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
In New Orleans, if you have enough dignity to steer clear of Bourbon Street and enough imagination to crave something other than bayou blues, you make your way to the Spellcaster Lodge, a "private" social establishment run by New Orleans' leading underground couple: organist and one-man band Mr. Quintron and his crowd-enchanting puppeteer wife, Miss Pussycat. If you manage to find the Spellcaster Lodge without getting stabbed or struck legless, you might enjoy a night of gutter punk poetry and surreal aural libations -- or you might just watch some local kid get a slow haircut under spotlights, depending on your luck and the whim of the proprietors. Those for whom providence shines like a newly minted Sacagawea dollar will see Miss Pussycat performing her now-famous puppet rock opera Flossie and the Unicorns or catch Quintron emerging from behind the curtain to pound the keys until sweat rolls down his arms and his well-oiled hair swings in his eyes.
A quintrossential aspect of both of the latter indulgences is the patented Drum Buddy, a five-oscillator, light-activated, mechanically rotating, analog drum machine of Quintron's own devising. (The instrument is the mirror image of Quintron's earlier invention, the Disco Light Machine, which radiated flashes of light triggered by the beats of his drum kit.) The Drum Buddy emits the signature sounds of the cars, spaceships, and gaggle of witches in Miss Pussycat's puppet plays, as well as being the rhythmic backbone (and the light show) for Quintron's act.
Recently, at a rave called the Freebass Society's Caffeine Sex Fiend Music and Art Festival, Mr. Quintron demonstrated his machine for a sweaty crowd of junior technophiles. Footage from this show has become the focal point of Quintron's 49-minute infomercial for Drum Buddy, which features testimonials from musicians and grade-school teachers, musical corroboration from MC Tracheotomy and R&B legend Ernie K-Doe, excerpts from Flossie and the Unicorns, routines from the Drum Buddy Dancers, and, of course, questions from a live studio audience. While the infomercial may be parody (albeit delivered with Midwest candor by hosts Bob Global and Rebecca Simms), the deal is real. Quintron is building 100 machines -- complete with monophonic output, a built-in four-channel mixer, and four scratch switches encased in custom Russian birch cabinets and marine-grade aluminum -- that will be released to the consumer market. For the low price of $999.99, any fine-art collector, musician, studio owner, or educator can receive a Drum Buddy, a demo CD, a lab-grade ceramic hot-beverage mug, a half-day workshop with the inventor at the Spellcaster Lodge, a complimentary lodge-style lunch, and a late-evening "group jam." How could you go wrong? Quintron will offer a screening of his infomercial along with live demonstrations on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Justice League with MC Tracheotomy opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 440-0409. He also performs with Atta Boy & Burke and Chicken John's One Man Band at the Starry Plough in Berkeley on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $6; call (510) 841-2082.
With the unfortunate remake of the '70s cartoon Josie & the Pussycats, the release of Feral House's encyclopedic Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth, the emergence of superfan Web sites like http://home. att.net/~bubblegum, and dance nights such as the recent "Sugar Shack," there is no doubt that Bubblegum is back. Musicians whose tender childhood ears were warped into curious shapes by the wicked sounds of the Partridge Family, Tommy Roe, Ohio Express, Tommy James & the Shondells, and the 1910 Fruitgum Company have finally grown out of punk rock and come of age. Of course, in San Francisco, where popular culture is absorbed and digested in the stomach acid of crusty hedonism, even the Banana Splits may quickly be exposed for the drug-addled perverts that they were.
The true face of sherbet-flavored perversion may very well be the Beanweevils. Comprised of a local cab driver (and former bass player for Helios Creed) named Bean, the sickly twisted twee-voiced nymph Kelly Amthor, the sprightly guitar player David Newman, and the effervescent drummer Tim Vaughan, the Beanweevils offer irresistibly hummable, sardonically perceptive pop tunes about human pussies that fall off and spring cartoon legs, junkies and abused wives who make excuses, easy girls with hairy aureolas, baby Deadheads with gold cards and panhandling habits, strip club travesties, and suburban despair. As intrepidly honest as the lyrics might be, the Beanweevils' music slides over you like the sunny best of the Cowsills. Before you know it, you're singing, "Everyone's out to fuck you/ Yes, everyone's out to fuck you night and day/ They're gonna stick it in your boom-boom all the way," with bright, airy carelessness. The Beanweevils perform on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Starry Plough in Berkeley, opening for Mushroom at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5; call (510) 841-2082. The band also opens for Mushroom on Friday, Nov. 2, at Bruno's at 10 p.m. Tickets are $7; call 648-7701.
Think Halloween in San Francisco has lost its edge? Here's a show that will take all your self-indulgent hopes and your world-weary ennui and shove them up your ass -- or, at least, up the posterior of an overweight trailer-park Elvis impersonator and a sex-crazed paraplegic with a Messiah complex. The flier for "The Erotic Warhol" -- an event starring Frank Moore's Cherotic All-Stars, as well as eXtreme Elvis and Fluffgrrl -- promises to destroy your reality while asking if you're "ready to die." While I don't think you will physically expire at this show, it's a good guess that your sense of well-being, good taste, and personal hygiene will be forever shattered. If Bob Madigan's self-induced vomitorium -- from the creators of Cum Bucket, It's Fluffgrrl! -- doesn't push you over the edge, perhaps the King's shit-hurling act or the drooling-and-bellowing masturbatory Olympics of Frank Moore will do the trick. For those impervious to the sensual authority of human fluids and excrement, the music itself might do you in. "The Erotic Warhol" takes place on Saturday, Nov. 3, at Kimo's at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 885-4535.