Red Rum! Red Rum! 

Apathetic audiences and media nailed the coffin shut for innovative techno night

After this Saturday, the Red Rum Room's monthly reign at the Kastle (3207 Washington Avenue) is no more. For the past few months, on the first Saturday of each, Bob Stolzberg (of KWUR-FM's Techno Radio) has brought in some of techno's finest DJs and producers, from globally renowned heavies Dietrich Schoenemann and Paul Birken to hometown hotshots Matt French and Astroboy. But alas, like so many cool ideas, the Red Rum Room got squelched -- not by the Man, as you might expect, but by, well, us. Not enough of us showed up, and now the brave little series is history.

Blame the overcrowded club scene, blame the apathetic masses, blame this town's clueless music writers and our rockist agendas, but whatever you do, don't blame Stolzberg, who worked his ass off promoting the monthly shows. "Be honest about why it is ending," Stolzberg told us by e-mail. "I feel no shame in the reasons, and I'd hate to hide behind some politically correct excuse. Fact of the matter is, it just didn't get enough attendance.

"People need to get the idea that in this city, their support and attendance is desperately needed to make anything happen," Stolzberg continues. "It was fun while it lasted. People will think about the Red Rum Room and say, 'Those were the good old days' -- at least I will. Despite the expensive failure, it was a priceless success which I am extremely proud of. My only regret is that it could not have continued ... because I had a lot of great ideas I know people would have loved to experience and a lot of opportunities ... that I couldn't make come to fruition. The best thing I learned from this experience is something my father told me: 'Risk is the price you pay for opportunity.'"

If you want to look back on the good old days of the Red Rum Room, by all means don't miss its final huzzah this Saturday. In addition to the primo talent -- international superstars John Selway and Mark Verbos and local stalwarts Superstars of Love, DJ Johnny Orr and Black Anthony of 105.7 The Point, in addition to Ron S. -- there's atmosphere aplenty: three rooms of sound, three bars, a gigantic dance floor, special guest appearances by "adult film stars" and lots of giveaways for earlybirds. See www.technoradio.org for more information.

Speaking of great things that are no more, local hard-rock workhorses Not Waving but Drowning have lost their rhythm section. In the midst of one of NWBD's grueling cross-country tours, the band imploded. Guitarist Justin Mank confirmed the bad news by e-mail: "Both Calvin [McRoy, drums] and Jeff [Meyer, bass] left the band after our show in Bakersfield, California, on August 14. We played the show in Chico, California, the next day and then decided to leave the tour early. Calvin quit just to pursue school and work. Jeff quit to join the band Open Hand. So, Todd [Finoch; vocals] and I are left ... and we haven't really decided if we're ready to call it quits or not. I guess we're going to say we're on hiatus until we figure things out. Todd has a second kid on the way in early January ... so we're not sure if finding a new bassist and drummer would work out. It would be like starting from scratch and would obviously take a good amount of time. I'm going to keep my options open and might be looking to join a new band or start something new altogether. Also, interested parties may contact me at jmank01@mail.win.org if anyone thinks they might be able to fill the shoes of Calvin or Jeff."

On a brighter note, not everything in local music is falling apart: Sullen, which won Best Hard Rock Band in the 2002 RFT Music Awards, is not only managing to retain its rhythm section (we'll keep our fingers crossed; historically, Shanna and Justin haven't had the best luck in this area) but showing every sign of breaking out of local-band limbo. For most of August, the grungelicious heartthrobs toured with LA punkers Custom Made Scare, and they recently finished recording a new CD at Million Yen Studio in Chicago, with Andy Gerber engineering and Wes Kidd co-producing. Kidd, formerly of Triple Fast Action, has worked with lots of big names, including Local H, which enlisted Shanna as a guest vocalist on its most recent album. Sullen's been invited to play at CBGB's (the New York one, not the South Grand one) on October 31, during the colossal industry circle-jerk known as the CMJ Music Marathon. (Sometime RFT contributor Andrew Broder, a.k.a. Fog, is also scheduled to perform sometime during the four-day festival.)

More by René Spencer Saller

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