Serious Bank There's occasionally money in music, but one local musician wants to make the reverse true -- or something like that. Gregory Howe has bought the old Wells Fargo Bank on Mission and 29th streets and, with the help of several other creative types, he's working to make the place into the new home of Wide Hive. The name makes it sound like they're constructing a bachelor pad for The Simpsons' bee-suited Mexican TV star, but actually it's an artists' collective that brings together a record company, a recording studio, a retail record store, a cafe, and -- eventually -- a live venue all under one moniker. Owner Howe says the idea to form the collective was a natural progression from his acid jazz band Dissent, which he says mirrored Wide Hive as a loose amalgamation of both musicians and styles. "The band and the record company are already established," says Howe. "It's primarily acid jazz, but it is always changing with new players coming and going. Wide Hive's new home will imitate that spirit." As it stands, the building is going to need a lot of work to transform it into the space Howe envisions, yet each part of the collective will be phased in step by step, the primary focus being the recording studio. "I rebuilt Jackson Browne's old console for the studio, which has this really beefy late-'70s sound," says Howe. "Once installed we'll be offering 24-channel recordings in both analog and digital." The studio will be open for use in about six weeks; it'll have some modern kicks, like an ISDN line that will enable them to record from any venue around the city via Internet. Once the studio is firmly in place, Wide Hive will start work on the actual collective art space, retail record store, cafe, and venue that will occupy the entire bottom floor. "It's going to take awhile and we want as much input as possible from people interested in being involved," says Howe. "We would like it to have a 111 Minna type of feel with art displays and DJ booths, but mainly it's going to be a place for people to indulge in any type of artistic whim." (R.A.)
Recycling the Paycheck Since Amoeba Music opened in S.F. last September it's quickly become the DJ equivalent of an opium den -- local DJs slangin' vinyl for the store to support their own record-buying habits. Amoeba recognized the talent behind the counter and has decided to let those DJs show off their record collections for the enjoyment of the music-buying public. With "Mandala," a weekly lineup of Amoeba DJ performances, the record retailer is buttressing an already impressive roster of live in-store shows. (A mandala is a circular design of concentric geometric forms -- like grooves on vinyl -- symbolizing the universe.) Amoeba's Kara Lane says there's no shortage of talent within the store, but there will eventually be guest spots for outside DJs as well. "As of now we're booked up for the next three months with just our in-house DJs," says Lane. "But we'll have guest DJs open every so often." (One such notable guest is France's DJ Cam on Aug. 28.) The free performances will take place every Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. and feature slices of everything, from hip hop to gothic. (R.A.)
Riff Raff riffraff: Robert Arriaga (R.A.), Johnny DiPaola (J.D.P.), Karl D. Esturbense (K.D.E.), Jeff Stark (J.S.), Silke Tudor (S.T.), Heather Wisner (H.W.), and Bill Wyman (B.W.). Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail it to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly.