Riff Raff

Welcome to the Majors On Saturday, Dec. 6, Creeper Lagoon drummer Patrick Mangan took a day off from recording songs for a new album at Sony Studios in Santa Monica to headline a show at the Bottom of the Hill with his band. The pop group was on the cover of BAM that week and the show was sold out. The next day Mangan was still high from the excitement. Then the band fired him. Mangan says he's devastated. "For the last two years, it's been every day with those guys," he says. "I feel like I just broke up with three girlfriends." Singer/guitarist Sharky Laguna says the decision was tough, but that "creatively we're coming from different places." Mangan says that was news to him. He thinks that there was something a little larger behind the decision. In particular, he thinks that Dreamworks -- the major label the band recently signed with -- pressured the group to get rid of him. That deal -- giving Creeper Lagoon a shot at the big time -- makes the breakup even worse for Mangan. The contract had been rumored for months, but a special licensing agreement to get the first record released on indie label Nickel Bag took up a lot of time. The agreement was for a mostly finished album, but the band wanted to rerecord three songs. Late last month, the four members migrated south to finish up with Mark Engert, a young knob-twiddler best known for producing Fiona Apple. Although Mangan missed them at the time, he says there were a couple of signs that things weren't going so well. First, the band's A&R guy, Luke Wood, was encouraging Creeper to use more samples. Then the suggestions got a little more specific. "The label heard what we were doing [in the studio], and they wanted more of a drum-machine feel -- a loop feel," he says. After about 10 days and $40,000 the songs weren't yet finished, but the band had to return to S.F. for the Bottom of the Hill show. No one told Mangan when they were going back to finish the tracks. He didn't think anything of it until he got the ax. "Sharky told me that there was a lot of pressure," Mangan says. Laguna insists that's not the case. "This is not a record company decision," he says. "It's our decision; trust me on this one." The day after the split, the rest of the band was in Santa Monica with another drummer. Laguna won't say who's behind the kit, but rumor has it the drummer has toured extensively with an alternative-rock superstar. Mangan received a tidy severance check, but he's still perusing his 55-page contract with a new lawyer. "The band is not going to screw me over, but I have to protect myself," says Mangan. "The saddest thing is that the record is going to come out in February or March and I'm going to have to ask for a copy." (J.S.)

Selvin Watch: Down, Boy As a public service to our readers -- or perhaps as a beginner's lesson in punching up your writing with sexist prose -- below we reprint the first two paragraphs of veteran Chron pop music critic Joel Selvin's Dec. 16 live review of Fiona Apple at the Warfield. A raging, virile Selvin was obviously handcuffed by the niceties of the mainstream press in crafting this extraordinary review; we feel our version -- with but one key noun/pronoun substitution -- captures the musky nature of the writer's intentions. (J.S.)

All gushy and giggly, Sex Kitten surveyed her audience, hand on hip. "I'm in a mood tonight," Sex Kitten told the Warfield audience. What kind of mood Sex Kitten didn't say.

Sex Kitten's "Criminal" video, in which Sex Kitten crawls around half naked, launched the 20-year-old Sex Kitten to MTV stardom and finally boosted sales of Sex Kitten's nearly year-old album. But for this show Sex Kitten was mainly clothed, wearing pants, a skirt and a purple tank top that revealed a pierced belly button when Sex Kitten held her arms over Sex Kitten's head. Sex Kitten is a modern-day Lolita.

We Got the Beat DJ culture is a lot like being in the Navy: Going to battle takes years of training on expensive equipment, and finding a woman on deck is becoming more common every day. But in the clubs as in the Navy, presence isn't synonymous with respect. Women DJs are constantly up against promoters who slate the females to side rooms, or give them crappy time slots. "Things are improving for women DJs," says DJ Annie, aka XJS. "We're getting much more respect, but it's definitely still a boys' club." For the DJs at "Sister," a new Monday night party at Cat's Alley, respect is fundamental. DJ Annie says she and her partners -- DJs Polywog, Charlotte the Baroness, and Kristen -- started the weekly party this month as an answer to the boys'-club mentality and to provide a place for women to get plenty of time on deck. Each week "Sister" showcases a different genre of club music -- hip hop and house; drum 'n' bass and jungle -- spun by a who's who list of old- and new-school women DJs. With several years of DJ experience, both Charlotte the Baroness and Polywog have the skills to cut their way through a stack of vinyl from almost any era and style. The other residents, DJs Kristen and Annie, have equal ability, but they both opt for new-school records. Special guest DJs are invited each week, and while the club caters to female DJs, there's no gender line. "It's all about getting the girls out there," says Annie. "We're not anti-male, it's just that we want to give women fair recognition." Indeed, on Dec. 1, "Sister" 's opening night, three of the best male hip-hop DJs on the planet called the promoters to see if they could get on the bill. The promoters were wary at first, but the boys -- Cut Chemist from Los Angeles and Radar and Z-Trip from Arizona -- said they would bend a little if the promoters would. The three showed up at the SOMA club decked out in dresses, fingernail polish, and flamboyant wigs. Annie says "Sister" now has a precedent. "If the boys want to spin here they will have to be in drag and should expect to get the worst slot," she says. Meanwhile, "Sister" will continue to break down stereotypes and prove that a woman's place is most definitely in the house. (R.A.)

"We've forgotten Billy Preston.": Robert Arriaga (R.A.), Johnny DiPaola (J.D.P.), Karl D. Esturbense (K.D.E.), Jeff Stark (J.S.), Silke Tudor (S.T.), Heather Wisner (H.W.), and Bill Wyman (

 
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