Notable achievements from the L.A. rock scene, 1987:
THE HARDEST-WORKING MAN IN SHOW-BIZ: Chris D., hands down. Doing two terrific albums and regular live performances with his Divine Horsemen wasn't enough for Mr. DeJarnette in 1987. He also found time to take a sizable role as a government hit man in the big-screen thriller "No Way Out" (he also starred with John Doe and other locals in "Border Radio," which--though filmed a couple of years ago--just saw daylight this year). He also wrote his first novel ("Shallow Water," a Gothic Western currently being shopped to publishers), started a second ("Mother's Worry") and rewrote a screenplay he'd originally done several years ago. And it doesn't look as if he's going to let up in '88: Divine Horsemen just recorded a new song to be included on an upcoming EP and will continue their busy concert schedule, while D. is up for several film and TV roles.
LONGEST WAIT FOR A GOOD MEAL: Top Jimmy & the Rhythm Pigs finally got onto vinyl with the album "Pigus Drunkus Maximus" after nine years of rocking down every house in Los Angeles. Runner-up: The 15-year-old Droogs, whose "Kingdom Day" is the band's first LP for a major independent (PVC Records). "It's been a long period of gestation. What can I say?" mused founder Ric Albin.
FOR THE RECORD - Los Angeles Times Sunday January 17, 1988 Home Edition Calendar Page 69 Calendar Desk 2 inches; 40 words Type of Material: Correction
THANKS, MOM: L.A. Beat's year-end wrap-up column (Dec. 26) incorrectly referred to Divine Horsemen leader Chris D. as "Mr. DeJarnette," when, of course, his last name is really Desjardins. Thanks to Mrs. P. R. Desjardins of Riverside (Chris' mother) for writing to point out the error.
JEREMY SPENCER, WHERE ARE YOU?: Recalling the former Fleetwood Mac guitarist who left the band mid-tour in the early '70s to join the Children of God, SST records reported that Opal singer/bassist Kendra Smith split early in the group's stint opening the Jesus and Mary Chain's recent U.S. tour to hole up in a cavern near Seattle. Later word suggests that the story is apocryphal, though.
HORATIO ALGER AWARD: SST Records, which celebrates its 10th anniversary next year, released 74 records in '87, almost as many as in the previous nine years combined. By March of '88, all of the SST catalogue will be available on CD and, in the words of publicist Michael Whittaker, "When DAT happens we'll do dat too." Historical note: Thus far SST has never dropped an artist from its roster.
WELL, HE ONCE OPENED A TOUR FOR JACKSON BROWNE: Our award for tireless devotion to a cause--make that any cause--goes to Peter Case, who lent his talents to just about every benefit concert within a 50-mile radius. Among the issues he supported: the SANE/Freeze anti-nuclear campaign (a show at the Variety Arts Center earlier this month), the Refugees International organization (a Coronet Theatre gig with T Bone Burnett and others) and an effort to end U. S. funding of the Contras (a September show headlined by Bonnie Raitt and Don Henley at the Wiltern).
TEMPEST IN A CHAMBER POT: Fanzine L.A. Rocks ran a scathing editorial last summer about the publisher of rival fanzine Endless Party, resulting in a legal fight and retractions. If they only spent that much effort on proofreading. . . .
EASY RIDER LIVES: The best letter from the road came from Divine Weeks singer Bill See in the midst of the band's first-ever tour last summer. See reported that while he was using the facilities in a rural Oregon truck stop, a local came up behind him and, referring to See's shoulder-length hair, remarked, "This here's the men's room."
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN LANDMARK: The narrow, rickety "stairway to hell" at the Scream's old Embassy Hotel hovel. You just don't get the same sense of adventure on the wide, stately staircase at the club's current Park Plaza setting.
BEST CLUB NAME: The Surprising Taste of No Wax Formica (also kudos for creative messages on the phone machine). Runner-up: Invasion at Wall Street (take that, Stock Exchange).
TRANSFORMER AWARD: To the Palomino, which shifted gears from being a no-nonsense country-music club to offering some of the liveliest and most varied shows in the Valley. Seen there lately: SWA, Concrete Blonde, Billy Zoom and Top Jimmy & the Rhythm Pigs.
MOST UNFORTUNATE DEPARTURES: Disc jockey Roger Steffens from KCRW-FM's "The Reggae Beat" show and head fez King Cotton from the Bonedaddys.
L.A. Beat's picks for the year's best non-major label releases by local bands:
Steve Hochman: 1--"Three Squares and a Roof," Balancing Act (Primitive Man).
2--"Ragin', Full-on," Firehose (SST).
3--"Through and Through," Divine Weeks (Down There).
4--"Neurotica," Redd Kross (Big Time).
5--"Snakehandler," Divine Horsemen (SST).
6--"Happy Nightmare Baby," Opal (SST).
7--"Broomtree," Downy Mildew (Texas Hotel).
8--"The New West," Walking Wounded (Chameleon).
9--"Looking for Anything," Chris Hickey (CNC).
10--"Civilization and Its Discotheques," Fibonaccis (Blue Yonder).
Jeff Spurrier: 1--"Ragin', Full-on," Firehose.
2--"Middle of the Night," Divine Horsemen (SST).
3--"Next Saturday Afternoon," Thelonious Monster (Relativity).
4--"Pigus Drunkus Maximus," Top Jimmy & the Rhythm Pigs (Down There).
5--"The Nature of Things," Caterwaul (Lost Arts).
6--"Dos," Dos (SST).
7--"Through and Through," Divine Weeks.
8--"Neurotica," Redd Kross.
9--"Sasquatch Rock," Lawndale (SST).
10--"Civilization and Its Discotheques," Fibonaccis.