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Local Bands Packing Their Bags for Some Overseas Gigs

December 25, 1991|JOHN D'AGOSTINO

In a sudden wave of exportation that seems coordinated, but isn't, a number of San Diego musicians will be spending the first months of 1992 touring foreign climes.

Buddy Blue and the Jacks leave Feb. 10 for a mini-tour that will take them through Norway, Sweden and Finland. It was a European promoter's idea to bring the band over, and Blue is pleasantly surprised at the entrepreneur's accommodating offer.

"On top of flying the band over there, feeding us, and putting us up in hotels, they're paying us much better money than we make here," Blue said recently. "This guy really wants us, and that's amazing to me because our album ("Guttersnipes 'n' Zealots") is available in Europe only as an import. It just goes to show how much better people's taste is over there," he added, laughing.

Before heading for Scandinavia, Blue and the Jacks are scheduled to play New Year's Eve at Bodie's, downtown.

Beginning in April, the Paladins will crisscross the globe with three other acts managed by Kevin Morrow of Solana Beach. Morrow himself will escort the Five Blind Boys of Alabama Gospel group and Bay Area bluesers Little Charlie and the Nightcats to Sydney, Australia. From Down Under, he'll take the Blind Boys to New Orleans, where they'll perform at the famous Jazz and Heritage Festival, and then to England, where they'll be joined by the Paladins (with the Blasters' Dave Alvin aboard) and Charlie Musselwhite for a series of concerts.

After Britain, various combinations of the entourage will tour Denmark, Holland and France before returning to the States in May.

And, in April, Don Dunn, the local performer-songwriter ("Hitchcock Railway") who now divides his time between Nashville and San Diego, will embark on a six-week tour that will take him to Ireland, Germany and Denmark. In one venue that Dunn describes as "the Irish equivalent of the Belly Up Tavern," he'll be backed by Paul Brady's band, Step Aside. Otherwise, Dunn will be performing solo on the tour, which includes appearances at four Danish folk festivals.

"What I like about the trip is that it fulfills my college-days dream of bumming around Europe by myself," Dunn said recently, "and yet I won't have to be a bum."

Last month, security guards at Graceland, the late Elvis Presley's mansion in Memphis, issued a stern reprimand to the vocalist of a Santa Barbara-based garage band called Ugly Kid Joe, after he dropped trou while posing for a photo outside the estate. It is not known if the guards accepted Whitfield Crane's explanation that the private airing was a sincere tribute to the King of Collars. Ugly Kid Joe opens for Scatterbrain Sunday at Sound FX.

Asphalt Ballet, the Virgin Records metal band made up of former San Diegans, won MTV's latest "Skull Crusher" video competition with their "Soul Survive" entry. In a Dec. 7 video-off against Tesla's current effort, the Ballet's video won 68% of the votes cast by MTV viewers. Asphalt Ballet is now touring the States.

NO RESPECT: In their current book, "Gigging: The Musician's Underground Touring Directory," authors Michael Dorf and Robert Appel give even shorter shrift to San Diego's music scene than do San Diegans. Music-oriented recommendations to touring bands include one local venue (the Spirit); three record stores (two Tower locations and one Off the Record); and two radio stations (SDSU's KCR and XTRA's 91X). That's it.

No doubt the product of exhaustive research, "Gigging" would have aspiring musicians across the nation believe, among other things, that there is no relevant (read "alternative") print media in this town (sorry, Reader); only one club catering to underground music (sorry Casbah, SOMA, Bodie's, et al); only one worthwhile college radio station (sorry, UCSD's KSDT); and only one decent record store outside Tower's garish red-and-yellow shadow (sorry, Lou's, Blue Meannie, Trade Roots, et al).

Rubbing salt into the wound, San Diego's low score places it beneath such seething hotbeds of rock 'n' roll action as Hartford, Conn.; Rochester, N.Y., and Milwaukee, Wis.

Ouch, babe.

Dorf and Appel, by the by, are the blokes responsible for the syndicated weekly radio program, "Live from the Knitting Factory," a program so well-received that A&M Records has been releasing a namesake series of albums recorded live at the popular New York City nightclub. Clubbing, it would appear, is the duo's true calling; and, perhaps, their appropriate punishment, as well.

GRACE NOTES: (Tickets for the following concerts will be sold at all TicketMaster outlets unless otherwise specified) Forbidden Pigs, touring in support of their terrific recent release, "Una Mas Cerveza!," return home for gigs at Patrick's II on Dec. 29, and at the Casbah on Dec. 30.

CRITIC'S CHOICE

NIGHT OF OUTRAGEOUSNESS AND RIFF-ROCKING

It doesn't take a genius to realize that the most-awaited show this week is a three-tiered offering that brings the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam to the Del Mar Fairgrounds' O'Brien Pavilion on Saturday. Keyed by the manic mayhem of bassist Flea, the Peppers do not so much perform as assault. The band's indelicate balance of visual and musical outrageousness sometimes threatens to teeter-totter out of control, but skill and sincerity lend purpose to what otherwise is the sensual equivalent of a curbside mugging.

Meanwhile, Nirvana's punky riff-rocking has made it a rave of the alternative nether world, and Pearl Jam--one of the most hyped bands of the year--has a local connection in vocalist Eddie Vedder, a former San Diegan. The fun starts at 7 p.m. For more information, call 570-1222 or 278-TIXS.

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