Full Moon Rises on Lincoln

The folks who brought you Maestro Subgum and the Whole and the Curious Theatre Branch have a new venture–a combination restaurant and performance venue on North Lincoln called the Full Moon Cafe and Lunar Cabaret. It’s owned by a collective of five Maestro Subgum members–Michael Greenberg, Kate O’Reilly, Ned Folkerth, Beau O’Reilly, and Jenny Magnus, most of whom will live on-site. They plan an eclectic mix of rock bands like Maestro and Las Toallitas, theater and performance art, and the occasional out-of-town guest artist. Cover will be kept low, Greenberg says–in the $4 to $6 range, higher for the out-of-town acts. Canadian singer-songwriter Ferron, who has a show scheduled for November 18, will probably have a $12 or $15 ticket, which Greenberg acknowledges is as much as her last show at Park West. “But for a show like that we’re going to limit the attendance to about 100,” he promises. “For those who can get in, it will be magical.” The club, a BYOB affair, is at 2827 N. Lincoln and will be open for lunch daily and until 2 weekend nights. The group’s aiming for a Halloween weekend opening. Scheduled: performances by Magnus, Paula Killen, and Betty’s Mouth Friday the 28th, along with the Vandermark Quartet; Las Toallitas and Wiseacre the 29th; Theater for the Age of Gold doing five short plays Sunday the 30th; and a costume party hosted by Maestro on Halloween.

Skippy Agonistes

That full-page ad from RCA records in last week’s Reader–what was that all about? “The RCA Records Label supports the Chicago music scene & The Independent Label Festival,” the ad trumpeted. Nice sentiment, but who was asking? The ad’s genesis was in the comments of one John “Skippy” McFadden in the previous week’s Hitsville. The irrepressible McFadden, articulating the view held in some of the more self-consciously indie parts of the local record industry, was quoted slagging the ILF, held last weekend at Columbia College. Trouble was, McFadden is a new A and R talent scout for RCA, which recently signed the local band the Lupins and sent an A and R rep out to attend the fest. While McFadden wasn’t exactly taken out to the woodshed by his masters in New York, neither were they pleased. “They want me to be opinionated and do what I’ve always been doing and basically be Skippy, but to be a little more selective,” McFadden says. “It’s going to be really hard; we’ll see.”

One amusing aspect of l’affaire Skippy is that while (as was noted in the piece) some of his criticisms of the fest were overstated, he’s also (as was noted in the piece) no idiot, and has a track record that got him the RCA job in the first place. Of the six conglomerates that rule American record sales, RCA is both the least successful and the most lunkheaded when it comes to alternative music; that’s why it needs people like McFadden. Implicit in his critique was that the fest was out of touch with the real indie scene in Chicago–a perception that full-page ads from unhip, nonindependent record companies from out of town don’t exactly dispel.


Veruca Salt have signed with Geffen. Retailers around town have been notified that future CD and cassette shipments of the band’s debut, American Thighs, released last week on Chicago ultra-indie Minty Fresh, will be on Geffen’s DGC imprint. The band’s first video, “Seether,” directed by Jeff Economy and Red Red Meat’s Tim Rutili, debuts on MTV’s 120 Minutes Sunday night. Chicago Filmmakers (1543 W. Division) will show it as part of a local video night Friday at 8. Call 384-5533 for details….Writer David Prince is looking for people who attended the infamous Frankie Goes to Hollywood concert at the Bismarck in November 1984. (The floor collapsed during the show.) He’d be happy to hear your memories; call him at Reactor magazine at 604-1833….Many moons ago, Hitsville called Urge Overkill the Reservoir Dogs of rock–thinking the appellation captured the band’s sadistic charm–and caught no little flack for it from myriad letter writers and fanzine scribes. Now Urge’s bloody cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon” has been picked up as the first single from the sound track to Reservoir Dogs director Quentin Tarantino’s new film, Pulp Fiction. Turns out Tarantino loved the song; it’s featured prominently in the movie, with Uma Thurman dancing and singing along to it. The video should be out soon….Czech president Vaclav Havel, in Chicago last week as a guest of the Mid-America Committee, hung at Rosa’s to the sound of Magic Slim last Tuesday….Loud Lucy has finished recording 18 songs for its first, as yet untitled, album at Chicago Trax with noted Sub Pop producer Jack Endino. Next step: mixing in New York, with John Siket, known for working with Butch Vig on the latest offerings from Sonic Youth and Freedy Johnston. The record won’t be out, however, until March; in the meantime the band has completed a six-song EP. Per its deal with Geffen, the trio can release it on an independent label, but no word on which one as yet….Making the scene at the Veruca Salt record-release party last Thursday at Lounge Ax: Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan, sporting a new shaved head….Liz Phair’s Whip-Smart debuts at 27 on the Billboard album chart this week, with sales of 33,000.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Peter Barreras.