FIXES FOR PUNK JUNKIES: Last spring, in April to be specific, a record store opened in the empty shop left behind by the Wooden Nickel, a failed, obscure little head shop in the West University neighborhood. Since then, The Sound Addict, 714 N. Stone Ave., has grown to fill another niche--the need for a real selection of hard-to-find, new and used indie, punk, hardcore and ska, on vinyl, disc and tape. Gaining in reputation and popularity, the Sound Addict earned a mention for "Best Place to Buy Independent Music" in The Weekly's 1996 Best of Tucson issue.

I stopped in at the Sound Addict recently, mostly to talk to Tim--owner, sole employee, and on-hand seven days a week--about his store. The shop is one long, narrow room, with merchandise stacked in handpainted wooden cases and an empty space towards the back where there's live music on occasion. T-shirts and promotional posters for bands like Jesus Lizard, the Silver Jews, Scenic and Earth Crisis deck the walls.

Music, which always greets you upon entrance, is subject to the whim of Tim, whose excellent and eclectic taste is a boon for parched pueblo denizens. The shop's comfy, informal atmosphere gives it the feel of hanging out at a friend's house and looking at all his cool stuff. In fact--after years of living "various places up and down I-10" and not being able to find decent music in the civilian world, he settled here and set up shop by stocking only the music he likes, strictly avoiding the mass-marketed, hyped-up alternapop crapola. Alanis has left the building. In having a look around, I found a few things I dared not leave behind, and unexpectedly ran into a few friends.

But the burning question is: How many times a day do kids wander in looking to buy rolling papers? I was half joking when I asked, but Tim laughed and said in all seriousness it still happens at least three or four times a day. Some amount of walk-through traffic is essential to business, and the kids that come in unaware of the Wooden Nickel's change of venue often stay for the music. Sometimes they even buy something. Having the Luna Loca busy, active, and just up the street was good for exactly that--the two businesses attract the same clientele. Since the Luna Loca has been shut down to fight the good fight, traffic--and business--has noticeably slowed.

Though watching legal events at the Luna Loca has grudgingly caused him to shelve the live music in the back room of late, he's optimistically starting off the new year with a show planned for Monday, January 14. Braid, Tim assures, is great. "It's such a big deal," he smiles dryly, "that 25 or 30 people might show up." Count yourself among them. Chances are, you just might find what you're looking for.

HOT PICK: More big news for fans of the blues: Hans Olson headlines at the Rialto Cabaret, 201 E. Broadway, at 9 p.m. Saturday, December 28, with special guest George Howard and the Roadhouse Hounds. A Scottsdale resident known for rambling the world over, Olson is a solo act with a reputation for rocking clubs as hard as any band, with an amplified acoustic guitar and a "harp in a rack" accompanying those trademark bluesy vocals. Olson claims stylistic influences ranging from Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Van Morrison to the Stones, Johnny Lee Hooker and Tom Waits. Something of an Arizona legend, Olson boasts 11 independent, full-length recordings, the most recent being Kachina Blues, and appears on numerous compilations. The list of performers with whom Olson has shared the stage in his quarter-century career reads like a who's who in blues and rock. Tickets for the show are $5, free to Friends of the Rialto members. Call the Rialto concert hotline, 740-0126, for more information.

LAST NOTES: How to fill the lull between Christmas and New Year's Eve? For starters, feast your eyes on New Orleans night with the Crawdaddy-O band on Thursday, December 26, 1996, at the Airport Lounge, 20 E. Pennington St. Cover is $2 at the door. Call 882-0400 for information.

Fans and performers of bluegrass, old-time and Celtic music can mark time at that groovy little music store The Folk Shop, 2525 N. Campbell Ave., with opens jams from 8 to 11 p.m. three times a month. The first and third Tuesdays feature old-time and Celtic, and the second Thursday is bluegrass. Give 'em a call at 881-7147 for more information.

If there were poets in the movie Shakes the Clown, who would brutalize them...the mimes? While you're pondering, make plans to be in the Library of Congress, 311 E. Congress St., from 8 to 9 p.m. Saturday, December 28. The poets are gettin' loud, rowdy...and drunk. It is, after all a Drunken Word event. And it's free. Should you need to know more, call 622-8848. TW

--Lisa Weeks
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