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Thursday, April 1, 2004 03:30 am

Now Playing 4-1-04

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Budda’s Belly Dempsey’s Saturday, 9:30pm

I ain't no fool, though sometimes it's handy to wear a jester's crown. So, in the spirit of the day, here's news about some critically important developments in the local music scene. Remember, you read it here first.

Kip Nelson of Hot Property is swearing off rock & roll. "I'm going back to my roots. Country music is where it's at," says Nelson, who is sporting a cowboy hat these days.

The Hilton management is giving up on live music and turning both its top and bottom clubs into high-class discothèques. "We never really liked bands anyway," bar managers Brian and Brad agree.

After years of perfecting hard rock, members of Ed McCann's Rockhouse are calling it quits. They plan to open a store specializing in stones of Illinois and plan to donate half of their profits to the Illinois School for the Deaf. Curiously enough, the business will be called Ed McCann's Rockhouse.

The State Bar and Grill is set to announce a superstar weekend with Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, Eminem, and Madonna, plus a special Fred & Ginger impersonation by Bruce Springsteen and Whitney Houston. Advance ticket sales are slow, but Aaron and Nancy are moving ahead and counting on the fact that Springfield audiences are notorious about waiting to buy tickets at the door.

It's about time: Duane Patterson and members of bluegrass band The River Ramblers have finally produced an all-electric album, reminiscent of late '60s psychedelia. "I finally had to feel the power of all eight strings of my mandolin surging through some Marshall stacks," says Patterson. "Now I guess we're looking for a drummer who can wallop a double bass drum to a bluegrass beat."

Mark and Gary Kessler, proprietors of Recycled Records, declare they are sick of downtown and they're relocating to a brand-new store in Parkway Pointe. "There's no parking around here," says the elder brother. "Plus the store will be closer to our new homes in Panther Creek."

In a bold move, Viele's Planet has decided to become a strip joint, stunning the local rock community. Says bartender Rodney Patterson, "We will have lots of semi-naked men and women, but of course, following city ordinances, on separate nights."

Joe Frew, downtown's jolly entertainer, has decided to include a Burl Ives set in all of Posamist's upcoming shows. "He did so much more than just 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,' " says Frew, "and we feel the world needs to know."

In a much-anticipated action, Wally and Mike, owners of the Brewhaus work a deal with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, allowing the well-loved tavern to establish a satellite bar and grill on the roof of the internationally acclaimed edifice. Drink specials and food items will be centered around a Lincoln theme, with a complete line of non-alcoholic beverages designed to emphasize the 16th President's firm belief in alcohol abstinence.

So, you see, as of April 1, things around here are very different.

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