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Given this extensive background, Morris was viewed as a shoo-in to succeed Fey at Universal-Denver. But in mid-December, when it became clear that the post would not be offered to him, Morris contacted Nicholas Clainos and Gregg W. Perloff, co-presidents of Bill Graham Presents. "They had told me for years that if ever I was unhappy or if I ever was open to do promoting, I should call them," he says. "I've known these people for twenty years, and I've had a great relationship with them." Representatives of BGP were in Denver within days, and after four weeks the deal was done.
The timing couldn't have been more propitious for Fedrizzi. He resigned from Universal-Denver on January 5 and called Morris the next day, knowing nothing about the compact with BGP. "Chuck said, 'Let's sit down and talk,'" Fedrizzi remembers, "and everything turned out perfectly. I had an offer out of state, but it meant moving, and my intentions were to stay in Denver. It's a great city to live and work in, and I have a lot of knowledge of the market."
He has plenty of knowledge about Universal as well, and that could come in handy should things between the combatants turn nasty. But Fedrizzi resists the opportunity to throw brickbats at either the corporation or head man Norman, who comes to Colorado from Canada, where he oversaw Universal's operations in much of that country. As for Norman, who was in Canada when the birth of BGP/CMP became known, he responds to a question about what the turn of events means for Universal by conceding, "Geez, I don't know what it means. I guess it means that there's more than one player now, and I wish Chuck and Gregg all the best. I hope we all have a good time competing together."
The nature of that competition is still unknown, but quotemaster Fey expects other promoters to be hurt by it. "There's an old saying: 'When the elephants fight, the little animals get trampled,'" he remarks. Jesse Morreale, who left Universal-Denver to concentrate on Gess Presents, the indie-promotions venture he owns, laughs at this analogy. "I don't know that either of those two companies are much for developing acts, and that's what us little animals do," he says. But at the same time, he hints that's he's been chatting with another promoter interested in invading Denver. (He won't say who, but he's putting on an upcoming Arlo Guthrie concert in conjunction with Evening Star, an establishment from Phoenix.) "Whether someone else will want to come in here will depend on BGP's performance," Morreale contends. "If they seem capable, it'll lessen the attractiveness of the market. But if they seem ineffective, it's still going to be a place that people will keep their eyes on."
How will this affect consumers? No one can be certain, but if the past is any indication, concert-goers could end up taking it in the shorts. "Typically, what I've seen in a market when you have two major promoters competing is that ticket prices go up," Norman points out. "In Canada, when a company called CPI started competing with MCA-Universal, we saw extraordinary increases. And since that didn't mean more bands came to town, the fans couldn't win."
That's economics, Nineties-style.
Our friends at D.U. Records are campaigning to put an advisory sticker on albums that include lyrics that are "extremely tired and simply unacceptable anymore." The phrases suggested for banning include "all night long," "hold on to the feeling," "hold on to the night," "'hold on' to anything," "feel the fever," "feel the beat," "so hot it's cool," "so cool it's hot," and rhyming anything with "funeral pyre." If Jim Morrison were still alive, that last one would have killed him.
The Samples are getting set to record their first studio long-player since splitting from MCA and re-upping with W.A.R.?, an outfit that owes its very life to the group. But with the actual sessions a ways off, drummer Kenny James realized that he had some time on his hands--and since he just happens to be the planet's most prolific timekeeper, he decided to fill it by joining another band, at least temporarily. Specifically, James is again a part of Judge Roughneck, a ska conglomeration for which he once pounded. The reason, according to chief Judge Byron Shaw, is that percussionist Scott Seiver "has moved to L.A. to do session work, which is great for him." The Roughnecks are auditioning new drummers, but they've also been writing material for their second CD with James, and Shaw says that when the band goes into the studio, it's likely that Kenny will be the man holding the sticks. Says Shaw, "It just feels natural." Make up your own mind on Saturday, January 24, when Judge Roughneck opens for the Heptals at Herman's Hideaway.
Trumpeter Ron Miles shows up on a couple of stages this week. On Thursday, January 22, he sits in with Fat Mama during a turn at the Fox Theatre; Vena Cava is the opener. Then, on Saturday, January 24, at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Miles and another gifted brass expert, Hugh Ragin, appear with the Dave Honig Quartet. How horny.