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Riff Raff 

(Star) Bucking the Trend, Stephan Jenkins, More Paranoia at the Chronicle, and Re: Cover

Wednesday, Oct 6 1999
(Star) Bucking the Trend It is probably the worst-kept secret in the entire San Francisco restaurant scene: Potrero Hill's Circadia Coffee House, which opened late last year, is owned by Starbucks. That fact isn't trumpeted by Starbucks itself; the only clue to be found is on the bottom of the menus, which state, "All coffee products are made using Starbucks coffee." This has inspired a lot of debate among locals; some see the place as a warm and elegant spot to nosh, with plenty of jacks for plugging in laptops; others figure it represents the coming of the apocalypse, when corporations take over and rearrange our entertainment habits, from buying lattes to going dancing.

Like a lot of people involved in music, Marshall Lamm wears a number of different hats. By day he works as a publicist at Yoshi's, but he also manages the kiddie-rock duo the Moss Brothers, sits on Oakland's Arts and Culture Commission, and -- since July -- books music at Circadia on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. "They're trying to create the all-encompassing coffee shop-cafe-live music-nightclub vibe all in one," he says.

What's interesting is that the setup -- regardless on which side of the Starbucks fence you happen to sit -- has turned into a sort of corporate patronage for local musicians. Circadia doesn't have a cover charge to see the jazz shows Lamm books there -- light but not bland bebop, talented but not intrusive -- but the musicians are paid guarantees by Circadia. Via Starbucks. Guarantees aren't an unusual thing at clubs, but they're usually reserved for touring bands at large and midsized venues. At small places and coffee shops like Circadia, with a 90-person capacity, they're rare, if not unthinkable.

"We're on the 50-yard line between a club and a coffeehouse," says Gail DeSantis, operations manager for Circadia, which is getting set to open its second spot in Palo Alto before the end of the year. "We've swayed away from that club mentality." DeSantis says they did look into cover charges initially, but nixed it, feeling it would create too much of a bar feeling. "It's very unique," says Lamm.

Stephan Jenkins, a Goat, and an Axe Third Eye Blind's much-anticipated sophomore album, tentatively slated for release on Nov. 23, still doesn't have a title, reports In an interview with frontman Stephan Jenkins, local rock-celeb newshound Jaan Uhelzki discovers that a number of titles are still under consideration, including Sunburn, Chopper, and Ultra Violent. And there is also this passage from the news item:

A recent contest sponsored by the San Francisco Weekly also landed a few names in the hopper, and Jenkins admits that some of them had possibilities. "The best names were Get Your Goat, Have an Axe to Grind, and Bad, Naughty Evil. Who knows, maybe they'll end up on the next Third Eye Blind album," he laughed.

Now, hang on a second. While we got a healthy number of entries to our name-the-next-3EB-album contest awhile back, we've checked our files, and none of them seem to match up with the ones Jenkins is throwing out, not even post-deadline entries like The Snow Must Go On and You Kill It You Eat It! So we put on our thinking caps and, pondering long and hard over the matter, figured that Mr. Jenkins is trying to be ironic. So then, for the record: We make no claim to having our goat gotten, and possess no axe to grind, except to say that the lives of rock stars amuse and entertain us, though not always through the actual music they make. As for bad, naughty evil, we're consulting our therapist on that one.

As is Riff Raff's habit, we dropped by looking for more. We didn't find much, but did uncover this:

Fuck SF Weekly. And if Mark Athitakis is reading this here's what I have to say to you...Don't fucking visit my site and lift my material for such pathetic use. And if you DO then make sure you print my name motherfucker!

Duly noted, Jennifer Griffin.

More Paranoia at the Chronicle Riff Raff figures that Chronicle religion writer Don Lattin isn't a fellow with a lot of spare time on his hands -- there's a sexual abuse scandal in the Diocese of Santa Rosa to cover these days, visits from the Dalai Lama to analyze, not to mention the general tensions involved when a proudly gay-positive town collides with conservative church elders. All of which is to say we were a bit surprised when a single titled "Why 2YK" by a group called the Digitones crossed our desk. A spoof of the R&B standard "Iko Iko," Lattin sings along with an eight-piece group of musicians about millennium paranoia, with lyrics Lattin wrote himself. Cute, though as a lyricist, Lattin is one hell of a journalist:

2000 come and 2000 go (Why 2Y 2YK)

Watch all of 'dem hard drives blow (Why 2Y 2YK)

Say goodbye to the century (Why 2Y 2YK)

Digital doom will set us free (Why 2Y 2YK)

The song is available for download at Somebody in Massachusetts, thinking ahead, registered last September.

Re: Cover "New Wave City," the roving dance party that works hard to forget the '90s ever happened -- not necessarily a bad thing -- moves into the Covered Wagon Saloon on Oct. 9 to help out the strapped-for-cash club ("Clubbed, Part 1," Sept. 29). Performing that night are Duran Duran tribute act Notorious and '80s-synth-inspired band Moonlife. The festivities start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 675-5683, and remember: Aqua Net is very, very flammable.

Send Bay Area music news, band stories, or petty gripes to, or mail them to Riff Raff, c/o SF Weekly.

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Mark Athitakis


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