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MUSIC : Tour de Fun : The Pleasure Barons, peopled by some talented rock cutups, take to the road again.

March 12, 1993|STEVE APPLEFORD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES; Appleford writes regularly about music for Valley Life.

Rosie Flores is looking for a song with "the right amount of sass to it." Dave Alvin is prepared for another 18 days as rock 'n' roll straight man. And Country Dick Montana simply suggests audiences "look swank, but not so swank that you take out all the sleaze."

It's all very appropriate for this unexpected club tour by the Pleasure Barons, the traveling rock 'n' country 'n' comedy roadshow that was last seen en route to Las Vegas about four years ago. The band now includes John Doe of X, Mojo Nixon and Katy Moffatt in its 11-person lineup, which lands Saturday night at the Palomino in North Hollywood.

"It's fun," says Alvin, who also joined Montana and Nixon on that earlier tour. "I'm not going to say it's musically valid. Why should it be? Too many things aspire to that these days."

Montana, the foulmouthed, bearded drummer and sometime vocalist for the Beat Farmers, shares leadership of the Barons with Nixon, best known for his crazed performances of such songs as "Elvis Is Everywhere" and "Gin-Guzzling Frenzy."

Montana says: "It's so hard to organize everyone, it scares me a little bit. It takes a lot of advance planning. And then it falls apart for whatever reason: Somebody goes to France, somebody's in jail, or nobody knows where Mojo is again."

The Barons' 16-show jaunt through eight states follows the recent debut of "Live in Las Vegas," the Hightone Records document of that first 1989 tour. As on the first album, the new band will probably alternate between such silliness as a Tom Jones medley and the more personal work of its featured players.

Not that any of them have gone into this with the idea of taking things too seriously. Alvin, for one, sees the current tour as a lighthearted break from the seriousness of his own music and club dates.

"My last album, I had so many songs about people dying, it's kind of nice for people to know I'm not such a Gloomy Gus all the time," Alvin says.

Country-rock artist Flores had been hearing stories about the first Barons tour and volunteered for the current one. She and Moffatt are the band's backup singers.

Speaking of the tour, Flores says, "They gave everyone plenty of time to create a window of time." She will begin recording her next album as soon as this tour ends. "Everybody was excited about the whole idea, because I think everybody's a fan of everybody else."

There are plans to tape a couple of this tour's shows for a possible album. And Montana says he hopes this Pleasure Barons thing will now happen more than once every four years.

It was Montana's organizing that made this year's tour possible. Alvin says: "In high school he'd be the guy--believe it or not, with his public image--he'd be the guy who would put together the poster party and bring the paints, and have it at his house: 'C'mon, everybody, let's all get involved!'

"You need to have somebody like that. He's actually all full of innocence and light and goodness, in a weird way. He really means well and goes through a lot of headaches for this."


* What: The Pleasure Barons, a band that includes Dave Alvin, John Doe, Rosie Flores, Katy Moffatt, Country Dick Montana and Mojo Nixon; also, Honk If Yer Horny.

* Location: at the Palomino, 6907 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.

* Hours: 9 p.m. Saturday.

* Price: $16. No drink minimum.

* Call: (818) 764-4010.

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