Confidential to Owen, the Author of Wyatt Riot and the Rambling Note We Are Reprinting This Week We don't need a hug. (J.S.)
I Will Wait Ed's Redeeming Qualities, one of the greatest -- and certainly the sweetest -- San Francisco drinking bands of all time, come out of retirement this week for a reunion show at Slim's, the first since the group called it quits a year-and-a-half ago. The New Hampshire-based crew of creative writing students were a Boston favorite before packing their ukuleles, clarinets, cardboard basses, violins, and accordions for San Francisco in 1989. Here they charmed bargoers with tales of black comedy and weird friends, toured the States a few times, and released four albums with small-time record companies. At one point, the band even had a hemi-demi-semi hit. (The Breeders, who violinist Carrie Bradley sometimes guested with, covered "Drivin' on 9" on Last Splash.) What made Ed's Redeeming Qualities break? For starters, multi-instrumentalist Jonah Winter moved back to the East Coast. Ukulele man Dan Leone (the Cheap Eats guy at the Guardian) wanted to work more on his writing. And Bradley wanted to get things moving with her rock band 100 Watt Smile. The April 23 show at Slim's also happens to coincide with the debut of 100 Watt Smile's first record, And Reason Flew, and the national release of two fine Ed's albums, Big Grapefruit Clean-Up Job and At the Fish & Game Club, which are out again thanks to a distribution deal that Ed's label recently made with Rykodisc. Bradley says she's excited about both bands and allows that this probably won't be the last chance for anyone who missed Ed's the first time around. Says Bradley, "We miss it a lot and as it always felt more like a labor of love and a prolonged happy accident than a musical career, I imagine we'll always want to return to it and our wonderful fans whenever circumstances allow." (J.S.)
SFOver: A Public Service Announcement for Local Bands -- the Bad News Last week the business people at SF Weekly quietly and indefinitely postponed the fourth installment of the SFO music festival. Meaning: It probably won't happen this year, if ever. The paper bought the rights to SFO -- a 35-club, 300-band, three-day weekend -- from Gavin in 1997 (for a "nominal fee," says SF Weekly Publisher Jim Rizzi) and had planned to hold the fest this July. But co-producer Queenie Taylor says the organizers couldn't come up with a coherent plan to attract L.A. industry players, who, she says, already come to San Francisco to see bands and would prefer to spend a weekend in a less-traveled spot. "We weren't sure that we could reinvent the wheel again in a way that would make us happy and in a way that would ultimately make our audience happy," she says. Compounding the problem: a new industry conference in Las Vegas in May and Portland's North by Northwest, which will now be held in August instead of October. (J.S.)
A Public Service Announcement for Local Bands -- the Good News Organizers of North by Northwest, the Portland, Ore., music festival and media conference, are accepting applications for the mid-August fete through June 1. Bands can obtain a form by calling (512) 467-7979 or accessing the NXNW Web site at www.nxnw.com. (J.D.P.)
Question of the Week Why is it that Linda McCartney, who with all due respect was essentially rock's most successful groupie, ends up with a Page One eulogy in the Chronicle, while the obit for Octavio Paz -- who won the Nobel Prize -- runs in the back of the second section? (J.S.)
Free Music Aussie pop songwriter Richard Davies performs a free show at the Haight Street Amoeba on Friday, April 24, at 6 p.m. (J.D.P.)
Free Food On Saturday, April 25, the Food Not Bombs folks hold Soupstock at the Golden Gate Band Shell. Featuring, among others, Storm & Her Dirty Mouth and Little White Radio, the daylong festival celebrates "punk rock, hip hop, and full-tilt boogie rock 'n' roll with a big gathering of four generations of beatniks, hippies, peace punks, hip hoppers, rastafaris and a multiracial and multicultural happening." (J.D.P.)
"Skirting the boundaries of libel since 1997." Riff Raff riffraff: 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 (B.W.). Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to email@example.com, or mail it to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly.