What is a spud anyway?
A potato. Something like a potato. A '50s word for potato. Nobody uses it today except once, a while ago, some writers on Saturday Night Live wrote a jingle about Spud Beer, brewed from Idaho potatoes. Devo (Are We Not Men?) likes spuds, (they play a unique brand of "spud rock"), and so, obviously, does a new and soon-to-be-famous group that is coming to Boston soon. Their name: Spud City. I guess they know what spuds are. Watch them bake at Who's on First tomorrow night, a club without a phone number or any publicized address. Getting there will be half the fun.
Besides potato intrigue, this week features other groups with large and varied followings. Tommy, DeeDee, Jonny and Joey Ramone are punks in a big way, and they're coming to Boston March 3. This time around they'll be abusive at the Orpheum. If Boston's hidden punk population, making biweekly appearances at the Rocky Horror Picture Show, doesn't satisfy you, dish out $7.50, lobotomy-face, and groove to Ramone goldies like "Slimy Pus Trip," "Your Face Makes Me Puke," and "Shred His Head Until He's Dead."
On the bill with the Ramones are the David Johansen Group and Willy Alexander and the Neighborhoods, a group whose name involves some very faulty grammar. Or maybe Willy doesn't know that neighborhoods, per se, can neither be in a band nor sing. The lead guitarist's name is David Minimum, a very good guy, and the evening promises lots of insults and negative imagery.
Keith Jarrett plays piano very, very well, something he will demonstrate in a solo recital at the Music Hall on March 5. The tickets are expensive, but it's worth it to see someone who is not wearing white tie and tails play without looking at the music.
On the very same night Santana will play at the Boston Garden. They are being presented by Don Law, a very rich man who makes exorbitant profits by milking innocent, music-loving teens who are forced to give bundles of money to see the rock stars they love. Don Kirschner, on the other hand, gives many of us hours of laughter and amusement for free, on TV.
Santana, like Keith Jarrett and the Beatles (who will re-unite in a secret concert at the Paradise later next month), makes good music. I know somebody who is going to this concert to yell "Open Invitation" after every song so that he can hear himself when the live album comes out. The "special guest star" at this concert will be Eddie Money, the semi-punker who used to be a police officer in the U.K. If you have a hard time relating to his music, maybe that's why.
If you're dying to wait two hours to get good seats to watch your favorite group, and your favorite group happens to be Ultravox, go directly to the Paradise on March 2 or 3. Ultravox has a fascinating sound. "We're more interested in noise than any specific form of music," a spokesman for the group has said. Apparently, noise "prompts" the audience to show "emotion" and then "clap" their "hands."
Ultravox shares the bill with Human Sexual Response, which travels all the way from Gomorrah for this special appearance. There's nothing like a name for publicity. Sex Pistols. Grateful Dead. Peter, Paul and Mary.
Bob Marley won't be in Boston this weekend because he was here a little while ago, as was Bruce. A lot of people probably feel very bad about this. But facts are facts.
But some good stuff is coming soon. Elvis Costello will be in Boston at the end of the month; the audience will be able to see him act spastic in person while he sings great songs. Unfortunately, by now all the tickets have gone away forever.
Elvis will probably avoid eye contact with the crowd while singing some of the hits from his new album, "Armed Forces." It's hard to believe that someone like Elvis would travel around to get people to buy his music, but it's true. Nevertheless, it's nice that he plays for the little people, now that he's a big star--featured, of all places, on the TV special, "The Heroes of Rock and Roll."
Although they're not blood relations, Nicolette Larson, who insists on calling herself Nicolette, and Peter Tosh, whose friends call him Peter, will be at the Paradise in close succession later this month. Nicolette has a big hit now (with a little-known dedication to Harvey C. Mansfield '53) called "It's Gonna Take A Lot of Gov (For Me to Get an A)" and Peter Tosh recently put out a very good album, "Bush Doctor."
Some people will remember Motown. Some people still sing it. Dionne Warwick will present her own watered-down version sometime in the distant future when the snow may be just a memory. It's a benefit for the Children's Hospital, so if you have a decent bone in your body, love kids and/or Motown, put April 8 on your calendar, if it's not already there.