According to Doctor Science and Professor Solstice, summer is officially here. But the usual brutality has been tempered by a second year of rain, daily and weekly rain, endless rain, rain of the feline/canine variety. While we cower and wait for the oppressive temperatures to begin, the seasonal slowdown is as punctual as ever: Live shows wither like a weed sprayed with Roundup at this time of year. That's why they invented satellite television and central air. But instead of hiding inside their air-conditioned nightmares, some South Floridians can't take the heat. So they pull up stakes and move to a real town, like native sons and daughter MorrisonPoe recently decided to do. With a grand send-off last weekend, the band members wrapped up a solid run at the Culture Room, where they apparently believe they've finally taught us Philistines all they can. At least, that's the feeling one gets from the haughty goodbye note the MoPos e-mailed along before they graduated from our caste to the next:
"There comes a time where moving forward can only mean to start again. After a year or so of taking South Florida by storm, MorissonPoe is jumping to the next level, a leap of faith in the direction of New York City where they will conquer again. Come celebrate MorissonPoe's South Florida farewell as they unleash the new CD -- Leaving It All Behind -- destined to break all barriers."
The heavily hyped Leaving It All Behind never made it to my mailbox, so ascertaining its barrier-breaking status may be difficult. It's probably for the best: MorissonPoe will discover on its own that conquering the Culture Room may not be enough of a prerequisite for conquering the Big Apple.
Unlike the fruits of MorissonPoe, tons of other local releases have been flowing into the office regularly, now that making a professional-quality CD in the comfort of home is easier than producing great cupcakes in an EZ Bake Oven.
One of the stranger burnt (or burned) offerings to arrive recently made no promises regarding abilities to overcome cities of any size. Every time I've run into its creator -- former Marilyn Manson guitarist Scott M. Putesky -- he has assured me that something odd was up his long sleeves. But every time we met up, it was past midnight at the Poor House and we were well into our pints. The next day, well, I wasn't sure if Putesky had claimed to be working on a version of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" or I'd merely dreamed it. Of course, acoustics at the Poor House being what they are, he may have simply leaned over and shouted, "Curls are so overdone" into my ear.
No sooner had our country finally gotten its war on than I received a package from Putesky confirming that I'd heard correctly after all. Issued under the name Three Ton Gate (Bandwidth, November 15, 2001) The Big Cover Up's homemade illegitimacy probably won't be heard by many. Subtitled "Unpublished, Promotional Use Only, Not for Sale," Putesky's project takes six songs -- Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes," Blondie's "Heart of Glass," Led Zeppelin's "Dazed and Confused," the Smiths' "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out," the Beatles' "Fool On the Hill," and the Cyndi Lauper song about girls and fun -- for a dangerous spin.
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What's so strange about that? Well, instead of singing all girly-like on the girly songs, Putesky has enlisted the son of a friend of a friend, 10-year-old Charles M. Parrish, to provide vocals. "He's a total genius," Putesky says. However, Parrish's presence might be off-putting to some, especially coupled with Putesky's liberties with the original arrangements. Despite choosing songs that he considered "familiar but not totally familiar but not too obscure," the former Daisy Berkowitz admits that The Big Cover Up is unlikely to achieve wider distribution. "I'm not being very aggressive about it," he explains. "Besides, getting signed to a label is really overrated."
And he should know. Despite figuring heavily on the first two Marilyn Manson albums, Putesky left the Antichrist Superstar big top rather acrimoniously. Over beer at the Poor House a while back, Putesky said the last time he tried to make contact with Manson was when the Holy Wood tour rolled into town three years ago. And he was rebuffed. Three Ton Gate went through a few incarnations -- including a stint as Stuck on Evil -- but singer JC Riley moved to Orlando last year and is "probably wearing a rabbit costume or something," Putesky says. So to keep busy, he worked on the Cover Up record, hung out at the Poor House ("It's like going to school for me," he enthuses), and spent time gardening at his house near Poinciana Park.
"There's a lot of exotic landscaping," he offers, "things with spines and teeth and claws. And I haven't seen that cat around in a couple of days."
With all this gol-darned rain, the poor thing's prolly floating around on a little kitty raft.