By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
It's been a couple of weeks since we've spoken. We have some catching up to do.
June 21 was the last day on the Denver airwaves for KBPI's Dean Myers and Roger Beaty, aka Dean and Rog; they've been transferred to KSLX-FM/100.7 in Phoenix, an outlet recently purchased by Jacor (owner of KBPI) as part of a sizable transaction with the Citicasters corporation. KBPI operations manager Jack Evans insists in that deadpan way of his that neither the controversy over the duo's involvement in the desecration of a Colorado mosque (their trial date is set for November 14) nor a recent Westword article that named them the worst DJs in the city was a factor in the move. "The Phoenix deal was a wonderful chance for them to go to a market that doesn't have dominant morning shows," he notes. (Yeah, sure.) Meanwhile, the station's current morning team consists of former afternoon-drive guide Rockfish (the winner of the Best DJ honors in last week's Best of Denver issue) and Joey Teehan, who is doing community service as punishment for his part in the Islamic Center debacle. Thus far, the mix has been an uneasy one: Rockfish's more straightforward approach to hosting is definitely not enhanced by Joey T's trademark juvenalia. Evans is waiting to pass judgment on the pairing, saying, "We haven't made a decision yet whether it will remain as it is."
A day after Dean and Rog beat their feet in a quick retreat, KTCL-FM/93.3 staged its third annual Big Adventure concert at Fiddler's Green--and it didn't take an expert from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine that it was by far the least populated of the three. Station sources claimed that between complimentary admissions and ticket sales, around 10,000 bodies entered the place at some point during the day. That's a figure that the Posies, who pleaded in vain with the relative handful of people present for their mid-afternoon main-amphitheater set to move closer to the stage, would no doubt dispute. In fact, the security guards were so bored that one actually confiscated from me a plastic Baggie containing four Oreo cookies (there were no additional ingredients--I swear), and another couple nearly Rodney Kinged me when I tried to find a shady spot in a grass section that had been roped off due to the weak attendance. Perhaps the latest age of the sprawling outdoor festival is passing; after all, a Lollapalooza date that was to have taken place July 28 in Laramie, Wyoming, is now definitely off the schedule, and sales in many other fest locations are reportedly weaker than ever before. But it's likely that KTCL's long-running personality crisis was a factor in the turnout, too. Only a few months ago the outlet was competing with KBCO and the Peak in a who-can-play-the-most-Hootie & the Blowfish contest, yet last week morning man Brett Saunders boasted that KTCL was now "Hootie-free." You get the impression that they would play Nazi war marches if they thought it would improve the ratings.
The music at the Big Adventure was okay but hardly revelatory; the national acts, in particular, didn't exactly imply that modern rock is entering an astounding new phase. A handful (like Super Deluxe) made a generally positive impression, others (Cast and the Plimsouls, who didn't have much power in their power pop) were tolerable time-wasters, and the rest (Solution A.D., for instance) fell into the BFD category. Colorado acts such as Lord of Word and the Disciples of Bass, the Apples, Idle Mind, the Simpeltones and Sherri Jackson acquitted themselves better and frequently evoked more enthusiasm from those gathered than did the latest grist from the major-label mill--perhaps because they're accustomed to playing to audiences smaller than they deserve.
Barry Fey of Fey Concerts has made a tradition of dealing with young, up-and-coming competitors by hiring them. When Bill Bass began making a name for himself during the Eighties, Fey scooped him up; likewise, Doug Kauffman, of nobody in particular presents, was invited to join the Fey fold a couple of years back. Kauffman declined the offer, but Jesse Morreale of Gess Presents, a company that's graduated from small club shows to the occasional arena date over the past six years, gladly accepted; the company is taking over Fey Concerts' promotion department. The new contract allows Gess to promote shows of its own as well--a key to Morreale's decision to sign it. "Obviously, the relationship will be mutually beneficial," he says. "We get a lot of bang for our advertising buck, which attracted Fey, but we'll also be able to use their infrastructure to make our events better." Morreale adds that the coalition may help lower ticket prices for certain shows, because the two promoters will no longer be bidding against each other. (Don't bet the farm on that one, folks--or before you know it, you'll be sans farm.)
When asked about Morreale's move, nobody in particular's Kauffman responds wryly, "It's like what Jerry Lee Lewis said when Elvis died: 'It's just another one out of the way.'" More seriously, he adds, "It's getting real lonely out here in independent-promoter land, but Jesse did a good job, and I wish him the best." Bass, who recently left his job at Fey to head up his own company, Small Axe Productions, also avoids giving Morreale words of warning. "I think too much is read into my leaving Fey," he declares. "The reason I did it is because I'm fucking old. I'm really old and bald and fat and I don't want to have any bosses--I don't want to take shit from people." The slower pace obviously agrees with him; the onetime curmudgeon sounds positively cuddly as he boasts, "I'm spending a lot of time gardening. I'm the only promoter in town who has vine-ripened tomatoes ready today. And my dog is very happy, because I can spend so much time with him."