Lily Liver Lives, MTV Flirts

THIS WRITER WAS a tad pessimistic a few months back, but I'm glad to say the local music forecast for 1997 is looking great. Albums from The Hang Ups, Polara, Flipp, The Jayhawks and more are due by not long after the snow melts. The Chicago Tribune raved about "the vigor and diversity of this music mecca" in a recent feature, which reportedly stirred the attentions of some attentive industry types. The electronica craze is storming the clubs right on schedule (see A List). And to top it all off, beloved power poppers Lily Liver makes a comeback this week.

We reported in August that the one-time City Pages cover stars had been out of commission for well over a year due to leader Missy Greer's bout with environmental illness. "We're just taking it as it comes," says Greer, who's planning to work on a debut Lily Liver CD. "I'm a lot better but I have not recovered. I just needed to get out and play for myself, for reassurance, for physical evidence that I can actually do something." Former Lily Liver bassist Rob Burkhardt, who left the group in 1994, is back as second guitarist, and new bassist Ian Young makes the trio a quartet. The best part is the restoration of those perfect girl-boy Greer-Burkhardt teen-beat harmonies. All is once again right in the world.

Their first show in nearly two years is Friday at 7th Street Entry supporting The Beatifics, with Rich Snow and Phone Job opening. Phone Job is a fab new psychedelic new-wave pop noise band featuring TRG publicist/ex-Overblue bassist Carty Fox and CP restaurant critic/ex-Adjustable Boy singer Amanda Ferguson. As for the Beatifics, they're reportedly a favorite of Matt Pinfield, the gentle host of MTV's 120 Minutes who has even mentioned the band's name on the air a couple times. He's been asking about a video, so they've just drafted a clip for "Almost Something There." Good luck, guys--same to Likehell, whose "Land of Gold" video is also on deck. Back around 1990, 120 host Dave Kendall was an unlikely supporter of Minneapolis indie bands; maybe we're back in the fold again.

On a related note, local music is in the soundtrack of The Rodman World Tour, MTV's hilariously self-indulgent paean to green-haired Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman. Sources would not confirm whether this was karmic payback for Rodman kicking local photographer Eugene Amos in the nuts at the Target Center. But it apparently started when John Ewing Band drummer Tom Cook shmoozed the right people during their recent CBGB gig in NYC. An MTV producer got hooked up with TRG, Minneapolis's largest indie umbrella with such labels as Hakatak, UltraModern, No Alternative and October, and bands from The Vibro Champs to Think Tank. So when the cameras spy on Rodman's love pad one morning (Episode #108), Willie Wisely's "Sleeping With Girls" comes on. When Rodman dons a tarty cowboy getup and poses with hay, The Honeydogs' countryish "Kandiyohi" is heard. No word on whether the deal could lead to any actual MTV play of TRG artists. But it is proof there is life beyond Singled Out and Road Rules. Who knew?

 
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