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The Devil's Warm Fuzzies

Few bands in Santa Cruz have gotten the kind of glowing, universal praise from the local press that local cow-punk trio The Devil Makes Three has received. Pictures of the band have graced the covers of both weeklies (and who had it first--last summer, in fact? That's right, baby, Metro Santa Cruz!) and the Style section of the Sentinel, yet they still hadn't played the grande dame of Santa Cruz rock venues. Until last Wednesday night, that is, at the Catalyst's second installment of "Dollar Night," which also featured Holy Vegas Chapel and Luckydog. As DM3 were getting ready to play at 10:30pm, the line for the show extended past Union Grove Music, with final ticket sales exceeding 1,000. Playing for a packed house for over an hour, Pete Bernhard, Cooper McBean and Lucia Turino firmly established their status as hometown favorites. When they finished their set with "Old Number 7," the crowd erupted into sustained applause. Everyone was waiting for an encore as the band discussed it with the stage manager, but the moment Bernhard gestured towards the cheering audience, an explosion of cheers nearly shattered my plastic glass of $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon, and they were at last allowed to play their encore--which, if PBR-tainted memory serves, was a little ditty called the "St. James Infirmary Blues."

But the stars, it seemed, weren't aligned for the last band of the evening. First there was the renegade DJ in the Atrium, whose techno music undoubtedly scared off some of the Americana crowd who wandered away from the stage once the DM3 was finished. Unfortunately for Luckydog--for whom Survivor Lex Van Den Berghe happens to play the drums and sing backup vocals--most of the Wednesday night crowd decided it was past their bedtime and went home before the band even started their set. To their credit, Luckydog were good sports about the sparse audience, eccentric dancers and requests for Iron Butterfly guitar and drum solos. "I'd probably have a heart attack," joked the Lex of the Mohicans, claiming that he had never played a drum solo in his life. Alas, their polished pop rock would have worked great with, say, The Mother Hips ... in a parallel universe where they're still together.


It is with great sorrow that we bid farewell to founding member of Estradasphere and one-man musical institution, Mr. John Whooley. He and his wife Moriah-Mein Whoolilurie, the National Musicians coordinator for the Kucinich for President campaign, will be getting legally married and moving into a proper house down in Joshua Tree, Calif., at the end of the month. The marriage and move was prompted in part by a major transitional life experience for the saxophonist and singer--namely, the loss of his grandmother and parents within the last year and a half, and also the constant uphill battle that is the housing market here in Santa Cruz. Over the course of more than 10 years in town, Whooley was a professor of throat singing and experimental music up at UCSC, composed and performed for the Mel Wong and Carol Kieffer dance companies, taught private saxophone and voice lessons, and worked as a Cultural Council Spectra Artist, as a saxophonist for New Music Works and as a street performer. Whooley says that we can still expect to see him in town from time to time performing with Estradasphere, but that's little consolation for those of us who've experienced his gentle kindness and extraordinary beatboxing skills. John and Moriah-Mein can be reached at [email protected] and [email protected], respectively.

Upcoming: UCSC Faculty Strut Their Stuff

Three faculty members from the UCSC Music Department are about to show the whippersnappers how it's done. Paul Contos (saxophone), Owen Miyoshi (trumpet) and Stan Poplin (string bassist) will display their jazz, classical and contemporary chops along with a host of Bay Area musicians. It all happens on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the UCSC Music Center Recital Hall. Call 831.459.2159 for more information.

Mike Connor

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From the January 21-28, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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