Richard Bacchus and the Luckiest Girls
The Cave—By distilling the swagger of his old band, D-Generation, into a smoother brew—less snot, more soul—Raleighite Richard Bacchus and his Luckiest Girls touch on New York Dolls' glam, Ramones' punk (Bacchus played in Sprokket with Dee Dee), Stones' blues and Cheap Trick's power-pop. Together, this sounds precisely how a now-adult ex-punk ought to: steady, sharp, just somewhat streamlined and refined. Raleigh hard rock outfits Burning Rays and Left on Cates open, but we'll admit that Bacchus' is the best band on the bill. Admission to the 10 p.m. show will run you $5. —Bryan Reed
Regulator Bookshop—If the idea of rock 'n' roll Buddhism worries you, you should also know that there's rock 'n' roll yoga (not to mention rock 'n' roll sushi). And relax. Brad Warner is a punk-rock bassist who happens also to be a Zen master, although he sneers at the term. ("It sounds like something from a bad Charlie Chan movie.") In fact, in his new memoir-ish book, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate—a title so bad you may think it's a joke until Warner casually defends it on the very last page—he often sneers: He has J.D. Salinger's comic querulousness ("Japanese temple monks are notorious hard-asses about every goddamned little detail of their ceremonies") and Salinger's Asian-spiritual interests—call him Zooey The Zen Master. Warner has also been called the "Porno Buddhist" because he writes for the risqué Suicide Girls Web site.
Zen Wrapped in Karma recounts Warner's rough 2007: His mother and grandmother died, he lost his cushy job and his eight-year marriage collapsed. He handled these tribulations with a very Zen-like mixture of zazen (meditative sitting), aplomb, action and non-attachment, and he slept with two hot babes along the way. (Zen masters have to have fun, too.) His candor and enthusiasm sustained him, and they sustain his book, which he calls a "big snarly ball of confessional vomit you've been sitting through for the past several weeks." (It actually takes two or three hours.) Warner can be snide, but he's also funny, and he doesn't come off holier-than-thou. After his grandmother dies, he confesses: "I wish I could tell you something profound about it. But I can't. It was just like a thing that happens." Warner visits the Triangle this week to promote his book: at 7 p.m. at The Regulator (www.regulatorbookshop.com) and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, at the Zen Center of Chapel Hill (call 967-0861). Maybe he'll play some punk rock. —Adam Sobsey