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The Wooing of Loud Lucy/Bad Sports/Schmitsville

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The Wooing of Loud Lucy

Loud Lucy--a bright and rockin' Chicago trio that has yet to release a single side of music--is getting scooped up by Geffen. A and R person Jody Kurilla first saw the band a few months ago at Thurston's: she liked them enough to stay in town to see a Metro gig the following week, and then initiated discussions. While Loud Lucy was being courted by other labels--notably the Madonna vanity imprint Maverick--Kurilla won out on the grounds of personality, the label's commitment to the band's artistic head, and the fact that she used to manage Ween, a favorite of Lucy leader Christian Lane's.

The band plays a dramatic and crisp Nirvana-derived rock, with Lane's young but rapidly evolving songwriting skills the kicker. Worried about their development and the possibility of getting swallowed up by a large corporation, Lane, bassist Tommy Furar, and drummer Mark Doyle retained the ability to put out material not on Geffen. "It's a Michael Jordan clause," says Lane. (Arrangements like this--brandished most famously by Beck, whose deal with Geffen lets him release what he wants where he wants--are fast becoming the contract clause du jour in indie music. Geffen, the home of Sonic Youth and Nirvana, Hole and Urge Overkill as well as Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses, has made a fortune or two off alternative rock by letting artists do this.) A single from March Records ("I'll Wait" b/w "I Don't Think") will be out soon, and Lane also said the band hopes to put out an EP of already recorded material on March this summer. When, how, where, and with whom the band's first Geffen record will be done is up in the air; Lane says the group still think the world of Seattle producer Jack Endino (known for recording Nirvana's Bleach for $600 in production costs), who recorded a set of demos with them already. "Jack's been through everything with us," Lane says. "He knows where we came from, where we're going, and what we want to do."

Bad Sports

A Quincy goes out to Rick Telander, a Chicago-based Sports Illustrated senior writer and a regular on the cable sports-talk show The Sportswriters. The award, its name derived from the famed punk-rock episode of the Jack Klugman TV series ("Why do people listen to music that makes them want to hate, when they can listen to music that makes them want to love?"), goes to people who say stupid things about rock 'n' roll. Telander contributed the unctuously written, awkwardly titled story "Sport no nirvana, but structure can be life-saver" to last Sunday's Trib sports section. The splashily played article's thesis was that if Kurt Cobain had been involved in sports, the natural bonding mechanisms of the game might have saved him. "There is something about sport that I feel could have helped fill a void in the Seattle grunge king's life," wrote Telander. "Cobain was a sensitive, small, and troubled youth, and his parents could not, or would not, give him guidance. And he had no team. And he had no coach." Hitsville avoids reading sports sections as a matter of course: is this sort of analysis typical? Organized sports consists almost entirely of suit-and-tied strategists telling the players what to do every other second; rock 'n' roll is basically a forum for artists to express themselves. Even with this difference, however, there are in rock 'n' roll what Telander calls, with unbearable condescension, "authority figures." Cobain, for example, had a powerful management company (Gold Mountain) and label (Geffen) behind him--and he repeatedly went out of his way to thank them publicly for their help, though it was fairly uncool from the indie perspective to do so. The second problem with Telander's argument is that Cobain had an instinctive and thorough loathing of male rituals in general and of sweaty, macho corporate sport in particular. "Rock and sports," writes the addlepated Telander, "are like restive siblings,...two flip sides of a two-metal coin. Those boys who can, play sports; those who can't, play music." Barf. Cobain needed sports like he needed a hole in his head.

Schmitsville

The second annual Cardigan Festival hits Lounge Ax this weekend. The event, explains organizer Seth Cohen, is so named because it proudly stands opposed to, say, a leather jacket festival. Last year's Cardigan Festival lineup featured Liz Phair, Seam, Mint Aundry, and Cohen's band Eliot. Performing at this year's version, expanded to two nights, will be Seam, in what may be the group's last show, the Dallas band Bedhead (see Spot Check for details), and Tortoise tonight; tomorrow night's lineup includes Red Red Meat, Cohen's new band Number One Cup, Mint Aundry, David Grubbs, and Weedy. Tix are $10 each night....The Chicago band Rollover will play the side stage of this year's H.O.R.D.E. tour....Hitsville's Loop-FM radio show, Sound Opinions, which he hosts with the Sun-Times's Jim DeRogatis, has a new time slot: 9 to midnight Sunday evenings....Sparrow (real name Bradley Parker), head of the Southport jazz label, is noting his 15th year in operation with three days of jazz at the Bop Shop beginning Thursday (last night). His own group, Sparrow Shortwave, plays tonight with Joanie Pallatto; check the listings for the full schedule. He's branching out labelwise as well: a new Northport imprint will see a release from the Indiana band the Proud and something salsa-flavored to follow.

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