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Notes From the Underground

Sayonara Santa Cruz:
This here columnist is hittin' the road ... again

I'VE BEEN SINGING Operation Ivy's version of the Nancy Sinatra song "These Boots Were Made for Walking" lately, even though I'll actually be driving when I leave Santa Cruz next week to head back to the East Bay for good (well, nothing's really "for good"). I've been living in the Cruz and writing news and local music stuff for Metro Santa Cruz pretty close to three years now, and I'm just one of those people who gets antsy staying in any one place too long. But I'm gonna miss this place.

I had lunch in SF last week with a friend who runs a little d.i.y. label there. He commented that there seem to be more bands in SC than in San Francisco. Within the indie/punk genre, that may actually be true. The proliferation of local bands during the time I've been here has been pretty phenomenal. More importantly, there seems to be far more enthusiasm for local music now than three years ago, and I hope I've been able to contribute to that.

Although I've never claimed to be a punk (whatever the hell that means these days), I firmly believe in the do-it-yourself ethic and the importance of building communities and friendships around music.

I always found it hard to fathom that people would rather sit around and complain and bicker and be competitive when it is so much more productive to get together, help each other and make things happen--put on a little show, or produce a split 7-inch, or a zine, or whatever.

It seems like a fair number of locals and bands have embraced this attitude. People have been putting on shows in garages, basements, living rooms and rented halls, and people are coming out in significant numbers to support local music, which wasn't really the case three years ago. Tons of zines have sprung up in the past year. Bands are hooking up out-of-town shows for fellow locals. Ask any kid on the mall who their favorite bands are, and most will probably cite some hometown band, rather than No Doubt or NOFX or whatever. Also, through interviews, live shows and airplay, KZSC (88.1FM) has shown unprecedented support by an SC station for local music in various genres, and the station's biweekly top-40 playlists typically include six or seven local bands.

It's been a lot of fun covering Santa Cruz and getting to know a lot of you artists, musicians, street kids and characters who go to the shows. Good luck to you all. And if any of you local bands need a place to crash when you play up north, look me up. Email mechanic@best.com (after Feb. 15) or call info.

Sad Farewell

Hate to leave you with sad news, but Kristy Burt, singer and guitarist for former Santa Cruz bands Poppy and Slant 6, died last Thursday of a heroin overdose at her boyfriend's parents' house in Nevada. She was 29. Burt will be memorialized by friends on Poppy's Web page.

Upcoming

The Offbeats play with Meat Pizza Sandwich on Friday at the Whole Earth (all ages, free, 5:30pm). Later that evening, at Stevenson College's Fireside Lounge, is Subincision, The Forgotten, the Rancers, Chemical Imbalance and Puke (all ages, two bux, 8pm, PS--arrive on campus before 8pm or the UC cops may not let you in). Makara, Lapistola, Shahrazad (ex-Acrylics) and the Angel Assassins play an all-ages show on Saturday afternoon (look for fliers). On Saturday night, Sugar Ray plays a Surfrider Foundation benefit at the Vet's Hall with Sprung Monkey, Snot, local band Vessel, and The Line (all ages, 8pm). Ukulele fiend Oliver Brown does a record release on Tuesday at the Kuumbwa with jazz trio Channel Three (see Artbeat).
Michael Mechanic

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From the February 6-12, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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