P'TANG!!! Trio Tornado Dust Storm Shindig

It was the kind of evening Herb Caen's never mentioned in his column as the faithful poured into Mick's Lounge on Van Ness for Panhandle's first gig of the summer.

A hazy crawfish aroma pervaded the room as the trio from the baddest bayou in Louisiana laid down their latest electric wares. Bassist Elmo, on leave from his chef'ing gig in the French Quarter, proffered the spicy blackened backbone rhythm in blasphemous fashion, shaking the earth with his massive sonic bottom end. Panhandle projected plumes of musical mayhem into the atmosphere.

The audience was packed with local San Francisco musical luminaries, including members of Porcelain, the spit-and-grizzle rockers from the heart of the city's drunken side, as well as members of The Bastard Children of Percy Faith. Someone reported seeing Gary Rossington sneaking a line in the men's room, but no one could verify the sighting. John M. Morris, longtime area producer, sat in, assessing sound quality and capturing imagery.

Drummer Dale Patterson, late of the Yukon Territories, didn't miss a beat as he prodded his ax-weilding cohorts to new heights of cowbell ecstasy.

Using the service bell as a mocking metronome, his sticks sliced air like butter through a knife. No backbeat too crisp, no thump too deep and tremendous.

But all eyes kept returning to lead singer/guitar twanger Jim Wanamaker, a poor tub maker from a small mining town outside San Antonio, Texas. The tyrant of guitar shredding poured sweet, spicy cajun nectar from his 110-proof bourbon-fueled Les Paul. His slide was saucy and sublime, singeing curtains on the edge of the stage, smoke rising from his fingers into the rafters.

Joel Selvin, alleged Chronicle music critic, was forced to exit at mid-set as the overwhelming integrity of the music proved so intense he couldn't look himself in the backbar mirror.

Looking to the Future

Rumors have Panhandle opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd on the European leg of their current world tour. As to reports that the band has brought in former members of Stevie Ray's entourage to lay down background tracks on their upcoming CD, Dale would only remark, "There's no way in Hell Stevie's boys would play with us, because they don't play in the key of J."

Booking Information

Panhandle is available for gigs in and around the Bay Area. Inquiries should be directed to

Jim Wanamaker
756 Baker Street
San Francisco, 94115

or email

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