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Where to be tonight: DMZ Flashback December 22, 2008

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CheckOneTwo has a long and sordid history with the building currently known as Vino’s (and previously known as DMZ, and previously known as The Annex).  It’s where he and the other Gravel Ridge skater kids used to hang out and be sullenly, deliciously cool.  It’s where he and his future ex-wife had their first date.   It’s where his kickball team hangs out post-game, where his kids have played pinball like little madmen all through their formative years, and where he first saw bands like Sick of It All, Dirty Rotten Imbeciles, Ghoultown, Trusty, Rocket From the Crypt, Green Day, Teenage Bottlerocket…too many to name.

So tonight:  a reunion of sorts, for the folks who grew up at the short-lived DMZ.   The return of Trusty!  The return of Matt Besser–comedian for such insanely funny troupes as the Upright Citizens BrigadeLink Springs!  Ticket price is $10 (a little steep!) but the nostalgia trip is worth the fare.

Memories of Trusty are rich.  When I was just a little mustachioed skate rat hanging out with other wannabe hooligans (we, of course, still managed to keep our Honor Society memberships current), we fell in with Bircho and his lot.  Our central gathering location was a little blue house on Highway 89  right off 107 outside of Gravel Ridge, home to Andy Hancock and his parents.   Attendees would be folks like Ritchie Baker, Lyndel Roe, Michelle Henderson, Pat Tillman, Larry Busbea, Mart Averitt, Liz & Pam…pretty much the same group who skated Paige’s ramp out at Skateboards Plus in Levy.  Every single time I’d leave Andy’s house on a weekend, the police would be at the corner of 89/107, pull me over, and toss the car.   Since I was straight-edge (read:  too scared to drink), it never amounted to more than a hassle but it still pisses me off to this day. 

One night, Bircho came to the Blue House in a van he used for transportation and living quarters.  About an hour or two into the night’s festivities we stepped out into the carport and saw the van on fire.  For no particular reason–it wasn’t the engine, it was the interior.  All of Bircho’s belongings burned up but, for some reason, none of us could do anything but point and laugh while Bircho scurried through the smoke and flames.    We all made it better, though, by giving him t-shirts once the blaze was extinguished. 

Come out tonight to hear Trusty, especially if you were too young to be part of the scene (that means you, Reid Hanna).  You’ll be glad that you did.




CHECKONETWO Interview: COLIN BROOKS December 21, 2008

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CheckOneTwo caught up with Colin Brooks recently, in anticipation of the upcoming Big Cats show this coming weekend.  Here’s how it went:

1.         How are things going with the Dan Zanes band?   Have you been touring?  Where all have you been lately?

 Things are going great with the band. Everyone is playing really well and the gigs have been triumphant. We were just out west a couple of weeks ago doing a sort of test run with the holiday show in San Francisco, Davis, CA, and Seattle.

2.         That’s one suh-weet pic of you and the band on the website, with you sitting on the stoop holding some sort of bucket-drum.  The rest of the crew went with the jolly smile motif, while you seemed to choose the “cold death stare”.  Discuss. 

 The “cold death stare” you are referring to was unintentional. That photo, along with some of our more recent press shots, was taken exactly a year and 2 days ago. It was a very long shoot outdoors in our stage gear, and it was very cold indeed. So i suppose it is accurate to call it a cold death stare. I was freezing in a very thin jacket.

3.         Tell me about the new show you’ve got kicking off tonight—I hear it’s playing for a month at the New Victory Theatre, some sort of “new 42nd Street project”?

 The show is a project that Festival 5 and Pomagrante Arts have been working on. It features the band and many of our friends. It’s a multi-culture Holiday music hootenanny of sorts with holiday songs in Arabic, Mexican, Hebrew, and English. There’s a tap dancing family, lots of people on stage, trading songs and eating clementines. There’s a shadow puppet segment set to the Leadbelly song Grey Goose.

4.         Don’t tell me that the NY run will keep you away from the Big Cats show in Little Rock next week?  Say it ain’t so!

 I will be in Little Rock to play with The Big Cats yet again. I had to put in for a replacement drummer for the rest of the run at the New Vic. I love my family and friends too much to not be with them on the Holidays. I told Dan that i would be much too depressed to stay in New York.

5.         This Monday, there’s a gathering of folks at Vino’s celebrating the short-lived days when it was DMZ.  Trusty is playing, along with some surprise comedy from Matt Besser.  I wouldn’t be surprised if you have some good memories of DMZ?

 I have very fond memories of the DMZ and Vino’s as well. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been going to that building for more than half my life. The first time I ever stepped foot in there was in 1988 to see fIREHOSE and The Screaming Trees. I was 14 years old. When we got The Numbskulz going, James and Bircho from TRUSTY called us at my parents house and then drove out to meet us. We hung out a bit and they gave us a copy of their first single which i still have. When they left, we all jumped up and down on my bed out of the sheer joy of having met them. A few months later we did our first gig opening up for them at the Women’s City Club.

