Don't expect a third edition of the boffo This Ain't No Picnic alternative/indie/underground music festival—at least not this year. Paul Tollette of concert promotion firm Goldenvoice tells LowBallAssChatter that the decision to pass on a 2001 version of the Picnic came down to two factors: the difficulty of landing a proper headlining band and the loss of the fest's usual Oak Canyon site at Irvine Lake. Tollette says the Oak Canyon operators have decided not to host large, music-related events for the time being (which is also the main reason the Hootenanny fest moved this year to Hidden Valley, a grass-and-tree-strewn patch adjacent to the Amphitheater Formerly Known as Irvine Meadows). Tollette, however, won't rule out a sequel to last year's Hip-Hop BBQ, a hugely successful (at least on an artistic level) "positive rap" show that was also held at the Oak Canyon site. They're still trying to put something together for a BBQ2, Tollette says, though no lineup or a venue has yet been finalized. (Rich Kane)
The Wesley Willis Fiasco Fiasco
It could be the steel-cage match of the millennium: scrappy Tustin-based record label Cornerstone R.A.S. just got the legal smackdown from the big boys at the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) for releasing a record by the Wesley Willis Fiasco (also WWF—see where this is going?) that features a "confusingly similar logo." Could the label behind America's favorite scatologically inclined, schizophrenic, keyboard virtuoso (if you don't know what we're talking about, consult Napster) and his now-disbanded rock band find themselves having to whup a snow leopard's ass in court? "We're not exactly sure how they found out about the disc, but we're amazed they did find it," says label honcho Hector Martinez, who says the logo was submitted to R.A.S. by one of the musicians in the Fiasco. "This issue never even crossed our minds, as far as it being possible infringement. We were just happily doing our thing, and then one day, we get a letter, and we're like, 'Whoa!'"
Whoa, indeed. Last month's flying cease-and-desist order off the top rope came from the powerhouse Pittsburgh tag team of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart. They'd like R.A.S. to recall and destroy all the CDs in question. Martinez says the label is meeting to decide what to do but that the offending artwork will definitely be changed on subsequent pressings. "We don't want to do something knowingly that's bumming them out," Martinez explains. "And I guess it does look a little similar." (Chris Ziegler)
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Did They Try Mastercard?
Fans who went to the Luzbel/Leprosy double bill at Anaheim Latin nightclub JC Fandango on May 10 were in for a surprise: no Luzbel. Rather than being a case of prima-donna behavior or the band being drawn away to preside over satanic rituals, the legendary Mexican death-metal group's cancellation was caused by something the rockeros at the concert could no doubt relate to: immigration problems. According to club owner Javier Castellanos, Luzbel's lead singer was denied entry into the United States at the last moment because of a visa problem. It seems Mexican artists have to apply for a special cultural visa before they're allowed to perform north of the border; getting one has been difficult lately, and Luzbel's singer was not successful. "The Immigration and Naturalization Service told me that they have cracked down on cultural visas after a group from Mexico brought over too many family members who caused a bunch of problems," Castellanos said. To appease any unruly metalheads, JC Fandango dropped the price of the concert to $15 (from the original $20) and added Sonoran metal group Kafra to replace Luzbel. Castellanos was not too pleased, though, with the byzantine American immigration laws. "Denying visas to groups because another group messed up is not good for the rock en espaol movement," he says. "If the rules were relaxed, a better cultural change would occur." Although there was no official explanation given to the fans, the various anti-migra slogans chanted throughout the concert makes this reporter think that the crowd had an idea of what had gone down. (Gustavo Arellano)
The Spin-of-the-Month Award Goes to . . .
. . . film/video director and longtime Sugar Ray best bro McG, whom we caught being interviewed on Access Hollywood last week. On the set of the Orange County band's newest video clip, McG made the eyebrow-raising claim that Sugar Ray were nothing less than this generation's Beach Boys. Yes, and "Fly" is this generation's "Good Vibrations," and 14:59 is obviously this generation's Pet Sounds. Does this also mean that singer Mark McGrath will wind up as overweight and drugged-up as Brian Wilson once was someday? (RK)