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I'm Interested in Things

I've had a long-running debate with SCOTT WARDEN, expatriate Santa Cruz music writer and a close friend, over the THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS song "Dr. Worm." Warden holds that the song is about some guy who wishes he was a drummer in a rock band and simply uses the name "Dr. Worm" because he thinks it sounds cool. I, however, think this is--pardon my French--poppycock. Does he not say in the song "I am a real worm, I am an actual worm?" It's about a damned worm! A worm who likes to play the drums, sure, but is this really any more bizarre than UNIVERSE MAN having a watch with a minute hand, a millennium hand and an eon hand? The sticking point with Warden seems to be that a worm lacks certain things normally associated with playing the drums, like, for instance, hands. Again, I would argue this is a technicality at most within the context of a TMBG song.

And yet this epic philosophical debate rages on, possibly forever. I thought it might be settled once and for all when I interviewed JOHN FLANSBURG last year and confessed the whole sordid mess to him. He just said, "You'd have to ask JOHN LINNELL about that. I'm sure he'd love to talk about it."

I got the sense he was being sarcastic about that last part, mostly from the incredibly sarcastic tone of his voice. Thanks for nothing, HALF-OF-TWO-JOHNS GUY!

What got me started on this? Was it the Scotch? Oh wait, I remember, it was the fact that they were just sounding the opening notes of "Dr. Worm" when I walked into their Catalyst show Sunday. As if to torture me--there are no coincidences, you know. Anyway, every time I see them do that song I try to ferret out any possible clues, but once again, no such luck. The exploding canisters of confetti at the end were fucking cool, though.

I don't know what to say about the show other than it's worth noting that this band really, actually rocks now. When they started the whole full-band thing, they were still far from rockin'. Even when I saw them in 2000 in L.A. they seemed to be rockin' in that occasional-gusts-of-rockin' way--more a party atmosphere than a commitment to full-on rockin' (as TENACIOUS D pointed out, most rock guys are only rockin' you half the time anyway, unless they've mastered inward singing). But not only do they rock now, they smoke. I have to say, They Might Be Giants as a rock-show experience still leaves me a bit puzzled at times. Why did the cute nerd couple in front of me pick "John Lee Supertaster" to start madly making out? Why "James K. Polk" in the encore? But you know what, I'm not going to sweat the small stuff. I've got to crack this worm thing first.

Steve Palopoli

Aptos Club Face-lift

For those that have been keeping track of events going down at the Aptos Club, you may or may not be excited to hear that the club is under new management. Former club manager/booking agent DAIN JOHNSON has moved on to other booking pursuits. Meanwhile, former Margaritaville owner DOUG BESHORE will run the show at the Aptos Club, with the help of JOHN GULARTE JR., heir to the PIZZA MY HEART and ACAPULCO empire downtown (his family owns both restaurants). First order of business? Get the bar back in working order. The whole place has been cleaned, the pool tables recovered, and new carpeting is on the way. From the looks of things, most of the staff is new, too. And most importantly, the bar is stocked with liquor again and the beer is flowing, which wasn't always the case, as the bar was losing steam and cash flow was bad.

The new management didn't mention any plans for spiritual cleansing rituals, but the new music lineup and activities should take care of that just fine. Daytime horseshoe tournaments and live jazz on the deck overlooking Nisene Marks, as well as an emphasis on blues and danceable rock, should help make some alienated locals feel at home again in the bar. And for the metal and hip-hop heads and reggae and rock fans, there will still be Metal Mondays and various hip-hop/reggae/rock/blues shows on Friday and Saturday nights. PAUL JONES will host karaoke night every Wednesday night, and ladies drink cheap on Thursdays with DEEP BLUE.

I stopped by the club last Sunday night to peek in on the freestyle battle. Despite poor attendance, a few brave and skilled MCs like WHITE BOY and INFAMOUS ripped on each other and rocked the mics for a while, offering an encouraging glimpse of battles to come once school is back in session and the kids are back in town.

Mike Connor

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From the August 18-25, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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