MUDDY MATTERS: Vinny Golia is, thankfully, a fact of cultural life in Southern California—and the world. He is also a symbol of tenacity on the fringes of any music establishment you might care to name. Son of a Bronx zookeeper, he landed in Los Angeles three-plus decades ago and began to invent his own artistic world. Golia is a reed player of uncommon range—on a given instrument, and spread over the vast collection of saxes and wind instruments in his infamous collection. He has a sure command of free-playing ferocity and elasticity, and is a long-standing member of the church of free improvisation and the collective blow. Golia is also a teacher, at CalArts, and keeper of an independent, artist-run record label, Nine Winds, long before the proverbial everybody had a label.
And he’s coming to our town, returning courtesy of the courageous monthly Santa Barbara New Music Series, tonight at Muddy Waters. The series has done wonders in the realm of giving a forum to out cats in the extended SoCal neighborhood, and beyond, including various evenings with Golia. This time out, Golia will appear with the Friday Nite Band, a plugged-in young quintet with two electric guitars, bass and drums, and the sixty-something guru Golia, on any number of reed tools and composer’s pen.
WHAT’S IN A NAME: The Muddy is the site of yet more rebel doings this week. Take Friday night’s encounter with L.A.’s The Fuxedos. From the “do let the name fool you” department, The Fuxedos arrive on the ears and brain with several gags and cultural backflips attached. They love to play with language, musically, lyrically, and theatrically, and aren’t above props, costumes—worn and shed—or nasty antics, in pursuit of a good time and the onstage slaughtering of sacred cows (or at least goosing of sacred cows, to mangle a cliché or two). At the crazed but highly controlled, Wizard-of-Ozzy helm is singer Danny Shorago—also a filmmaker and UCSB film studies alum.
Aside from the instant tip-off of the beep-seeking band name, we know that some tricky business is afoot from “Intro,” track one of their eponymous album—actually the signature, kitschy blues tune ending we know, love, and groan at. With the following 41 naughty seconds of “Fuck Disneyland!”—in which the sentiment of the anti-Disney message is more anti-American than the f-bomb itself—the game is on. The party continues with wild numbers such as “Scooby Doo (and Scrappy Live Inside My Milkshake),” “My Three Nuns” and a wild-assed version of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” sliced-and-diced and generally rearranged as if through the crazed filter of the greatest Beatles song ever—“You Know My Name (Look up the Number).” (Just half-joking about “the greatest Beatles song.”)
In this music, we hear unapologetic nods to Frank Zappa, complete with snugly matriculated unison lines, shifting meters, and all manner of progressive stuff that would send amateurs fleeing. Comparisons to Tenacious D, Mr. Bungle, and other punky-goofy avant-vaudeville projects will spring to mind. The players are sharp L.A. musicians who have worked within straighter musical quarters, but seem to love the chance to channel their inner madmen in this gleefully insane circus act.
MEXICAN MASHMASTERY: For further adventures on the mixmaster scene this weekend, check out the act known as Mexican Institute of Sound (MIS), the next date with the ever-impressive Club Mercy, at SOhO on Saturday. You’ve never heard electronica-related sounds like this, as Mexico City-based deejay (and record exec—no kidding) Camilo Lara finds common ground between cumbia and post-disco mash-machinery.