March 17, 2000
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
"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
(reprinted with permission, Popourri &
|GREGG ALLMAN & FRIENDS
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
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.