Riff Raff

A Punk's Progress; Critic's Corner

The band's in the process of mailing demos and plans to play out within the next month or so. And even if he's removed now from a cloistered life, Marler is unquestionably and proudly transformed by his monastic experience. "It's a war," he says of the monk's life. "You're taking upon yourself ... a war. Which means struggle, difficulty, challenge, suffering. And a taste of reward. It was an amazing experience. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the whole world."

Critic's Corner
In a move that might come as something of a relief to a lot of local musicians, music scribe Greg Heller has decided to leave San Francisco. Citing an interest in being closer to family and friends -- as well as better surfing opportunities -- he's moved south to Venice, which leaves the Bay Area with one less proudly cantankerous music scribe. Packing up his things meant dusting off a lot of the hate mail he received during his tenure at the late BAM magazine, where his Night Fever column often joyously (and wittily) skewered musicians toiling in the trenches of the Paradise Lounge and the Hotel Utah. We asked if he had any words for the local acts that felt they got burned by his criticisms. "Almost without exception, I was right," he says. "There were very few bands who sucked ass who did not, in fact, suck ass."

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