For the Love of Dewey

The late Dewey Terry was a huge lot of fun. Maybe it bothered him that he was robbed of the fame and dough he deserved, but not when he was onstage. He just did not care—put him in a dank Santa Ana beer hall, put him at a Gustav Anders brunch in front of more white people than you can shake a lutefisk at, and he would rock the hell out of the place regardless. And I don't mean the "Oh, look, Henrietta, it's Hell," sort of hell, but the hell where you feel your eyebrows singeing and your mouth grows parched because you're too transfixed to even take a drink. Straight outta Pasadena, Terry was one of the original black rockers, pairing with Don "Sugarcane" Harris in the mid-'50s as Don & Dewey. Label mates of Little Richard and Larry Williams, Don & Dewey were easily as raw, on such rockers as "Justine," "Mammer-Jammer" and the garage-band staple "Farmer John" (covered last decade by Neil Young), as well as greasing up their ballad "Leavin' It All Up to You." A fine pianist, Dewey also played insane electric guitar, in an unfettered style akin to Guitar Slim and Neil Young. Don, meanwhile, pioneered the electric violin. Vocally, they were the original inspiration for the Righteous Brothers. They worked with a pre-fame Jimi Hendrix, with Frank Zappa, with the punk-era Tupelo Chain Sex. After a life of drugs and other problems, Harris died in 1999. Cancer got the clean-living Terry earlier this month, with little to show for his life in music other than the people he touched. Passels of them are participating in a memorial show Sunday at the Atrium Hotel in Irvine. According to show promoters Todd Hall and Donnie Brooks, the performers will include Brooks, Billy Swan, Albert Lee, Tommy Sands, Jewel Akens, Joe Houston, the Association, the Penguins, the Olympics, Derek Bordeaux, Al Wilson, Marvin & Johnny, John Walker of the Walker Bros. and so many others you've got to wonder if there's room for an audience. If you never saw Dewey, go to at least give the guy a good sendoff. The tickets are $20, with proceeds going to Dewey's widow. Showtime is 6 p.m., with doors opening a 4:30 p.m. Call (714) 612-4998 for more information. The Atrium Hotel is at 18700 MacArthur Blvd., Irvine. (Jim Washburn)


Photo by Mark Savage

By the time the last few notes had kerranged out from Cowboy Nation at the end of their May 19 Alex's Bar show, only a handful of people in the room were aware that something else had finished: for the first time in nearly a decade, booker extraordinaire Steve Zepeda had nothing to do with his Monday nights. Low turnouts and an out-of-the-way locale had combined to kill off Zepeda's regular Monday bookings, which began at the Blue Caf in downtown Long Beach and had recently migrated to Alex's after Zepeda had a falling out with new Blue Caf management. "The Blue Caf worked because there were large walk-up crowds and conventioneers who'd show up and mix with music fans," Zepeda says. "At Alex's, it was just too far away to attract walk-ups." Ideally, Zepeda would like to find a room to book weekend nights in, something he hasn't had since the days of the Foothill, the Signal Hill club that was sold in 2000 and transformed into a Latin dance hall. "I've had some interest by people who want me to do weeknights, but I'm not interested in that any longer, and I'm tired of doing this independently—it's hard being an outside booker. The way I see it, I have two options: either a club hires me, or I come into a bar and work out some kind of a partnership where I'm not an outsider." But there's another problem, Zepeda says: the lack of midsize rooms capable of booking small-scale touring bands and popular local acts—or at least a room that wants to deal with an indie promoter like him. "Since the Foothill, there's no middle ground—clubs are either really small or they're these corporate clubs like the House of Blues and the Grove." Zepeda says he'll take some time off from the booking game for a while, but he fully intends to get back into it once he finds the right situation. We have a suggestion, Steve: find some partners, buy the Ralphs that sits on the site of the old Bogart's in Long Beach on PCH (where Zepeda first cemented his nice-guy rep with local bands), knock it down and build a new Bogart's. In our alternative universe, it's really that simple. (Rich Kane)

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I wrote a few weeks ago about my new lust for the Apples In Stereo song "Shine a Light" because I first heard it in a Kohl's commercial. But this in no fucking way constitutes a blanket endorsement of bands selling their tunes; I forever reserve the right to continue pointing out the uglier moments when art gets caught in coitus with commerce. And so came this Nissan commercial flashing across the tube last week: shiny car zipping along a highway, lots of natural scenery in the background, ho-hum. But! That droney guitar? Those hazy chords? That off-kilter beating? My god, that's "Heroin" by the Velvet Underground! And Lou Reed is a bigger whore than I ever thought possible. (RK)

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