The human body is a fragile flower indeed. And while most regular folks are at least semihardy daisies, musicians, it seems, are the hothouse orchids of the world— extra-special, but goddamn delicate. Maybe that explains this week's rash of medic alerts. First, the Murder City Devils have been forced to cancel the remainder of their European shows (including the Leeds and Reading Festivals and a John Peel session) due to keyboardist Leslie Harding's damaged wrists, which were operated on two months ago and proved unable to bounce back in time for the tour. Meanwhile, down the coast, poor, beleaguered Weezer have lost their bass player, Mikey Welsh, indefinitely due to an unnamed illness—which they insist is "not a clich頲ock star drug problem!" They are on the hunt for a replacement. In the meantime, what's left of the band is busy shooting a new video with Spike Jonze for their second single "Islands in the Sun," since apparently nobody liked the first one (are they hoping the maestro can give them something to equal the now-classic "Buddy Holly" Happy Days clip?). . . . We reported a few weeks back that Wilco had been unceremoniously dumped by Reprise Records after refusing to make their latest recording more "commercially viable," and now we can report a happy ending. The band was allowed to buy back Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and lead singer Jeff Tweedy, who's in New York this week fielding offers from more than 30 labels, large and small, has said of the break, "It feels like Christmas. I don't feel victimized, I feel liberated." We have a feeling Santa will leave something much nicer under their tree this year than the flaming bag of dog poo offered by Reprise. . . . In local label news, Loveless Records (run by Michael Hukin and KCMU—dammit, KEXP—morning DJ John Richards) has signed Vendetta Red. Not that they
don't play all over town already, but the band's all set to up it one more notch for the release of White Knuckled Substance in the fall. . . . Death Cab for Cutie are back Oct. 9 with The Photo Album, featuring 10 brand-spanking-new tracks. The tour starts in Seattle Oct. 5, and if you want an exclusive limited edition version of the record, which includes DCFC's cover of Bjork's amazing "All Is Full of Love," you'll have to pick up the record at the show or go to www.barsuk.com. . . . For those with a little time to kill in the ol' cubicle, we've been passed a Web site sure to entertain some of you more hardworking types for hours: www.sunshineday.com/neugast/gallery/tigerbeat.html catalogues Tiger Beat covers from the first issue on. Three guesses what dreamboat's face graces the front of that premier issue. Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Bob Dylan (sexy beast) got the honor. But feel free to peruse the more traditional David Cassidy and Leif Garrett tear sheets while you're at it, and survey the evolution of the teen heartthrob while admiring a stroke mag produced for adolescent girls, not about them. . . . And now, the next best thing to being there: reports on two of last week's big shows. First, on Saturday's X show, our man-on-the-scene Kurt B. Reighley: "The band— Billy, DJ (whose gray hair is SO sexy), and John—sounded amazing. They wisely avoided post-Billy material, sticking to stuff from the first four albums: "Soul Kitchen," "We're Desperate," "True Love," "Blue Spark," "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline," etc. The only drawback? Exene—who has turned into the Baby Jane Hudson of punk rock—can't harmonize to save her life. Honestly, she was singing in completely different keys from John. The only times she got it together was when they'd sing into the same mike. What made X special was the vocal chemistry between John and Exene, and girlfriend clearly
can't pull it off anymore. Very annoying. Fortunately, the rest of the band compensated, and the Supersuckers were still amazing. Like any of the fucking deadbeat crowd cared." And from our ed.-in-chieftain, re: Dwight Yoakam who, coincidentally, also played with the Supersuckers: "Benaroya Hall may have great sound, but pop acts should seriously consider taking their business elsewhere. Was the security force trained by Mark Sidran? Any attempts to dance, move to the front, or even stand up were met with arm-wrestling security guards who seemed to anticipate a Mardi Gras-style riot. It wasn't all their fault—though they were incredibly unpleasant about their 'stay low in your seat' rules. Despite the tight, high-energy honky-tonk produced by the country heartthrob and his band, from looking at the somnolent, stuck square-on-their-butts audience, you'd never have known you weren't at the symphony." . . . This week's obituaries: Hi*Score Arcade, that haven for pinball, great bands, and the underagers who love them, will close down its Pine Street location. "After nearly six years of business ownership in the Pike/Pine neighborhood, we no longer feel Hi*Score fits into the rapidly changing landscape of the area," co-owner Beth Fell said, but "there's still hope that Hi*Score will live again. We just need to take a break, explore other neighborhoods, and plan our next steps." With much less warning, Gibson's booker Brian Foss has announced that as of Aug. 19, the venue, a prime supporter of new and struggling local bands, is suddenly and permanently closed. Says Foss, "This comes as a total shock to me, and I really don't have anything else to say right now." We'll update you when we find out what the hell happened. . . . So North by Northwest, that formerly Portland-based kid brother to the megamusicfest South by Southwest, is thinking about moving the now-defunct Portland event to Seattle
next year. The organizers are hosting a 9 p.m., $5 show with Pretty Girls Make Graves and "special guests" at the Showbox next Thursday, Aug. 30 to test the waters. What do you think?
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