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You can tell the members of the WrecShop crew when they're at the clubs: They're the ones in the hard hats -- a way, says Nichols, to create an image. "We're mainly known as the hard-hat people, because our image is WrecShop -- construction workers. We try to carry that image every place we go." You can catch the WrecShop crew every Sunday night at Affirmation East, 127 Collinsville Ave. in East St. Louis. They showcase in-town artists and out-of-town labels. Says Nichols: "We're trying to create an inlet for record labels who are trying to create a market here, because St. Louis don't have it."

LATE-BREAKING TIP: This Saturday, Jim Harper will pound the drums for Pave the Rocket for the last time. Says Harper: "I think it's time for a change. My musical interests are still there, but I think it's time that I write the music that I actually listen to. I'm really getting into making music on my computer and into the electr -- I don't want to say 'electronic' because that makes it sound like it's gonna be rave or house, and it's not." Harper stresses that there's no hard feelings -- the opposite, in fact: "The only bad feelings about this is sadness, because I've really liked playing with them. It's my favorite thing I've ever done musically." For the time being, you can catch Harper performing with Tiger Mountain. Pave the Rocket is auditioning drummers and will continue; they go into the studio to record their new album on April 5 (though they've extricated themselves from their deal with Deep Elm), with singer/guitarist Jason House adding the drum parts, and will be shopping the recording around. You can see Harper play with them one last time this Saturday, March 20. Also on the fantastic bill: Space Age Palmer, Duraluxe and Ironrite Mangle.

-- Randall Roberts

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