Losing the (rock) lottery
Some Denton artists are bruised over the Curtain Club's Deep Ellum Jam Sessions, a variation (they call it "rip-off") of the Good/Bad Art Collective's annual rock-and-roll fund-raiser, the Rock Lottery. Curtain Club co-owner Ed LaMonica, a Dentonian who knew something of the Denton-based art collective's original concept--throwing the names of local musicians into a hat, drawing them at random to create all-new, one-day-only bands that rehearse through the day and take the stage to perform that night--decided to bring the Rock Lottery notion to Dallas for a charity event. This one benefits the local chapter of Sweet Relief, an organization that helps musicians pay medical bills--which is all well and good. The thing is, LaMonica didn't bother talking to Good/Bad first, and adding insult, when he first started soliciting musicians and drawing up fliers for the August 13 event, he was even using the phrase "Rock Lottery" in the title--until Good/Bad members threatened LaMonica with a copyright infringement lawsuit.
LaMonica pleaded ignorance and quickly changed the name to its current moniker, one he hopes to use for future fund-raising events. He also deviated from the original low-brow conceptual art experiment in few other notable ways: While the Good/Bad version hosts such beloved members of Slobberbone, centro-matic, and Cornhole, the Curtain Club version reads like a who's-who of downtown shellac, a roster sure to please the Fraternity Row crowd: the Nixons, Doosu, Radish, Buck Jones, and Caulk, among others.
The musicians still only get one day to rehearse (Monday), though the four groups of four musicians were teamed up into color-coded "bands" a week in advance; indeed, the makeup of each band has already been advertised (for instance, the Green Band will feature Ben Kweller of Radish, Ricky Wolking of the Nixons, and Pete Thomas of Slow Roosevelt). Good/Bad's Lottery spawned some interesting full-time acts, namely La Cheenies. We can only pray the Dallas contingent won't be so inclined--imagine, a One Ton-Last Beat supergroup!
"I'm not real happy with people stealing stuff, but I think it's been worked out," says Chris Weber, the Good/Bad member in charge of organizing the Rock Lottery. "As long as the name has been changed, then there's no problem." Good/Bad honcho Martin Iles isn't so easily placated. "The whole situation is pathetic and dishonest," he says. "I just hope it's not representative of the whole modus operandi for the Curtain Club. [LaMonica] is staging a watered-down, retarded version of the original. It's the Deep Ellum theme park pushing the bounds of mediocrity. They should be proud."
Sam Paulos, a co-owner of the Curtain Club, knew little of the upcoming event, but remembered LaMonica mentioning a Rock Lottery in Denton and talking about bringing the concept to the Dallas club. "I don't know if he specifically cited Good/Bad," Paulos says. As for LaMonica? Well, he says, "I knew I wanted to do a charity event, and I knew vaguely of a lottery that had happened in Denton. It seemed like a good idea. I wasn't trying to step on anybody's toes."
Deep Ellum Jam Sessions takes place August 13 at the Curtain Club.
Last time I wrote about a record by Will Smokey Logg--which would have been about, oh, six years ago--I mentioned something about how the blues are dead, even frat boys would be bored, blahblahblah; after all, I do hate everything. So it's nice to report that Logg's most recent record wasn't a, well, log. Ghosts of the Totems, released late last year, is a rather nasty piece of work, what Sixty-Six might have sounded like if Bill Longhorse (now appearing in a Movie Channel ad on a television near you, and he sho' is purdy) sounded more like Billy Gibbons. Some of it's standard barrelhouse blues, some is funkier-than-thou ("Sawed-Off Shotgun" kicks its own ass), and all of it beats anything Bugs Henderson has done in a while, bless his heart. Logg says some music from the album may make it into a film he just completed shooting in Weatherford--Blood is Thicker, in which Logg plays a Klansman, and congratulations on that! He's also on the Nick Cave trip these days, having completed three novels (he says one is titled Lament of the Blood Centipedes, which should make for light summer reading) and his very own screenplay, a frothy romantic comedy (isn't it?) titled Kingdom Into Desolation. Logg & The Flamethrowers perform August 15 at the Hole in the Wall...