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Happy Trails

After a nine-year tenure in Tennessee, musician and fledgling webmeister Rick Tiller is moving to Austin, Texas. Knoxvillians will most likely remember Tiller as a member of Leaf and former New Rock 90 program director.

Once Leaf had wilted, Tiller relocated to Nashville for a stint with the promising and tragically stillborn alternacountry/pop/rock (whatever) band, The Nevers, with John Paul Keith. It seems that the band's name was all too prophetic, and the band was snagged in a major-label quagmire that prevented their excellent debut album from ever being released and eventually killed the group.

Now Tiller has changed hats (sort of) by starting not one, but two music-related websites that are both receiving a sizable amount of hits. His first site, is a reference source for bands that have their own websites and tour. "It's for bands that are interested in traveling," says Tiller. "The site just helps bands to find similar towns in other areas and maybe arrange shows with them." features 700 pages on bands located in the U.S. and abroad. Aided by one partner/investor, Tiller hopes to find success through the two sites. Since February, the site has recouped over half of the initial $7,000 investment. "We haven't even really started to target advertisers yet, but the site's taken on a life of its own. It usually gets about 300 hits a week."

The other site,, offers bands a way to sell their music online and also helps musicians find rare instruments and equipment. "The great thing about this site is that we're not taking any money from the bands who are selling their music," says Tiller. "And the exchange part offers pretty much anything a musician could want [with the exception of drugs and groupies]. There's like 130 different categories of equipment on the site."

Did Tiller choose to relocate to Austin because of the city's thriving roots music scene? "Not necessarily," he says. "One of the reasons I'm going there is to find some people to play with. Nashville's okay, but I kind of wanted to try somewhere else."

Asked if The Nevers' recordings would ever see the light of day, Tiller was unusually blunt. "No, it will never be released," he says, laughing. "But I do want to take this opportunity to plug John Paul's solo album, which will be coming out on Disgraceland Records next week."

In Hog Heaven

The Zipster just couldn't stay away from last weekend's Rick Springfield concert at Chilhowee Park's Homer Hamilton Amphitheater. It's not every day that you get a chance to see an aging teen idol play for an adoring throng of middle aged women.

The concert was opened by Knoxville fern bar kings, the David Landeo Band. Dave and company were so freakin' bland, they made Springfield look like Kurt Cobain. If your idea of good "rock" music is acoustic renditions of tepid Top 40 hits, followed by even more tepid original material, then Landeo is the guy for you. Really, any band with the poor taste to name their album She Likes to Shake the Banana deserves a bad review. I hope those guys are in on the joke and realize how trite their music really is. Sheesh!

Then Springfield hit the stage and the real action began. No, the Homer Hamilton Theater isn't exactly Madison Square Garden. But Springfield's 500-odd fans were in thrall, giving the Australian rocker the kind of adulation normally reserved for such iconic figures as Elvis Presley, Morrissey, and Frank Sinatra. The ladies went nuts, freaked out, cried, and went nuts some more.

Not really a musical event, the concert was really more of an opportunity for Springfield to pose while the band played and the women screamed. Apparently, the thing to do at a Springfield show is to hand him a bouquet of roses, which he'll thrash across his guitar strings in a windmill fashion, a la Pete Townsend. Rick went through at least 20 bouquets and the petals (and hearts) were all aflutter.

Highlights of the concert included Rick throwing his many guitars at the roadies, repeatedly walking through the audience to be groped and kissed by adoring fans, multiple singalongs by the seemingly tone-deaf audience members, a cell phone call to a fan's husband, and a slide guitar solo played with a camera. The fans ate it up, and Springfield could have kept the excitement going for hours if he felt like it.

The show was quite similar to what you see at a teen-oriented, boy band show—only Springfield's fans were a bit long in the tooth. Rick showed his sensitive side with a couple of overly emotive ballads, rocked out with several mediocre solos, and time and time again showed the audience that even though he has a heart of gold, he's really a wild, rock 'n' roll guy who plays valid, heartfelt music. The audience was really convinced, and they loved this man. And I must admit I had a great time. I haven't laughed so hard in ages.

Shake That Booty

Thursday: M*A*S*H* at Bijou Theatre Center. Based on the book, not the movie, but still just as funny and just as poignant.

Friday: Ritmo de la Noche at KMA Alive After Five. Cha-cha, tango, and salsa 'til you can't feel your Latin-lovin' toes.

Saturday: Stacy Board at Borders. Board exemplifies gentle, acoustic, soul-warming guitar pop—the good, smart, snappy kind, not the sappy kind.

Sunday: Bootleg Blues with Paige Warbler at Sassy Ann's. Buzz has been building for Bootleg, especially since they added this girl singer and her impressive pipes.

Monday: Meditate on the Mamas and the Papas.

Tuesday: Einstein Simplified at Manhattan's. They were improv before improv was cool.

Wednesday: Open Mic Poetry and Performance at Café Mocha (Sutherland Avenue). Host Rus Harper will pulls out all stops for this event.

—Zippy "I Like My Bananas Shaken, Not Stirred" McDuff

June 8, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 23
© 2000 Metro Pulse