While in Chicago for a recent tour date, Lucero stopped by the offices of The Onion's A.V. Club and performed a cover of David Bowie's ’80s hit "Modern Love." To presumably no-one's surprise, Rick Steff, Roy Berry, and Jim Spake, in particular, nail this. But they must have locked guitarist Brian Venable in the bus:
Bully tackles the issue of adolescent peer bullying, particularly as it occurs in schools. The film gained some notoriety the last couple months as it has served as a battleground between the Weinstein Company, which produced it, and the MPAA, the organization that assigns ratings to films, sometimes to controversial effect. The MPAA gave Bully an R rating for language, Harvey Weinstein called foul and said he’d just release the film unrated, the story blew up in the press, and compromise was achieved when a few F-words were cut to “qualify” for an arbitrary PG-13. At stake in the rating decision was the audience of teens who ostensibly would most benefit from seeing the film.
That’s the back-story and the extent of my preconceived notions going into the screening. To my surprise, Bully is less geared to a teen audience than I had expected. This is less a school film the likes of which would be shown to a class to spell a substitute teacher than it is directed at actual teachers, administrators, and parents. If progress is to be made in epidemic bullying, it will have to come from the top, Bully argues.
The Stax Museum of American Soul Music will host a benefit concert on Monday, April 23rd for legendary Memphis guitar player Charles “Skip” Pitts, who is battling cancer and is currently in hospice care.
A former Stax session fixture, Pitts is most famous for his work with Isaac Hayes' ’70s band, including the iconic “wah-wah” guitar on Hayes' “Theme From Shaft.” In addition to Hayes, Pitts was a key player alongside such soul and R&B titans as Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, and the Isley Brothers. In recent years, he's best most visible as a core member of the multi-generational soul band the Bo-Keys, led by local producer/bassist Scott Bomar.
“It's been very long road that he's been on,” Bomar says of his ailing bandmate.
Bomar says that Pitts was diagnosed with kidney cancer roughly a year ago while on tour with Cyndi Lauper and had to leave the tour to have his kidney removed. He was better for awhile, but last year during a Bo-Keys tour, Bomar says, Pitts started to feel the same kind of back pain that had preceded his kidney diagnosis.
Now, Pitts, who recently turned 65, is dealing with what Bomar calls a “very advanced, aggressive” cancer that has spread to his lungs.
In order to help Pitts' family with medical bills and to assist with his arrangements, Royal Studio's Boo Mitchell, along with Bomar, “Elmo” Thomas of Elmo & the Shades (with whom Pitts also played), and Stax's Tim Sampson have organized a benefit show, which will take place inside Studio A at the Stax Museum on Monday, April 23rd. The show is scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $20, with additional donations accepted.
Performers will include: The Bo-Keys, Elmo & the Shades, Susan Marshall, A440, Barbara Blue, Al Kapone, and Kirk Whalum.
“Beyond everything else, it will be good for people to show their support,” Bomar says. “I think it will be a special night, musically, with lots of interesting collaborations from people who don't usually play together. Skip has a lot of friends.”
Tomorrow night (Friday, April 20) at 7 p.m., two fixtures of the local music scene - blogger/publicist Rachel Hurley and audio engineer/booking agent Curry Weber - will celebrate the launch of their new artist promotion and booking agency, Kangaroo, with a launch party at Otherlands.
Kangaroo comes out of the gate with a robust list of well-known local musicians already on the company's roster, including Star & Micey, Lord T & Eloise and The Memphis Dawls. Friday's launch party offers an equally stellar line-up, with Jeffrey James Hulett, Joseph Lemay and DJ Buck Wilders joining the Dawls as the evening's entertainment.
Seattle rockers This Providence played Newby's on Tuesday night. Before the gig, they stopped by Ardent Studios to perform their track "You're Mine":
The unprecedented scope of this year’s Record Store Day is evident on a local level as well, with Seattle's Light in the Attic Records sponsoring the Memphis Record Store Day Crawl. To coincide with the label’s official Record Store Day release of Never To Be Forgotten: The Flip Side of Stax 1968 - 1974 — a lavish boxed set of 10 vinyl singles that collectively cover the final days of the legendary Memphis soul label and come packaged in a hand-numbered edition of 4000 — three DJ/meet-and-greet hours will be set up throughout the afternoon at Shangri-La Records (2-3 p.m. featuring DJ Buck Wilders), Goner Records (3-4 p.m. featuring DJs Zac and Eric), and then the finale at a satellite record shop located in the Stax Museum itself (4—6 p.m. featuring DJs Leroy and Jones, plus free admission to the museum for these last two hours). Keeping with the Record Store Day tradition/policy, this boxed set will only be sold at these three locations on Saturday.
Wilco is coming to Mud Island Amphitheatre on Saturday, May 19th and we've got tickets.
We're giving away a pair of tickets each week on Friday. You can enter as many times as you like and winners will be notified via email. Good luck!
British singer-songwriter Marcus Foster played Minglewood Hall over the weekend. While he was in town, he stopped by Ardent Studios to perform: