Drivin 'n' thrivin'

Brillo, Alastor's hyperactive bassist, doesn't sweat the small stuff — like driving hundreds of miles for gigs, or even severed fingers.

Sometimes known as Christopher Karow, Brillo moved to Knoxville, Tenn., from Atlanta last year. Yet he commutes to practice and record with Alastor in Decatur. And he also hosts monthly open-mic nights at IF Coffee House in Little Five Points.

The long drive doesn't bother him. "When I played and toured with Wild West Picture Show, I was on the road more than I am now," he says. "Plus, it's much cheaper to live in Knoxville."

Karow has served as host of "Friends and Enemies" night at IF (held the third Thursday of the month) since September. Taking the reins of the monthly open-mic showcase from poet Mikel K, he's seen the talent improve each month. "Everyone from street people to professional performers come in and do what they want — spoken word, songs or whatever."

He records the entire two-hour performance, then burns compilation CDs and donates all proceeds to various cancer research charities.

When Karow hosts the next gathering, he'll have an extra topic to discuss during his own spoken-word segment: the scars on his right ring finger. An accident at his part-time job snatched away a good chunk of his digit two months ago.

It's not his first bloodletting. He severed two right fingers as a teenager. "I just played with a thumb-pick for a while," he laughs. Brillo hosts "Friends and Enemies," a monthly open-mic showcase, at IF Coffee House, Thurs., July 18.

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