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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Groove Theories
Popular DJ night crosses South First; King Raffi moves to right side of dial

MAD STATIC occurred last week at Josh Weisenfeld and Clare Umeda's popular Wednesday-night "The Groove" at San Jose's the Usual. A beef over promotional philosophies between the duo and the Usual's Paul Gerhardt prompted a Josh/Clare relocation across the street to the Agenda's downstairs space, the Speakeasy. The popular Groove night features classic '70s-'80s soul and disco. It was packing in some 500 people at its peak, according to the groovesters. Last Wednesday, Groove DJ King Raffi spun records to an empty dance floor at the Speakeasy. At the Usual, it was business as usual with Corey supplying the funk under the Groove moniker.

The conflict, according to Weisenfeld, is due to differing opinions on promotion, in particular, handbilling. "We've been going for a year and a half and just starting to get lines," Weisenfeld said. "So we made up 'get-in-free' cards to give away to loyal customers. Handbilling wasn't as important."

Weisenfeld, who also managed the Usual's bar, was burned up over the split. "I don't think so, ever," said Weisenfeld, when asked if they'd return. "No matter what they offer me, I don't want to go back."

Gerhardt admitted there was drama but wouldn't comment on specifics. He did express hope of reconciliation. "There were problems on the promotional side," said Gerhardt. "We're just trying to work it out."

"I didn't know they had problems with promotion, because they didn't say anything to me about it," said Umeda. "I'm not sure what's going to happen. I don't feel a need to go back. It's a chapter in my life, and I can move on."

The two parties have met to iron out its differences since then. But for now, there are two separate funk/disco parties--one official, one under a new name--across the street from each other. "The ironic thing is that they need each other to make the night good," said an inside Usual source who wanted to remain anonymous. "They were doing just fine; if it ain't broken, don't fix it."

By the way, the custody-embattled DJ King Raffi recently defected from KOME 98.5 to its main competitor, Live 105. He'll be doing weekend fill-ins and heading up Live 105's South Bay promotions.

Burnt Offerings

The end of the road has arrived for local ska-core favorites the Brownies according to guitarist and vocalist Tim Kahihikolo. His immediate plan is to concentrate on college and continue the burgeoning Brownies tribal hip-hop side project, Willies Conception. The Brownies began to crumble last month when the band broke up, then reformed a week before a show with the Selecter. Kahihikolo and other members performed the show in a higher (highest?) state of unconsciousness. "I just got sick of being on the road and the whole ska scene," Kahihikolo said. "There's too many themes coming out right now. When I play with Willies, I am a lot more at home. With the Brownies I was doing booking, management, writing songs; it became too much of a strain.

"Willies are my best friends, more of the people I can talk to and relate with. A lot of [the Brownies] I didn't grow up with. Although we're good friends, it became five different individuals. Willies is more of a group." The Brownies will call it a wrap on Friday (May 24) at the Cactus Club. There are only two opening acts, Neosoreskin and Jalopy Taco Stand, and the rest of the night will be an extended farewell set.

No Clash Covers

I know so many bands who'd be perfect for this. The San Jose Clash is looking for bands to perform on Sundays (May 26, June 23, Aug. 4, 11, 25 and Sept. 1). Send a demo tape and promotional package to 1265 El Camino Real, Santa Clara 95050. Attention: Soccer Celebration-Darlene. Deadline is June 6.

Rumble Redux

Thanks to all the bands--Skankin' Pickle, San Jose Taiko, Monkey and Jupiter Sun--who donated time to make Rumble in the Ballroom a smashing success. Skankin' Pickle members raved about San Jose Taiko backstage. Could joint shows take place? Or a taiko/ska-core fusion? Pickle is now taking a four-month break to get Dill Records' business straight and record its sixth album.

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From the May 23-29, 1996 issue of Metro

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