If you've been listening to Lila Nelson's radio show, "Meet Me In the Morning" Sunday mornings on KHUM, you've heard about her "Write Your Own Damn Song" contest. (If you come up with an idea, she writes a song around it.) This Sunday she'll be singing a "damn" song about Humboldt's MySpace scene, and in connection with that she threw in a little trivia contest on her last show. The question: How much did kazillionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch pay to acquire MySpace? A correct answer got your MySpace into her song. Because she'd mentioned the figure on the air earlier, she got a call immediately from Jesse in Eureka. Unfortunately he was disqualified since he somehow has never signed up with MySpace.
When she asked for a true MySpacer to call, I responded with the correct info (he paid $580 million), so I guess my MySpace will be mentioned in her new song. Mine is no big deal. I'm no space-case. I haven't gone the "pimp your MySpace" route, and only check in infrequently. However, virtually every band or musician on Earth has one and to get beneath the surface you have to have an account — so I'm there, at least sometimes. Now, I could go off on the negatives: Its clunky, inelegant interface, or the danger inherent in a relatively unrestricted communication platform — but the truth is, that platform is a fascinating, amazing thing that has opened up whole new worlds for all sorts of people. Of course Humboldt is no exception. MySpace founder Tom Anderson has 222,041,770 friends. A few of them are here.
By chance, the night before I talked with Lila, during a break between sets at the tr?®s cool RJA Quartet M show, I'd found a glossy mini-flyer on the Music Dept. bulletin board hyping the first ever North Coast MySpace Party. The show, assembled by local promoter Tech Williams' Do Som Bout It Productions, is coming up on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Eureka Vets Hall. It featuresDJ Hazy "on the ones and twos," Humboldt-homegrown hyphy from North Bay Ridaz, plus young $nub from the Maniac Krew, aka Lil Maniac, whose MySpace page offers a glimpse of what it's like to be a teen in U-freak-a in this day and age.
Lil Maniac lays down some history in the requisite MySpace "Bio of the Artist":
"I was born in Eureka, Calif. in Sept. of 1992. My dad was always into hip hop so I grew up listening to 2pac, Nas, House of Pain, Cypress Hill, Snoop Dogg, NWA and a lot more. When I was about 5 years old my dad taught me how to use the turntables. I was always into poetry and began to rap to beats my dad would put on. My dad was in and out of jail a lot so I didn't really take my music seriously. When I was 8 years old my mom, my sister, my brother and me moved out of a small house, where we slept in the back room of my grandma's house, to the projects. I started getting into a lot of trouble with fighting. When my dad got out of prison we unpacked his mixers and mics. At the time I was doing a computer class for community service, and I would record my raps with a guy named Elijah 1 who was 17 at the time and I was 12. I had been writing raps and poetry for a long time, but never took it seriously until I started recording at this community service place MARZ [the Ink People's Media, Arts & Resource Zone Project]. When I was 13, my dad built [a computer] for me and I started recording everyday until 4 a.m. and that's when I made a MySpace to put my music on. I am now 15 and am in a club at school called Rapper's Delight. We host break-dance and rap battles and do graffiti. I have performed at three events: Rappers Delight: Beginning Of The End Show, Eureka High School Bonfire, and Tech's Monsta Bash Halloween Party, and blew 'em the fuck up!! I am currently working on my CD."
I want to meet Lil Maniac some time and hear more about MARZ and all. Unfortunately I'll be outta town this weekend so I'll miss the big MySpace bash, where I'm sure $nub will blow it up. But it's cool, I sent out a Friend request. I know we'll be in touch.
Straight outta Bolinas? Why not? That's where rapper Bo-Rat got the Bo from. He's hyping his new CD Project Cutty at Red Fox Tavern Thursday, Jan. 31, with Oakland's Delinquent Monastery and Fortuna's Dirty Rat Crew along for the ride.
Same Thursday at Humboldt Brews, it's Humboldt Buds, a jam-a-thon with Ruben Diaz and Tim Stretton among others.
There's another CD release tour coming Friday, Feb. 1, to Humboldt Brews: This one's for Viva La Juerga,the latest fromSan Francisco-based gypsy-pirate-polka band Diego's Umbrella. Elsewhere in Arcata you have the "Prince of Polyester" David Lindleyplaying solo at Mazzotti's. And Bend, Oregon's Moon Mountain Ramblers play swingin' twangy bluegrass-ish tunes at Jambalaya with the lovely local Morgan Corviday opening.
