By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
By Emma Silvers
By Alee Karim
Speedin' Back Almost 30 years ago, during a calamitous Rolling Stones concert, a vicious Hell's Angel knifed a gun-wielding man to death. Rolling Stone covered the event like World War II; that, along with the subsequent concert film Gimme Shelter, made the name Altamont, the speedway east of Livermore where the concert was held, synonymous with death and the end of the halcyon era known as the '60s. Next month, Buck Owens will play the speedway, reopening Altamont as a live-music venue featuring national acts for the first time since that notorious day. Two promoters, Andy Herbst and Fi Brewer, have convinced Alameda County to allow them to stage shows there; if the Buck Owens fans manage not to kill each other, the promoters will follow that concert with several others throughout the rest of the summer. But don't get the wrong idea, say the pair. "Everything we do is in conjunction with racing," says Herbst. The concerts are being used as a way to draw more people to watch the cars. The Graffiti America event June 20 and 21 will feature Owens and Sha Na-Na along with the surviving members of S.F. warhorses like Big Brother & the Holding Company, Quicksilver, and It's a Beautiful Day, as well as NASCAR Racing and cool old cars. The dejà vu spooky part? Big Brother played that stormy Rolling Stones show 30 years ago. (J.S.)
Dusted At long last -- and after much hype -- Creeper Lagoon releases its debut record, I Become Small and Go. The band celebrates with a special party at the Bottom of the Hill on Thursday, May 21. The festivities include disco lights, opening band Beulah, a rousing between-set game of bingo, and a poorly-kept-secret performance by the Dust Brothers, whose Nickel Bag record label is releasing I Become. Oh yeah, Creeper will play too. (J.S.)
More Good Ideas Aren't rock concerts boring? We're never surprised by an encore. We all know to get a drink at a neighboring bar and show up at 10:30 to miss the opening act. Even spectacular venues lose their specialness when fans are forced to trudge through the routine. That's why we're thrilled by two odd shows this week. First, Sonic Youth and Jim O'Rourke cram themselves into Amoeba on Haight next Wednesday, May 27, for a free-form set at 2 p.m. (For crowd control, the store is guaranteeing admission if you buy a new CD. After that it's first come, first served.) Second, Shellac, the Chicago art punk band, is playing a breakfast show at 11 a.m. this Sunday, May 24, at the Great American Music Hall. At Amoeba, you'll be able to flip through Cuban folk CDs while listening to feedback scrawl. At the Great American you might be able to get some breakfast vittles with your trash culture and Steve Albini's shitty microphones. No one is promising an encore. (J.S.)
We're All Wage Slaves, Pal The following anonymous billet-doux was sent via e-mail. We asked the author for his real name. He declined, claiming that he didn't want "Jeff Stark running down to county records and asking [his] landlord stupid questions." Anyway, here's the unsigned letter: Jeff [Stark], you ignorant slut .... We've put up with your witless whiny banter in the Weekly since your smarmy ass showed up awhile back. Occasionally we may even find a chestnut in that shit heap you call a column, but recently you've struck a new low by raking the hapless life of Karen Carney through your media meatgrinder. ["Yeah, Well We're Tired of Hearing About Bar Closings Too," Riff Raff, April 29]. When your target is easy to prey on, it doesn't make you an investigative journalist by any means. You really could've found a better way to present her case than you did. It was mean-spirited and shows little understanding of her situation. We've all flaked the tax man on occasion and while Karen has failed to run a tight ship at least she attempts to sail at all. Guys like you are a dime a dozen, insignificant pricks with pens that have never attempted to run anything bigger than their fat yaps. I have never heard a record recorded by you, yet you seem to be some sort of expert on the subject. I have never been to an establishment run by you, yet you're an expert on running a business now? Oh, am I failing to see your journalistic integrity? If your out-of-state parent corporation took away your lil' platform you wouldn't be much at all but another toiling wage slave. In fact I can't believe some of the cool people working there can stand your vociferous ass hogging the oh so special Riff Raff (tm) hotseat you've created. Long may you reign, oh great lame-ass from the condescending media throne .... The rest of us in the trenches will be sure you're on the guest list and hope you are pleased with us.
Now Here's a Letter The following was written by Tristin Laughter, who works at Lookout! Records, the Donnas' label. I wanted to write you a response to your Donnas piece ["Detachment," Music, May 13]. I thought it was intelligent, insightful and hit precisely the question I have long held about them, articulating compelling repercussions. As you may know, if you have ever asked them, their process of songwriting (in your words, "the Authorship Question") is collaborative, and, as most artistic processes are, it is also ambiguous in its genesis. Darin Raffaelli [the band's manager figure] certainly helped them shape themselves into who they are. At this point, the four young women who "are" the Donnas are the Donnas. They are the authors of their creation, because it is a creation that has required a series of constant re-creations, enabled not only by the "concept," their sexuality, or their songs, but also by their particular personalities. I applaud you, though, for following the concept to its ends. The problem I would put to you is that the two choices you posit, feminist sexual empowerment or victimized voiceless male fantasy, are overly oppositional and binary. It could be the case that had Darin written all their songs, he was providing them with the form through which their own expression could flow. The dictum that whoever designs the form controls the content is as outdated as your sexist simile "it's as important to their act as their nubile breasts."