POP MUSIC : Musicians Unite to Raise Funds for Social Causes

Musicians Who Care, the San Diego-based organization of socially conscious musicians, is in the process of putting together a compilation album of topical originals by local pop acts.

"The Care," due out in late September, is designed to show people that there are plenty of San Diego musicians who do, indeed, care--about poverty, about the environment, war and crime and racism and other pressing issues and concerns.

"We want to promote San Diego bands that are doing socially conscious music," said Steve Saint, the album's coordinator. "One of the purposes of Musicians Who Care is to organize local musicians who are trying to help the community with their art, and part of that is to promote their music in any way we can.

"The more we can promote socially conscious bands, the more of a platform they will have to help the community."

The 10 contributors to "The Care," and their songs are Baba Yaga's "Tomorrow's Child," Bad Dog's "World of Fire," Blisterchicken's "Who Is the Man?," Bordertown's "Someday," Club of Rome's "The Children With the Mushrooms in Their Eyes," the Coverts' "The Shrooms," Kachabeat's "Jah Beat the Devil," Karl Anthony's "Our World," and Newmatic Slam's "World Goes Crazy."

The album will also include a group recording of "We Shall Overcome," the old civil-rights anthem. More than a dozen Musicians Who Care members will be featured on the cut, including California Republic, Saint (who also plays in Club of Rome), and P.J. Grimes, the organization's founder and executive director.

The project is a true labor of love, Saint said. "The bands recorded their songs at their own expense, and they've formed a collective to put in money to manufacture the record and promote it," he said. "So far, we've raised about $2,000, but we're going to need a lot more, particularly to keep our promotion budget flowing."

Additional funding, Saint added, will come from upcoming benefit concerts, including a record-release party at the Bacchanal during which all the contributors will perform.

The initial pressing of 1,000 albums will be distributed to college radio stations all over the country, Saint said, in the hopes of getting these socially conscious locals some national exposure. In San Diego, the album will also be available, for sale, "from the bands, from Musicians Who Care, and at record stores that carry local music," he said.

Bucking the industry trend, "The Care" will be issued only on LP. No cassettes, no CDs.

"Most college stations are in the process of converting to CD, but not all of them have the funding to do so," Saint said. "So at least at this point, they all still have turntables--and since they don't play cassettes, this is pretty standard."

Some observations on last Saturday's "X-Fest III," the outdoor concert festival at San Diego State University's soon-to-be-demolished Aztec Bowl. Groups performing included the B-52's, Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, the Cramps, and They Might Be Giants:

* They Might Be Giants' opening set was much too long for a stadium show. The crowd really wasn't into their unique, accordion-driven sound; the group only has a small cult following and should stick to playing clubs.

* Midway through the Cramps' set, singer Lux Interior stripped down to his black-leather undies. His chalk-white, emaciated body looked a lot better fully clothed.

* Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers' performance was the high point of the show. Particularly compelling was their rendition of "Get Up, Stand Up," a reggae classic that was originally recorded by Ziggy's late father, Bob Marley. (The tune was written by another late reggae great, Peter Tosh, while he was in the senior Marley's backup band, the Wailers.)

* I'm not sure who got more applause: The B-52's, or the guy with the copycat bouffant hairdo who kept jumping up in the stands.

* The transitions between bands were remarkably short, sweet, and efficient. Kudos to Avalon Attractions' production team.

* The ban on booze, drugs, and recording equipment was understandable. But banning blankets and backpacks went a little too far. Though the concert began at 3 p.m.--on a hot August afternoon--it didn't end until nightfall.

And prohibiting people from bringing in blankets and backpacks that might contain a change of clothes to guard themselves against the post-sunset chill was not only unnecessary, it was downright cruel.

LINER NOTES: The 1990 "Motortown Revue," featuring six new acts on the Motown Records label, will be appearing tonight at the San Diego Sports Arena. It's a throwback to the 1960s, when Motown regularly dispatched its up-and-comers on package concert tours across the country. Among the original Motortown Revue's celebrated alumni are Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, and the Supremes. This year's model, commemorating the label's 30th anniversary, stars the Boys, Today, Good Girls, Rich Nice, Milira, and M.C. Trouble. San Diego is one of 22 cities on the revue's summer concert itinerary. . . .

Some changes in the line-up at Sunday night's rap concert at the Sports Arena, headlined by Public Enemy: Heavy D and the Boyz are off the bill. Previously announced openers Digital Underground, Kid 'n' Play, and the Afros will be joined, instead, by Big Daddy Kane and Queen Latifah. . . .

Tommy Page's Aug. 30 appearance at the Civic Theater downtown has been canceled due to slow ticket sales. . . .

Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. for John Doe's Sept. 19 concert at UC San Diego's Triton Pub, and Saturday at 10 a.m. for Dio's Sept. 22 show at the Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park. Also at 10 a.m. Saturday tickets will be available for Social Distortion's Sept. 23 appearance at SDSU's Montezuma Hall. . . .

Best concert bets for the coming week: The Crazy 8s, tonight at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach; the Fabulous Thunderbirds with the Blonde Bruce Band, Thursday at the Bacchanal; a fund-raiser for the North County Chapter of NOW" featuring Candye Kane and the Jolly Ranchers, Thomas Yearsley (of the Paladins), the Mindreaders, Pleasant Gehman, and Europa, Sunday at the Casbah in Middletown, and Augustus Pablo with Common Sense, Tuesday at the Belly Up.

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