Friday night, the Buccaneer is hosting a party for local label Wrecked 'Em Wreckords, which is releasing a new 7-inch from Nashville band Richard James & The Special Riders. The drummer from the group might look familiar to Memphis music fans: It's Marty Linville, who formerly pounded the skins for Pisshorse. Indie-rockers will want to arrive early enough to catch the opening bands -- Nice Digs, fronted by Shangri-La Records owner (and onetime Simpletone) Jared McStay, and Feeler, which reunites the Grifters' rhythm section, bassist Tripp Lamkins and drummer Stan Gallimore.
"I've been trying to get back into a band with Stan for years," says Lamkins. "He played in one incarnation of my last band, The Paper Plates, but for the last year, he's been dealing with Ménière's disease, which causes violent bouts of vertigo. Because of tinnitus, Stan couldn't listen to music or hang out in a crowded restaurant. Now, he's got it under control."
Although Feeler also features vocalist/guitarist Bobby Matthews, another alumnus of the Paper Plates, Lamkins maintains that his new band sounds completely different. "The Paper Plates had such a light-hearted, poppy feel. It was cool -- we had some really good songs -- but personally, I wanted to get back to a hard-rock sound. Feeler sounds a lot heavier. When you're playing with Stan," he chuckles, "you can't help playing harder. We still have some pop hooks. I'm trying not to compare ourselves to the Grifters, but it is heavy distorto-pop. I spent a long time avoiding that sound, but recently, I decided to stop fighting it. This is what Stan and I have been doing for years -- even before the Grifters, when we had A Band Called Bud."
Any plans for a full-fledged Grifters reunion? "I seriously doubt it," Lamkins says, adding that for now, his focus is on the new group.
"We're going to take Feeler down to Dallas to record an album with Stuart Sikes before the summer is out," he says. "This isn't the same as other bands I've been in. We have no master plan to take over the world. I don't really care about that. We're all happy just to be hanging out in the practice space and writing songs."
Welcome Home: After a year-long sojourn in Tempe, Arizona, Memphix Records founder Chad Weekley is finally back in the Bluff City. During his absence, he and co-conspirator Luke Sexton continued to put out hip-hop records, including the recent Tunnel Clones LP and the full-length compilation Live at Big Moe's. Now, the duo have three 45s to add to the mix: Express Rising's "Time & Time Again"/"Double Navaho," Smeets' "Olentangy Detour"/"Attic," and a Red & the Eyerights (Sexton's alter ego) two-fer, "Melodic Transition," backed with "Brandon's Rusty Organ." Weekley's also spinning records at the Young Avenue Deli every Monday night.
I Want My WMPS: Perennial politico and airwaves magnate Dr. George Flinn has performed a "flip" on The Pig once again. The popular station was banished to AM radio a few years ago. Last week, it was bumped off WMPS 1210 to make room for oldies, Radio Online magazine reports. While listeners can still hear the Pig's popular alt-country, adult-oriented station online at RadioPig.com, it just ain't the same as tuning it in over your car stereo.
Divine Intervention: Last week, the Church of God in Christ (the institution responsible for razing the Stax Records studio in 1989) announced plans to renovate South Main's Hotel Chisca and reopen the building as a 150-room Hilton Garden Inn. It's good news for rock-and-roll fans who view the dilapidated property as a mecca for Memphis music. Deejay "Daddy-O" Dewey Phillips broadcast his "Red, Hot and Blue" WHBQ radio program from the hotel's "magazine" level in the 1950s, spinning blues, country, and R&B platters for pop-culture-crazed teenagers who tuned in the show nightly, regardless of their race. Of course, Phillips was also the first to play Elvis Presley -- that story and hundreds others are detailed in Louis Cantor's new book, Dewey & Elvis, published this spring by the University of Illinois Press.