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"We just wanted to have a home base here," he goes on. "And we feel that we've found one."

One person who's no longer directly involved with the BGP/CMP juggernaut is veteran promoter Bill Bass. He served as a consultant for the Morris operation last year, but no longer: Earlier this week, he scribbled his name at the bottom of a long-term consultancy contract with Universal. "I'm not an employee," he emphasizes. "I'll still be doing shows as Bill Bass Concerts at the Boulder Theater, the Glenn Miller Ballroom and the Aggie Theater in Fort Collins; I'll do at least thirty shows at the Aggie this year. And I've probably got about ten shows that will qualify as shed shows, because a lot of the bands I work with, like Barenaked Ladies, have made it to the next level. But most of the things will be co-promotes with Universal. It just seemed to make the most sense. After all, we've been forever in bed with Reggae on the Rocks and a couple of projects like that."

Other factors came into play as well. Unwittingly paraphrasing Clinton defender Dale Bumpers, Bass notes, "Whenever anybody tells you it didn't have anything to do with money, it had to do with money. But at the same time, I insist on being on a winning team, and Universal is still the biggest winner in Denver. Every movie I go to see says 'Universal' at the end, and every TV show I watch says 'Universal' at the end, too. So now I can call my mom and tell her I work for Universal, and for the first time in my life, she knows what I'm fucking talking about."

Media notes: MusicLink has a pair of prime-time specials coming up on KBDI-TV/Channel 12. At 9:30 p,m. on Friday, February 12, a half-hour program focused on Loudon Wainwright III will air; one week later, on February 19, a ninety-minute look at the life and music of Kenny Wayne Shepherd makes its debut. On the radio front, KRRF-AM/1280, which recently switched its moniker from "Ralph" to "1280-X" (for "Extreme Talk Radio"), is giving some airtime to local musicians beginning at 6 p.m. First up is "Denver's Own," a showcase for area bands that will include interviews with members of the Colorado music community. That's followed by "Colorado Punk Radio," which pairs longtime emcee Trip with a fellow DJ from another station who's going by the name Mr. Yuck.

The first person who figures out Mr. Yuck's actual identity will win absolutely nothing. On Friday, February 12, Cris Williamson ventures to the Mercury Cafe; Gerry C. & the Zydeco Playboys headline at the Boulder Theater; and Ta Mere rises at 'Round Midnight. On Saturday, February 13, Clever wises up at Soapy Smith's. On Sunday, February 14, Rebecca Folsom shines at the Mountain Sun Brewery. On Tuesday, February 16, James McMurtry tells tales at the Fox Theatre. And on Wednesday, February 17, Tequila Mockingbird and Rocket Ajax take to the skies at the Soiled Dove. Hope they've coordinated their flight plans.

--Michael Roberts

Backbeat's e-mail address is: Michael_Roberts@westword.com. While you're online, visit Michael Roberts's Jukebox at www.westword.com.

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