ATN's Music News of the World: Jazzy Side of Porno

Mike Watt, Stephen Perkins Jump Into Li'l PitEx-Minutemen bassist joins Porno for Pyros drummer and little known singer in jazzy side project.Addicted To Noise Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports : When Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley wrote the lyric "It's a new dawn / It's a new life for me," for their 1965 musical The Roar of the Greasepaint -- The Smell of the Crowd, little did they know how pertinent the lines would be 30 years on for a veteran punk, a rocker on a "relapse" and an unknown vocalist.The words could hardly be more fitting however, for Li'l Pit, the four-piece jazz combo comprised of bassist Mike Watt (Minutemen, FIREHOSE), Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction, Porno For Pyros), singer Thalia Ferreira, along with clarinet player Leo Chelyapov. The group has just released Bricusse & Newley's "Feeling Good" (RealAudio excerpt) backed with the jazz standard "Sometimes I'm Happy" as their first single for the Kill Rock Stars label.The record marks not only something of a "new life" for Watt, who plays upright bass for the first time on record, but also for Ferreira, who'd never recorded at all before she found herself in the studio with members of the Minutemen and Jane's Addiction.The pair met two years ago in their hometown of San Pedro, Calif. when Watt saw Ferreira singing with her band Linus. After they became friends, the singer asked Watt if he wanted to work on "Feeling Good" and "Sometimes I'm Happy," which she had first heard on the Alive album by jazz vocalist Carmen McCray."He mentioned that he was playing a stand-up bass now, and that would be great," Ferreira, 25, said. "All I was expecting was just to do them, not really have a single."The 39-year-old Watt, never one to turn down a new musical challenge, jumped on the idea. "It was her idea to do the songs," said Watt, who also releases his second solo album Contemplating the Engine Room this month. "I listened to them, and said, 'Whoa!,' these arrangements are pretty sparsed out. It'd be neat to play string bass to them and do something way different." Before long, Watt had brought Perkins -- the two played together when Watt went on the road as Porno For Pyro's bassist last year, as well as in the experimental band Banyan -- and Chelyapov (a Russian-born clarinetist who'd also played with Porno) into the Li'l Pit fold.Recorded during a single evening in April, the seven-inch features four players creating a sound that is far from what is typically associated with the higher-profile members of the quartet. "I'd gotten that bass about two-and-half years ago and I wanted to learn it," Watt said. "There's nothing like recording -- having the thing live forever -- to inspire you to learn."Ferreira said Watt's excitement for the project was contagious for someone just learning the ropes. "He was totally gung ho," she said. "We would both practice together because I'm new at this and he's new at it. I was really comfortable because we were both on equal levels. Watching him not knowing much to being as good as he got was really interesting. You know his style, how he bangs on the bass, gets really hard and rough -- it was really cool to see him do that on the stand-up bass because I've never seen anyone play like that."For Perkins, at 30, now preparing to head out for a Jane's Addiction reunion tour, the material was closer to his roots, but still a departure from his work with Jane's and Porno. "I'm a great appreciator of the old jazz, swing era," he said. "That was the first music I ever played to, Buddy Rich, Benny Goodman type stuff."Watt said he carried the name for the group around for five years, inspired by a scene in an L.A. club called the White Horse. The floor there had barely enough room for two people to mosh, he said, and the term "Li'l Pit" reminded him of the comic strip character Li'l Abner.The bass player is hardly a stranger to musical side projects: He also plays in a Material Girl cover band called the Madonnabes as well as the dual bass group Dos, and Banyan. Nowadays, Watt said he's looking for something more from his extracurricular work than simply another outlet for songs."It seems more and more when I do other bands, I want 'em to be a completely different little journey," he said. "I'll play bass, but I want it to be in different worlds. It's like driving: it's still rubber wheels on your car, but you're going through the desert, now you're going through the forest, now you're going through the bayou, now you're going through the beltway." ***The Artist's New Three-CD Collection In DemandSpokesman for the Purple One says 16,000 orders to go before shipping begins.Addicted To Noise Staff Writer Chris Nelson reports : The Artist Formerly Known As Prince is one step closer to releasing what may be his second three-CD set in less than a year.As is typical for the Purple One, however, it's a small step, and no one knows how long it may be before he takes another.Frances Pennington, a spokeswoman for the Artist, confirmed a report on his Web page that 84,000 telephone pre-orders have been received