April 20 - April 26, 1995


SIDEWINDERS WIND UP TOGETHER AGAIN: They're on page 634 of the Rolling Stone Album Guide--one paragraph wedged in between Jane Siberry and The Silencers. "Echoes of Paul Revere and The Raiders, early Alice Cooper, the Clash and Lou Reed abound in the promising debut from a Tucson-based band."

That's the Sidewinders the writer is talking about (it can be hard to tell by a music writer's description, I know). The album in question is Witchdoctor--actually the group's second album, ¡Cuacha! was first--their opening bow on a major label.

If you're tired of reliving the glory days of the Sidewinders on those two discs (along with Auntie Ramos' Pool Hall) and their Sand Rubies album, I've got good news. Lead singer and guitarist David Slutes, lead guitarist Rich Hopkins, bassist Mark Perrodin and drummer Bruce Halper are together for a reunion concert this Friday night at Club Congress.

Everyone up on their Tucson music history and gossip knows the story of the band's rise and fall (I've done my best--and worst, according to some--to keep you up on it), so we're not going to go over that again. It's the reunion show we're concerned with now.

The way the reunion came about is kind of amusing (more gossip!). I happened to be at Club Congress the night of its genesis about two months ago. Slutes attended a Rich Hopkins and The Luminarios gig and the two talked afterwards.

Some other band was playing by then, so the pair had to stand close and talk directly into the other's ear to be heard. I was sitting in a booth right behind them and couldn't hear a word they were saying. As the minutes passed and the two "enemies" continued in what seemed to be amiable conversation, several musicians pointed out the apparent miracle to me. They wondered, as I did, what the two were discussing. Lawsuits? Babes? The Wildcats? The names of all the drummers they've ever played with? No one knew what they were chatting about, but it was funny watching everyone watching them. For a city with a population of over a half-million it can still be a small pond sometimes.

"Dave and I just started talking and he kind of brought it up," Hopkins remembers with a chuckle. "He seemed like he was missing the band. We started talking about the band, kind of reminiscing a little bit."

Those reflections have turned into a two-night stand for one of the best and most popular rock-and-roll bands Tucson has ever known. The first reunion show was last weekend at Gibson's in Tempe, and this week we get the second installment.

"I'm glad we didn't rehearse more than twice," Slutes says. "We've played these songs so many times we can never forget them. It's been a lot of fun getting ready for these shows."

"It's been three years since the four of us played together and we've pretty much buried the hatchet. Everyone has grown up a bit and we're really happy to be doing it," Halper says. "We don't have a lot of expectations, except we want to sound good."

Others might have different expectations however--like maybe a permanent reformation of the group.

"No, it won't happen," says Slutes. He already has two bands going--Ginger and Little Sisters Of The Poor.

"I doubt that it could happen," Hopkins says in agreement. He's busy with Luminarios and his San Jacinto recording label.

The Drakes and 35 Summers open the concert. Tickets are $8 in advance; $10 at the door.

MAN SMART, WOMEN SMARTER: Now there's an understatement everyone can dance to. That's why C.J. Chenier and The Red Hot Louisiana Band boot their new Too Much Fun album to a start with the song carrying that title.

The disc rocks and rollicks from beginning to end with Chenier's zydeco and rhythm-and-blues blend. It includes two zydeco classics by C.J.'s dad Clifton: "Louisiana Two-Step" and "Zydeco Cha Cha." The titles of both describe what the bayou boogie people will be doing against the warm bodies of other people on the dance floor of The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., on Sunday, February 23. Tickets are $12 each.

LAST NOTES: It's indisputable: Ralph Stanley is one of the greatest bluegrass artists of all time. Hear his high, lonesome voice and classic banjo playing style along with The Clinch Mountain Boys on Friday, April 21, at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave. Call KXCI community radio at 623-1000 for ticket information.

Bwiya-Toli is more than familiar with a variety of Latin American musical styles, especially the music of the Andes. Take a tour of sounds born south of the border on Saturday, April 22, at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. Advance tickets are $8. Call 327-4809 for information.

Bad Livers brings their thrash-grass to Club Congress on Sunday, April 23. There isn't another band in this quadrant of the universe who'll jam out a Motorhead/Flatt & Scruggs medley or play Jimi Hendrix's "Fire" with a banjo and tuba. We don't have room to mention their own deliciously demented originals, but you probably get the idea. Gary Myrick and Havana 3 A.M. will open the show. Tickets are $5 in advance.

REO Speedway rewinds their slew of power ballads at the Wild, Wild West, 4385 W. Ina Road, on Monday, April 24. Tickets are $15 a pop.

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April 20 - April 26, 1995

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