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Musik Thesis: Germany is kinder to S.F. music than even San Francisco is. Exhibit 838: Superstar. The German zine's ninth issue, which recently crossed Riff Raff's desk, includes a 16-page feature package focusing on our fair city, written by and about local musicians. (You can pick up a copy -- printed mostly in English -- at a few local music stores; or you can e-mail the mag directly at MarkNaegel@AOL.COM.) THE MAIN FEATURE IS A LONG WALKING TOUR OF SIGNIFICANT MUSIC (RECYCLED RECORDS) AND NON-MUSIC (LA CUMBRE) LOCALES PENNED BY PAT THOMAS, THE GUY WHO STARTED HEYDAY RECORDS BACK IN 1988, MOVED TO GERMANY, THEN RETURNED LAST YEAR TO PLAY MUSIC AND PRODUCE BANDS LIKE THE NEW EZ DEVILS AND PANDA. SINGER/SONGWRITER SONYA HUNTER TURNS IN A PIECE ABOUT STAND-UP BASSIST ANNA ROLL, WHO'S MOVED TO NEW YORK, BUT MANAGES TO MASSAGE THE STORY INTO SOMETHING OF A PRIMER ON LOCAL JAZZ. TIKI NEWS WRITERS BABY DOE AND OTTO VON STROHEIM -- A GUY WILLING TO TRACK DOWN DON THE BEACHCOMBER'S RIGHT-HAND MAN AT THE HORSE RACES TO BUY A MAI TAI RECIPE FOR $10 -- TAKE YOU ON A TOUR OF A DOZEN TIKI BARS YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED. THEN THOMAS GUIDES READERS THROUGH THE INTRICACIES OF S.F.'S BEST MUSIC STORES WITHOUT NEGLECTING MOD LANG IN BERKELEY AND VILLAGE MUSIC IN MILL VALLEY. THE GROUP MUSHROOM'S ALEC PALAO AND THOMAS ALSO COMPILE A LIST OF GREAT OLD BAY AREA BANDS. (BOTH KNOW THEIR BANDOGRAPHICAL HISTORYo Frumious Bandersnatch, Sleepers, the Dils, Oxford Circle, Donner Party. Eindrucksvoll!) Finally, Warm Wirer and former Harm Farmer B. Mossman contemplates what's more difficult about playing music in San Francisco: living down the hippie history or finding a place to play live. Sprinkled throughout are miniboxes with the Old Joe Clarks, A Subtle Plague, Swell, Paddlefoot, Snowmen, Zmrzlina, 100 Watt Smile, and Sunshine Club. Conclusion: So that's why all the German tourists are here. (J.S.)

Three Punks and a Little Thing Called Nepotism When regular ol' punks and skaters sit around a barbecue, drink beer, and talk about starting a record company, they're usually full of shit. But Billie Joe Armstrong, Doug Sangalang, and Jim Thiebaud aren't just regular ol' punks. The Green Day guitarist, the ex-member of Screw 32, and the Deluxe skateboards artist have actually turned their barbecue bullshitting into a real label. Sangalang says the driving force behind Adeline Records is not cash, but a desire to give unnoticed punk bands a chance. "We're not out to make money," says Sangalang. "We felt that there were good bands out there that weren't getting noticed and figured we should help out by starting a label." The first band to get Adeline's helping hand is local outfit One Man Army, which released its first full-length, Dead End Stories, a few months ago. Thiebaud says everyone -- even the oft-touring Armstrong -- participates in the day-to-day functioning of the label. "We're all old friends and share the work around the office pretty equally," says Thiebaud. "In fact, last week the three of us were kicking back packing up boxes together." Adeline's next scheduled release will be a new 7-inch single by A.F.I., a band that already has a good contract with well-established indie Nitro Records. Sangalang says this is true to the spirit of the company. "We don't want any corporate bullshit," he says. "A.F.I. and Nitro are friends of ours and we just always wanted to work together, and this was our chance. People have to understand that this is just a way for the three of us to hang out together, have fun, and help bands." Sangalang assures Riff Raff that any new releases will fit within the label's conception of punk rock. When pressed for a definition, he smartly declines to provide one. "We'll let the records we put out answer that." (R.A.)

Everyone But Cary Grant North by Northwest, the regional music conference in Portland, Ore., will feature more than two dozen local acts -- groups from For Stars to the Fitsners and Jumbo Shrimp to Clodhopper; solo acts from Richard Buckner (a sometime San Franciscan) to Jim Greer. Most of the action happens in Puddletown Aug. 20 to 22, but a few of the touring acts will stop in San Francisco for a NXNW preview on their way. Tonight, Aug. 19, X-Girl from Japan, Zuckerman Electric from Austin, and Third Grade Teacher from Los Angeles play at the Cocodrie. Go, and you get the international version of the conference, minus the music-industry irritants. (J.S.)

Blue Room Beats The U.K. label Blue Room Released, fighting the rampant commercialism facing house music in that country, has attempted to keep its woofers firmly planted in the underground, carefully seeding once and future stars of electronic music like Juno Reactor and Total Eclipse. The latest addition to its family is the San Francisco-based record label Blue Room Americas, which will be releasing full-lengths this month by Germany's X-Dream and Britain's Sunkings, who were chosen by Brian Eno to be included on a compilation alongside Tricky, Massive Attack, and Portishead. "Blue Room Launch" is a three-level party thrown in conjunction with Japanese multimedia magazine Zavtone that includes performances by the Sunkings and X-Dream, as well as Amsterdam's Lucas, New Zealand's Amanda, the U.K.'s Simon G. and Anon Surreal, as well as labelmates from Japan's Mutant Tunes and our own Jonah Sharp from Space Time Continuum and Adam from the music project Ceiba. Expect deep-immersion visuals, fashion shows from here and abroad, and liquid alchemy on Friday, Aug. 21, at 10 p.m. Call (888) 682-7666 for the address. X-Dream also perform at Amoeba Music on Friday at 6 p.m. (S.T.)

Free Ink Aging teen-ager and SF Weekly cover boy Jonathan Richman will play a Slim's 10th-anniversary party on Saturday, Sept. 19. Co-owner Boz Scaggs starts a 10-day run of celebration concerts with two shows and cake and champagne on Sept. 11. Box Set, Common Sense, Praxis, John Zorn, Mike Patton -- who will debut two new pieces -- and a few others will also play gigs through Sept. 20. (J.D.P.)

More Free Ink Berkeley's KALX-FM (90.7) is sponsoring a T-shirt design contest for the station's annual on-air fund-raiser. Come up with a three-color camera-ready idea by Sept. 4 and call (510) 642-1111 to find out where to send it. (J.D.P.)

Oops Better late than never, Riff Raff cops to an error we made on July 8. In an item about Smashing Pumpkins we said that associate keyboardist Jonathan Melvoin died from a heroin overdose in a Chicago hotel room. Actually, it was a New York City hotel room. Sorry about the flub. (J.S.)

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 (


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