The Beatdown

Jim Chandler is tapped to pound the skins on the Cramps' European tour.

Pueblo native Jim Chandler has been on a serious winning streak for the past six months. A couple of years before that, he was living in Denver and was just another frustrated musician on the verge of calling it quits. After spending ten years playing in bands like Social Joke and the Down and Outs and getting no recognition, he says, it was pretty easy to make the decision to leave D-Town for the never-ending mist of the Emerald City. He's been following the yellow brick road ever since.

Last month, Chandler was once again on the receiving end of some amazing, once-in-a-lifetime news. Now pounding the skins for one of his favorite bands, the Makers, Chandler was asked to join the Cramps -- his other favorite band -- on its upcoming European tour.

How monumental was this for Chandler? Huge, considering that the guy has tattoos of Poison Ivy on both of his arms. The Cramps were one of the bands that made him decide to "sell my soul to rock and roll," he says. "I was really stoked to play with the Makers; that was kind of like a dream come true, because I was a huge fan of theirs for the past six or seven years. So it's really weird how, once I left Denver and moved to Seattle, within two years I'm playing with the Makers and now the Cramps."

At this point, Chandler is slated to play only on the European tour; he doesn't know if he'll become a full-fledged Cramp. But whether he makes it all the way or not, he's still getting an opportunity that every kid dreams of at one time or another, and he knows it.

"It's crazy luck that the two drummers of my most favorite bands, after such long stays, decided to call it quits, and then both bands called me first," Chandler says, then laughs. "I'm a lucky man."

Chandler isn't the only Colorado creation getting some well-deserved recognition. Props go out to Twist & Shoutfor being named one of the six best indie record stores in the country by Rolling Stone. Twist & Shout has an exhaustive collection of local and indie music, but the in-store performances are another big draw. Over the past few months, this institution at 300 East Alameda Avenue has hosted Josh Wink, Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic and the Black Eyed Peas; for touring artists, it's almost as much a required stop as Red Rocks. And at 3 p.m. Saturday, August 30, the store will feature ex-Blues Clues-host-turned-indie-rocker Steve Burns. Stop by for a musical fix -- both live and recorded -- and see why my wife calls Twist & Shout "the other woman."

This just in:One of Boulder's most venerable venues, Tulagi, suddenly closed last week (something about non-payment of taxes, according to the sign on the door), and promoters are scrambling to relocate their shows. Details to follow....

 
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