BomBassic Beat Life Birthday Lovins June 27

So, tomorrow’s my birthday. You’ve probably heard. But on top of that, my boys BomBassic are headlining at The Mothlight for another installment of Beat Life, brought to us by the Asheville Beat Tape Collective. Weeeee

Cpt Hyperdrive and Brucey B of BomBassic are on fire these days. I’ve been seeing them on the regular for nearly two years now, and in their last few shows in AVL alone there’s been an intangible shift in their presence, a sense of greater connectedness between themselves as well as the audience. Maybe it has something to do with their Kinnection experience last month (everyone came back all ONE LOVE and whatnot), or maybe it’s because they’re best friends and play music all the time and are and sinking into both their individual and combined crafts harder than ever. Whatever it is, they gellin. Love those guys.

JUST ANNOUNCED: BomBassic’s set will be amped up with a slew of special guests, including MCs Musashi Xero and Spitty the Sequel, Tin Foil Hat, and DJ Kutzu.

Get there early for sets by Samuel Paradise, Axnt, DJ Kutzu, and Vietnam Jerry. You ready for this? I dunno, watch out for me. I might get rowdy. But it’s my birthday so I do what I want.


$5 door//21+

Just Trying to Commission Peter Gabriel Remixes is All

peter gabrielI love Peter Gabriel. I listen to and think a lot about him. I just finished his biography Without Frontiers: The Life and Music of Peter Gabriel. What a brain-tickling babe.

For a couple years now I’ve been keeping my ear out for great PG remixes. Just found this dark, synthy version of “Mercy Street” by Virgin Magnetic Material via Soundcloud, which pleases me. I just don’t want to stop at his most well-known songs. I want to go deeper.

Of all his beautiful material, he’s got this song I can’t shake called “No Way Out” from his 2002 album Up. From first listen I envisioned this minimally powerful song remixed into a dance track. That guitar riff, that chorus! That’s all you need. Now I suppose this is what a DJ feels when s/he makes a remix. But I don’t do that. I do this.

I want one of you internet musicians to remix this song. Who’s up to the challenge? There’s a lot of Backstage Sass blog love in it for you. And probably hugs and kisses if you’re local.


Even Divas Get the Groupie Chills

So I’m flipping through a book Bette Midler wrote about her first world tour in 1980. In it there is a page entitled “Dear Diary,” in which she discusses her initial discomfort with her groupies (in this case, a pair of young sisters from Idaho) and ultimately her realization that the relationship is a symbiotic one, one that is necessary for her as a performer and a person:

“I guess it’s always troubling to be faced with that kind of devotion. Like most performers, I deal with intense adulation from the multitudes, but as soon as it comes from a focused source…well, that’s another matter altogether. Maybe that’s why so many performer friends of mine refuse to have any dealings with even their most ardent fans…But in some strange way, they give–to me–meaning. I always feel more solid, more real when they’re around. They make me think that maybe there is more to me than I know.”


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Meet The Who’s Kingmakers “Lambert and Stamp,” If You Dare

Let’s be clear: this is not a documentary about The Who. If you don’t already know the history of the band, you don’t want to start with this movie.

But that’s not “Lambert and Stamp”s job. And it’s not to say it couldn’t be enjoyed by someone who doesn’t know or particularly like The Who, though it is at times a fucking mess to watch (we’ll get to that). No, this film’s focus is on a creative force we don’t otherwise hear about, which is a shame because they have more personality than certain band members (*ahem Roger Daltrey ahem*): Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, two charming young cinephiles who in 1963 took the fledgling band The High Numbers (as they were known at the time) under their wings in order to make an art film about managing a rock ‘n roll band. Art imitating life and all that. But again these were filmmakers, and with little to no knowledge of the music industry, my guess is they didn’t realize how successful they’d be at it.

The story revolves around the irresistible quality of the pair who met through film work in London, Lambert an Oxford-educated, upper-crust gay son of a classical composer; Stamp a working-class East Ender with a quick wit and filthy mouth (just my type). And in this most unlikely of matches, the stars aligned.

lambert and stamp

Soulmates of sorts: Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert

In less than five years the duo groomed those four deviants into some of the most famous deviants in rock history. It’s a tale we’ve heard before in Brian Epstein/The Beatles, Andrew Loog Oldham/The Stones, etc., but their shared vision and combined allure is what gave Lambert-Stamp that something special, something no one was immune to. Least of all themselves.

The problem with this film is that it’s just so damn disjointed; it was difficult even for me, as someone who does know the band’s story, to follow the trajectory of the timeline or see why certain segments were even included. And I know I started this piece off by saying it’s not a doc about The Who, but I still wanted to see a clearer picture of what these guys actually did to make them megastars, and instead we get miles and miles of “Oh yeah, their ideas were great! Everyone loved ‘em!” Tell me the damn ideas. There isn’t even a relevant comment on the 30-second footage of The Who’s Woodstock performance. And I’m pretty sure that’s, like, a rule about Woodstock footage.

