I really intended to go to this show, to make it there on time and do a review of all the bands giving their music, lyrics and stage presence its due. But I had a tattoo appointment with Roni Zulu. My friend Raoul had set the whole thing up and for the price of an add on my web site I was going to get a cat kanji with the face of a cat peaking out from between the window-like cross section. And it would look good. Roni has endured facial tattoos, ear lobe stretching and god knows what else in the pursuit of his art and damned if I was going to lose my time slot. “You go,” I told my editor, “tell me about it, and I’ll write something up.” “OK.” he said, and we shook on it.
So I arrived at the tattoo parlor at around 5:30. (Punk-o-Rama started at 7pm) Raoul was already there looking wild eyed and calm at the same time. Very Raoul. He had ditched out on a slam poetry event to be here to hold my hand and was feeling guilty. Roni had the stencil for my tat ready. I went into the tiger striped bathroom slipped out of my panties, unzipped my skirt and turned the opening to the rear to allow Mr. Zulu access to my lower back. In the old days I would have just dropped my drawers, but I had a better ass back then. Much to my surprise my friend Biff also showed up for the blood letting and we were off. I perched on a chair, Roni strapped on the rubber gloves and Biff and Raoul each took one of my hands. We were all quiet until the buzzing of the needle started and them for some reason like commuters on a plane, once the take off was over, we all started talking.
“So I’m missing another Punk-o-Rama to get this tattoo.” I said. “What’s a Punk-o-Rama?” asked Biff, all innocent like. (Actually he is innocent. I once asked Biff if “the man” was getting him down, and he replied, “who’s the man”?) Raoul lit up. “You mean that thing that started on time we missed before?” “Yeah.”
“What’s a Punk-o-Rama?” Biff insisted. Roni hit a nerve on my spine and I tried to snap Biff’s hand in two. “Nevermind.” There’s a lot of pain involved in tattoos over your spine. I would normally drink, but you bleed like a virgin when under the needle with alcohol in your system.
“So who’s playing?” Raoul asked. “Is it the same people?” then Roni piped up, “Do you need me to hurry?” “No!!!” we all replied.
“It’s Vision, Osker…spelled K-E-R, no less, Ten Foot Pole and Millencolin.”
“Wow, another new line up.” he shook his head. “That’s too bad….hey that tattoo’s shaping up.”
The tattoo did come out great (see pic), and I met my editor for dinner later in the week and recorded an interview with him about the show. I haven’t seen the tape since, (I think I left it in my friend Julie’s car, she loves my tattoo), but he did say he had a good time. He was, however, late because he didn’t believe me about the on-time thing. There’s going to be another Punk-o-Rama in June with the Drop Kick Murphies and the Drawfs. And let me tell you, wild cats tattooed on my buttocks could not keep me away from this one.
(reprinted with permission, Popourri & Roses)
House of Blues
Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
April 18, 2000
The House of Blues may be the perfect place to see a musical gathering of the likes of Gregg Allman. Spacious and airy (thank you LA no smoking laws) with good french fries and reasonably priced (for a Sunset Strip joint) beer. The venue never lets the crowd get so big it’s uncomfortable. If you chose to you can squeeze onto the floor, but you can also mill about smartly in back or on the sides and still see and hear great. The ambiance is that of a back water Louisana cat house and moonshiners hangout. On with the reason I was there though.
Before I talk about the amazing, talented, currently well-adjusted Gregg Allman, let me talk about his son, Devon and his band Honeytribe which opened for Allman & friends. The band itself was fabulous, David Kalz on guitar, 19 year-old Gabriel Strange kicking a little booty on percussion and the amazing Southside Albert on harmonica. Rounding out the sound was Zach Ellerbrook on trombone and George Potsos on bass. Leading the band but never riding roughshod over it is Devon Allman, who is definitely his father’s son. The only difference is that Devon has a more manic energy than his father. I never got the feeling that Honeytribe was following in the footsteps of ABB as much as they were carrying on the tradition of roots rock and finding their own niche in that tradition. They did some great stuff from the album, “Things You Never Saw” and “Why You Want to Bring Me Down”, as well as cool covers like “Red House”. Very worth it for roots rock fans.
Now for the main course. Gregg Allman has really settled down and come into his own as a performer and a musician. Self-posessed and focused, Allman shared the stage with his multi talented “friends”, Mark Showalter, who did amazing sax solos on several songs. Floyd Miles stepped into the vocalist slot for I’ve Been Hurt and Slip Away which sounded awsome. Between the venue ambiance and the great R&B; musical tunes flowing off the stage, I felt like I had been time warped to an age when the idea of bands like N-Sync were used to frighten little children. Very smooth. Gregg himself delivered the goods playing keyboards and guitar and doing vocals. He strapped on his guitar for a performance of “Midnight Rider”, which I’ve never seen in such a small venue, that gave me goose bumps. The crowd loved everything he did an seemed to know the work. A cut from his 1997 SIMPLICITY album, “Poison”, was received with the same applause as more popular tunes like “I’m No Angel”. The crowd was great, the band was fabulous…I would definitely recommend a Gregg Allman show to everyone who’s into the R&B;/Rock scene, especially if he brings his friends. Just a note, the ABB will be at the Long Beach Blues Festival at the beginning of September.