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What is it Good For? Kids!

For my eighth birthday, I got a stereo of my very own: white plastic, oversized pink buttons and a turntable for my favorite 45 rpm records. The very first two I played were Elton John's “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” (I really dug the references to butterflies and sugar bears) and War's “Why Can't We Be Friends.” I was a pretty carefree second-grader, plagued only by my cat-lady piano teacher and my spastic performance on the field, and I was understandably thrilled by the sloppy opening piano chords and compassionate themes of “Why Can't We Be Friends?” There's an obvious lesson of teamwork when each member of the band waits his turn to belt out a rhyme about peace, harmony and politics (and that dude who had to join the CIA because he wasn't welcome in the “maf-I-A”!), while the rest of the gang is laughing and jiving in the background. Nowadays, Elton's Lion Kingsoundtrack speaks to a new generation of kiddies, but does anyone else think he's setting them up for an early onset of adult-alternative syndrome? War's a different story. They never partnered with Disney, but a dose of their party-ready brand of interracial funk could get any grade-schooler going. The jive is timeless. They were as much a part of my healthy upbringing as creamed spinach and Flintstones vitamins, and I have yet to tune in to my mama's soft-rock station. (Kara Zuaro)

War at the LA County Fair, 1101 W. Mckinley Ave., Pomona, (909) 623-3111 or (909) 865-4590; Fri., 8 p.m. $15-$50. All ages.

The Kinison
Honest, Passionate, Tipsy

It could be the opening salvo to a dirty joke: What happens when a Midwestern farmer named Bub (guitarist Guy Knight), a guitarist (Aaron Fuller) and their mouthy best friend (Chris Lewis, who has a yen to do standup) move to the LA area, rope in a bassist (Mike Villayicencio) and drummer (Mike Rivera) by telling them their bands suck, and find a basement in which to abuse one another with cheeky jokes and their instruments with speedy, punk-blistered new wave rock? They name their band for smutty, out-of-control comic Sam Kinison and release their debut, What Are You Listening To?, on LaSalle Records, headed by Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. Duh. They've got songs such as the deliciously titled “You'll Never Guess Who Died,” which opens with a tart, cocky riff that sounds like it leads into a Cars song before melting into something darker and heavier, and “I Have Something to Say,” an amplified epileptic fit with a jaunty salsa shimmy. Plus front man Lewis has a mouth hurting for a rinse with soap, for the profanity as much as the candor. His assessment of band beneficiary Barker? He's a great guy and supportive label boss; Blink-182 is fantastic for taking them to tour Europe; he doesn't like Blink's music or their fan base, who couldn't tell music from a Louis Vuitton knockoff. But “the cool thing is he's not whoring us out!” See, a band's worst liability is an audience's best friend. And what guarantees a dance-party red dawn better than a front man with a big mouth? Says Lewis: “We're honest, passionate and a little tipsy!” (Sarah Tomlinson)

The Kinison play with Kill Radio at The Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 629-0377. Mon., 7 p.m. $10. all ages.

Punk Rock Unites For Hepatitis C
The More People That Know About It . . .

Danny Commerford could be mistaken for a drill sergeant: piercing eyes, direct manner and close-cropped hair. But the tattoos covering his arms would give him away. At 40, he joined his first band, and he's still going strong 15 years later as a guitarist in Orange County's hard-charging melodic punk band Boobie Trap. And he's not shy about explaining how he has Hepatitis C. Don't know your As, Bs or Cs? You're far from alone. “Ignorance is the biggest obstacle,” says Kelly Zirbes of “I heard a story about a grandmother who found out she had it and her own daughter doesn't want her to see her grandkids,” Zirbes says. “It's just ignorance.” Fighting that ignorance is the point of the benefit set—as well as the Boobie Trap CD release—to take place at the Galaxy Concert Theatre. Post cards detailing the risk factors (drug use, sharing toothbrushes or razors, receipt of blood products prior to 1992 among them) and other pertinent information will be available, thanks to organizing efforts helmed by Boobie Trap. The stigma associated with Hep C doesn't even register with him, he says. There are more important things: “I don't want people to have a silent killer in their body and not take care of it,” he says. “The more people that know about it, the more people that are going to get tested and maybe stop the epidemic.” (Rex Reason)

Punk Rock Unites for Hepatitis C Awareness (Benefiting the Hepatitis C Caring Ambassadors Program) with The Crowd, Boobie Trap, Working Class Zeroes, Brass Taxx, Saving Grace, Neveready and Civet at the Galaxy concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600. Sun., 2-9 p.m. $15. All Ages.

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