Over in Eureka, same night, the ever-funky Eric McFadden Trio(aka EMT) at the Red Fox Tavern, while vocalese veterans Manhattan Transferharmonize at the Arkley Center.
Coming to Blue Lake Casino's glitzy Wave lounge Friday, retro cover band Eyes Anonymous with Nipsy P on keyboards, Martian Bishop and Baron von Robenau sharing guitar/bass duties and Ty-rock Z on drums. "We're the '80s Mercedes for the ladies," says Ty-rock. "We play New Wave pop, all the hits, everything from The Cure to Men at Work, Prince, a-ha, Devo, stuff like that." What is it about the '80s that resonates for 20- and 30-somethings? "The coolness of checkerboard clothes and spandex, the outrageous hair," says the drummer, swearing Eyes Anon sports all of the above.
Everyone's favorite dance band, The Delta Nationals, play Saturday at the Arcata Community Center helping celebrate the "9th annual 50th birthday party" for everyone's favorite dance instructor, Bruce Hart. The party is also a CD release for the Nats' new album, All Over the Map. While the band is known for their ability to cover any song in any style, the new disc is something different: all original songs by band members. As the title suggests, the music is all over the map stylistically with everything from surf rock to Southern soul to country and on down the road to smooth jazz, Prof Longhair-ish New Orleans rock and plain ol' rock rock. There's even a hint of Humboldt politics with Ross Rowley's "Last Logger Leaving Town," a country lament for timber jobs squeezed out by "the bureaucrats and the fat cats." Doug Eastteam from The Roadmasters helps on that one; he'll be at the party. Same with Joyce Hough who does a duet with Steve Irwin on the soulful "Everlasting." Sounds like a blast.
At the Jambalaya Saturday, a night of loopy, cutting-edge electro-hip hop with DJ Vadim, a Russian-born producer raised in London, now living in Brooklyn. He's traveling with Yarah Bravo who tells me she was born in Brazil to a Chilean mom who took her to Sweden. When she was old enough, she headed for London. What is it Yarah does? "i breathe! i live! i laugh! i cry... but i also make music. i write and i write a lot. some say i'm an mc, some say i'm a poet; some say i'm a singer — i am a thought deliverer. a lover of rhythm and words and patterns. yo, i'm just a young girl trying to capture the world and bottle it up in a song." Having listened to some of her stuff, I'd say she's cool and lively as can be. Also on the bill: Max Ulis out of Vancouver, BC and Humboldt's own DJ Zanapod.
Heavy metal purveyor upsidedown cross presents the Middian Benefit Show Saturday at the Alibi, pairing local stoner metal duo The Fire Demons and instrumetalists 33 1/3. Proceeds go towards legal fees incurred by Eugene-based doom metal trio, Middian, who are being sued for copyright infringement by members of a Milwaukee-based metal band called Midian. It's too complex to explain here. Check middian.org for further details.
Speaking of benefits, Lil Jimmy from Henpecker etc. is looking for local bands or solo artists who might want to contribute a track for a CD benefiting the Humboldt Council of the Blind, slated for release in Sept. at the 4th Annual HCB benefit show. Interested? Drop Jimmy a line at email@example.com.
Saturday is Arts Alive! night in Eureka, which means music all over town. Singer/songwriter Kay Rose presents her new CD, Words Left Unsaidat the Graves Museum. The Monster Women and Universalia Jane are at Ramone's in Old Town, where you can also catch the annual Love Show featuring¬†various (visual) artists. Spudgun is at Old Town Coffee and Chocolates; Fred and Wilma at Opera Alley Bistro; Striped Pig Stringband at Plaza Design; trumpet player Brad Werren and friends jazz up Avalon. Later on Ponche plays for salsa dancers at the Red Fox, while SoHum's NPK is at Pearl Lounge.
Coming up Monday at the Jambalaya, honky tonk rockabilly master Deke Dickersonwith his custom twin-neck guitar. He's the real deal, a smooth twangy shredder.Also on Monday, a special edition of KHUM Back Porch at Curley's Grill featuring Washingtonian Americana duo Deadwood Revival.
This coming Tuesday, Feb. 5, is the day before Ash Wednesday, better known as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. Six Rivers marks the day with a show featuring Captain Morgan and the Samba Troupe.
And by chance Tuesday is also the launch day for In The Mix, a weekly DJ night at Humboldt Brews. The plethora of DJs on the first night includes DJ Knutz,Selecta Truth, DJ State of Mind, RickShaw, DJ UFO Soul and Itchie Fingaz. Be prepared to dance.