Imagine there's no Beatles

Caught between two generations of Beatles fans

And that, kids, is what we've got here: rock 'n' roll as curriculum. If you doubt it, you can go up to Cleveland, where the Big State U of rock sits, helpfully letting us know what's important and what isn't, turning something that should be fun into canon.

That's fine, but what ends up serving as canon fodder is the belief that rock 'n' roll exists most acutely on a sunny afternoon with the windows down, or in the evening when you pull into the parking lot and she's already waiting for you on the steps and you know that everything's going to be all right. What's lost is the fact that the best rock 'n' roll band in the world is--as Keith Richards says--a different band each night, and you never can be sure that more than a dozen people even saw it, or knew it for what it was.

Of course you don't sell many lunch boxes celebrating the immutable, ineffable inability to ever really know anything for sure, whether it's a sunny drive with the windows down or Albert Einstein. It takes a ready hook, and it's interesting to note that few spend time discussing the way in which the Beatles were one of the first ready hooks in the selling of youth culture signifiers, making Elvis and Davey Crockett look like pikers, and presaging everything that would come in after they went through that door.

So potent are they that they can go through that door again, 35 years later, spawning a tedious reexamination that is so devoid of quality control that six months ago a Dallas newsman replayed his interview with the Beatles when they were here back in 19blahblah as some sort of important event, even though he didn't know dick about the band and his cluelessness provoked affable mockery from them.

In an arena so broadly defined yet so fervent that a handful of limp new "songs" compelled frothy analysis far beyond their merit, surely there is room for someone not to go nuts over the Fab Four. I'm not dissing the Beatles, but just noting that I felt more connected to their spirit watching Help than I ever did during that interminable documentary Anthology. Is there really so little ahead of us that the past fascinates us so? And what is it about our fascination that seems to suck the life out of the objects of our scrutiny? What if we were to leave the Beatles alone, ascendant atop their accomplishments, and get on with our lives?

Now that really would be something.

Cut the cake
Longstanding Deep Ellum keystone Club Dada celebrates 10 years in the biz starting September 26 with a free Ten Hands reunion show featuring what frontman Paul Slavens called a "semioriginal" lineup. The band's original original drummer, Matt Chamberlain (later of New Bohemians, Pearl Jam, Saturday Night Live, and more), was replaced by Earl Harvin, who joins Chapman Stick player Gary Mueller, Slavens, guitarist Steve Brand, and percussionist Mike Dillon for the show.

"There was a time there where we were the shit," Slavens recalls. The Big One is Coming was recorded live at Dada, and as an additional treat Ten Hands is releasing 300 copies of another 75 minutes of music recorded then. "It's recorded live to two-track," Slavens explains. "It's a warts-and-all affair, and very much has the old feel, the sound of that era."

The band also has yet another album from that period--a studio effort--that the band was considering releasing, "but we thought that might be kind of grandiose, considering that we're only playing once," Slavens admits. Other bands scheduled for the weekend-long throw-down include traditional early evening acts, Beatles cover band Hard Night's Day and Grateful Dead cover band the Dead Thang, in addition to later acts Dah-Veed, Lockjaw, and Spot.

Rhythm of Life
Brilliant area drum collective D'Drum--Jamal Mohamed, John Bryant, Doug Howard, Ron Snider, and Ron Smith--reprises its collaboration last year with sculptor-storyteller John Broadnax, who will once more be displaying his oddly compelling handmade drums as the group constructs its amazing and affecting jams. If you've never heard D'Drum you owe it to yourself to check it out; the group's drumming is cinematic in its scope and textural depth. The show will be at the Dallas Visual Arts Center and starts at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, September 28.

You can take 'em out of Dallas...
Diablo Sol, like so many other bands, was founded in Dallas and spent a couple of years here before running off to bask in the glow of the Stately Pleasure Dome of Live Music, a.k.a. Austin, Texas. "Our time in Austin made us realize that we're a Dallas band," reports lead guitarist Brannon Brewer. "And we found our real following here." Now with a new vocalist--Paul West, formerly of Blink--the band is back in town. Its next shows are Saturday, September 21, at Club Clearview; and Thursday, September 26, at Galaxy Club.

Scene, heard
Slow Roosevelt is throwing a record release party to celebrate Shaving St. Nick, its new album, at Trees Friday, September 20. Caulk, Buck Jones (recently featured in Billboard), and Mustache also play...

Juno Specter is going into Jeff Bridges' Big Noise studio to work on a new album due out around October.

Street Beat welcomes your e-mail comments, tips, and info at Matt_Weitz@dallas-observer.com.

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