STOP THE PRESSES!
(I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY THAT)
It’s a quaint phrase from another era (not so long ago) and if you have no idea what I‘m talking about I’m not about to school you. Let’s leave it at this: it involves a news-development so big, so earth-shaking, so historic, that everything stops in its tracks for the announcement.
So here it is.
The legendary bassist of the beyond-legendary rock band Spinal Tap — Derek Smalls — after decades of laying low and weighing his options, his next move — has now made it.
His solo album, first solo album, oh I can hardly contain myself, a SOLO ALBUM from the incomparable Derek Smalls: “Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing),” will be released Friday the 13th of April on Twanky Records/BMG, to a world holding its breath. (Because… is that rotten cucumbers we smell?)
NO SMALLS FEAT, THIS
My decades of devotion to this legendary UK trio plus one (almost anyone, really), following their meteoric rise, crash-and-burn, rise again with pain-effort-limping and carry on career, and chronicling it in the legendary rock journals of three continents, has — hopefully — earned me the opportunity to interview the Great One about this momentous, historic event. It was promised. But delayed. Dammit. And now other much less worthy rock scribes have been given prior access. No, no, thanks for asking, I’m OK I guess. Hurt, of course.
But still optimistic it will happen. And when it does, forget RS, the NY Times and Vanity Fair who have been begging me shamelessly to bless them with the goods from my special access — no, it shall be placed in front of my loyal readers of this column in the Santa Monica Daily Press. I hope. Or maybe not. Stay tuned.
But I was given earliest access to listening to the album, and I was, of course, blown away. Say no more. And I won’t. But I will say this. Smalls called in some pretty good chits for players on this project.
WELL, C’MON — WHO?
No, not Them. Or the Who. But how about Steely Dan founder Donald Fagen, Frank’s kid Dweezil Zappa, original Yes-man Rick Wakeman, the incomparable Richard Thompson, the pretty good Steve Lukather, the fast Steve Vai, the everywhere on every album and tour Waddy Wachtel, snarky puppy Michael League, everyone knows and loves his ‘stache also ex-SteelyD Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Letterman’s music maestro Paul Shaffer, faster than Vai Joe Satriani, Joni’s crusader and yet another ex-SteelyD Larry Carlton, the brilliant, supremely talented and funnier than heck Judith Owen, her also pretty funny bud Jane Lynch, and The Hungarian Studio Orchestra, yup, the whole dang orchestra.
Smalls need not have fretted that he and his larger-than-life, larger-than-Stonehenge bandmates would be forgotten over his long hibernation. Just last night I heard a CNN pundit compare tRump’s legal team to Spinal Tap drummers, now you see them, then poof! Anderson Cooper interrupted and said, laughing, “I LOVE Spinal Tap references!”
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: TONIGHT! — Kathleen Battle (celebrated lyric soprano infamously fired from the Met in ‘94 for a history of petulant behavior, returned in triumph 22 years later with a selection of spirituals, received five encores, brings that same program tonight, with Angela Bassett as narrator), 8 PM, The Soraya, Cal St Northridge, $54-$103.
RECOMMENDED: TONIGHT! Vicki Ray (oh boy! another in the Soundwaves series of adventurous music presented at our main library — usually sparsely attended: are you nuts, people?! it’s landmark, it’s mind opening, it’s free! and well worth the effort; pianist Ray has an impressive resume), 7:30 PM, Santa Monica Public Library, Main Branch, no cover.
TONIGHT! Joey DeFrancesco Trio (devotee of the late great Jimmy Smith, plays a mean jazz organ in his style), also Fri, Sat, 8:30 PM, Catalina Bar & Grill, Hollywood, $25.
LAUREL and HARDY Restored: “WAY OUT WEST” (yes, this is a music recommendation, because this 1937 classic, produced by Hal Roach and Santa Monica resident Stan Laurel, includes perhaps the most charming three minutes ever committed to celluloid, when the lads come up to Mickey Finn’s Saloon and encounter the Avalon Boys quartet singing “At the Ball, That’s All” on the porch and can’t keep themselves from slowly sliding into a delicious soft shoe before finally kicking themselves through the swinging doors), Fri, 7:30, Aero Theater, $8-$12 (also Sat, ‘The Flying Deuces”).
ANTHONY WILSON (Jazz singer-guitarist-photographer brings a talented quintet to the Jazz Bakery at acoustically fine Moss Theater, to continue bending genres), Sat, 8 PM, New Roads School, $25 & $40.
THE DICKIES, THE QUEERS, THE COCKS (an ultra-rare punk lineup, you either know and go or you don’t), Sat, 8 PM, the Viper Room, Hollyweird, $17.
PUSSY RIOT (must confess I haven’t heard a note but these are the brave young women who defiantly rocked on in Putin’s Russia, were imprisoned and became a focus of dissidents, until the heat finally forced them to leave, I’ll bet they’re good but this is history), Sat, Sun, 5:30 PM, the Echo, Echo Park, $28.
THELONIOUS MONK INSTITUTE OF JAZZ ENSEMBLE (excellent players, great songbook and inspiration, groovy downtown jazz club, five bucks, whaddaya want?) Tues, 9 PM, Bluewhale, downtown LA, $5.
THE RESIDENTS (legends! rare show! keep your eyeballs peeled! — who are they?! — ask Fartbarf), Wed, 9 PM, Regent Theater, downtown LA, $30 advance, $37 day of.
BAND NAMES OF THE WEEK: Last Lizard, Not Sorry, TaDa, Soft Leather Club, Yip Yops, Ratboys, Grave Flowers Bongo Band, Velour Academy, Girl Tears, Insect Surfers, Double Naught Spy Car, Knuckle Puck, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Hookers & Blow, Holy Shit, Atomic Sherpas, Mish Bondage & the Blokes, Former Humans, Munyungo Jackson’s Jungle Jazz, Hollywood Hillbillies, the Unending Thread.
LYRIC OF THE WEEK: “I watch the ripples change their size but never leave the stream of warm impermanence, and so the days float through my eyes but still the days seem the same, and these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through.” — David Bowie (“Changes”)
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org