Informal Nation
The “Rock Jeopardy” portion of last weekend's SF02 event featured some glaring boo-boos. A full panel of participants, for example, was dumbstruck by the lyrics to “Duke of Earl,” and one “question” managed to squeeze Steve Winwood into the Clapton/Baker/Bruce trio Cream. No one seemed to mind, however. You've heard of the “uncola”: Well, the folks at the Gavin Report have just wrapped the second year of the “unconvention.” SF02 was so informal that keynote speaker Elliot Cahn (co-manager of Green Day and the Muffs) addressed his audience by sitting around with interviewer Ben Fong-Torres, shooting the breeze as if they were watching the NBA playoffs together. Which is not to say that future SF0s won't formalize. “By nature of being around a few years, these things grow up a bit,” says event coordinator Bonnie Simmons. According to Simmons, SF02's numbers were uniformly up from those of last year's inaugural showcase. This year, roughly 275 bands, selected from over 700 tapes submitted, were featured at 30-plus nightspots around town. At these showcases, most everyone stayed in character: Folkies expressed their sincere gratitude at being invited, while rebel-rockers and postmodernists alike took time between songs to mock the glad-handing process. Musicians seemed to comprise the bulk of the audience at the Press Club, looking to glean tips about marketability from the biz insiders who generally overrun similar conferences in Austin and New York. At one SF02 panel, former Weekly music editor Julene Snyder joined a group of publicists to discuss the merits of gimmicky press kits, and kids in bands lined up to ask questions. “It's hard to give information to neophytes and not bore people who've been in the industry,” Simmons admits, but SF02's ragtag setup handled both objectives with aplomb.

License to Ill
Expect to spot a lot of old-school kicks at the Beastie Boys' Bay Area arena shows next week, but don't plan on seeing the Bad Brains. In Canada, on their first night opening for the boys Beastie, vocalist HR freaked out and refused to go onstage. According to Kathy Koehler of the Mitch Schneider publicity firm, when Bad Brains Manager Anthony Countey tried to calm him down, HR threw a fit and assaulted Countey, who wound up with a broken noise and battered body. Also catching a punch was Earl Hudson, the band's drummer and HR's brother. HR was held and released from custody that same night, but was further embroiled in trouble at the Canadian border for possessing marijuana. At press time, the Bad Brains' tour slot was canceled and a replacement was still in the works.

By James Sullivan, Sia Michel

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