Music News

Hit Pick

Satirical tunesmith Gregory Ego (who files his taxes under the name of Greg Daurer), laments failed love, nicotine withdrawal and the divisive nature of talk radio. But the Vermont native turned Denver resident certainly has good taste in shopping malls from the days of yore: Cinderella City, once the crown jewel of cosmopolitan Englewood, provides mythical significance for the 39-year-old rocker with its bygone, shamrock-coded chasms of record stores, arcades and cheap eats at Taco Bueno. Eulogized like a sacred, unearthed Whoopee Cushion from Spencer Gifts, this lost empire receives its nostalgic comeuppance on I Want to Be a Billionaire, Ego's newest seven-track release set for public unveiling during a free performance on Saturday, March 22, at 3 p.m. at the Atrium Bar & Grill (554 South Broadway).

A smart, punk-spirited singer-songwriter, Ego, a former guitarist for Ham Hoc War Lox, combines understated humor with hit-and-miss vocals for a uniquely amusing brand of three chords and the truth. The self-described "theatrical shaman of angst" aims to celebrate the upcoming vernal equinox by paying homage to Neal Cassady ("the Johnny Appleseed of marijuana"), as well as defending exploited midgets in the rousing "Little People Sex Workers." (According to the unapologetic social critic, such silent victims are "barely legal, barely three-foot-five.") Ego has planned a solo acoustic set and an electrified one with bassist Allan Bumgartner and drummer Tomás Salas for the Atrium gig, but he can also claim collaborations with underground notables Johnny Strike of the Crime and local hipster Ralph Gean. Gean actually recorded the Ego-penned "Kill for a Cigarette" recently at the legendary Sun Studios -- a direct conduit between rock and roll's birthplace and the Queen City if there ever was one. Says Ego, "It's just fun for me knowing that my song's vibrations bounced off the same walls as Johnny Cash's." By all accounts, the unholy union was smokin'.

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John La Briola