As for future visits by Phish, Fey feels the band has grown too large for Red Rocks and may have to play larger Denver-area venues (such as Mile High Stadium) from now on. If that comes to pass, Gerace will be among the few Morrison residents who'll be sad to see the Phish-heads go. "Everybody says all of them are broke," he says, "but that's not entirely true; there are a lot of kids spending daddy's money. When they were here, I made some of the best tips I've ever gotten."

KWMX-FM/107.5, one of the more uninspired spots on the dial of late, switched formats August 2, but its new alter ego, dubbed K-Hits, doesn't yet seem like a big improvement. The music, which is meant to appeal to the demographic currently in thrall to KALC-FM/106 (Alice), covers a lot of territory, but not in a good way; thus far, programmers seem to be going out of their way to play the worst current hits alongside the lamest offerings from the Eighties (e.g., Naked Eyes' "Always Something There to Remind Me"). Just as tepid are Rick Stacy and Leah Brandon, a new morning team imported from Los Angeles station KYSR. To their credit, they aren't trying to compete with Alice's Jamie White in the number of times they say "penis" over the air. Unfortunately, though, their Andy Rooney-meets-Jerry Seinfeld bits are undeniably weak. On one recent show, they cackled wildly while making bland observations about doughnut shops and lawn sprinklers, apparently under the mistaken impression that people tuning in would hear the laughter and assume something funny was going on. Wrong. Turn down that nitrous-oxide feed to the studio, folks.

By the way, am I the only person who's noted that the new nickname of Alice's AM sister station--Ralph--is a slang term for vomiting? Or am I just the only one impolite enough to mention it?

Count D, a co-founder of Lord of Word and the Disciples of Bass who parted from the group under tense circumstances, has resurfaced with a new act: J. Jones & the Soul Pursuit. "It's a blend of old influences and new," Count says. "There's a lot of Curtis Mayfield, as well as Jodeci, R. Kelly and people like that." Lead singer Jamie Jones is also a Lord of Word veteran, as is guitarist Maurice Avatar and numerous others. The sound, though, is closer to R&B than hip-hop. Your first chance to hear it is Saturday, August 17, at the Ogden Theatre, where the band opens for Judge Roughneck.

Opening elsewhere. On Friday, August 16, the Carpetbaggers carry their luggage to the Skyline Cafe; Lionel Young plays at City Spirit; Strung Out goes trainspotting at the Mercury Cafe, with Diesel Boy; and the Idiots wise up at Seven South, with Old Bull's Needle. On Saturday, August 17, Artopia, featuring turns by Kandombe and others, returns to the Eulipions Center; the Czars are rushin' to the Lion's Lair; Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise startles Leftover Salmon at the Fox; and Freak Hungre and Liquid Chicken squawk at Cafe Euphrates. On Monday, August 19, the Reejers come back to the Fox. And on Tuesday, August 20, Bears of the Sun go to the Little Bear. Where two bears are better than one.

--Michael Roberts

Backbeat's e-mail address is: Michael_Roberts@ westword.comMichael_Roberts@

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