North Coast Journal Weekly link to homepage

October 27, 2005

The Hum


Night of the Living Undread, photo of The Toyes

Since his group, The Toyes, is best known for the toker's anthem "Smoke Two Joints," the recent local controversy about medical pot and the comments from HSU President Richmond came up in a conversation with Toyes front man Mawg, who happens to be a card-carrying medical marijuana smoker.

Is marijuana medicine? Is it a dangerous drug? "Most medicines have side effects," he began. "I get a giggle from the drug ads on TV that list all the side effects: If your toenails are too yellow, you can take this thing, but it might make you ill with bleeding ulcers. Me, I'll take the yellow toenails. If you're taking medical marijuana and find yourself being lethargic or under-productive, or maybe paranoid, or depressed, or if you're gaining a whole lot of weight, those could be side-effects. And if that's happening, you should lower your dosage or discontinue use. That's just common sense."

How about Humboldt's reputation? "As far as the county having a bad rep, with all due respect, who gives a fuck what people think? The real point is: We wouldn't have to go through this medical marijuana nonsense if we weren't incriminating people and throwing them in prison for smoking and growing this little herb. That's really what it's about. I'm actually offended by the whole medical marijuana business even though I have a card. {He lives in Oregon, where there is a law similar to 215.] Every year all of us here in Oregon have to pay for a doctor visit to renew your form. What other medicines are there that require a license from the government for a person to take their medicine? Since we have this ridiculous criminalization of the herb, that's what we have to go through."

In the most recent band photo (above), Mawg is the one on the right with shades and well-kept dreadlocks, which he noted, were recently shorn. "I'm the undread --- that's my Halloween costume," he said with a laugh. "I was done with it. When you first start to dread, you feel like you're wearing your freak flag, but as time wore on I came to realize that my freak flag is inside me, regardless of what my hair looks like."

Mawg says he's excited to be coming to Humboldt for three reasons. No. 1: He wants to show off the rock prowess of his four-piece band, which does not just play to a reggae beat. No. 2: Since it's Halloween, the band gets to roll out their cover of "Monster Mash" reworked as "Monster Hash." The third and final reason? "The Toyes? Humboldt? Harvest time? You gotta be kiddin' me."

The Toyes are back in Humboldt Friday, Oct. 28, for the annual KMUD Halloween Boogie at the Mateel, where they are joined by those folky agitators Darryl Cherney and the Chernobles (with KMUD's Dave Myers on drums, since Tofu has another gig) and Arcata's atypical jammers, Something Different. And hey, the best costume wins a $100 prize.

Here's the deal: Halloween is Monday, which basically means that every night until then is fair game for costumes and assorted spooky weirdness.

The first ever Haunted Kinetic Lab runs all weekend plus Monday night across the street from the haunted Yakima factory at 8th and N in Arcata. They promise music in the courtyard, a "guided freak show tour," and, judging from the awesome photo in Tuesday's T-S, some pretty scary scenarios.

I'm assuming the guys from Absynth Quintet have something a bit tamer planned for their show at Muddy Waters Friday, Oct. 28 (where "green fairies get in free.") Ryan tells me, "There will be all sorts of special lights, and pumpkin things, and maybe even a laser, mystical happenings and things we're not at liberty to speak of, and there could be a blimp --- maybe there could be!" Asked if they're planning any special Halloweenie music, he replied, "We always play Halloween music ... And who you calling a `halloweenie,' anyways?"

Maybe it's just the fact that metal bands have tended to adopt imagery from horror films, but somehow Halloween has become a headbanger holiday, as evidenced by a few shows this weekend. The biggest is the Black and White Heavy Metal Ball Friday, Oct. 28, at the Muni, featuring Empyre, "a tribute to Queensryche," who I'm guessing have a different attitude from our local Judas Priest tribute, Sad Wings of Destiny. Diary of Ozz opens the show with, you guessed it, a tribute to Black Sabbath. Winners of the black and white costume contest get tickets to Oz Fest '06.

The next night, Saturday, Oct. 29, Entheogen and Orick rock the E&O Bowl, while local headbangers P.H.I.S.T. and Forcefed Trauma and Sacramento-based hardcore band Awaiting the Apocalypse storm into the Clam Beach Inn for a metallic Halloween bash.

Corey, who's been booking metal at Sal's Off Broadway, wasn't too happy when his Forcefed friends took the Digger gig. He had figured they'd play his weekend-long Rocktoberfest, which instead has Dual Nature Friday night and Kids For Sale on Saturday.

Saturday's Madtoberfest at Mad River Brewing Co. in Blue Lake is not exactly a Halloween party. (And it might look like a revival of Bad Bob Ornelas' Oktoberfest, but it isn't.) There's beer-tasting, food from Blackberry Bramble, a raffle and lots of music, including sets by Moses Lincoln Johnson, Stereo Chromatic, Bella Dramatic and Blue Lake's own The Rubberneckers. Proceeds benefit the Mad River Fish Hatchery.

I doubt that anyone will be in costume at the jazz show Sunday evening at Trinidad Town Hall. Former Humboldter Randy Porter is back in town from Portland, Ore. (where he teaches jazz piano at Lewis and Clark College), for a candlelight concert backed by bassist Shao Way Wu and drummer Mike La Bolle. I've heard Randy plays quite a few times, and I can assure you this will be a jazz lover's delight.

The rumors have been flying about the "Halloween jam" scheduled for Friday night at Kelly O'Brien's, the Eureka nightclub formerly known as Rumours. The confusion began with a flyer. At first glance you see in bold, bright, all caps lettering, "SPEARHEAD." Of course, if you look closer, you see underneath, "musicians workshop," and that the jam is with local funksters Bump Foundation. Michael Moore Jr., who is in bringing Michael Franti to town Nov. 14 for an AS Presents show, was none too happy about the handbill, which he sees as false advertising, since Franti's name is synonymous with Spearhead and Franti will not be part of the workshop. After a call to Franti's management, everyone on Moore's media list got an e-mail announcing, "SPEARHEAD ARE NOT scheduled to perform as advertised at a club formerly called Rumors (Kelly O'Brien's) in Eureka..."

At issue is the question: What exactly is Spearhead? In recent years, Franti's shows with his band are billed as "Michael Franti and Spearhead." The majority of the band's members --- drummer Manus Itene, percussionist Roberto Quintana, bassist Carl Young and guitarist Dave Shul --- will be at the Kelly O'Brien's workshop. As Calvin Hall of African American Drums notes, "The keyboard player is the only one who's not coming, aside from Michael." Hall is helping organize the workshop. (The drummers use his drums.) "It's a workshop," He explained. "They'll play their instruments, showing different styles of music. People can ask questions. It's a little seminar." He worries that people will think the event is called off --- it is not.

Those who are only interested in seeing Michael Franti will have to wait until Nov. 14, when Michael comes, on his own, to the Van Duzer with I Know I'm Not Alone, the film he made about his travels in the Middle East. You'll be able to ask him questions, and he will sing some songs --- on his own. Spearhead is not coming along.


Comments? Write a letter!

North Coast Journal banner

© Copyright 2005, North Coast Journal, Inc.