Most famous as the guitarist for the now defunct Dead Boys (a Cleveland punk band that formed in the '70s and released two albums before disbanding), Jimmy Zero recently decided to end his self-imposed retirement. His new band, Lesbianmaker -- which also includes bassist Rae Gunn, drummer Ant, and guitarist Bobby J. -- will make its debut at the Grog Shop on December 25. Zero's last band was Club Wow, a group that existed for four and a half years in the early '80s, before he decided to take a hiatus from the music business.
"After the Dead Boys died, out of pure inertia and fear of the real world and working a real job, I continued on in music," Zero says over lunch at It's It Café, an eatery that's walking distance from his Lakewood home. "I was doing it for all the wrong reasons, and I was miserable. The music reflected it. I didn't have anything to say with Club Wow. They were great musicians -- I have nothing against them -- it was me. I was after fame and fortune, and music took a backseat. I finally got so tired of myself that I thought, if I shut up, people will respect that rather than having me polluting the airwaves. Naturally, no one noticed that I went away. But I did."
In the last five years, Zero says, he slowly started reacquainting himself with music -- he played a show with a group called Dodge Main (a short-lived experiment that featured former members of the MC5 and the Stooges, it was named after a Detroit auto plant), and that reignited his passion for playing live. But it wasn't until he met Bobby J., formerly of Godsquad, that he decided to form another band. He decided on the name Lesbianmaker one day while shaving in front of the mirror. ("I thought, what am I?," he recalls, laughing. "I'm a lesbianmaker; I could drive any woman to become a lesbian.")
Lesbianmaker has been together for a little less than two months. Zero says that, for now, the group only has plans to record a song for a compilation former MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer is putting out. Zero, who admits he might well be too old to rock and roll, says his priority is getting onstage while he still has the gusto -- he'll think about recording a full album down the road a bit.
"The music we play is not like blues," Zero says. "You cannot look really old and do it, or you look really peculiar. I hope to God that I can get back onstage before I look too ridiculous. Maybe some people will think I have passed that point already. I got to scare people in the '70s, and I know I can't scare them now. But my sheer physical presence might do it -- people will think, "What is this, the mummy?'"
For more information, call the Grog Shop at 216-321-5588.
For the second year in a row, Sphere Productions is hosting a rave on Christmas Day called "Be Squared." The event, scheduled to run from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., will feature the Cleveland debut of Victoria, Canada's DJ Brian, who just released the mix CD Hardesertrance 3 -- Son of the Moon on Moonshine Music. Other DJs on the bill include Mike Huckaby, Sleepy C, Signal (featuring Ian Mariano and Darwin), DeepBlue, Mattie & Hubajube, Dread, Reid Speed, Kazpa, Kevin Cunningham, Tik Tak, Rob Riddum, DJ Urban, 7 UP, Ben Kenobi, Elysium, and Hazey. According to promoter Brian Conti, last year's event, the only Cleveland rave ever to be written up in Urb Magazine, attracted a crowd of over 2,000 and is expected to be even bigger this year. Tickets are $25 in advance. For more information, consult Sphere's website (www.sphereproductions.com) or call 216-556-2982 or 216-556-5081.
That U-God/Shyheim concert that was supposed to take place at Peabody's on December 12 (and then bumped to December 13) wasn't canceled because of poor ticket sales or scheduling conflicts -- it was canceled because the two rappers, in keeping with what has become a Wu-Tang Clan tradition, were in jail.
"The booking agent said both of them were in jail on Sunday night, but he wouldn't tell us why," says Kristen McIntyre, who handles press for Peabody's. "We believed there was still a possibility they would be able to make it to the show on Tuesday, but they weren't, and we didn't find out until later in the day. We got a ton of phone calls from fans, but as soon as we said they were in jail, people were totally cool."
U-God's publicist didn't return calls to verify that U-God and Shyheim were indeed locked up. You can get refunds for your tickets at the place of purchase. And, as if the Wu-Tang history of no-shows and arrests wasn't enough of a warning, Peabody's has booked an Ol' Dirty Bastard show for January 26. Given that the ODB has spent the last year in and out of a drug rehabilitation clinic and the courtroom, it's anyone's guess as to whether he'll actually show.
The Mix Master Mike concert scheduled to take place on December 30 at the Grog Shop has also been canceled -- and according to Mike's manager, Diane Copeland, it was never confirmed in the first place. The fact that the gig had been advertised by the Grog Shop for several weeks has irked Mike, who's most famous as the Beastie Boys' DJ.
"It's really not cool, because Mike makes sure that he commits to all of his shows," says Copeland, who added that Mike was committed to a New Year's Eve performance in Miami with Perry Farrell as part of a Todd Oldham fashion show and was never booked for the Grog Shop gig. The Grog Shop didn't return calls to comment.
-- Jeff Niesel
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