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  • Article

    Run, Reverend, Run - Run-D.M.C. has seen the light--and wants to show it to you.

    "I don't worry about anything, because I'm a man of faith," says Joseph "Run" Simmons of Run-D.M.C., one of the acts most responsible for the rise of rap in the past fifteen years. "I just do what I do to the best of my ability. I've seen great succe...

    by Michael Roberts on March 6, 1997
  • Article

    Playlist

    Built to Spill Perfect From Now On (Warner Bros.) Just when you thought the alterna-sound was completely played out, along comes Perfect From Now On to remind you that good music transcends trends--even ones it might be considered a part ...

    by Brad Tyer on February 27, 1997
  • Article

    The Dawning of a New Age - Darren Curtis Skanson is half instrumentalist, half businessman--and all successful.

    According to Denver-based guitarist Darren Curtis Skanson, being a graduate of the Do-It-Yourself School of Music has its drawbacks. "If a girl comes up to my friends in a bar and asks them what they do, it's easy for them to answer the question," he...

    by Marty Jones on February 27, 1997
  • Article

    Feedback

    The reticence of area radio stations to play recordings by local artists isn't exactly a new problem--far from it. But Hakeem Abdul-Khaaliq is tackling it in a fresh and aggressive way. He's the co-executive producer of The Bizness, a CD compilation ...

    by Michael Roberts on February 27, 1997
  • Article

    Sister Act - Kate & Anna McGarrigle on their continuing family affair.

    The enigmatic folk music of Kate & Anna McGarrigle has a certain darkness about it. A few songs on their most recent disc, Matapedia (issued late last year on the Hannibal imprint), might be cautiously characterized as upbeat--especially "Talk About ...

    by Michael Roberts on February 27, 1997
  • Article

    In Full Swing - Forget grunge. Today Denverites are dancing to a very different beat.

    It goes something like this: The follower places her hands lightly in her partner's palms, like a trick poodle begging for treats. The pair then counts together as they execute the fundamental moves that constitute the East Coast swing--step left, st...

    by Amy Kiser on February 27, 1997
  • Article

    Eye of the Storm - In a cynical world, Iris DeMent struggles to maintain her virtue.

    Iris DeMent sounds a bit weary. Her first two albums, 1992's Infamous Angel and 1994's My Life, earned almost universal acclaim from critics across the country, but her latest disc, last year's The Way I Should, has been greeted with far less enthusi...

    by Michael Roberts on February 20, 1997
  • Article

    Feedback

    And now, the moment you've all been waiting for--the answers to last week's Grammy challenge ("Quiz Show," February 13). 1. B: Elvis Costello lost the 1978 Best New Artist prize to A Taste of Honey, best known for the timeless single "Boogie Oogie ...

    by Michael Roberts on February 20, 1997
  • Article

    Playlist

    Pat Boone No More Mr. Nice Guy (Hip-O) Jimmy Webb Ten Easy Pieces (Guardian) By most measures, rock and roll is over forty years old--meaning that at least two generations of performers have grown old as part of this young per...

    by Linda Gruno on February 20, 1997
  • Article

    Spirit of '76

    Three of the four members of '76 Pinto reside in the Boulder area, but that doesn't stop the act's Louisville-based drummer, Pat Gill, from saying nasty things about the musicians who live there. That '76 Pinto shares so little in common with the typ...

    by John Jesitus on February 20, 1997
  • Article

    Going to the Wellses' - Meet harpist Junior Wells--and the woman who keeps him in line.

    The process of setting up interviews with nationally known musicians generally includes two predictable steps--gaining permission from a record company and an agent. But in the case of blues-harmonica legend Junior Wells, there's a third hurdle that ...

    by Linda Gruno on February 20, 1997
  • Article

    The volplane! The volplane!

    Most musicians aren't known for having impressive vocabularies. Then again, most musicians aren't members of volplane, a Colorado combo whose unexpectedly arduous search for a name amounted to a crash course in lexicography. "I guess we're just ...

    by John Jesitus on February 13, 1997
  • Article

    Quiz Show - Before you declare yourself a Grammy expert, let Backbeat test your skills.

    The folks behind the Grammy Awards, which are scheduled to take place February 26 in New York City, like to think that their statuettes go to the best and brightest talents in the musical firmament. But a look back at past presentations suggests that...

    by Michael Roberts on February 13, 1997
  • Article

    Feedback

    What's funny to one person may be offensive to someone else. That's a truism that's reiterated to me with every issue of Westword--and one with which Dave Haupt, publisher of the Boulder edition of a journal called the Onion, is also familiar. But ju...

    by Michael Roberts on February 13, 1997
  • Article

    World Without End

    While reggae historically has been political music, few specialists in the style have been as actively or as visibly involved in debating the issues of the day in song as Jamaica's Third World. "The music is borne from the message," explains keyboard...

    by Joshua Green on February 13, 1997
  • Article

    Sentimental Lou - Sebadoh's Lou Barlow has found a way to put the pathos back into punk.

    During "On Fire," the opening cut of Sebadoh's latest CD, Harmacy, Lou Barlow sings a couplet that typifies both his dilemma and his gift: "My opinion could change today/But I'm responsible anyway." Confessions of emotional turmoil have defined ...

    by Amy Kiser on February 13, 1997
  • Article

    Show Them the Money - New Edition is banking on a reunion to revive its members' fortunes.

    Ronnie DeVoe, one-sixth of the reunited New Edition, is all business--more or less. He's over two hours late for a scheduled telephone interview ("I had a rough one last night," he explains, laughing), but when he finally calls, he's as bottom-line-o...

    by Michael Roberts on February 6, 1997
  • Article

    Winning One for the Zippers - How the Squirrel Nut Zippers landed calypso on modern-rock radio.

    "I think there's a certain amount of the Southern myth that's true," says Tom Maxwell, vocalist, guitarist and sax man for the hippest "hot jazz" revivalists going, North Carolina's Squirrel Nut Zippers. "And I think we're a Southern band in many way...

    by Marty Jones on February 6, 1997
  • Article

    Feedback

    Any resemblance between truck driver/country-and-Western vocalist Bub Taylor and Denver singer-songwriter Bob Tyler is purely logical--on the surface, at least. Dig a little deeper, though, and you're apt to become more than a little confused. See, B...

    by Michael Roberts on February 6, 1997
  • Article

    Whores and Pigs and Ponies--Oh, My!

    A typical gig by Denver's Whores, Pigs and Ponies is apt to feature fire spitting, cross-dressing, codpieces and simulated sex acts: For example, bassist/vocalist Rel has been known to mime fellatio on a latex penis worn by guitarist/vocalist Jud Van...

    by James Mayo on February 6, 1997
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