer Clem Burke:

"Before Eddie was in the Plimsouls he was Elvis Costello's guitar roadie. He was also working for Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds and those guys," Case recalls. "Blondie toured with them down in Texas around '78 and that's when Clem and Eddie became friends.

"When the Plimsouls were getting back together, the drum slot was open and Clem's name was brought up by Eddie. He's an incredible drummer," Case says with sincere reverence.

He's thrilled with turnout so far on the California tour, submitting humbly, "You really can't take that for granted."

"We did two shows up in San Francisco and both were packed. There were about 500 people at the Whiskey on Saturday night, so the people are really into it," Case says, sounding pleased. "The band has hit its stride now."

The Plimsouls, whose current line-up includes Peter Case on guitar and vocals, David Pahoa on bass, Eddie Munoz on lead guitar and Clem Burke on drums, perform Friday, February 2, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Portland's alterna/psychedelic rock band Nero's Rome, touring to garner attention for their moody and enigmatic release Togetherly, opens the show at 9 p.m., along with The Paula Jean Brown Experience. Tickets are only $6. Call 622-8848 for information.

LAST NOTES: The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet gives a debut Tucson performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, February 3, at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. The internationally acclaimed quartet consists of accomplished guitarists William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, John Dearman and composer Andrew York, and is now recognized as one of America's premier chamber ensembles.

All profits from the concert directly support Tucson Guitar Society programs. All seating is reserved, with tickets at $18 for TGS members, students and seniors, and $20 for general admission. For more information call 326-9972.

Pianist George Winston will appear in solo performance at the TCC Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 5. Attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Tucson Community Food Bank. Tickets range from $15 to $20, available at the TCC box office (791-4266), and all Dillard's outlets. Charge tickets at (800) 638-4253. For information call 791-4101.

FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME: Crossroads '96 is accepting applications in the categories of Alternative, Blues, Country, Contemporary Christian, Gospel, Metal/Hard Rock, Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter, and Urban/R&B for the fifth annual Crossroads Music Exposition April 25 through 27 in Memphis. All entries must be postmarked by February 14. To get an application, call them at (901) 526-4280; or fax (901) 527-8326. You'll need two original songs on cassette or CD, a photo, band biography, and $20 processing fee along with the completed application. If accepted, you'll be notified by March 7.

The Independent Label Festival is accepting applications for the fourth ILF, July 26 and 27 in Chicago. Submission deadline is March 29. For applications, write: Independent Label Festival, 600 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605-1996. You'll need to have vinyl, tape or CD, band biography, completed submission form and $7 processing fee per band. An 8-by-10 black-and-white photo is also recommended. You'll be notified by May 31 whether you've been accepted or rejected. In both cases, submission fees and materials are not returnable. TW

--Jennifer Murphy
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