Pump Up the Volume

Photo by Jeanne Rice When Fullerton's 21-and-up venue Club 369 shut its doors to the alterna-rock crowd in January (its lease was sold to a group that planned to turn the club into a Latin-music bar), longtime booker Randy Cash had big plans for something he'd been wanting to do for a long time: open a large all-ages room in OC, with what's called a separate-entity bar allowing him to accommodate both the under- and over-21 hordes. Cash was excited and hopeful, confident that with his experience and tenacity, it would only be a matter of time—two to three months, he figured—before his new club was up and running. After 369 closed, he immediately moved his base of operations to Tropics in Huntington Beach while he sought a new home. That home opened May 5 in Westminster, in the Felt Room, a pool hall that also occasionally hosted shows. Cash's new rock palace, which will be rechristened Studio 22 (the front door has a clear view of the 22 freeway) in July, includes many Club 369 features: same booming sound system, same kick-ass lights, same affable staff members, but—hey, what's this?!—same 21-and-over policy. Whither the all-ages part of Cash's plan? "We kept looking and looking for the right venue," an exasperated Cash told LowBallAssChatter. "It's hard. Alcohol and Beverage Control [ABC] simply does not want that type of club, and the only way you can usually do it is to go around the law. If you do that, then in a month or two, you're gone. You have to get the ABC to agree, then the city, and as far as cities are concerned, any type of show could end up being like the Ice House"—referring to the short-lived Fullerton all-ages venue whose permit was revoked in 1995 after three stabbings. Cash said he'll continue booking shows at Tropics in addition to his Felt Room duties, so there's at least this positive fallout from 369's demise: the OC live-music club scene, which a decade ago was deader than Nixon, has grown yet again. (Alison M. Rosen)

SCOTT'S A DICK The success of any zine isn't measured in the number of years it lasts (few make it past the first anyway), but in the number of issues produced. So it's noteworthy that Skratch—OC's cantankerous, ornery answer to such entrenched indie-music pubs as Flipside and Maximum Rock & Roll—turns the Big Five-O with its current issue. In a move that typifies Skratch's young, loud and snotty style, No. 50 is the "big $ellout issue," in which founder and "publishitter" Scott Presant sold off Skratch's editorial spread, a pay-to-plug scheme in which bands not only bought room on the issue's cover but also bought space for their own reviews and interviews—they're the ones marked with a PAID stamp. The CD reviews are bogus, too, all strangely, overwhelmingly kiss-ass. "Most people didn't even figure out that they were fake CD reviews," Presant told LowBallAssChatter. "The real ones are gonna run in the next issue." (One clue, though, is obvious: Supernovice's David Turbow penned a glowing critique of a ska record, in which he says, "I am a HUGE enthusiast for all forms of ska." Turbow once wrote a song called "Sick of Ska.") Elsewhere, there are jabs at concert promoters Goldenvoice, Reel Big Fish (done in a more tongue-in-cheek manner) and Lit (the Jägermeister and 1-800-COLLECT pitchmen? No!). It's all seemingly designed to stir shit up, and it has—Presant says he's already lost an advertiser over the Goldenvoice barb. But controversy, a well-honed talent for pissing people off, and a healthy penchant for never taking anything too seriously are what Skratch has always been about. Two years ago, Presant printed up SCOTT'S A DICK stickers, reflecting what surely must be a widely held sentiment by now. Here's hoping they make it to 100. If you can't find Skratch—although God knows how you could miss it—log on to their site at www.skratchmagazine.com. (Rich Kane)

MAKE INDIE FILM BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY Before Evan Jacobs became a mild-mannered Fountain Valley filmmaker, he was a bruised-up, moshed-out hardcore/straight-edge fan, going to shows in late '80s/ early '90s OC put on by the likes of Inside Out, Farside and Game Face. Sounds like a movie. In 1996, his chance came in the form of New York Hare Krishna punk band 108's farewell tour. And yeah, you read that right: "Doesn't it seem that if you're straight-edge, then a Hare Krishna is what you'd end up becoming?" Jacobs asked himself. He followed 108 around the country with a video camera, chronicling a blur of flying limbs, hard-fast-loud music, and, somehow, a compelling story of what happens to a band mind when they know they've reached the end, when it's time to either get a real job, go back to school or join another band. The film, Curse of Instinct: 108's Final Tour, also features interviews with guitarist Vic Dicara, who, before joining 108 and the Krishnas, had served time in Inside Out with Zack de la Rocha. Last year, Curse of Instinct won a Golden Orb award from the No Dance Film Festival in Park City, Utah (a rebel offspring of the more famous Sundance Fest), and this month it's finally available on home video for a dirt-cheap $10. Order a copy through Anhedenia Films, Jacobs' production company, by sending a check or money order, payable to Jacobs, to 17860 Newhope St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708; or e-mail him for more info at anhedenia@ hotmail.com. Meanwhile, Jacobs' latest cinematic venture, Schusterman Levine: A Boxing Fable, a mock doc about the worst fighter in history, opens Friday at Captain Blood's Village Theater in Orange and runs through Thursday, May 18. (RK)

 
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