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Local musicians embrace ARMS cause for multiple sclerosis benefit
by Marty Racine
Houston Chronicle; Houston, Tex.; Dec 5, 1985

IT WASN'T supposed to turn out this way, but no one guaranteed life was fair. Remember Ronnie Lane, co-founder of the British rock band The Small Faces? Bon vivant in international rock star circles along with such friends as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Rod Stewart?

At the height of his career, Lane was diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis, the crippling, painful disease of the central nervous system for which, the common line goes, there is no known prevention or cure.

Enter USA-ARMS (Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis), founded and headquartered in Houston last December (Lane had moved here for treatment). The seed money came from the celebrated ARMS benefit concert tour by Lane's pals, a cross-section of the British rock establishment.

As we speak, Lane is up in the frigid outpost of Dennison, Iowa, under the care of one Dr. Robert Soll, whose work with MS centers around the theory that the affliction is an allergy. Yes, an allergy. Like trouble-shooting a car engine, Soll placed Lane on a four-day fast before testing assorted foods.

``Unfortunately, the first thing he fed me was scrambled eggs, and I've yet to get over the effects of the bloody scrambled eggs,'' Lane said on the phone from his hospital room. ``I've eaten some other things and haven't had problems. I'm building an immunity. Of course, it usually is (the foods) that you like.''

One positive, here: Lane is determined to lick MS. You might say he's up-in-ARMS over his twisted fate. Since his new treatments, he has gained more use of his legs and his vision has improved.

All the better for Sunday's ARMS benefit show at Cardi's featuring performances by Lane, Joe Ely (the two recently met in Los Angeles and hit it off), Bobby Keyes (session player for many bands, including the Rolling Stones), and a strong lineup of local rock groups: the Footnotes, the Natives, Fab Motion, the Snakes, Brave Nature, the Reason and the Louvres. There will be an auction, with items donated by local businesses (King Biscuit, Erotic Cabaret, Mr. Peabody's, the Dream Merchant, Texas Junk, Infinite Records, Catnips, Pace Concerts, KLOL radio, Public News music weekly, the Ale House and Rockefeller's). Lane is donating a 1983 replica of a ``classic 1967 2-pickup Gibson'' guitar.

Cardi's is located at 5901 Westheimer. The benefit begins at 4 p.m. and runs until whenever. Door charge is $6, with all proceeds going to ARMS.

THE CRITIC'S CHOICES: Ah yes, the Big Barn on Bagby, aka the Coliseum, is back in the chips this weekend with its favorite fare: heavy metal. Headbanging will loosen your marbles, but this gets really silly. On Friday we have the Saints and Sinners tour with Stryper and Heaven. Guess which is the sinner? Heaven, of course. Heaven, fronted by Aussie Allen Freyer, who nearly replaced Bon Scott in AC/DC, is an Australian-American group out on their new video, ``Knockin' On Heaven's Door'' (get it?). The saints are Stryper, who bill themselves as ``Christian heavy metal,'' if you can dig those potatoes.

Saturday, it's the return of Kiss, with Black 'N' Blue opening. The B-'n'-B boys formed in Portland, Ore., in 1981 and relocated to Los Angeles a year later. To ``expand their creative horizons,'' understand. The new, and second, album is ``Without Love'', which includes the song, ``Rockin' On Heaven's Door'', not to be confused with ``Knockin' On Heaven's Door'', Bob Dylan, or anyone who has led a saintly existence, such as Stryper.

In other news:

The Imports, Friday night at the Ale House: This is the final gig for our favorite band from Pasadena, breaking up after several years on the local scene. And, like the Cold Cuts, if they draw a big crowd they might break up more often.

Fab Motion, Saturday night at the Ale House: R.E.M.-influenced, but don't hold it against this excellent young band.

John Fahey, tonight at Anderson Fair: None other than the father of American ``contemporary classical'' acoustic guitar. Listening to him live requires patience, but the rewards are substantial.

The Dead Kennedys, tonight at Cardi's: Premiere S.F. punk band dares its audience to ``Wake up!'' Not exactly the typical party-hearty-at-Cardi's routine.

Prince Dele Abioudun, Monday night at the Caribana: African ``Ju-Ju'' music from Nigeria; Prince Dele recently performed at Texas Southern University.

The Natives, Friday, and the Louvres, Saturday, at Chelsea's 804 Club: A rock-solid weekend for Chelsea's.

The Zydeco Brothers, Friday and Saturday nights at the Continental Club (3101 Collingsworth): Lake Charles, La., group makes its second Houston appearance in the Fifth Ward; led by Lil Raymond, formerly with Rockin' Sidney.

The Zealots/Three Beats Off, tonight at Fitzgerald's: A double shot of good Houston rock.

Rockin' Dopsie, Friday night at Fitzgerald's: More Loo-siana zydeco, and not to be confused with Rockin' Sydney.

Alan Haynes, Saturday night at Fitzgerald's: Back from Europe, a new bassist, and a local guitar favorite.

The Essential Band, Sunday night at Fitzgerald's: Lightfoot and his rogues' gallery of bluesters return for another month of Sundays.

Gene Watson, tonight at Fool's Gold: Honky tonker from Humble delivers authentic Texas country.

X, Friday night at Fool's Gold: A real treat if, as rumored, Dave Alvin of the Blasters has joined for the tour. X, now part of the establishment, was L.A.'s first well-known new wave band. With Alvin they would be a reincarnation of the Knitters (named tongue-in-cheek after the Weavers), an X-Blasters collaboration of hip cow-tunes.

The Bayou City Beats, Saturday night at Gilley's: Let's hear it for Gilley's nightly house band, which isn't canceling Saturday night, even if Jerry Lee Lewis has. You kinda got a feeling when Gilley's two weeks ago announced that Jerry Lee ``intends'' to perform despite recent abdominal surgery.

DC-3, tonight at Midtown Live: As in Dana Cooper, one of the city's better songwriters.

Eric Johnson, Friday night at Rockefeller's: Austin rock-jazz fusion guitarist is a technical wizard; will have a new album on Reprise in February.

The Crusaders, Saturday night at Rockefeller's: (See story, Page 4.)

New Toys, Sunday night at Rockefeller's: Album-release party for new Houston group comprised of members from the Paul English Group, Scott Gertner Band, Ten Yen and Blue Blazes.

POP NOTES: Western-swing is the sound of Texas, and a big Sesquicentennial dance and show will be held at Cowboy Country in Baytown (North Main exit on Interstate 10) on Sunday at 5 p.m. featuring Houston's Original River Road Boys, considered by many the top western-swing band operating today. Also: Don Edwards and the Brush Creek Cowboys, Curtis Potter (Abilene), Doc Lewis, Leon Rausch, the Western Swing Legends and many others. Host is Larry Scott, disc jockey of KWKH radio's ``Interstate Road Show''. You ready to two-step? Call (713) 237-1013 or (713) 681-9052 for more information. . . KTRU Rice University radio, the city's outlet for progressive music, is in need of new equipment and holds another fund-raising event tonight - ``The Bare Bones Benefit Bash'' - in Willy's Pub at the RMC Grand Hall. Fab Motion, the Footnotes and new Houston group, the Bat Surfers, will perform from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Give the door person a five-spot and you get a dollar change.




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