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Eye on the Scene


Contrary to reports in a certain East Tennessee 50-cent daily newspaper, 30 Amp Fuse singer/guitarist Mike Smithers assures us that his long-running project is still very much alive and well--though he is in search of new bandmates.

Said daily recently published a gossip-mongering note in its local music column, "Town Hound," casting doubts as to the band's future and quoting drummer Rodney Cash as being uncertain about his role. Well, Smithers--who as founder and principal songwriter, is the arbiter of all things Fuse--confirms that he has parted ways with Cash over "personal issues." The Fuse frontman is now actively seeking a new rhythm section (bassist and drummer) in hopes of playing a series of upcoming dates, including the CMJ Music Festival in New York in September and a possible European tour in October.

Smithers says the band's current Dedicated Records release Saturday Night at the Atomic Speedway is selling slowly but steadily, and one of its tunes--the wistful "All Day Afternoon"--has been tapped for the soundtrack of an upcoming Wes Craven(!) flick. Several other Speedway cuts have also been licensed for commercial use (we overheard the rollicking "Tilt-A-Whirl" used as a commercial segue on a recent NASCAR broadcast, no less. Yeee-ha!).

In the meantime, Smithers will consider all viable candidates for the open rhythm slots--preferably players with a bent for melodic, up-tempo tuneage, a la the Descendants and Husker Du. "I'm going to be patient," he says. "I'm not going to rush in like I have at times before. I want to find just the right people. If it takes awhile, then it takes awhile."


There's much, well, doubt as to the continuing existence of the Doubters Club. Singer Jeff Heiskell has left the band, saying he doesn't want to do the "music thing" right now, according to bassist Paul Noe.

"All I really know is that Jeff has been obsessing over writing a particular screenplay that has gotten the attention of some prominent producers, and that has been his main focus," says Noe. This most likely spells the end of the Doubters Club, who were themselves getting attention from prominent industry types. Meanwhile, though, Noe and drummer Dave Jenkins will continue playing with the Nashville-based band the Nevers (including onetime Knoxvillians John Paul Keith and Rick Tiller); and as soon as the world-traveling singer-songwriter extraordinaire Todd Steed returns in January from his current stint in Indonesia, the three will fire up the rock monster that is the Opposable Thumbs once more.

"We're [Noe and Jenkins] looking at starting a new project as well but haven't decided what direction we're going to take yet," says Noe. "Our main focus now is getting the Nevers signed." Check 'em out Sat., Sept. 6, at Barley & Hopps.


Everything was going great--the band was tighter than the city's baseball stadium budget, the audience was going crazy for the previously-untested new material, and the club didn't feel like a sauna. (Our new favorite songs: "Hellbent," "Bankrupt Vibration," and "Simple Simon.") Sounds like last Friday's (August 22) Superdrag show at Barley & Hopps should've been perfect, right? Just one little hitch: At the end of the evening, some prankster decided to make off with singer/guitarist John Davis' guitar effects box. At the band's second show the next night, promoter Benny Smith announced that he and the club were offering a reward of free tickets to any show plus a night at the bar on the house to the person who offered information leading to the return of the equipment. If you know anything about it, call Smith at A.C. Entertainment, 523-2665, or the club at 546-1618.


The Music Association of Knoxville, that beast we call MAK, has voted in a new president. Matt Lincoln, owner of Underground recording studios, is in charge now; Lincoln says the "new blood" will mean new things for the organization, chiefly improved media relations (ahem) and higher visibility. MAK hosts a drop-in informational reception on Thurs., Sept. 11, 8 p.m., at Sassy Ann's. -Zippy "Never Say Never" McDuff