Bingo Was Its Name-O

The Texas Lottery Commission brings the hammer down on the El Orbits' Monday-night institution

But there will be one last El Orbits Monday-night bash on August 30. No, there won't be any bingo, but the regulars who made the game a local institution will be there, and the band's going to take requests all night. "We try to play as many of them as we can," says Beebe. "Sometimes they're pretty cool, sometimes they're brutal. We've done some Halen and AC/DC." On this night, expect plenty of sentimental and/or doom-laden stuff like Willie Nelson's "Turn Out the Lights," the Doors' "The End" and the Beatles' "Long and Winding Road."

But come next September, who knows? Maybe the El Orbits will succeed in changing the bingo laws and their Monday-night dance fiesta will have taken off in the meantime. Then the club would have yet another fun-filled regular midweek night. "I'm looking at this like it's a stupid thing that we'll just have to work through," says Beebe. "We're not just gonna sit around and 'see how it goes,' we're gonna go out and get better as a band."

You've Gotta Fight. For the Right. To Infringe Copy.

John Lennon Is a Registered Trademarkand Mike Gogola doesn't care. That's why he's made and released a CD as the Copyright Infringement with that title, on which he dares to violate the copyrights of Lennon, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, the Meters, Queen, Digable Planets, Beethoven and the Jurassic 5, among many, many others.

Happily, it's one of the better local CDs to come down the pike this year -- Gogola takes hyperfamiliar samples and recasts them in unexpected ways. In "I Hate Snakes," spooky snatches of John Williams's Raiders of the Lost Ark music are augmented by snippets from other flicks, slapped over a driving, industrial beat and Gogola's bluesy vocals and transformed into something the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion would be proud to call its own. Elsewhere, Gogola builds a whole new light rock song over a few beats of Ringo Starr's drum solo at the end of Abbey Road and the end result sounds like Keith Moon backing Poco. Most successful is his lifting of the "We Will Rock You" thump-thump-chack for his anthemic arena-rock hand-clapper Zippo-igniter "We Won't Sing the Blues."

Caught in performance at the last Houston Invitational Happy Hour at the Proletariat, it was apparent that Gogola has a ways to go to translate this CD from the jam box to the stage. Gogola is the new bassist in Casino, and he was joined on stage by two members of that band and backed by a sampler/drum machine, the sounds of which were both too loud and seemed, disconcertingly, to be emanating from the disco ball above and to the left of the stage. What's more -- and this isn't his fault -- Gogola is a native of Detroit Rock City, and it shows in his energetic performance style. He's like an exposed nerve under a dentist's drill, and this frenetic carry-on (at one point he started shedding layers of clothes and it looked like he was going to get naked on stage) jarred with the tranquil surroundings and staring faces of an indie rock bar long before sunset.

But none of those problems applies to the CD, and neither does a limited budget. The CD is free, and Gogola all but demands that you burn off a few dupes of your copy for your friends. "I'm just having fun with this," he says. "People seem to have forgotten that music is supposed to be fun." You can get your copy from Gogola, who is reachable at mikegogola2002@yahoo.com.

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