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Kinetics Kop Krackerite Three Thursdays ago, at one of the Kinetics' regularly packed shows, at Bruno's, a promising future began to unfold for the band that was born out of the long-lost Loved Ones. First off, drummer Michael Urbano replaced Ben Wayne in the group's permanent lineup. Urbano, who was a founding member of Cracker, has been most recently involved with Geffen recording artists Black Lab, headed by Paul Durham. In order to join the Kinetics, Urbano was willing to give up a surprisingly cush deal with Geffen -- including a guaranteed rehearsal salary in preparation for the upcoming Black Lab album. Urbano apparently knew what he was doing, because on the very first night that he performed with the Kinetics, Capricorn Records made a solid offer. (After months of sniffing around, Capricorn's only complaint in respect to the band's sound seemed to have been alleviated overnight.) Add to the electricity of this debut night the presence of Bay Area taste-maker Bonnie Simmons and stalwart producer Scott Matthews. Simmons has been known for her altruistic support of great local bands -- and for her management of mega-Capricorn recording artists Cake. Matthews worked on the Loved Ones' and the Kinetics' last CDs. This may be the beginning of the Bay Area's next success story. It kind of makes you wonder who knew what, or who met whom, at the Transmission Theater in late May, when Black Lab and the Kinetics played a show together. The new and improved Kinetics are conveniently gigging in Madrid while the dust settles. (S.T.)

Nova Casanova On July 1, the Casanova Lounge shut its doors. Donald Allen, owner of the jazz cafe Radio Valencia, purchased the Casanova two weeks ago, and decided to close it for much-needed repairs. The club will reopen on Aug. 1, but the only familiar thing about the Casanova will be the employees. "We just want to give it a face lift and 'undive' the place," says current promoter Burt Sierra. "The place will look nicer, but it's not going to be another Skylark." The new incarnation of the Casanova will also forgo other former trappings, such as live entertainment, DJ nights, and the tiny $1-2 cover charge. "DJ nights could make a comeback after a few weeks, but live music will require a permit this time, and believe it or not, the cover charges are what really hurt us," says Sierra. New owner Allen plans to leave entertainment open-ended for now. "We want a place for people to hang out," Allen says. "We could have live music eventually, but we're going to wait and assess the crowd first." In other words, whoever shows up in the first weeks -- for booze, sans entertainment -- will determine the future of the Casanova. Riff Raff may be a little jaded from other recent Mission bar openings -- e.g., Dalva, the Make-Out Room, and Liquid -- but we're a little suspicious. When we hear about a bar being "undived," live entertainment being dropped, and jazz-club ownership, we expect a rising tide of Marina yahoos slumming away their Friday nights. (R.A.)

Flushhhh! First the bad news: Pee pissed itself away. Drummer Andee Connors says the band started thinking about breaking up back in March while the local grind-poppers were caught in a shitstorm of negativity on tour. "A lot of people were coming up to us after shows and saying, 'Wow, you guys were pretty good. I wasn't even going to stay for your set because your name is so stupid,' " says Connors. Even though the constant ridicule finally drove Pee to call it quits, the fans' complaints were nothing new to the band -- all four members agreed that the group's name was pretty stupid. Apparently, naming the band "Pee" was a hasty decision made back in 1994 by singer/guitarist Jim Stanley, and the problems soon followed. First, there was confusion when Johnny Depp's Viper Room vanity band dubbed itself P. Then, prompted by the monosyllabic, slightly cute title, there were twee connotations that the band absolutely deplored, especially since Pee's song structures continue to get more complicated and less pop. OK, now the good news. The four members of Pee are reassembling themselves. The new outfit will be the cumbersomely titled Miracle Research Center Staff, whose name, Connors says, is taken from a late-night television show where people are rescued by guardian angels. Just to make things a little more difficult, Miracle Research Center Staff will release their new Honeybear single this week. Its title: P.E.E. (J.S.)

The Best Job in the World As a public service and with no further comment, Riff Raff passes along the following, from the UC Berkeley job-listings board. (K.D.E.)

Administrative Assistant I
School of Public Health
$1991 - 2351 ([monthly] full-time rate)
Hours: to be arranged
Closing date: 7/4/97

50% position. Transcribe rap music lyrics and maintain clerical and financial functions for research project on rap music and social issues. Transcribe music lyrics onto Macintosh computers for data analysis. Set up and maintain business files; answer phones; order supplies; type and mail correspondence; type reports and budgets; help prepare manuscripts for publication; send faxes and make photocopies. Monitor track of project expenditures using Quicken or Excel on a Macintosh. Required qualifications: Ability to understand and transcribe rap music lyrics accurately onto Macintosh computers. Experience organizing and maintaining business files. Ability to use financial software programs such as Quicken or Excel on Macintosh computers. Experience preparing financial reports. Typing skills sufficient to produce technical manuscripts with speed and accuracy. Ability to prepare manuscripts for publication (e.g., preparing footnotes and bibliographies for journal articles). Ability to interact with diverse groups. Oral/written communication skills.

Riff Raff riffraff: Robert Arriaga (R.A.), Michael Batty (M.B.), Johnny DiPaola (J.D.P.), Karl D. Esturbense (K.D.E.), Jeff Stark (J.S.), Silke Tudor (S.T.), and Bill Wyman (B.W.). Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to, or mail it to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly. No flack, please.


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