TRY TO REMEMBER: The year was 1994. Bill Clinton was president. People drove around in petroleum-powered vehicles and worked eight-hour days to pay for housing, food and their petroleum-powered vehicles. The sky was blue and the Catalina Mountains were on the north side of town. It was a long time ago, but maybe you remember.
The Offspring were a real punk band back then. Now they're an industry. They played the Downtown Performance Center in '94, this week they play the big house--the Tucson Convention Center.
"We use punk as an energetic backdrop, then try to throw some different things into it," Dexter (Brian) Holland told Rolling Stone in September of last year. "Punk rock has some inherent problems. The music itself tends to be monotonous, and there's walls of guitars with nothing to break it up. In our songs we take breaks, leave out the guitar and let the vocals go by themselves. I'd call our sound listenable--not palatable."
See that? Dexter (Brian) didn't think Offspring was palatable back in those days. Now over three million units of their album Smash on Epitaph Records have been moved across music store counters from clerk to customer. It's absolutely trendy.
Read how the tres trendy Rolling Stone described the pre-platinum scene at last year's DPC concert: "At Tucson's Downtown Performance Center, 400 sweaty teens sing along to the Offspring's anthemic lyrics like 'I'm not a trendy asshole.' "
Hey, who is Dexter (Brian) calling a trendy asshole, anyway? A guess is that it's the people who bought Dookie instead of Smash. Those people are definitely anal apertures. They're the types who think punk is something more than a musical fashion. They think punk is still synonymous with rebellion. It doesn't occur to them that today's punk is nothing more or less than yesterday's Beatle boots, KISS make-up, Thriller, U2, "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or Frank Sinatra.
It's kind of laughable that certain "punks" can't let go of the notions of insurrection and punk politics and just be content to listen to the music. The fact is that punk has long since been packaged and sold out. I'm sure Offspring wouldn't mind having another sell-out on their hands when they play the TCC Exhibition Hall, 260 S. Church Ave., this Friday, May 19, with Lunachicks (who were just in town last week). Tickets are $13.50 in advance. You can pay for your punk rock in cash or with credit cards.
DANCING QUEEN: Just a reminder that Queen Ida is set to squeeze the wind out of her accordion and the crowd at St. Phillip's Plaza, 4300 N. Campbell Ave., on Saturday, May 20.
The Grammy-winning singer and her Bon Temps Zydeco Band haven't held a dance party in Tucson in two years, so the appetites of Louisiana music lovers should be huge. Speaking of hunger, three restaurants at St. Phillip's will be cooking up Cajun food according to recipes found in Queen Ida's cookbook.
The party begins at 7:15 p.m. with free Cajun and zydeco dance lessons, and the live music starts at 8 p.m. with a set by local world beat band Pulse. Tickets are $20 each.
TARGET PRACTICE: North Carolina's Archers Of Loaf bring their style of punk pop to the DPC, 530-B N. Stone Ave., on Sunday, May 21. Will Rolling Stone be there for this show? Probably not.
That's OK, The Weekly's own fugitive from the Carolinas, Fred Mills will be there. You can't have better press representation than that. (By the way, Fred assures me that Archers kick butt.)
Call 628-1650 for ticket information on this all-ages concert.
LAST NOTES: There was a spotlight! The TAMMIES (Tucson Area Music Awards) ceremony at Club Congress last week had a big blue spot, lots of musicians in attendance and the smell of burning meat in the pleasant night air surrounding the outdoor stage (the club served grilled burgers).
Everyone was treated to a surprise performance by Victoria Williams with Friends Of Dean Martin. She sang wispy, pretty versions of "Try A Little Tenderness," "Moon River" and "Over The Rainbow," among others.
Even though it sounds self-congratulatory, I've got to say the event (sponsored by this paper) was fun. It ran smoothly and virtually on time.
Tucson singer-songwriter Martie van der Voort paints humorous political images from a palette of music styles including jazz, folk, blues, country and even a bit of rap.
Her three-song demo tape includes "Ready To Move," "Menstrual Rag" (a song from her red period) and "May We Blessed Be" (a spiritual lesbian love song).
She performs at the Southwest Center for Music, 2175 N. Sixth Ave., on Saturday night at 8 p.m. Tickets are $6 in advance.
Yanni. I guess a lot of people like him. Last year's Yanni Live At The Acropolis sold about three million. Over 500,000 copies of the accompanying video have been sold--apparently to adults who should know better.
The Greek god of new age music brings his six-piece band and 32-piece orchestra to the TCC arena on Monday, May 22. Tickets are way too much (call the TCC box office at 791-4266 to find out how much). Before you buy yours, consider this Yanniism: "Creativity is an inherent human quality of the highest order. When we create, we become more than the sum of our parts."
Let's see, two arms plus one nose plus a bunch of toes equals...
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