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Beat Street

By Todd S. Inoue

Photo by Hillary Schalit

No Regrets: Cafe of Regret has called it quits.

Enter the Scalawag:
Rock supplants the blues in downtown San Jose

Can two guys with surgical and administrative backgrounds make a splash in the club business? Larry Hayes and Jerry Wilson think so. The duo has been busy converting San Jose's JJ's Blues Downtown into Scalawag's, which debuts Friday (Dec. 8). Hayes says Scalawag's will abandon the blues-only format and incorporate a mixed bag of rock & roll, jazz and reggae. One night may be reserved for blues, he tells me. "Not knocking blues fans, but if you look at the crowds, there's not enough people to support a steady diet of blues. With a bigger variety of music, we hope to attract more people."

The duo negotiated with JJ's June Stanley back in September, signed the lease and moved in on Nov. 21. Extensive remodeling is under way: installing pool tables on the mezzanine floor, adding television sets and removing the kitchen. The four-sided bar will remain intact and be embellished with 14-16 microbrews on tap. Hayes hopes to attract the after-work crowd, tantalizing them with televised sports first, then segueing into music around 9pm or so.

On the Road

For former Cactus soundman Wedge, life as a Deftones tour manager/sound engineer can be hectic, but as Don Cornelius says, it's a stone gas. He called from New York City on Maverick's phone card to tell me that the Deftones have been touring nonstop since summer. "It's starting to catch on out here on the East Coast," Wedge says. "People are starting to go crazy, request songs and sing along." They've been out with Civ, Monster Magnet, Bad Brains, Korn, Orange 9mm, Faith No More and the Warped Tour. Oh yeah, the band also appears in the sequel to The Crow. Wedge will be back in town for the holidays before heading out when the Deftones open for Anthrax and tour with Ozzy Osbourne and Korn. When asked if he'd work at Cactus over Christmas break, Wedge humorously scoffs, "Aw, shut up." C'mon, just for old time's sake? "Nah, I'll be Christmas shopping or washing the cat. I'll find some excuse."

Cafe Runneth Over

Two of the area's most talented local acts are reaching midlife crisis and dealing with it in different ways. After a tremendous Fishbone show, the Brownies are taking a hiatus from touring. Always a prolific, hard-working outfit, the band will concentrate on recording and continue to perform locally. Sadly, the highly underrated Cafe of Regret is no more. According to lead vocalist Andrew Fleig, "Cafe broke up because it was no longer working. We had written four songs together in a year, were getting nowhere on our record and were burnt on San Jose. It is time for us to do other things musically." Of which there are many. Matt Kolb is playing drums for Caustic Notions and running a rehearsal space. Richard Kratt is playing bass with Phaser and the Meltdown Players with guitarist Gordon Gurley. Fleig is writing and recording songs and he plans to play live again someday. To send condolences email Andrew_Fleig*@quickmail.apple.com.

Teen Lunatics

I went to Albany Preschool and Marin Elementary with Rancid bassist Matt Freeman--remember him as a good guy and an above-average kickball player. You can see him kicking more than red four-square balls on Sunday at the band's sold-out show at the Edge in Palo Alto. ... A great Los Gatos Teen Center show is set for Dec. 15 with J Church, Wat Tyler and the Kindred, whose latest 12-track CD, Bomb Up the Town, is infused with glowing, mid-fi pop grooves.

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