While Chris Stamp is hugely entertaining even at the time of filming, some of his interview clips go on far too long, and some side stories become simply unnecessary when we find that the ending is a manic scramble to tie up loose ends. Keith Moon’s death is thrown sloppily in and Kit Lambert’s death three years later is barely even addressed. And at some point before all this everyone got pissy and hated each other and sued L&S for mismanagement. My date fell asleep.

But there are beautifully redeeming moments here too, like Pete Townshend trying out “Glittering Girl” on the two, who were regular and notable influences on Townshend’s composing, Lambert in particular. There’s also sweet footage of Lamp (that’s their celeb couple name, I just decided) meeting Jimi Hendrix for the first time, by whom they were so smitten that they created their own record label in order to produce him. The initiative on these gents! Lordy!

It’s a wild romp in the catalogues of music history, however disheveled the story arc and oddly incoherent the soundtrack. But this is still a Master class of a rockumentary, not a breezy VH1 Behind the Music. To enjoy something like “Lambert and Stamp” you have to go one step further than being a fan of the music. Ask yourself: Would The Who have become who they are without their seductive managers? Do I care?

You may not actually learn the answer to that, but you’ll know whether or not you want to spend two solid hours figuring it out.

Resurrecting the Groupie: A Quick Note on the Reviled “G Word”

One of my first childhood memories is dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” in front of the living room TV with my older sister. As he did most people on the planet, he rocked me. I suppose other things about being a four-year-old got me going, like baby dolls and birthday cake and my mommy, but even then I knew there was something special about the relationship I had with this music man; my baby cheeks flushed at his voice, my feet moved with his pulse. I studied his 1991 album Dangerous faithfully; I ran my fingers over the glossy liner pages daily and developed my reading skills in order to discern the lyrics. By the time I was five or six and had learned a thing or two from Disney movies about romance, I was certain Michael was my boyfriend and any day now he would come knocking on my door to marry me. It’s probably best that dream didn’t come true, but it opened the door to a long and beautiful relationship with the power of music and the people who make it.

It wasn’t until I purposefully heard Abbey Road for the first time, sprawled on the floor of my 14-year-old bedroom, that I made the transition into full-blown music obsessive. I listened to every Beatles song, read every book, watched every video countless times. Their emotional language electrified me beyond reason. I poured my devotion into studying everything about them and their cultural impact. While other kids in my high school entertained future career ideas like nurse or chef, I saw myself as a rock ‘n roll historian. Or Paul McCartney’s next wife.


High school era Sass. I carried that book everywhere for about two years.

At that point in my adolescence it wasn’t just pictures of the classic rock gods that decorated the walls of my bedroom and my heart, but also their goddesses. I became fascinated by the glamorous women by their sides, the muses who, for better and for worse, inspired the most beautiful, aching, electrifying pieces of sound of the day. I worshipped women like Patti Boyd, wife of George Harrison and then Eric Clapton, whose demure beauty galvanized some of the most evocative love songs in history (“Something,” “Layla,” “Wonderful Tonight”). Soon I discovered the bold, business-minded women like Cherry Vanilla and Chris O’Dell who held invaluable inner-circle music careers while getting whatever and whomever they wanted. Those women to me were the ultimate groupies.

cherry vanilla

Cherry Vanilla with Mick Ronson. As David Bowie’s PR queen she helped make him one of the most enigmatic personas in rock. You think he did that shit on his own? Puh-lease

The word “groupie” evokes intense responses. It brings to mind sinful women who will do anything to be near someone famous or passionless socialites who use their musical conquests as social leverage. The riotous days of ‘80s metal and salacious stories of basic bitches blowing roadies for backstage passes doesn’t help things, but that is just one aspect of a music culture whose roots lie in sexual expression. It’s not the only way.

I hold the idea of a sacred relationship between those who create art and those who receive it, who religiously dance, laugh, cry, and scream to the tune of their truth. A super-groupie is a super-fan, one who has a spiritual and/or primal desire to reflect, celebrate, and nurture the source of the art. At its core, the creator(-trix) of the music and the one who truly loves it burn as twin flames.

That relationship still exists, though it looks different now that major artists are harder to access and too many independent artists are too exhausted creating, distributing, and marketing themselves to connect intimately with their fans. A new generation of groupies is growing, so let them back in. With modern skills, discernible taste, and hearts on fire, they won’t stay in the dark much longer anyway.

Bonus: they’re a really good indicator of whether your band rocks or sucks. Weeee