Front Page

The 'Zine

Sunsphere City

Bonus Track

Market Square

Contact us!
About the site

Eye on the Scene

Local Compilation Time

Once again, a group of selfless, dedicated citizens is coming together to document the East Tennessee music scene. The new entry in the compilation sweepstakes is Morristown's S&L Records, who will release a locals-only CD entitled Make a Scene, Knoxville 2000. Confirmed bands for the Aug. 15 release include Sweepable Minds, The Plaid, Atticus, The Helldorados, threeappleshigh, Kidsnack, Rude Street Peters, The Clintons, Pegasi 51, The Lovejoys, Marcus Parcus, The French Broads, Jag Star, Mustard, Shaken Babies, and Knoxville's emeritus of homespun (but not provincial) rock, Todd Steed.

This will be the fifth release for S&L in four short months. Previous releases include full-length recordings by Adam Hill, The Lovejoys, Marcus Parcus & The Mums, and God Country Family. The local compilation will be available for a mere five bucks, which ain't much to ask. And you can find it at either Disc Exchange location or visit for online purchases.

Nine Lives

Fabula Rasa may have written Knoxville's first arthouse punk opera. Zippy didn't have the foggiest idea what it was about, but that didn't make it any less compelling when he heard the group—led by Kat Brock—perform Friday night on the second floor of Barley's.

The audience was given programs for the show, which was apparently called "Songs from little Capgun, Part II," or, alternately, "anthem for you as a collective and me." On the back of the program, the songs were listed in the three acts—but they were either listed backwards or performed in reverse, as Act III came first on the program. Oy vey, Zippy thought.

Somehow, when the show started, the band managed to avoid much pretentiousness. I doubt too many people in the audience understood the concept behind this show. (Zippy heard fourth-hand that the songs are about an imaginary town and the people that live there. He's sure Kat Brock could explain the concept well enough, but Zippy is a firm believer that music must stand on its own—and once out there takes on meanings that the musicians cannot fully be responsible for or control.)

Live vocals being what they were, Zippy found it impossible to follow any coherent narrative. There weren't songs so much as vignettes, or fragments of songs, which at times melted into one another, and other times shifted abrasively. The most developed of these were great, but some of the fragments were underdeveloped, and just when you expected the band to build on an idea, they moved on to another.

The band played with a variety of structures—droney-ness, straight-up rock 'n' roll, jazzy improvisation. Guitarist Joe McLemore—billing himself as Joe E. Mayhem and looking damn cool dangling a cigarette from his mouth, even if it was an affectation—was masterful on guitar, and the band harmonized wonderfully behind their front woman. But Brock commands the stage. Zippy once wrote that Kat Brock couldn't sing, and since then he's been amazed every time he's heard her do it, so fully throwing her off-kilter voice into the songs.

Brock has proven to be a restless soul. She disbanded her earlier band, subbluecollar, just as it was hitting a creative peak and had finished recording its second album, which will probably remain unreleased. A promising side project—Blank—was also disbanded, so Brock could put her energies into Fabula Rasa (which included subbluecollar alumni McLemore and drummer Dave Campbell). But she seems to perform live under the moniker Fire/Fighter more than her new band. Whether Fabula Rasa—which will soon be out on the road—is long for this world is anyone's guess.

But Brock's risk-taking is refreshing. She is certainly Knoxville's most adventurous musician, and one of its best.

Local Boys Make Good?

If you missed the dream double bill of the Impotent Sea Snakes and Knoxville's own Evil Twin last week at Moose's, well, you missed an eyeful. What could be more fitting than to see the local proponents of androgynous blasphemy headbutt with the pros?

Evil Twin definitely held its own, at least in the shock value department. Self proclaimed freak and agent of darkness Rus Harper led the Twins in a disgusting little DIY production that featured female domination, a staged murder in the musical masterpiece "Zoo Man," and lots of the predictable drinking and swearing by the esteemed Mr. Harper. Really, Harper looked fetching in his see-thru shirt, black panties (with a garter belt, of course), and trademark combat boots. For me, the peak of the show was hearing a bondage babe in the audience say, "he's so cute," whilst looking at Harper. Cute? Yea, he's "cute" alright—if your idea of cute is an emaciated man with a fuzzy beergut and greasy hair down to his ass dressed in semi-drag. Apparently, some of the weirder ladies in this town do think he's cute enough, because Rus never seems to lack a partner for whatever sordid trysts he's involved in. Whatta guy—a true Knoxville original, for whatever that's worth.

The Sea Snakes had the slick, fast-paced, high-tech show, but the Evil Twin boys (or whatever they are) seemed more real. I mean, it sure wasn't fake when the Twin's dominatrix put out a lit cigarette on the tongue of guitarist Daisy "Chain" McGraw (nee Bill Irwin).

Local CD Review

The Helldorados, e.p.

Morristown's Helldorados really come through with some souped-up, tire-burning rock on their four-song, self-titled debut EP. Somebody must've mixed some extra testosterone into their gasoline, because this CD smokes—kind of like a bastard spawn of Social Distortion, The Supersuckers, Motorhead, and The Replacements.

Though the band seems to think that their hell-bent, loud-and-fast policy is their strong suit, some of the songs on this EP also show some slightly more introspective leanings. Every bad boy has a mild side, and that's a good thing. The standout track of this recording is "Nobody's Fault," where the guys turn it down just a notch and up the intensity in the process. Anybody who has ever donned a leather jacket, visited a tattoo parlor, or woken up in a strange bed with a hang-over (and I'm talking about all of you) will surely love what the Helldorados do in their live performances. They've got great big amps and they're not afraid to crank 'em up all the way. The band is an aural equivalent of Gone in 60 Seconds—and I'm talking the '70s version here. But there's also some damn good tunes underneath all the sheer volume and bravado. Check out the band's website for upcoming live dates at

—Zippy "Bastard spawn of Hunter S. Thompson and Horatio Alger" McDuff

July 20, 2000 * Vol. 10, No. 29
© 2000 Metro Pulse