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Giving The Devil Makes Three Their Due

According to THE USUAL SUSPECTS, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist. But if you haven't noted the existence of THE DEVIL MAKES THREE in the last few months, you've been living in a hole--possibly a hellhole, but that's neither here nor there.

Anyway, not only are DM3 a featured attraction at the FREE RADIO SANTA CRUZ benefit this week (see story), they sold out two nights at Henfling's a couple of weeks ago, and got bumped to headliner status last weekend at KPIG¹s San Luis Obispo soiree when SONNY LANDRETH found out his father had died (Landreth couldn't get a flight out until Sunday, so he put his chin up and played his Santa Cruz date Saturday).

Oh yeah, and anyone who went to the TODD SNIDER show at the Rio last Saturday was probably surprised to see him call DM3 up to the stage to be his backing band on "Sideshow Blues" and "Better Than Ever Blues Part 2"--and to even play a couple of their songs.

Turns out Snider has been a big fan of the band lately, spinning both of their CDs quite a bit. So Saturday during the day he arranged for a little pre-show rendezvous.

"A secret hotel rendezvous," says DM3 bassist LUCIA TURINO. "It was hot, hot, hot!"

"He's really the nicest guy," says guitarist PETE BERNHARD. "He's as nice as he seemed onstage. It was cool to be his band. I'm like, 'I'm just the rhythm guitar player--I have no responsibility!'"

Snider and the band spent the afternoon learning each other's songs, but the DM3's COOPER MCBEAN says in terms of the learning curve, it just wasn't fair: "Our songs are a piece of cake."

Peek a Booka

I can't help wondering if the Japanese duo PETTY BOOKA are big EL RAYO-X fans, because that band's last album, Very Greasy, is the last place I can think of that BOBBY FREEMAN's "Do You Wanna Dance" and BOB 'FRIZZ' FULLER's "Tiki Torches at Twilight" were seen sharing the same space, as they did at Petty Booka's packed show at the Art League Theater on Sunday. Warning, ladies: following in the footsteps of wacky El Rayo-X frontman DAVID LINDLEY is downright crazy. But they do share his ability to adapt well-known songs to extremely unlikely instrumentation. And what a set: the RAMONES' "Rockaway Beach" recalled Petty Booka's roots in the Japanese garage punk band FLAMENCO A-GO-GO, the PARAGONS' "The Tide Is High" was augmented with Okinawan-style celebratory yelps, and Booka's delivery of CYNDI LAUPER's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and the aforementioned "Do You Wanna Dance" was enough to make you cry. Did I mention this was all done on ukuleles? Fantastic.

Steve Palopoli

Writing Down the Bones

At a songwriting contest, there's nothing quite as satisfying as those sudden surprise moments of brilliance that hit you like a tropical waterfall in a library--totally unexpected, yet thoroughly refreshing. The winners at Zelda's last Tuesday, MICHELLE LEWIS and CHAZ EDEN, certainly earned their status, but I can't help but shine the spotlight on the fourth-place winner, SERENA SEYLES, for her awe-inspiring performance. She seemed nervous and disorganized as she was getting ready to play, but as soon as she started singing, it felt like she'd only hustled us into believing she was an amateur. Suddenly Seyles was a jazz chanteuse who could belt out the blues with the best of 'em, her voice clear, sultry and unhesitating when she needed to squeeze in an ad lib here and there. In fact her songs seemed almost entirely ad-libbed, which certainly didn't help her chances of winning at a songwriting contest. But man, there was just something about that woman scatting about psychopathic serial killers that got me right in the gut.

Mike Connor

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From the December 8-15, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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