1994 – Nominee – 4th Annual LA Music Awards
Rob Stave Fiddler for boys named sue –
– Present (15 years 7 months)
Randle and Squeezebox both suspect that Baby Lemonade’s path may have been made more difficult because the band is fronted by two African Americans. The record industry, they feel, still carries the burden of a 20-year marketing legacy in which most records are pitched to narrow, stratified segments of the listening public; consequently, black rockers, despite obvious artistic and commercial evidence to the contrary (Chuck Berry, Love, Jimi Hendrix, Thin Lizzy, King’s X and Lenny Kravitz spring to mind), are considered incongruous.
“No one’s ever said anything about [race being a drawback], but you just kind of know,” Squeezebox said of the record industry’s response to the band so far. “It just takes a gutsy [talent scout] to go after a band of color. It’s just an industry standard. It’s idiotic, but I’ve accepted it” as an obstacle that Baby Lemonade must surmount. Squeezebox noted that the band has had a good deal of major-label interest lately, with one avid courtship ending when Baby Lemonade made it clear it wasn’t interested in making musical changes that the label was urging for the sake of readier salability.
Randle said the only identifiable instance of racial stereotyping Baby Lemonade has come across took place when Liu, an Asian American, left the band and a label scout called its manager and hinted that replacing the bassist with another black member would not be beneficial. Chapple, who is white, was the obvious choice, Squeezebox said, because he was already a fan of Baby Lemonade, while they were admirers of his playing in a previous band, Boys Named Sue.
“Does the music business close its doors to creative African American people in the alternative music scene?” Randle asked rhetorically. “Black people are treated the way women were five years ago. You leave them out, and it makes it look like nobody’s doing it, and they get ignored.”
Randle sounds most troubled by what he believes to be a lack of true music-fandom among many of the record company scouts the band has come across.
“The record company people we’ve dealt with are younger and they really don’t know what they’re talking about. They don’t know anything before Pearl Jam, some of these people. I was speaking with one, who shall be nameless, about Love, and they didn’t know who that was. I said, ‘Part of your job is to understand the history of music.’ ” Baby Lemonade’s singers certainly have done their own homework, and they have come to apply those joyfully learned lessons well.
Baby Lemonade, Pinwheel (formerly Trouble Dolls) and the Hutchinsons play tonight at 9 p.m. at the Blue Cafe, 210 Promenade North, Long Beach. $5. (310) 983-7111.
weezer show #51: Coconut Teaszer, Hollywood, CA
The Coconut Teaszer was one of the ‘big 3′ Sunset Strip clubs [the other 2 being the Roxy and the Whiskey] that were the big holdouts of the glam-metal scene of the ’80s. It was difficult for a “alternative” band like weezer to break into this scene, and the leather-clad regulars tended to clear out when anyone not dressed in full rock garb hit the stage. And weezer dressed in anything but full rock garb! Teaszer bills were always a bizarre mix of glam bands, bar rock bands, morbid looking gothic type bands, and the occasional pop type band like weezer.
Back to the Teaszer for the 8th and final time! A bit of an ‘industry showcase’ night, several A+R types in attendance, most notably Nigel Harrison, originally (and later once more) a member of Blondie, who was working for Interscope Records at the time. We hung out with Nigel for a bit, he was nice.
Journal comments: “Wall of low end. Great playing but Coconut Teaszer’s sound blows.” Other bands on the bill were Wink, Joyride (with Steve Soto, once in the Adolescents), Bigelf, and Boys Named Sue.