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Mike Jourgensen is probably best known in these parts for his role as singer, songwriter and guitarist for Abdomen, which joins the Apples at Seven South on Saturday, January 23. But he's also the impresario behind D.U. Records, an indie imprint that's been responsible for some intriguingly skewed fare over the years, including a 1995 offering by Knights in Satan's Service, a Kiss tribute band, and The Best of Longmont Potion Castle, a 1996 recording filled with phone pranks à la the Jerky Boys. His two most recent efforts, which are just arriving in Denver-area stores, follow in this proud tradition.
First up is Abdominizer, which collects all the covers cut by Abdomen between 1992 and 1998. The lineup is eclectic--included are selections from the Lemonheads, Metallica, Nirvana, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Dinosaur Jr--and the performances are consistently entertaining. The group has fun with the tunes without diminishing the players' affection for them.
Abdomen also appears on the compilation Noise Tent '99 Spring Sampler: Jourgensen, bassist Elie Kimura and drummer Madison Lucas stretch during the deceptively laconic "Lately" and bash out "Unmet." But the CD also brings together efforts from a slew of other worthy acts--namely Boss 302, the GEDS (featuring Spell graduates Chanin Floyd and Tim Beckman), the Ray-Ons, First Class Chokers, Thee Lovely Lads (a Mike Elkerton combo that recently breathed its last), the Perry Weissman 3, Weissman member Lance Corona and blues veteran Johnny Long. The notion that led to the disc was more or less an afterthought, Jourgensen admits. "I'd spent the last year recording bands that I knew and that I liked, but with the exception of the Perry Weissman 3, none of the records had come out. So with the help of a friend of mine, we decided to put a CD out ourselves with a couple songs from everybody."
None of the tracks on Noise Tent are leftovers. "I pretty much bugged everybody to do new stuff for the album, because I thought it would be pretty chintzy to use things they were going to put out," Jourgensen says. He adds that the tunes proved to be a nice change of pace from the heavier projects he's overseen of late for Vinyl Communications, a San Diego firm: "They're strictly into noise, which I like--but it's nice to have some music that's guitar-oriented. And it's not hack work or anything. Actually, it's all pretty cool."
After more than five years, Euphony Music News is no more: According to publisher/indefatigable local-scene booster Bonita Berger, the February edition of the 'zine will be the last, at least for the foreseeable future. But Berger's not giving up on her efforts to assist area musicians. She's just created Euphony's Music Community Directory, a tri-annual publication that she hopes will become a resource for anyone interested in the Denver-Boulder music community. "The idea is to provide in-depth information about bands, venues, retail outlets, professional services such as photographers, graphic designers, T-shirt and sticker makers, recording studios--you name it," she says. "If it's music-related, it belongs in the directory."
The first volume of the guide, which is available at clubs like Cricket on the Hill and Herman's Hideaway and retail outlets such as Twist and Shout, Wax Trax and Recycle Records, is rather slender--22 pages for $1. Still, Berger isn't worried. "I expect it to take at least a year to be a really big hit," she says, "but I think it will be the most useful local tool we've ever had in the music community and a way to bring us all together." Musicians and entrepreneurs interested in learning how to get into future editions are invited to e-mail Berger at email@example.com or write to her at Euphony, 1580 Meade Street, Apt. B, Denver 80204.
In late 1996, Joey Teehan, a DJ at Jacor-owned KBPI-FM/106.7 who'd gotten a media tar-and-feather job for his part in a moronic stunt at an area mosque a few months earlier, was exiled to a Jacor station in Phoenix. Around that period, Laurie Michaels, who filled the female sidekick/gigglebox role on both KQKS-FM/104.3 (now KS-107.5) and KJMN-FM/92.1, headed to the home of the Cardinals and the Coyotes as well. And last October, the powers that are at KBPI handed morning-show personality Rick Kerns his head. In an interview conducted at that time, KBPI program director Bob Richards didn't have a lot of compliments for Kerns and his a.m. partner, Kerry Gray. "We're committed to putting on the best local morning show we can," he said. "And we think we can come up with one that's better than Kerry and Kerns."
Well, Denver, here's what he's come up with: Joey T., Laurie and Rick.
Clearly, KBPI is hoping that the combination of these veterans/retreads will stir up some controversy: The station sprang for a (pretty funny) full-page ad in these pages last week that featured a topless and very pregnant Michaels over the slogan "Got Milk?" and claimed in a press release that the drive-time makeover had precipitated the hiring of four additional members to "KBPI's legal department." But during the trio's first week or so on the air, the only thing surprising about their banter was its relative tameness. Everything from Michaels's incessant caw-caw-caw laughter to the boys' energetic Broncos boosting and fondness for the word "ass" seemed positively quaint by comparison with the material being dished out by Howard Stern, who appears opposite them on KXPK-FM/96.5 (the Peak). On January 14, for instance, Stern was determining the penis size of Brock, a "black stutterer" who is trying to break into porno films, at the same time that the KBPI crew was shaking verbal pompoms for back-up QB Bubby Brister. The bar has been lowered, folks: You're going to have to work a lot harder to shock us now.
I hope they don't take that as a challenge--but they probably will.
Bassist Kurt Ohlen of the Dalhart Imperials has left the group in a move that actually seems amicable: The co-founder of the Denver Rock-N-Rhythm Billy Weekend (whose 1999 edition is currently in the planning stages) is eager to tour, but his bandmates are unable to do so. "I have the luxury to try to do this thing full-time, and I'd like to pursue it before I don't have that luxury anymore," he says. "And unfortunately, the rest of the guys have too many real-world commitments--children, mortgages." As a result, Ohlen is in the midst of forming what he describes as "a really jazzy Western-swing combo," and he's looking for a drummer, a lead guitarist and a bassist eager to hit the road. Interested parties are urged to call 303-455-8408.
And now, an update on Thinking Plague, recently profiled in these pages ("The Power of Positive Thinking," January 7). According to band leader Mike Johnson, the Plague has been invited to perform this July at an event in Arles, France, called Festival MIMI. "It is really the only real, remaining European festival of any size dealing with the avant-garde that actually includes artists coming from the rock orientation," he says. "I hear we are to open for Massacre with Bill Laswell, Fred Frith and Charles Haywood of This Heat." He adds that the group will likely do a few warm-up dates in the Denver area just prior to heading to the Old Country.
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By the way, Johnson noted a small error in the aforementioned article: The 1984 recording ...a thinking plague was originally issued on LP, not cassette. The cassette version didn't come out until 1986.
I'm ready for my beating now. On Thursday, January 21, Bernie Worrell & the Woo Warriors return to the Fox Theatre. On Friday, January 22, Hemi Cuda, featuring Hectics survivors Anike Zappe and Juli McClurg, bows at the 15th Street Tavern, with the Pin Downs; Chupacabra celebrates the release of a new recording at the Fox; John Brown's Body can be viewed for the first of two nights at Jimmy's Grille; and United Dope Front chills out at Round Midnight. And on Saturday, January 23, Gordon visits Lucky Star; Paul Galaxy & the Galactix orbit at the Cricket; and Celeste Krenz graces the stage at the Swallow Hill Music Hall, with Bob Tyler. Who would follow her anywhere.
Backbeat's e-mail address is: Michael_Roberts@ westword.comMichael_Roberts@. While you're online, visit Michael Roberts's Jukebox at www.westword.com.