Redneck rock and ghetto fashion

by Ted Holteen

Yakov Smirnoff was a prophet. “What a country!” indeed. Only in America could one man go from immersing his forearm inside a Hereford bull to nationally acclaimed radio personality, and another go from prison killer to country music icon. And only in Durango could you see ’em both on back-to-back nights, in one convenient location. Surprisingly enough, neither description of this week’s headliners is an exaggeration, so do plan on spending at least one evening at the Fort Lewis College Community Concert Hall.

First up is the bull guy. On Friday night at 7: 30 p.m., cowboy poet Baxter Black will talk, I guess a lot, about what it means to be a simple man in a very un-simple world. Keeping in mind that he is a poet, I’m also guessing that a lot of what he says will rhyme. Black is a regular contributor on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” which can be heard every morning on KSUT from 6 to 9 a.m., and perhaps not coincidentally, this lecture is a fund-raiser for that radio station. I imagine Baxter will get paid as well, as this would appear to be more or less his career since deciding that dispersing down-home common sense to a national audience is much more glamorous than the world of large animal veterinary medicine, which was his former calling. Hence the bull thing. Try not to dwell too much on that image during the show.

I’ve made no small secret of my ongoing displeasure with record and concert promoters hyping their schmucks du jour with overused lingo that tends to lose its meaning after about the fifth band who plays “innovative and progressive funky jams in the tradition of Medeski Martin & Wood.” And people wonder why I have no soul. It is, therefore, tremendously refreshing to welcome an artist to town who lives up to the cliché of “Bad boy of country music.” Steve Earle is not a bad boy. Robert Earl Keen is not a bad boy. Neither is Charlie Daniels, Toby Keith (god, I hate him) or even the late, great Waylon Jennings. David Allan Coe is a bad boy. David Allan Coe killed a fellow inmate once who was, shall we say, being too amorous with Coe, and when interviewed about it by Rolling Stone, he responded to the reporter with a song called “I’d Like to Kick the Shit Out of You.” His most famous tune, “Take This Job & Shove It,” was recorded by Johnny Paycheck, and although Coe didn’t sing it, he did appear in the 1981 film of the same name. Other catchy titles include “Now I Lay Me Down to Cheat,” “I’ve Already Cheated on You” and the tremendously egomaniacal “Willie, Waylon & Me.”

Institutionalized by grumpy judges for about a third of his 63 years on earth, Coe is a self-proclaimed redneck who plays a guitar painted like the flag of Dixie. Despite rumors that his alter-ego is racist songster Johnny Rebel (Coe flatly denies the claim), Coe assures fans that he is neither a racist nor a homophobe. We’ll just take him at his word and have a rip-roarin’ good time at the Concert Hall on Saturday night. Oh, yeah – he also raps. Coe was originally scheduled to share the bill with Commander Cody, but the Commander had to cancel and will reschedule his own show in the near future. This can’t-miss thing gets under way at 7 p.m., a bit earlier than most Concert Hall shows, but the guy is 63 years old, after all.

There is a segment of local society that may consider itself either too dope, too fly, or both, to attend things like cowboy poetry or performances by violent rednecks. Should these people be ostracized, ignored, ridiculed? Of course they should. But a closer look reveals that even the disenfranchised citizens of Hip-Hop Nation have enough disposable income to be included in any modern musical discussion, even here in Durango. More impressive still is the quality of the shows put on here in town by folks like Josh Bensik, who has really outdone himself this time. On Friday night at the Abbey Theatre, Josh presents an evening of fashion and music with the 1st annual Happy Fun Show Down, starting late (10 p.m.) and going even later. It begins with a fashion show featuring threads by Develop Clothing, which I’m guessing is stuff that I shouldn’t wear but is just loved by the kids, and that happens to be backed by a soundtrack

from DJ Claytanik amid break dancing by locals, the Out House Brothers. Sounds like the opening number for the Golden Globes, I know, but be honest – you really want to see it, don’t you? The fashion show is just the warm-up for two acts from the northern part of our state; from Boulder come the Audible Audities (great name), followed by a return engagement by Denver’s Yo Flaco! Both specialize in above-average, live hip-hop, which when done properly is a worthwhile pursuit. These evenings tend to sell out and even oversell, so do everyone a favor and get tickets early – during the day at Southwest Sound, or at the Abbey when it’s open. It’s really annoying when punks (see also, “you”) show up at the door of a sold-out event and beg the doorman to just let you in, bro, one more won’t hurt. That sort of behavior is why you get punched so often or are frequently called a punk in local publications and even worse by local writers who pass you on the street or see you begging to get into a sold-out show. Plan ahead, have fun and don’t talk to me.

QUICK STUFF: Part II of “Angels in America” concludes this weekend at the FLC Mainstage Theater. Performances are Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. If you’re like me, except for the smoking, drinking, sloth and recreational drug use, you should be geared up for the 18th annual TRI the Rim Triathlon, happening Saturday morning at 10 a.m. It’s a quick 500 yards in the pool, 12 miles on a bike, and 5 kilometers worth of running. Wake me up after you’ve finished, and I’ll buy you a beer… Durango Dot Comedy and Friends Saturday night at the Abbey – I don’t know who their friends are, but I’m sure they’re freaks … Local punks The Dugouts are holding their CD Release on Saturday downstairs at the CUB on campus. Special guests include Arvella, the Quails and most impressively, The Methlabs. Good stuff.

Send me your fashion tips – I need ’em. Did you forget to do your taxes, too? •



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January 26, 2024
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January 11, 2024
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