Riff Raff

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About the Music Business I Learned From Eddie Money, etc...

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About the Music Business I Learned From Eddie Money So the California Music Awards -- better known as the Bammies -- pretty much came and went without making much of an impact, though the entire show, smartly pruned down to three hours, will be broadcast on the WB20 on the 22nd. But some folks aren't quite so cynical about the ceremony's usefulness. Jeff Byrd, who works at SOMA recording studio Mr. Toads and its label arm, Toadophile Records, was nothing but thrilled about the opportunity the show gave Toadophile signee Applesaucer, which got to open the awards ceremony as a nominee for Best Debut Album (the golden mike went to Stroke 9 instead). Another big thrill was the celebrity schmooze at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium -- such as it was, considering most of the award-winners didn't even bother to show up.

There was no such rock-star ego demonstrated by Eddie Money, who came riding high on a wave of '80s nostalgia, what with "Two Tickets to Paradise" being covered by William Shatner in a dot-com ad (hey, you take what you can get, especially if residual checks are involved). Before hitting the Bill Graham stage, Applesaucer members were lucky enough to receive a pep talk from Money himself -- and Mr. Toads employee Tom Byrne was wise enough to catch it on tape. Holding court, Money rallied the troops. "Applesaucer? That's great. You trying to get some airplay?" Dramatically clapping his hands, he offered up the answer. "Rock 'n' roll!" See? It's that simple.

Or is it? Later, Money offered even more sage advice to the camera. "Eddie Money, howyadoin'? Applesaucer's record's the best. You guys get good independent promotion, you'll be there." Appropriately psyched by the experience, Applesaucer began work on its follow-up album less than a week later.

Plucked StorkThese days, fear and paranoia are rampant among folks running local clubs -- every time city officials poke their heads into a venue, back hairs start rising, and not always for bad reasons. Such is the current emotional tenor at the Stork Club in Oakland. For a half-century, the joint has been a beloved watering hole for East Bay working-class stock, and home to many rock and experimental acts just getting their starts. In late 1998, the Stork's lease was terminated and the club was forced to move out of its longtime digs. But under the watch of owner Micki Chittock it was reincarnated as a bar and restaurant on Telegraph Avenue just a few blocks over. However, as booker Val Esway explains, the restaurant side didn't do very well, and for the sake of cost-effectiveness management decided to shutter the food service and shift back to operating as a bar and live music space.

When that happened, the club was informed by Oakland's City Planning Commission that it would have to reapply for its permits and make its case before the board. No evidence of evildoing there -- because cities want to keep track of who's selling hooch in what context, and for good reason, that's simply how permitting works. But folks associated with the Stork say they've heard whispers that the city's loath to grant the club permits, and what with Mayor Jerry Brown talking about wanting to make downtown Oakland a tech center of its very own ... well, folks are concerned (a Planning Commission rep hadn't returned phone calls by the time we went to press). In the meantime, a petition to let the Stork get its permits is making the rounds, and the club's hosting the second of two benefits this Saturday "purely to get people to sign the petition," Esway explains. The case goes before the Planning Commission on the 26th.

Shredding Adolescents Lest we needed any more proof that Metallica is getting older and more, y'know, sophisticated -- the shorn hair, that whole San Francisco Symphony business -- a couple more signs of the apocalypse have appeared: Not only is drummer Lars Ulrich talking about morals (morals!) in the band's lawsuit against MP3 trough Napster, bassist Jason Newsted has taken to mentoring small children. Last week, Newsted took the stage at the Last Day Saloon to play backup with the Moss Brothers, who've been making the store-opening rounds since last year with straightforward pop-rock. "He's a fan," explains Moss Brothers manager Marshall Lamm of Newsted's involvement. "He got a copy of the CD in December, and they've been playing together a few times since then."

Greetings to Asbury Park, N.J.If it's true that a lot of musicians these days are talking about skipping town as a valid career move, Ian Brennan is positing a less dire option. For the second year running, he's assembled a passel of fine local folkies to make a weeklong swing across the East Coast for the "Best of San Francisco" tour. The new batch includes Chuck Prophet, Carmaig de Forest, Sunshine Haire and Caroleen Beatty of Waycross, Eric McFadden, Michael Zapruder, Storm of Storm & Her Dirty Mouth, and Noe Venable -- whose new album No Curses Here (Intuition) is as fine a folk-pop record as we've heard in ages. The tour begins in New York April 24 and swings through D.C., Baltimore, Providence, Boston, Asbury Park, and Philadelphia, finally closing shop in Woodstock before returning to the Bay Area -- hopefully.

Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to Mark.Athitakis@sfweekly.com, or mail them to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly.

 
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