A couple of months back, I was one of a handful of people invited to Sapphire owner Jim Faherty’s house to hear author Jerry Stahl reading selections from his two books, "Perv" and "Permanent Midnight," for possible inclusion on a spoken-word record. The reluctant scribe, flown in from California for the occasion, didn’t really take well to the scenester crowd that had gathered, but he persevered and committed several hours of his material to DAT tape. For most of the evening, we waited outside. We were finally allowed to sit in near the end, as a likeable Stahl enraptured the assembled with tales from the dark side -- funny yet disturbing first-hand accounts from the front line of drug addiction.
Later, the discussion turned toward finishing the record. There was very little time with a national tour pending, as well as very little money. Next thing I knew, my digital-audio editor experience had me teamed with project engineer Jeff Nolan (former guitarist for Geffen trip-rockers I Love You and Scott Weiland’s side project the Magnificent Bastards), using my home studio as an incubator.
Within days, Nolan and Jason Ross (of Seven Mary Three, who was in the middle of wrapping up that band’s record) and I were slaving over Stahl’s words, reliving the former junkie’s harrowing tales over and over (and over) again. It wasn’t long before we realized that an entire album of Jerry’s intellectual yapping wasn’t going to cut it, and we decided to get crazy, juxtaposing his poetic verbiage over beat samples. Suddenly Stahl’s readings sprang to life, almost with the cadence of a rapper. He was a natural; he just didn’t know it. Better yet, he loved every minute of it. His only suggestion: Make it crazier.
So we recorded, manipulated and bastardized beats, samples, keyboards, guitar and organ into a vintage ’70s porno soundtrack-type score that fit Stahl’s down-and-out stories. Three weeks later, we had an album’s worth (10 tracks) of jams that were off the hook. Graphic miracle worker Jeff Matz designed the simple yet effective packaging -- a cross between an art statement and a note you would pass in school.
"So Ends My Hollywood Minute" was released by Faherty’s Figurehead Records last month. And on June 22, Stahl will join multimedia molester Lydia Lunch for a spoken-word performance at Sapphire. But don’t expect Stahl to be accompanied by any of that fabulous music -- he still performs sans tunes. You’ll just have to get a hold of the CD to get an ear full.
Legendary trance and progressive house DJ Sandra Collins makes a rare appearance June 22 at The Groove at Universal’s CityWalk. The theme-park setting is a far cry from Brooklyn and L.A., where she ruled throughout the ’90s. But as of February, Collins is a part-time local resident, and she just celebrated the June 6 release of her smokin’ new mix CD, "Tranceport 3." But with her busy schedule, the jock and e-music-mag cover girl doesn’t have much time to sample the area’s after-dark delights. "I’m really only here a couple of days a week," Collins explains. She still maintains a residence in Manhattan and didn’t move to laid-back Orlando to become part of its burgeoning dance-music scene. She’s just here to relax.
But Collins doesn’t spend all of her Orlando time in the sun. She’s been finishing up an album of original material with electronic producer Voyager, formerly of breaks champs Friction & Spice. And to date, she’s dropped three singles. Collins promises "to do a lot more here in the future," which could go a long way in liberating Orlando from its world-famous breaks spell.
"That’s what they want to hear, and you keep feeding it to them so it’ll never change," says Collins. But she’s not giving up on us just yet.
Start me a Tabu
Despite posting record attendance figures this year -- arm-banding more than a half a million partiers -- infamous downtown danceteria Zuma Beach closed its doors last weekend. But Tabu will take its place, opening June 30 -- just in time for the big Fourth of July weekend -- in the nostalgic location that’s still referenced as the historic Beacham Theater that it once was. Turntables will rule at the upscale South Beach-style nightclub, with a mix of mainstream and underground house. Be forewarned: There will be a "stylish" dress code, enforced Studio 54 style. (Note to self: Make friends with the door guy.)
Tabu’s majority owner, Zuma Beach’s lifeguard Mark NeJame, wanted to bring a big-city brand of fun to Orlando, which means a fancy sushi bar, tapas menu, bottle service, martinis, a V.I.P. area, champagne and, of course, roving street performers doing their thing inside the theater -- Club du Soleil, anyone?
Tabu is also keeping the local arts community solvent for another quarter, with more than 20 area artists commissioned to add their touches to the new (old) digs. Peel back the deluxe curtain and you’ll find an interesting six-spoke ownership group: NeJame, South Florida club owner Michael Tuck, Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough, TransCon V.P. Bob Frischetti and longtime club captains John SanFelippo and George Maltezos. For certain, Dorough’s involvement is sure to up the celebrity ante. And if Tabu doesn’t fly, Najame’s threatening Zuma II.
South Florida rap-rockers Endo have teamed with respected rhyme-king XZIBIT on a yet-to-be-named track to be included on the "Loud Rocks" complication, due this summer. Also throwing down on the record: Incubus, System of a Down, Sick of It All, Sugar Ray and Black Sabbath. ... Gainesville’s crowd-pleasing Big Sky will record a live album June 23 and 24 at Sapphire. ... Also on June 24, catch an evening of jazz by Nathen Page, Jeff Donato and Daniele Gasparro at Civic Theatres of Central Florida. ... Dennis Walters (minus ten) is the new drummer for hard-rocking Furious George.