Ultra Man

Champa is the champ of our DJ competition at South Beach

Carnahan knows about those doors opening. "I played the WMC years ago and after that it was tours to London, Europe, labels -- everything just happened, boom. If Andy does the same thing, he'll go all over the country."

So you better catch him while you can. He plays this Friday at the Social at a themed gig called For Those About To Rock The House, wherein he and his friends will rearrange the works of a certain Australian hard rock band house-style.

Won't It Make His Bright Eyes Black

Champa Moore's masterful set tore the roof off South 
Monica Fuentes
Champa Moore's masterful set tore the roof off South Beach.

At a show two weeks ago at Fort Worth's Ridglea Theater, Conor Oberst had this to say: "I don't know if you know this, but I hate your fucking state. I'd put a fucking gun to my head before I'd live in your state." Later, according to The Dallas Morning News, he tried to back away a little bit. He professed admiration for Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and Bill Hicks (who were all Houstonians for a time, it should be noted), but then he returned to his original theme. "If you came to this show tonight, you're not a normal Texan. If you were a normal Texan, you'd probably be roping steers and raping Indians."

Okay, where to begin…As a native Texan, I was insulted, but at first I thought it was a somewhat brave thing to do. Remember the Dixie Chicks fiasco, when Natalie Maines told a cheering roomful of Londoners she was ashamed to be from the same state that produced Dubya? I thought this was something like the opposite of that. Back then, you'll remember, the right-wingers all said that Maines lacked the nerve to say that in Texas, that she would never do that in the Cotton Bowl or, God forbid, Amarillo or Midland or something. And they were probably right. And as ashamed as I am of Dubya, I still think it's a little tacky to go share that shame with a bunch of funny-talkin' furriners, just to get some cheap applause.

So here I was thinking Conor was so punk and all that crap, and even a little flattered that he singled out three Houstonians, two of whom I have known all of my life, and then the more I thought about it the more I realized I was way, way wrong. First, slagging off Texas at the Ridglea Theater -- the Numbers of Fort Worth -- is not brave. Slagging off Texas at Billy Bob's Texas -- the world's largest honky-tonk -- now, that would have been brave. (As it was of Sid Vicious to spout off in places like Randy's Rodeo in San Antonio on the Sex Pistols tour in 1977.) And then, even though the likelihood of any one of his delicate, angst-ridden fans kicking his drunken, overrated ass was minuscule, he went out of his way to flatter all who were present. At best that's extremely passive-aggressive, and at worst it smacks of a messiah complex; i.e., "You are cool enough to heed my words, and buy a ticket to my show, and lots of merch, but the rest of your people are cow-roping, Indian-raping scum."

And then there's all of this raping-Indians and roping-steers talk coming from someone who hails from a state (Nebraska) that Bush carried by an even greater margin than he enjoyed in Texas, and a city (Omaha) that is home to Omaha Steaks and Union Pacific Railroad, fer chrissakes. Is there any one private company that did more to "rape" Indians than Union Pacific? Many of the men on the railroad crews that built the damn thing were ex-soldiers hired to shoot Indians, and when they couldn't line up any Sioux, Cheyenne or Pawnee in their sights they turned instead to buffalo, and killed more than 15 million of them -- vast numbers of them in western Nebraska -- between 1865 and 1883. Union Pacific didn't need any great herds getting in the way of the Frisco run, so it encouraged both its employees and passengers to kill as many of them as they wanted, for whatever reason. And the end of the buffalo, my friends, was the end of the Plains Indians.

Nebraska was also the state where Crazy Horse was imprisoned and then bayoneted to death, shortly after most of his people had been "removed" from Nebraska and sent to South Dakota. Many of the rest of Nebraska's Indians -- all of the Pawnee and most of the Ponca among them -- were dispatched to Oklahoma at about the same time.

Hmmm…Crazy Horse… reminds me of Neil Young. Hey, Conor, at least when Mr. Young came out with "Southern Man" he was accurate about some of the people in the South and had the decency to be Canadian and not another Yankee hypocrite eager to offload the whole nation's sins onto one state or region.

And, oh yeah, then there's this: Neil Young is talented.

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