6.         Tell me what’s happening with your work outside of Dan Zanes and Friends.  Anything new happening with Big Cats, or Sea Ray?  Can we expect a Numbskulz reunion someday?

Playing with Dan keeps me pretty busy and out of town quite a bit. I have been playing with Drexel here in New York a little bit. I still see the people from Sea Ray fairly regularly, but i don’t see a reunion any time soon. The Big Cats are taking steps toward making a new album, so you can expect some new songs in our set on the 26th at Juanita’s. The Numbskulz i seriously doubt. We were so young then and i’m not certain anyone is really interested in us as more than a piece of history.

Catch up with the Big Cats on the 26th at Juanita’s (with Kevin Kerby & Battery, and Ashtray Babyhead!).  I’ll see you’uns out.



Lucinda Williams in Memphis!! December 19, 2008

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Love it….Lucinda Williams!!  Tuesday, February 24th, at Minglewood Hall in Memphis.   Touring in support of her new album Little Honey

Speaking of Little Honey, you can download it here for only $8.99. 

And speaking of Minglewood Hall:  March 18th, Cardinals!!  (Ryan Adams, Neal Casal, Chris Feinstein, Jon Graboff, Brad Pemberton)

Long Weekend? Chickety-check! December 19, 2008

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The good news:  that is indeed my ass.  The bad news?  That’s not MY hairy hand.  D’ohhh!!

One of the reasons that CheckOneTwo is lucky is that his job shuts down for the last couple of weeks of the year, every year.   That means at the end of today I will be leaving from the office until Jan 5.  Ohhhhhyeahhhh….it’s like being a school teacher without the hassle and the denim jumpers.

So what should I do this weekend?  Hmmm…

Downtown Music, 9 p.m., $5, ALL AGES:  Cool Shoes dance party.  Featuring Western Meds, T.J. Deeter, others

Sticky Fingerz, 9 p.m., $5:  First Impressions (reggae, r&b)

Whitewater Tavern, 9 p.m., $5:  John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives, and Jonathon Wilkins

Vino’s, 8:30 p.m., $8:  PM Today, School Boy Humor, Don’t Call Me Shirley

Cornerstone Pub, 9 p.m.:  Chris Denny & Friends

Juanita’s, 10 p.m., $7, 18+:  Elsie Davis w/Isaac Alexander and The Bill McElroy Band


Sticky Fingerz, 9 p.m., $5:  Weakness for Blondes

Whitewater Tavern, 9 p.m., $5:  Kevin Kerby & Battery, The Reds, Drunken Angels.  CHECKONETWO RECOMMENDS

Pizza D’Action, 9 p.m.:  Stella Fancy!  CHECKONETWO RECOMMENDS (for the low-key lovahs)

Vino’s:  Toys for Tots benefit w/Kingsdown, Solstice, others TBA

Cornerstone Pub, 9 p.m.:  Joe Pitts Band

Downtown Music, 8 p.m., $6:  Fatal 13, Klaun VI, Patient 8, and Out of Ashes

Juanita’s, 9:30, $8:  Machina, Brookroyal, Altus Pocket

So maybe I’ll see you out?  GET LUCKY!!



WAKARUSA’S NEW HOME: ARKANSAS!!! December 16, 2008

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Well, hot DAMN!!  I’m a big fan of the hippie music festivals, so you know I’m kinda stoked that the Wakarusa festival is leaving Lawrence, KS and making a new home in Ozark, AR!!  Wakarusa has been growing in recent years and has been a pretty strong lead-in to Bonnaroo.  Now it’s rat cheer in the Natural State, up ‘err at Mulberry Mountain!

This is a big dadgum deal.  Congrats to the Arkies that pulled this’un off.  Woo hoo!!

Last year’s Wakarusa festival had some 70 bands, including everyone from Flaming Lips to Del tha Funkee Homosapien to Emmylou Harris to Mickey Hart to the Old ’97s to…well, just a tonna folks.  This year’s lineup will be announced in January. 

Mark it down–see you’uns there,


Tonight in Lotta Rock December 16, 2008

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Whitewater Tavern, 9 p.m.:   The See, Frown Pow’r, and Big BootsFREE SHOW

Juanita’s, 9 p.m., $8:   Hana Pestle (Montana)w/Ben Moody (you know, from Evanesence?), Stars Go Dim (Oklahoma)

ACAC Takes me Way Back December 16, 2008

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OK, while you yay-hoos were tucked ‘neath the blankets last night Fearing the Sleeter, CheckOneTwo laced up his Docs and braved the elements.   Hope you enjoyed the cheese dip and Magnum P.I. reruns.   Whilst you were snoggin’ yer sweetie or counting the sugarplums, I had me a big ole ice-drenched punk rock night in the new space for Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative.

This is a great space, perfect for this kind of thing.  Takes me way back to my days as a skater kid at Kierre Hall in Levy, catching bands like Rhythm Pigs and such.  Think big warehouse, no stage, plenty of room, makeshift bar.  ACAC is now located in the Gallery B building on Rodney Parham, and you should go there to support these guys.

