Music News


Members of Three Degrees of Freedom recently made a very serious investment in their future, one that suggests a rock-and-roll variation on the Oscar Meyer wiener car and the Orkin man's bug-eared auto. The jam-happy Denver outfit bought a huge white Suburban and plastered the sidewalls with a blazing, blown-up version of the band's name and logo -- a tribal-looking foot thing that I suspect might also adorn the body parts of some of the players.

(This very colorful car -- which attracted much attention when parked in front of the Westword offices recently -- has inspired me to make a similar modification to the Backwashmobile, although I'm still torn over whether to go with a gigantic airbrushed image of Ron Zappolo's head or a few passages from the Salt-N-Pepa oeuvre: I like to think my Saturn is supersonic.)

Although Three Degrees' new vehicle will make it impossible for the four musicians to lose their ride in a Wal-Mart parking lot, its designated purpose is more promotional than practical: It's vehicular PR designed to bolster the band's visibility on the road. (And bolster it shall: See the fancy chassis for yourself on Gigging steadily around Colorado, the Freedom fellows have already logged thousands of miles on the new 'Ban, and they'll soon send the speedometer spinning nonstop. Following a pair of performances opening for the Big Wu -- at the Fox Theater in Boulder on Thursday, December 12; at the Gothic Theatre on Friday, December 13; and at the Aggie Theatre in Fort Collins on Saturday, December 14 -- the band plans to hit the road full-time, returning to Denver every six months or so to recuperate, revisit local fans and record. A new CD, Vacilande, is expected to see release in March 2003; two songs from the disc are already available at the band's shows. After the Wu run, Three Degrees of Freedom will also participate in a Toys for Tots benefit show at Tin Lizzie on Wednesday, December 18. But then they're outta here, for real -- and they're taking that big, honkin' Suburban with them.

Poetry never really tops the charts of American pop culture. In fact, aside from whatever amusing beer-themed limerick is making its way through the nation's e-mail in-boxes at any given moment, it rarely moves beyond literary realms at all.

Lately, though, poetry has been making headlines. Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam is packing them in at a grand old theater on Broadway, inspiring wide-eyed explications of slamming from NPR and the New York Times. Last month, Poetry magazine was given an astonishing $100 million endowment, a gift from a deceased heiress whose work was once rejected by the tiny publication's editors. The New Yorker recently ran a short piece about a Brooklyn neighborhood in which residents have dealt with a noise issue by posting pleading, poetic appeals to compulsive car-horn honkers. And in describing last week's appearance by Tori Amos at Magness Arena, a friend of Backwash's said that the fuchsia-haired singer "used to be more like Keats, but now she's more like Yates." (Or maybe it was the other way around.)

This week, even Backwash succumbs to this verse-case scenario, offering up the following haiku series written by Katy St. Clair, music editor at the East Bay Express. St. Clair felt the best way to capture the worst records of the year was in 5/7/5 form; after reading her reviews, we couldn't agree more. Westword's wrap-up of the year's best releases will run on December 26; we still need to decide on which meter we'll use. In the meantime, enjoy!

Paul Westerberg
I sit alone, drab
My four-track at the beckon
Oops, I pushed "record"

The Donnas
Spend the Night
Oh, we so horny
Which five years ere was great
Now we are Mrs. Roper

American Idol
Greatest Moments
Justin? He was robbed
EJ, AJ, and RJ
The dream is ov-ah

Kelly Osbourne
Shut Up
I, nepotism
But fuck those fucking fuckers
Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

The producer said
"Give me beaucoup Latin spice!"
Hence, Spice World reborn

Highly Evolved
"G'day mates," they said
And gave the press a boner
But Hives they are not

Jennifer Love Hewitt
Hey, nice rack, fun buns
Your record really sucks shit
But very nice boobs

Rod Stewart
It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook
The question is not
Do you think I am sexy?
It's why why why why?

Public Enemy
At last it happened
Hip-hop has become like rock:
Artists who've lost it

"You Know You're Right"
A message in wind:
"Should have listened to Courtney..."
She of plastic speaks truth

Tommy Lee
Never a Dull Moment
His best asset? Voice
Second only to his mind
Sarcasm tastes so sweet

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Laura Bond
Contact: Laura Bond