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[whitespace] Chisme y Mas

Subtle Oak Complexity checks out, Slow Gherkin checks new keyboard players and the Choptops check their heads

By David Espinoza

BUMP, BUMP, BUMP, another one bites the dust. After roughly three years of gigging at the UC-Santa Cruz Stevenson Rec Room, local sensitive-guy indie-rockers Subtle Oak Complexity are calling it quits. But first the band hits the road one last time for a farewell tour. A staple among the college crowd (probably because they all attended or worked at UCSC at one point), the threesome was a comforting alternative for all those years Built to Spill never came to town.

Let's review SOC's wild rock & roll track record. In 1998, SOC plays approximately 364 gigs, leaving drummer Mike May with a permanent twitch in his right pinky toe; the band releases a seven-inch record, adding to the slew of locals who go vinyl, including the Muggs and Buddy's Riot; singer/guitarist Tony Burchyns trashes UCSC's Fish Rap Live! offices for running an unflattering story about his band's performance at Stevenson's annual Bands on the Knoll festival. In 1999, SOC releases its first and only full-length album, which gets plenty of airplay on KZSC and culminates in a big show at the Catalyst; Metro Santa Cruz Notes from the Underground columnist Matt Koumaras fosters a rivalry between SOC and the What-Nots, and a mud wrestling match is scheduled but called off at the last minute; Burchyns trashes the Metro Santa Cruz office and the What-Nots' headquarters anyway.

Key to the Gherkin

While posting a sign reading "WANTED: Waiter or waitress, to acknowledge my existence and take my order, red or green hair optional" at a certain diner, I came across a flyer offering the chance to join SC's Slow Gherkin and tour the world. The catch? Eligible applicants must play the keyboards. For anyone out there who can rip on piano/organ/Moog synth, this is an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up. A job with the Gherk includes perpetual adulation from SC teens and plenty of press coverage from unassuming writers. Call the band's pager at 800.618.2208.

On the Road Again

Choptops lead singer Gary Marsh must have hit his head pretty hard when he passed out in the shower from a bad cold last week. The poor guy is harboring delusions that his band, after winning a record deal to record at Rolling Rock studios in Vegas, now has a Top 10 song on Michigan's rockabilly charts--and the new album, Always Wild, isn't even out yet. Actually, it's all true. The Choptops had a demo version of their tune "My Last Ride" swiped and bumped over the airwaves out in the Midwest.

Not that Marsh minds at all. The Choptops have been playing at all the radio stations in town lately in preparation for the new album's release, set for an official send-off Aug. 24 at Moe's Alley. But before that, the band hits the road again on July 13 on a one-gig/different-town-every-night, month-long tour that takes the band through the heartland of America. Can you say coffee? You can catch the Choptops before the band departs at Severino's Friday and wish them a von boyage or something similar.

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From the July 5-12, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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