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No smashing allowed 

So I'm standing on the Court Street Bridge, minding my own business, when I'm approached by this obviously dressed roadie-tour manager type. Seems he needs a guitar for his band (Linkin Park), so his guitarist can smash it on stage and can I direct him to a music store, please? I immediately saw red.

          Well, before I knew it, I had this clown by the ankles, dangling him precariously over the bridge, as he screamed, staring all bug-eyed into the mighty Genesee.

          "Smash a guitar? Who does that little snot think he is, Pete Townsend? I'll kill you!" And so on and so on and so on... A few people from the Dinosaur came running out, restrained me, and pulled the shaken "rock dude" back onto the sidewalk. Who knows, maybe I saved a guitar's life that night.

          Prior to playing a show in Pittsburgh two weeks ago, I traipsed over to The Chevrolet Amphitheatre to see Chris Isaac and Lisa Marie Presley. Isaac is an incredible singer and showman and the closest thing we have to the King today. Though it would be nice to see Presley sink her teeth into some real rock 'n' roll (just like dad used to make), her husky alto is sultry as she makes her way through her edgy pop-rock sound.

          After the show, I got to hang with Isaac and Presley backstage and pose for a few photos. Isaac and his band are as cool, funny, and genuine as you would imagine, and Presley was beside herself at the thought of meeting me. I mean, Michael Jackson, Nicholas Cage? Great. But now Frank? Presley's kids were running around as well, and it sounded kind of weird as I later thought out loud: Those were Elvis' grandchildren. Ate some groovy barbeque at Mr. Ribbs before heading back east. I love Pittsburgh.

          Mickey Rat's in Angola, New York, is basically a northeast, overcast-sky version of Margaritaville: drunk guys in sandals and slightly past prime chicks dancing to acoustic guitars. The hundred or so who ventured there for the rock show were treated to a loud, wild evening as Nashville's The Legendary Shack Shakers outdid themselves with each song. Singer-frontman Colonel J.D. Wilkes punched out light bulbs with his bare hands, rolled around in glass, and danced till he literally collapsed. No wonder there's not an ounce of fat on him --- or fear in him.

          Played two shows in Buffalo and Rochester with garage legends The Cynics, who buzzed loud and tight with their hip-shake beat. You simply can't sit still when you hear this band.

          The Shack Shakers followed up with a show at The Bug Jar, which, in unprecedented Rochester-Monday-night fashion, was packed. The energy was completely over the top and at times a little intimidating, as Wilkes raged all over the stage, half naked, covered in blood, sweat, and snot. Guitarist Joe "Joe Buck yourself" Buck scared the hell out of everyone, coming off as the deranged bastard offspring of John Voight and Hank Williams. This is the best band on the road today. Mucho bang for your dinero. Watch out, boy.

          The Dirtbombs blew in from Deee-troit to rock the Bug Jar the next Tuesday. They were rough and ragged and full of soul with the sole female in the band playing her bass like an excited four-year-old. Their show started out a little sloppy --- come to think of it, it stayed sloppy --- but the band packed such a raw, rootsy wallop that it filled in the gaps created by tighter and consequently less engaging artists.

          Went to the Ten Ugly Men shindig at Genesee Valley Park last Saturday and let me tell you, it's a lot more than just 10 ugly men. They were everywhere. It was a great day of food, water, music, tube tops, and beer, beer, beer. Oh, and virgin piña coladas.

          John Mooney played some gutsy New Orleans Boogie at Manhattan Square Park last Thursday. It was stripped down and direct with Mooney slingin' his Strat with a cocksure swagger.

          The following Friday was rock legend Leon Russell. OK, so the guy's irreplaceable from a historic standpoint, but I got two words for ya: Bor. Ring. It didn't help that he had to follow powerhouse vocalist Rockin' Robin backed by Steve Grills and The Roadmasters. Robin brings the joy and has a voice as big he is. He croons, wails, and pleads with cheerful abandon. His impact on an audience is infectious and immediate.

          During a rollicking rendition of "Big Fat Woman" I found myself surrounded by five big fat women, shaking their ample booties and singing along with Robin: "I got a big fat woman with meat drippin' off her bones..."


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