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Robbie Fulks It Up

Often, you can tell a whole lot about a person by the things (or people) they ridicule. In the case of country crooner ROBBIE FULKS, it's fellow Carolinian RYAN ADAMS, the sensitive alt-country star formerly of WHISKEYTOWN, whose name is so hilariously close to that of Canadian rocker BRYAN ADAMS that some concertgoers have teasingly requested "Summer of 69" at Ryan's shows. Apparently, Ryan doesn't think it's very funny; he's reportedly stalled multiple concerts until the offending fan is ejected from the show. Fulks responded by offering free merch to anyone who will request Bryan songs at Ryan shows. In concert, Fulks reads from his quick reference list of "amusing and confusing" Ryan Adams quotes.

Yeah, yeah, Ryan Adams has some talent. But he also spends a lot of time making what sounds like little more than artfully pretentious nonsense, if you really listen to the words. Fulks, on the other hand, comes from a different school of songwriting, where understandability is the whole point of singing a freakin' song to other people. Yes, a rootsy school where clever turns of phrase get A's and clever, poignant turns of phrase get A-pluses. Cynical songs like "She Took a Lot of Pills and Died" also make the grade, as do sad ballads like "Tears Only Run One Way" and bloody laments, as in "I Just Want to Meet the Man," wherein Fulks sings, "Don't tell me it's just the two of you/ I see his shadow on the blind/ He can't hide in there forever/ And darling, I've got so much time/ No, that's nothing in my pocket/ Just a toy I brought for Jane/ I couldn't stand to see her hurting/ Now Daddy's here to kill the pain."

Ultimately though, it was his children's song, "Godfrey, the Sickly Unemployed Amateur Children's Magician," that won me over, being a huge fan of DR. DEMENTO's ever-so-twisted KINKO, THE KID-LOVING CLOWN. Remember him? "All the kids love Kinko for the presents that they get/ Silly leather clothes to wear and happy cigarettes!" I learned a valuable lesson as a child listening to that song: Never, ever trust a generous clown.

I Think We're Alone Now

After that Kinko line, I think all the prudes have stopped reading, so I think it's safe to tell you that TIFFANY, who performed at the Boardwalk last Friday night, POSED FOR PLAYBOY. Shit, I bet my editor totally bolded that, didn't he? No matter--obviously if she didn't want anyone to know, she wouldn't have gone and gotten a bunch of plastic surgery and posed for the most famous of all nudie magazines.

Injured Amputee

The ANGRY AMPUTEES' namesake bassist DALTY is in the hospital for a damaged aortic valve. Visit www.theamputees.com to make a donation. Local promoter NIKKI PERSNICKETY is looking to put together a benefit show; anyone interested in participating should call her at 831.252.6667 or email her at scfreethethree@hotmail.com.

Bombs Over Santa Cruz

Lorelei Records is hosting a weekly gig at the Med. "Ass Cracks and Elbows Night" features $1 PBR and live rock & roll every Wednesday night. Look for FIRST TO FALL, CINEMA and DAYS ARE BLOOD on Aug. 4, or STEVE GRISWOLD AND THE TRUCKING PROJECT, THE YOUNGER BROTHERS and EL CAPITAN on Aug. 11. Also, check out Lorelei Records' new compilation, Bombs Over Santa Cruz, featuring some of the best amplified mayhem this town has to offer; see www.loreleirecords.com.

Pop Icons

Lastly, for those with an eye for fine art, check out GEORGE MILO BUCK's reception at Picture Appeal on Friday, Aug. 6, at 5pm at 832 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, featuring oil paintings, posters and magnets of JIMI HENDRIX, THE BEATLES, JANIS JOPLIS, JERRY GARCIA, MILES DAVIS and tons more. Call 458.2298 for more details.

Mike Connor

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From the August 4-11, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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