Who better to strike the first notes in this space than Little Rock’s own The Chicklettes?  This foursome is loud, snotty and rude, just the way you like it.   Nothing could be finer than drinking cheap beers while listening to girls scream about “going to the prom with a nitroglycerin bomb” or encouraging us to “hang Barry Manilow” while attempting (unsuccessfully) to incinerate a Manilow album cover.    Judging from the between-song patter, the band is (1) armed, (2) tired of violence against women, and (3) encouraging armed female insurrection.  Oh, and they may also be PMS’ing.   Be warned.

Straight outta Milwaukee, next up was Holy Shit!  Yes, they came from Milwaukee, where they have real ice and snow, and you couldn’t be bothered to make it out?  These guys didn’t waste the trip with shoegazing.  Oh no.  They launched into 165-mph sonic warfare, bouncing around the space like golf balls in a paint can.   Lead screamer Tabman (starting off with the aforementioned burned Barry Manilow album cover as a mask) hurled himself screaming around the space like a man being ass-scalded by fire ants.   Good thing he moved fast, b/c Mighty Big Bassist Anthony was ping-ponging around swinging his bass like a scythe.  Careful, boy, you’ll put somebody’s eye out.   Set was way too short–like 30 songs in 15 minutes short.  I stepped out for some air and it was over.  Come back sometime, HS.

The Thing That Always Explodes (locals) finished things up.  I’m personally not feeling it with these guys yet.  Guitarist/vocalist Andy Burns comes at his instrument like the secret bastard child of Greg Ginn, which I respect, but they seemed a bit off last night.  In fairness, I left after the first fifteen or twenty minutes.  Hopefully it got better.

Importantly:  the new ACAC space is great.  It’s worthy of your support.    Don’t be afraid to venture a few miles away from downtown.  We live in Little Rock–pretty much everything is within 8 miles of everything else.   All ages, all the time.



Making your holiday music (err… ESCAPE) plans? December 15, 2008

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grandparents  other-grandparents

I hear all the time about how hard the holidays are, how families get on your nerves, how you gotta have some escape from Memaw & PawPaw…I guess it’s especially hard for those of you who come in to visit family.  They want every last minute of time. 

Dude.  You gotta plan.  Otherwise it’s several days of Scrabble with your nephew or, Yahweh forbid, Monopoly.

Here are the things you could miss if you don’t start sowing the seeds of your escape plan NOW. 

SAT 12/20:  , Kevin Kerby & Battery, The Reds , and Drunken Angels at Whitewater Tavern; Stella Fancy & Whale Fire @ Pizza D’Action

MON 12/22:  Trusty (yep, TRUSTY!!) w/Matt Besser, at Vino’s.  The big DMZ reunion. 

TUE 12/23:  Isaac Alexander @ Vino’s

FRI 12/26:  Big Cats, Kevin Kerby & Battery, and Ashtray Babyhead at Juanita’s.

SAT 12/27:  American Princes, Smoke Up Johnny, Eclipse Glasses (Rev Room, ALL AGES)

FRI 1/2:  Lucero @ White Water Tavern

A little bit of  pre-planning, like:  “Mom, I can’t wait to see you too…I do have a couple of things I’ll need to do while I’m there, but the REST of the time I’m all yours!!” just might go a long way.    In a pinch, you might try, “I have a dance to go to.  It’s a very important dance.  We’re being graded on it, for gym.”

I’m just sayin’.


Hey, did you go to the Metallica show in Little Rock last month? December 15, 2008

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Me too.   Wouldn’t it be cool if we were able to get a super-sweet recording of that show, without having to go all “Rerun at the Doobie Brothers”?

Well now you can!!!  For $9.95, go right here to download an mp3 of the Metallica Little Rock show.   Owwww!!  It is one top quality show, boyeee.  I love hearing James Hetfield talking about Little Rock.  Yes, I am a geek…but  a geek with a live Metallica show!!!  If you want to pay a bit more, you can get it in FLAC format. 

Makes a great gift–downloadable skins, as well. 

Riding the Lightning,


TONIGHT! Warm up ACAC’S New Space!! December 15, 2008

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Our friends over at the Arkansas Community Arts Cooperative breaks in their new space tonight, over by the skate park on Kanis.  Seen that old Gallery B building?  That’s the space. 

900 S. Rodney Parham Blvd., Little Rock, Arkansas (neighboring Kanis Park) Doors open 8:30, show starts at 9:00 pm $5.00, all ages

The only weak spot for ACAC’s old space was a limit on music, due to tenants living overhead.   That problem is solved, so I  spect it’s gonna get LOUD AND NASTY tonight. 

How loud?  How nasty?  Chew on this:

HOLY SHIT!, straight outta Milwaukee

THE CHICKLETTES! (straight outta LR, with a detour through L7)


KILL TV!  (straight outta…Cabot??)

Get on out before the ice traps you in.