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Lawsuit Makes a Case for Alternative Pop

VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | ROCKTALK

The Bay Area band, which has been around for 10 years, will be in search of new fans at Nicholby's on Friday.

June 13, 1996|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Lawsuit, in addition to being a popular means of problem solving along with gunfire and abusive language, is also a band. The Bay Area-based Lawsuit will be squeezing onto the stage at Nicholby's on Friday night. With 10 members, five albums and a bunch of fans in the Bay Area, Lawsuit is hoping to make some converts during its Poinsettia City debut.

The band has been around almost as long as Perry Mason, according to conga player Dave Ciruli.

"The band has been around for 10 years," he said. It was originally a four-piece, but in two years, it became a 12-piece. There haven't been too many personnel changes; basically two people moved away. The four originals are still in the band. I'm one of the new guys--I've only been in the band for six years.

"We play alternative pop, but it's different than anything else you've ever heard. There's a four-piece horn section and two of us on percussion besides the drummer--it's really powerful alternative pop."

The band's latest release is a self-titled five song EP. The first two releases were tapes, the last three CDs, most of which will be on sale at the gig, right before the band heads for Lake Tahoe to play Saturday night. Not ready for the Ani DiFranco do-it-yourself scenario, Lawsuit wants to get signed.

"This is really a lot of work. The touring costs are high with 10 people plus four or five crew and five vehicles and a trailer," said Ciruli. "The expense can be prohibitive. We've had four labels checking us out. We need money."

Lawsuit will play about 9:30 p.m. Headlining will be the Untouchables, a band that helped to start the ska craze in Southern California about 15 years ago. To find out more about this $7 show, call 653-2320.

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"I always thought we were the best band in the world from 1980 to 1984, said the former front man of Echo & the Bunnymen, Ian McCulloch. Twelve years after the pinnacle of greatness, and five years after the acrimonious breakup, McCulloch, who sports a shock of unruly hair, an apparent customer of the Woody the Woodpecker Barber Shop, has reunited with guitarist Will Sergeant in a new band, Electrafixion. The band will perform its intoxicating version of Gothic pop at an 8 p.m. Friday show at the Ventura Theatre.

Echo & the Bunnymen broke up basically because McCulloch wanted to do the solo thing. So he did, but the band, much to his dismay, hired a new singer and toured without him, giving a hypnotically smashing performance at the Ventura Theatre nearly four years ago.

Electrafixion, with a new album "Burned," is doing mostly the new stuff, but if McCulloch and Sergeant are feeling nostalgic, they have over six albums to draw from.

So here's my favorite Echo & the Bunnymen story: About 10 years ago when the band was still pretty darn great, they were playing the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara. McCulloch was doing the rock star thing, all hunched over with his back to the crowd, moaning one of his wonderfully neurotic songs.

As he shuffled a few steps backward, suddenly he disappeared head-first, feet in the air cockroach style, into the heretofore unseen darkened abyss that was the orchestra pit.

The band continued to play, but slower and slower as they gathered at the edge of the stage to stare into the darkness looking for their fallen star. Next, a few stage lights came on as a bunch of security people and roadies rushed into the pit, leaving the audience abuzz during this unscheduled interruption.

A few minutes later, McCulloch was helped back onto the stage from his six-foot reverse swan dive. Standing shakily he said, "I'll bet you thought I did that on purpose." Everyone laughed and the show went on without a hitch.

Until a week later. After two washings, the concert shirt I bought fit my cat.

Anyway, opening for Electrafixion will be the Elevator Drops. Also on the bill is Kitty Cat Stew from Ojai. To find out more about this $13.50, 8 p.m. show call 648-1888.

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Everyone was so nice at the Kids' Arts benefit Sunday at the Livery in Ventura that if Mister Rogers had showed up, he would have been branded a troublemaker. The lengthy mostly acoustic program went along smoothly on one of those great, foggy Ventura summer days.

Particular standouts were Blimp, and, talent-wise the Rincon Ramblers, about the best local band doing their folk, country and bluegrass thing.

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One of the best harmonica players anywhere, Gary Primich, a mainstay on the Austin music scene for a dozen years, will be blowing minds tonight at Joe Daddy's in Ventura. He has a new album, "Mr. Freeze," just out on Flying Fish Records. The venue will have an $8 cover for this show and also real root-beer barrels by the front desk. Call Joe Daddy's at 643-3264.

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