Road Shows--From the travelling Mick Overman to touring Dread Zeppelin, the road is a musician''s best friend.
Thursday, February 18, 1999
Mick Overman is busy, to say the least. The first thing I pulled from his publicity package was a full page (small print!) listing of places where he has performed--I counted about 400. In a career spanning years and years, this number may not seem extraordinary until you realize that in 1994 alone, Overman played 379 shows. It''s a fact fit for the Guinness Book of World Records, as some friends suggested to him at the time. But Overman never did submit this impressive number of performances--he was too busy travelling to his next show...
The 40-something songwriter/singer/guitarist knew early on where his passion lay. In second grade, when asked to draw a picture of what he wanted to be when he grew up, Overman drew a policeman, not because wanted to become one, but because he was too embarrassed to share his dream of becoming a musician. Over the following years, this inhibition didn''t stop him from toying with instruments such as upright bass, saxophone, drums, piano and guitar. At age 15, he began to write songs. At about the same time, he also became involved with drugs and alcohol. Even though Overman lost his father to alcohol and his brother to drugs, it took him about 18 years to realize and overcome his own addictions. The Dayton, Ohio-born and Southern California-raised Overman emerged from drug rehab and turned his life around completely. He settled in the small Santa Cruz suburb of Freedom, and dedicated himself to his passion--music--in earnest.
Today, almost 12 years later, he runs a mostly one-man show with such zeal and energy that the onlooker is left breathless. Overman is his own agent, booker, and promoter but foremost, he is his own performer. His office is the cell phone in his car as he drives hundreds of miles a day, sometimes playing two shows in cities hours away from one another. Overman has released three CDs to date, Empty City (1994), Lucky (1996) and Mileage (1998). He''s played with the likes of Taj Mahal, Young Dubliners, Sapphire: the Uppity Blues Women, and Danny O''Keefe, to name a few. He mostly does solo acts while on the road, but around the Bay Area, he performs with Mick Overman and The Maniacs--drummer Peter Booras, from Spang-a-Lang; keyboardist Lizz Fisher (John Lee Hooker) and Van Morrison bassist David Hayes will be in attendance for Overman''s gig this Saturday at the Blue Fin Caf.
Mick Overman and The Maniacs play original bluesy ''folk and roll'' with a touch of jazz. Their music, influenced by artists such as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Charles Mingus and Joni Mitchell; and the soul-baring, sincere lyrics have earned them rave reviews all around. If you''re in the mood for some rockin'' folk, Overman''s impressive accomplishments are worth checking out.
Mick Overman and The Maniacs, Saturday, 9pm, Blue Fin Caf, 375-7000.
If you want to do some serious bar-hopping this weekend, you''re apt to see familiar names and faces.
After 10 years, Dread Zeppelin has become something of a cult sensation, and they''re taking their act to Doc''s on Thursday. Johnny Love of the Naughty Babies (who will also open for Dread Zeppelin that night) sent me a little note, calling them the antidote to Led Zeppelin rip-offs in the early ''90s, and a conscious homage rather than a left-field spoof. If you''re familiar with the band, then you''ll know exactly what he means by that. The less fortunate will have to take that walk down Doc''s stairs in order to satisfy their curiosity.
Trying to describe their music is useless, to say the least. It''s rock and reggae in a funky kind of mix you just can''t put your categorizing finger on. They have played sold-out performances all over the country, including the House Of Blues in New Orleans and Chicago, and Cabooze in Minneapolis. They''ve traveled the world, touring in more than 30 countries. To date, Dread Zeppelin has released five CDs; their latest effort, Spambake, is the first all-original album. This one you''ll either love or hate, there won''t be an in-between.
Naughty Babies, of course have been around, and successfully so. While certain nicknames (Double Speedo, The Doctor, Cheese Ass) may raise an eyebrow or two, their rock/alternative sound does draw a healthy crowd. And anyway, we come for the music, not the names.
Dread Zeppelin with Naughty Babies opening, Thursday, 9pm, Doc''s Nightclub, 649-4241.
Sun Child''s five surfer-aces (Dudes? Guys? Surfer men?) should ring some bells. The SoCal band with their bluesy and melodic rock is returning to Whitey''s Place. A fairly young band, they have nevertheless acquired a solid fan base, and when they''re in town, they are sure to fill the house.
Sun Child, Saturday, 9:30pm, $2, Whitey''s Place, 646-8383.
Righteous Anger returns to Whitey''s Place with its roots/alternative rock. The trio, Josh Baricza (rhythm guitar/vocals), Oscar Rueda (bass) and Kirk Edwards (drums) promise to once again "inspire and free minds" with their sound.
Righteous Anger, Saturday, 9:30pm, Whitey''s Place, 646-8383.
If you don''t mind travelling a bit for some punk music, you might want to go up to Watsonville''s Veteran''s Memorial Building (215 East Beach St., Watsonville) where, and I quote, "Numbskull Productions proudly presents FUGAZI, unconventional indie-rockers The Gods Hate Kansas, and female pop-punks The Muggs." End of quote. I think that says it all, don''t you?
The Gods Hate Kansas and The Muggs open for Fugazi, Saturday, 8pm, $6, Watsonville Veteran''s Memorial Building. For info (805) 987-2026.