Belated congratulations to San Jose band Sunfur for winning the KSJO/Guitar Center "Best Unsigned Band" Competition and the accompanying $2,500 worth of recording time at JK Studios. Guitar Center is, of course, a junk resource chain where, be it the outlet in Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, or Los Angeles, you can walk in off the street and hear 35 simultaneous bad attempts at Van Halen's "Eruption" as performed by sallow, long-haired young men who have memorized every gauge and brand of electric guitar string but who couldn't count past 20 without dropping trou. Another Guitar Center hallmark: oleaginous commission-driven sales tactics. A friend of mine in the market for a new Stratocaster, having refused to go above a certain bid, was asked by the smartly dressed, casually ponytailed sales clerk whether he wanted to take out a loan to make up the difference. In other words, winning this particular sort of endorsement from Guitar Center is a bit like snatching top honors for luxury sedan at a monster-truck pull. Oh, well -- caveat emptor. I mean, carpe diem.
The Aqua Velvets played a Giorgio Armani-sponsored Surfrider benefit on Oct. 25 at the South Coast Plaza Emporio Armani outlet in Orange County. Press releases originally claimed that the Velvets would perform in Armani suits, but for reasons unknown, the band was consigned to wearing "Armani T-shirts" instead. What's the markup on those?
By Michael Batty