Sprawl of Sound
Nitpicking the Clinic
OC Weekly ran a positive Locals Only column on the Clinic [Erin DeWitt's "From Warehouse to Rough House," Oct. 5]. It prompted a caustic letter denouncing the club's treatment of bands and the owners' ethos. You can read the grammatically challenged rant on our music blog, Heard Mentality. The gist: The Clinic isn't "punk," its bosses only care about money, they shaft bands and suppress free speech.
I spoke to the Clinic's honchos, Adrian Marquez and Daniel Malta, and told them about the accusations this malcontent made. Marquez shrugged off the dis. "I don't really care. We have a lot of supporters. Every venue gets slammed: Chain Reaction, eVocal, SolArt. People who get mad at us are those who don't follow our rules. Any band that goes over their time slot will be cut off. If you do stupid things in our club, we'll toss you out." This happened with a group called Harpoon Guns, whose members threw flour and poured syrup everywhere and left without cleaning up their mess.
"[The Clinic] is a nonprofit venue; it's for the scene," Marquez continues. "I make no money from this. I have to work [a day job]. Bands get pissy on slow nights when we can't pay them much."
Marquez and Malta say attendance for shows has fluctuated, but the past few months have been particularly harsh. They've been unable to pay their trash bill for three months.
So I asked The Scarred, who performed Oct. 12 (they played last when Verbal Abuse didn't show), how the Clinic treated them. The band's gear/merch guy, Nate, said, "[We] got paid nothing. We never ask for contracts because we assume people are going to be cool. [The Clinic] ended up paying the band before us 300 bucks and didn't pay us a penny. . . . So I've only played there the one time, but we weren't treated well at all. We had to pay to get our own merch people in. I had to shell out money for three friends who carried all our stuff and sold merch. Really kinda weak. But we're playing again this Friday, so hopefully the situation will rectify itself."
Marquez and Malta's response to Nate's charges: "[T]he bottom line (and I told this to them that night) is that we had no money at all. We honestly lucked out that Verbal Abuse didn't show because then we would have been completely fucked on our agreement.
"And yes, we did make their 'roadies' pay to get into the show; we make it clear to local bands that they don't get a guest list because since we don't ask for one cent to book a show—even a weekend show, no presale tickets, nothing—we need to make sure we can cover our expenses (which some months we can't even do—thank God we have a flexible landlord).
"We paid Lab Disaster the $300 we had agreed to; we paid our three security [guys] $20 (which is slave labor). We were left with maybe $20 profit. Then one of the 'merch people' came and told me that they spent $80 to pay for gas to get to the show ($80 from Anaheim? A stretch? Nah). I told them exactly where we stood with money and we had made virtually no profit (counting the water we give away to the bands). Then she asked if she could just get the $15 back that they spent for the three of them to get in. Without a hesitation, I gave her back the $15. I don't know what they were expecting; they know how many people were there and still act like we were trying to rip someone off? If there was anyone who should have gotten cash (aside from Lab Disaster), it would go to the guys who put the whole lineup together, Media Blitz."
Mexican standoff, anybody?
Writhing on Orgone's Killion Floor
LA collective Orgone's nine members have their deft hands in many musical pies: lead vocalist Fanny Franklin sings in 30-strong hip-hop orchestra Dakah; some play with funk chameleons Breakestra; and they served as backing band for the Pharcyde, Pharoahe Monch, Z-Trip and NOLA funk deity Eddie Bo. Now they're poised to reap dividends from all of this funky fortitude with their excellent debut album, The Killion Floor (Ubiquity).
The adaptability necessary to contribute to those projects shines on Floor, too. "It's What You Do" and "Justice League" uncoil with Fela Kuti's equatorial heat and throb, translated for an upscale R&B crowd. Their cover of George McRae's immortal "I Get Lifted" captures the clipped yet laid-back funk lope of the original while adding a sweet percussion breakdown, and their version of "Funky Nassau" is aptly festive and foxy. "Sophisticated Honky" is a gritty funk-rock instrumental boasting flinty guitars bent into carnal shapes, loin-boiling bass-and-drum interaction, and breezy brass. "Do Your Thing" is a brash, lubricious torch song that could make Tina Turner blush. "Who Knows Who" and "Crabby Ali" simmer with Stax soul heat. "Hambone" recalls Larry Young's space-funk odysseys with Fuel. It's easy to imagine The Killion Floor both igniting mass partying and stoking libidos for more intimate gatherings.
Orgone's record-release party happens Oct. 26 at Santa Monica's Temple Bar. More info can be found at www.myspace.com/orgonemusic.
The Crosby Curse
The Crosby owners—Phil Nisco and Chris Alfaro—had their Santa Ana apartment broken into about two weeks ago. The burglar(s) heisted Nisco's bike and two of Alfaro's laptops, one of which contained loads of Free the Robots music they used for live sets. Alfaro, one of the nation's top hip-hop producers, scoured the city for his precious machines, but the search proved fruitless. Now he's taking a philosophical approach and using the incident to spur him to create even better music.
As for that long-delayed Crosby opening, Nisco says, "About a month—but I've been saying that for four months" (See "Three the Hard Way," Sept. 14). The Crosby—from where one of the owners' boomboxes was recently pilfered—promises to be a creative hub where musicians, DJs, visual artists, fashionistas, and lovers of good grub and booze can gather and bond over said enthusiasms.
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