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MUSIC WAYNE TOUPS AND ZYDECAJUN : The Bayou Beat : Group will have the audience rocking and dancing to its Cajun zydeco during an appearance in Santa Barbara.

May 23, 1991|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In this Wayne's World there's only one rule: Ya gotta dance. Well maybe people like Archie Bunker (a man chiefly noted for saying things such as "I hate fun. I'm a maniac.") won't dance. But others will.

Wayne's World is all sweaty and populated with energetic people without socks. Wayne Toups & Zydecajun provide the rockin' soundtrack. As the name indicates, Toups' music is Cajun zydeco all the way from Louisiana.

"Our music is rooted in the Cajun culture," said Toups in a recent phone interview. "It's sort of Cajun R&B with some Southern rock influences. It has a Cajun beat that will rock your socks off."

Toups, you may recall, melted everyone's mind at last September's Ojai Bowlful of Blues Festival. Well, yesterday Ojai and tomorrow maybe the world, because Toups is spreading like the plague, but with a much better beat.

He recently released his fourth album, "Fish Out of Water." It is his second on a big label, Mercury, which has also reissued his first two efforts. Toups is out of the bayou, and here he comes.

"Zydeco is a more powerful word than Cajun for some reason," said Toups. "Clifton Chenier was doing zydeco tours in the '60s. And yet, there's still a lot of people out there who don't have a clue what zydeco music is; so we have to get it out there. All I need is one hot dog DJ to get it started. I need to get on the Lettermans, the Carsons, the Arsenios, so people can check it out."

Rather than the small screen, it's going to be the small stage (and the big dance floor) at Felix's Cantina in Santa Barbara for next week's Blues Tues. Daze celebration dance-a-thon. It's a long way, in any case, from Crowley, La.--Toups' hometown.

His wild accordion action has nothing in common with Lawrence Welk's music. Toups rocks.

"Well, I started playing the accordion as a hobby. I had a lot of odd jobs, and played on the weekends. Zydeco is Creole R&B that's mostly played on the piano or the accordion. The accordion was the only instrument I could play.

"I'm just a Cajun boy with a wide-open mind."

Toups is known for giving the fans what they want--long sets.

"Cajun bands don't believe in taking breaks; usually, they play from 8 until 12," he said.

"They do take time between songs, light a cigarette, tell a joke. We usually do 2 1/2-hour sets now."

Now that he is making a living as a musician, what's left on the Toups agenda?

"You know, I would have liked to have played on the same stage with Duane Allman. Then again, a tour with Eric Clapton would be great. The musical contrast would be fabulous. But for now, I'm just doing what I like to do."

* WHERE AND WHEN

Wayne Toups & Zydecajun at Felix's Cantina, 525 State St., Santa Barbara, 962-1432, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m., $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

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