Music Connection--A House Divided
One of the local scene’s most active chroniclers has lost his primary forum. Bud Scoppa has left Music Connection magazine after what he described as a “philosophical rift” with publisher/executive editor Michael Dolan.
“I’ve been feeling that the magazine this year was becoming hip,” said Scoppa, who was a free-lance writer and record company talent developer before coming to the magazine in February, 1984. “But (Dolan) thought a certain lighthearted air that was showing up in commentaries and columns was inappropriate.”
Scoppa, who built a reputation as a booster of both local music and local rock writers, said his decision to resign his position as senior editor came after Dolan insisted that some of the regular columns and features that Scoppa had developed be terminated. Among them were two columns that concentrated on the street-level buzz of L.A. music by two young writers whom Scoppa considered his “favorite pupils.”
“I just felt that matters of principle were qualitative, not quantitative, and I had to resign at that point,” he said. After Scoppa’s resignation, several other writers, including columnist Chris Morris, resigned in protest.
Dolan, who praised Scoppa’s writing and editing skills, confirmed that he disagreed with Scoppa over the magazine’s recent direction and said he plans to reorient the publication.
“I’m looking at more of an easy-reading, informational book for the on-the-go music industry professional,” said Dolan, who founded Music Connection in 1977 at the height of the punk/new-wave explosion. “Quick, to-the-point stories and less lengthy, dragged-out pieces. More of a magazine for the ‘90s, more easy-reading charts and graphs.”
Kenny Kerner, a former manager and producer and Scoppa’s assistant editor at Music Connection in 1986, has been named to replace Scoppa, who expects to return his focus to magazine writing.
Scoppa’s final issue for Music Connection, which is on the stands now, is--appropriately--a special “survival guide” for L.A. bands.
Hallelujah No More
The Dancing Hoods are going to sit the next one out--permanently. The group, which migrated here from Long Island in 1986 and became one of the top local club acts with tough-but-tender Stones-influenced songs, has decided to call it quits.
“I just got tired of it,” said Hoods singer/songwriter Bob Bortnick. “How many times have you heard guys in bands say, ‘I’m gonna quit this when it stops being fun,’ and then go on and make 30 records even though it’s not fun. Well, it just wasn’t fun anymore.”
Bortnick cited the failure of the band’s recent second LP “Hallelujah Anyway” to make any commercial headway and the band’s inability to secure an opening slot on a national concert tour as the last straws for the Hoods. He promised, though, that he and lead guitarist and co-songwriter Mark Linkous are far from through as a team.
In December the two will join with House of Freaks’ Bryan Harvey and Johnny Hott to record an album as their occasional side group, the Love Tacos, which Bortnick said will probably mix obscure outside material with some new songs. He also expects to put together a new band with Linkous in the future.
A Phast One
Phast Phreddie--a longtime scenester who once published his own fanzine and who sports the coolest goatee in town--has finished not one, but two new albums:"Iambic Mind Pentameter” with his neo-beat Phast & Bulbous and “Can You Walk on Water?” with the Love Supremes.
The former captures Phreddie’s dead-on, smart and funny beat verse in improvised, impressionistic jazz settings, while the latter contains five fairly obscure Rolling Stones songs done in what can best be described as ‘80s organic psychedelic fashion.
Neither album has been picked up by a label yet, but you can hear Phreddie’s work as a producer on the upcoming SST album by Treacherous Jaywalkers, a teen trio (including jazz bassist Charlie Haden’s son Josh)that Phreddie describes as “a cross between the Minutemen and King Crimson.”
The Balancing Act isn’t just quirky folk-pop anymore. At least the band’s second LP, “Curtains,” won’t be drawing comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel. Instead, “Curtains,” on I.R.S. Records and produced by ex-Gang of Four guitarist Andy Gill, shows the band expanding its musical horizons to include aural impressionism (the docks metaphor “Between Two Oceans”), Thelonious Monk-style jazz (“Fishing in Your Eye”), edgy rock (“Trusty Floor”)and--perhaps the highlight--a harmony-drenched version of George Clinton’s old Funkadeliccq thumper “Can You Get to That?” . . . Parthenon Huxley looked impressive debuting his new band at a recent KROQ-FM noon concert at the Palomino. The North Carolina native, raised largely in Athens, Greece (hence the name), used to gig around L.A. as Rick Rock, and before that under his real name, Rick Miller. His recently released first album for Columbia, “Sunny Nights,” reveals a sound something like Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie recast as a Christian optimist rather than as a cynical Brechtian dramatist. Most noteworthy in the Palomino show was “Guest Host for the Holy Ghost,” a witty, rockin’ look at televangelism. . . . “Border Radio,” a movie drama featuring acting and music by John Doe, Chris D. and Dave Alvin, among other local musicians, is finally getting a theatrical release following limited screenings on the festival circuit. The film is currently playing at the AMC Century City Theatres complex.