The third annual Washington Area Music Awards, known as the Wammies, will be held the evening of Oct. 5 at Lisner Auditorium. Lisner hosted the first awards program; last year's was held at the Kennedy Center. Among those performing: Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Radiant, Pelegro, John Starling, Tom Principato, the Orioles, Bill Harris and opera singer Chrissellene Petropoulos. WRC-TV anchorman Jim Vance, who's been known to break into a mean doo-wop (thankfully not on the air), will be the emcee. This year's inductees into the Washington Music Hall of Fame are Jelly Roll Morton, best known for his sojourns in New Orleans and New York but a resident and club owner here late in his life, and pianist/singer Shirley Horn, whose new album on the Polygram label, recorded live at the Vine Street club in Los Angeles, is about to be released.
The Root Boy Reunion
On Friday, Foster McKenzie III, a k a Root Boy Slim, will celebrate his 10th anniversary in show business with a reunion concert at the Roxy. Of course, Root Boy himself hasn't always been together all of those years, but the evening will reunite at least 25 of the 37 musicians who have paraded through his four bands -- the Sex Change Band, Crying Out Loud, New Hope for the Criminally Insane and the newest aggravation, Capitol Offense.
Root Boy, who didn't think he'd last two weeks in the business, promises to do all his hit. "We're going to start off at 10 and go to 2:30, three sets or as long as I can go, which might be 10:15," he says. He'll draw material from his five albums, including a blues album just out on the British Bedrock label (out here on Kingsnake in the fall). "I've recorded 55 songs and I have another 2 million," Root Boy threatens. Titles from the new album include "Kinky Karma," "Too Wrong to Be Right" and "How Low Can You Go," but his most popular and requested tune remains "Boogie Till You Puke." "We've done that for every show."
Root Boy, who remains a strong draw on the collegiate circuit, says he's ready for a change, though not a sex change. "I'm going to write stupid, mindless stuff that doesn't have any controversy. I noticed a guy from Michelob saying they were proud to sponsor Genesis because they were so completely uncontroversial, and that's what I want to be. I'm never going to sing 'Cowboy Out in the Sun Too Long' again, or 'Rich, White and Republican' or 'Used to Be a Radical.' I'm going to sing nice stuff like 'I'm Bad,' or 'I'm Good' or whatever they want to hear. I'm going to do a marketing survey of all the 14-year-old girls and find out exactly what they want to hear and I'm going to duplicate it, even if I don't sing on it. I'm going to get someone who looks like Michael Jackson -- though they won't have the designer skin tone -- and I'll sing backup and write the songs and completely sell out. Then I'll move out to Potomac, get controversial again and irritate everybody."
For another 10 years.
The Slickee Boys, who perform at the 9:30 club this weekend, are about to sign a sponsorship deal with Miller Brewing Co. "We've talked about this for years -- 'what we need to get off the ground is sponsorship,' " says guitarist Martin Kane. "Of course, we didn't know how to even go about it, and then out of the blue they called us. Actually, D.C. Star broke up and Miller was looking for another local band. They called around the area for suggestions, and nicely enough, a lot of people said us."
Will the Slickees, who are on their way to being Washington's longest-living rock group, do a TV commercial a` la the Long Ryders? "I'd love to," says Kane, who doesn't drink. "We need the publicity." In any case, the band will benefit in the form of free equipment, banners, a lot of new dates and other support from Miller. It also has two new records coming out, a three-song EP that should be in stores in a couple of weeks and an album that will be available later in the fall. Both will be on France's New Rose label; in their long and fabled history the Slickees have released many albums and EPs, but only one on an American label, and the band is currently involved in a bitter contractual dispute with that one.
The Slickees' national profile should have gotten a boost when 40 seconds of their underground classic "When I Go to the Beach" was used in the recent movie "Back to the Beach," but their bad luck held true: It was a last-minute editing insert and therefore didn't make it onto the Columbia Records sound track. Kane's not too upset -- after all, the song was used in a scene featuring teen culture icons Bob Denver, Connie Stevens and Frankie Avalon.
In Business at Carter Barron?
Ever want to get into the entertainment business in a big way? Well, here's your chance. The National Park Service is looking for a private concessionaire to operate and make "capital improvements" at the 4,251-seat Carter Barron Amphitheatre in Rock Creek Park as early as next summer. The Park Service has been doing the weekend and summer-only bookings itself the last few years, but the 37-year-old facility, Washington's first outdoor venue, was previously operated under private management, including 20 years by the Feld Brothers. A prospectus on Carter Barron's business potential is available from the Regional Director, National Capital Region, 1100 Ohio Dr. SW, Washington D.C. 20242.