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Great Scott

Avant-jazz drummer snares a hit combo

By Greg Cahill

Talk about a one-man force of nature. It's been 12 years since drummer Scott Amendola landed in San Francisco from his native New Jersey, and in that time the Berklee School of Music grad has compiled an impressive résumé. He's picked up a Grammy nomination for his work with the funky T.J. Kirk (a short-lived band that also featured eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter), recorded three critically acclaimed jazz albums with Hunter on the Blue Note label (including the 1996 breakthrough CD Ready . . . Set . . . Shango!), performed and recorded with the likes of stellar jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, avant-jazz leader John Zorn, Phil Lesh and the quirky Nels Cline Singers, and established himself as the not-so-calm eye around which swirls an ever changing lineup of adventurous experimental rock and jazz artists.

Amendola once described his side project Crater to the Bohemian as being "about entering the unknown abyss of improv without the headlights on. The music hits on groove and noise, beauty, tensionø, love, anger, rage, kindness, chaos, motion, stop motion. No one knows what's going to happen. No one knows what lies beneath. Beneath might be above. Light might be dark, wet might be dry. Fall in."

Prepare to tumble. Amendola, who has made Zebulon's Lounge a haunt, returns to that popular jazz spot on Friday, Oct. 29, at 9pm for a night of Monk madness. Reed player Ben Goldberg (who studied with the late, great Steve Lacy and Joe Lovano) and bassist Devon Hoff round out this talented trio. 21 Fourth St., Petaluma. $10. 707.769.7948.

High Notes

Holy Happy Hour (Terminus), the recent album by the Athens, Ga.-based band Stockholm Syndrome, might have slipped under the radar, but this is a jam-rock band worth checking out when they storm into the Last Day Saloon in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, Oct. 27. This genre-jumping outfit is built around Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools and songwriter Jerry Joseph of the Jackmormons, who have collaborated on what Schools calls "religious-sex-junkie-heartbreak songs."

Rounding out the talent-laden lineup are guitarist Eric McFadden (who has played with Les Claypool and George Clinton's P-Funk All-Stars), keyboardist Danny Dziuk and drummer Wally Ingram (a longtime collaborator with string wizard David Lindley, as well as Sheryl Crow, Jackson Browne and Tracy Chapman). Tickets are $15. Showtime is 9pm. 120 Fifth St., Santa Rosa. 707.545.2343. . . .

If you think there is no end in sight to the plethora of tribute bands rocking the North Bay's nightclubs, you are so right. In fact, they're ruling the night this Halloween season. At the Mystic Theatre in Petaluma, AC/DShe, everyone's favorite all-girl AC/DC tribute band, get the party started Saturday, Oct. 30, with a night of fun-filled debauchery.

Opening the show are American Drag, whose songs chronicle what the band calls the American dream turned to a drag. American Drag is not a cover band at all, but a hard-rocking group featuring guitarist Monroe Grisman. Savvy North Bay club denizens will recall Grisman, the son of mandolin maestro David Grisman, as a former member of the homegrown grunge band Pump Mother. He and his band mates have performed together for several years in such Bay Area staples as Mason Lane and Stereo Flyers. . . .

Meanwhile, Sabbath Lives and Zepperella (an all-girl Led Zep cover band) will team up to supply the heavy metal grooves on Sunday, Oct. 31, at 19 Broadway in Fairfax. Be afraid, be very afraid.



Spin Du Jour

Green Day, 'American Idiot' (Reprise)

Don't think Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day is serious about his emerging role as a major punk provocateur? Take a look at the band's website. There's Armstrong--flanked by band mates Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool--staring wild-eyed, cigarette dangling from his lips and several sticks of dynamite strapped around his waist, suicide-bomber-style. American Idiot, the band's new punk-rock opera, is explosive in its own right.

Bookended by a pair of multipart suites--fashioned after the Who's mini-rock opera "A Quick One (While He's Away)," from 1966's Quick One album--American Idiot finds Green Day draping three-chord punk rock and moving power pop around a story line in which a character named Jesus of Suburbia ("the son of rage and love" weaned "on a steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin") rejects the manic society around him and rallies the skate rats that hang out in the 7-11 parking lot to get their acts together. P.S. There ain't a happy ending. With American Idiot, Green Day steps out from under the shadow of the Clash, rising above that band's political polemic to create a raucous rock tale of wasted youth caught in the clutches of an uncaring society.

--G.C.

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From the October 27-November 2, 2004 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

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