for the $50 Crystal Ball collection, Prince's first release since the triple-disc Emancipation came out last November. The new set is scheduled to be shipped only when the order tally reaches 100,000."NPG Records has cut the check to begin the manufacturing of 100,000 Crystal Ball packages," read the message posted on the Love 4 One Another site, maintained by an entity close to the Artist (some say the Artist himself) known only as NPG2000.Detailed information about the release, however, continues to flow in dribs and drabs. Pennington said, for example, that the final track listing for Crystal Ball was still being determined. "I don't know when any of the songs were recorded or where they came from," she said, though speculation from insiders at the Artist's Paisley Park office places the songs during the Sign O' The Times (1987) and Diamonds and Pearls (1991) eras.Pennington did offer that the songs "The Ride," "Poom Poom" and "Sexual Suicide" were pegged for inclusion, along with the numbers already listed on the Love 4 One Another site: "Crystal Ball," "Dream Factory," "Lovesign (Shock's Silky Smoove Mix)," "Movie Star," "18 & Over," "Make Your Mama Happy," "Days 'O' Wild," "Da Bang" and "Calhoun Square."In addition to those titles, this much is certain about Crystal Ball: The set is only available by phone through the Artist's 1-800-NEW-FUNK mail-order company; and fans who call to pre-order the collection will also receive a copy of The Truth, a new all-acoustic album.Pennington was not sure whether The Truth would be incorporated into Crystal Ball's unique packaging -- a clear plastic sphere -- or whether it would stand alone.A source close to the Artist's Minneapolis organization, who spoke only under condition of anonymity, said, "A lot of the details are being handled directly by the Artist. A lot of it has changed, and per his request, a lot of stuff is being kept hush-hush right now: what's going on, the format, how many discs, what's going to be on the discs."Asked if Crystal Ball would contain more than three CDs, the source said there was as yet no definitive disc count, noting that original plans for the collection did not call for The Truth to be offered with it.Pennington said that despite what is shaping up to be a successful experiment in direct marketing by a major artist, the former Prince has no plans to sell all his work in this way. "Definitely not," she said. "When he feels it's the right time -- when it's the right album -- he will go for major distribution."***Blues Traveler Bassist Arrested On Drug ChargesHe was headed to join the band to open another Rolling Stones show.Addicted To Noise Senior Writer Gil Kaufman reports : Headed to Canada to prepare for another in a series of opening gigs for the Rolling Stones' Bridges To Babylon tour, Blues Traveler bassist Bob Sheehan was arrested Monday night at the Winnipeg International Airport, when he was found in possession of two grams of cocaine, according to police.Sgt. Ken Shipley of the Winnipeg Vice Department said Sheehan was charged with possession of a controlled substance and importing of a controlled drug.No other members of the band appear to have been with the 29-year-old Sheehan, who was en route to the fourth of Blues Traveler's nine Bridges To Babylon opening act sets.The arrest would not affect Tuesday night's performance at Winnipeg Stadium," according to Carl Shier, public information officer for the Winnipeg Police Service. "He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to attend a court appearance this morning," Shier said Tuesday morning. Following the hearing, Sheehan was released on $5,000 bond, Shier added, and ordered to return to Winnipeg for an Oct. 22 preliminary hearing.A&M Records, Blues Traveler's label, released a short statement on Tuesday which confirmed that Sheehan was arrested at the Winnipeg airport Monday night. The statement read that "no dates in support of the Rolling Stones, or headline appearances, will be canceled." Neither band management nor A&M had further comment on the arrest.Shipley, a Drug Sergeant with the Winnipeg Vice Department, said, if convicted, Sheehan faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for the possession charge. The maximum, but unlikely, penalty for bringing drugs into Canada could be much more serious, however, he added."The other charge of importing a controlled substance could carry a maximum life imprisonment penalty," said Shipley, who added, however, that he has never recalled such a stiff sentence being handed down for a conviction. "Given that this is his first offense in Canada, that seems very unlikely, but bringing it in is the more difficult part of it."With Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act having replaced the Narcotic Control Act in May of this year, Shipley said it was unclear what Sheehan might face if convicted, since this was the first time his department has had to deal with an importing charge since the new Act was implemented.Blues Traveler helped the Rolling Stones kick-off their Bridges to Babylon tour on Sept. 23 in Chicago.

#story_page_ below_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.