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Rasta or Redneck?

Some 50 protestors--including one young genius carrying a sign that said "Boycott Sizzla / He's a punk ass Nigla / Preaches Hate and Violence / He Ain't Getting My Nickle"--marched outside the CATALYST on Sunday, Sept. 11, to protest homophobic Jamaican dancehall performer SIZZLA. While a Catalyst staffer insists the guy with the "Nigla" sign was white (he was already gone by the time Metro Santa Cruz showed up), protest organizer MERRIE SCHALLER believes he was "a light-skinned black man" who was part of a group of "disgruntled Rasta upset about Sizzla preaching violence." The GLBT ALLIANCE founder said that "while he wasn't anyone we know, I didn't have any objection to his piggybacking on our presence."

Schaller's light-skinned Rasta theory even explains what otherwise might have been considered a racist epithet. "I wouldn't have used it," she notes, "but I saw it as pretty much the same as me using the word 'queer.'"

Bill Forman

Shaker Loops

On Sept. 7, alternative's rock's biggest superstars from 1996 showed up at the Catalyst. While the last nine years have been full of musical developments, it's comforting to know that some things never change.

SHIRLEY MANSON, above all things, remains attractive. This seemingly insignificant fact is important as she mentioned prior to the encore that it is, in fact, "cool to see yourself on MTV." Dressed in striped tights, a baseball hat and some kind of smock for a shirt, she was definitely rocking the HOT TOPIC look, but alas, it appears that she hasn't received a catalog since BOB DOLE ran for president. Address service is hereby requested.

Special props to BUTCH VIG for his sampling prowess. Wow! Is that a shaker? Why I would never thought to add that loop to the second chorus! That really fills out the mix! It was almost like listening to SIAMESE DREAM played by a balding, middle-age cover band.

Tapia the Pops

BILL TAPIA is the first, and possible only (unless Butch Vig really takes this Garbage thing too far) nonagenarian to get ink in this scandal sheet. Taking the stage at the RIO wearing an adorable fisherman's hat, Tapia was an icon of good nature in a music industry filled with poseurs and pretension. It would be a lie to say that both his voice and his fretwork are still up to the level they were back in the '50s, but whatever he's lost in dexterity he's gained in wisdom and authority. Besides, he knows his limitations--after hitting the high notes in WILLIE NELSON'S "Crazy," he remarked, "I think I have to go to the bathroom now."

Joined by RUTH DAVIES on the bass and AKIRA TANA on the drums, Tapia ran around some classics of hula jazz, including "My Little Grass Shack" and "Sunflower." "Tiny Bubbles" was conspicuous in its absence. Tapia also told one of the funniest stories ever about an hour into the set. Reminiscing that he was playing in L.A. one summer at the Beverly Hills Hotel in a conservative orchestra--"I hated the music, but liked the money" (See, nothing has changed), one night he took off the tuxedo and played hooky to go down to Central Avenue to hear LOUIS ARMSTRONG.

After sitting in with the group for two numbers, he was complimented by Louie and then asked backstage. Once out of public view, some of Louie's band mates then offered Tapia a brown wrapped cigarette that "smelled like burning grass." Hours later the Duke of Uke would wake up in a strange house with no idea of how he got there. Needless to say, Tapia does not have a stock of Maui Wowie in his ukulele case.

Peter Koht

Fringe Benefits

SOUND TRIBE SECTOR 9 announced last week that they will play a show on Sept. 20 at the Catalyst to benefit the victims of HURRICANE KATRINA. 100 percent of the door will be donated with $20 as a minimum donation. Also, the NICKELODEON will host an advance screening of TOUCH THE SOUND to benefit the CABRILLO FESTIVAL OF CONTEMPORARY MUSIC Thursday, Sept. 15. Avant guitar god FRED FRITH, who appears in the film, will be on hand for a Q&A session afterward.

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From the September 14-21, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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