3AE singer dies in car crash

Christopher Rice, the 29-year-old vocalist for the recently formed rock band 3AE, died Sept. 6 in an early-morning, single-car accident on Old Cheney Road.

According to a traffic report, Rice's 1993 Honda was speeding eastbound when the car spun out of control and struck a utility pole, throwing him through the windshield. Emergency technicians declared Rice, who wasn't wearing a seat belt, dead at the scene.

Rice's death comes as 3AE, the brainchild of producer-songwriter-guitarist Tony Battaglia, was about to record its first album. The group signed a deal with RCA Records last month after auditioning for industry executives in California and New York. 3AE is expected to launch a national search for another frontman.

"We wanted nothing more than to succeed with Chris Rice," says Battaglia, who has worked with the Backstreet Boys, Mandy Moore, O-Town and other pop acts. "Chris was the voice that got us here. The songs are great. But if you don't have a talented singer, no record company wants to see you. Everything we have we owe to Chris' voice."

Rice made a name for himself as a wide-ranging vocalist with the Denizens, a radio-ready foursome that broke up several years ago. Rice brought the same hard-soft integrity to 3AE. "In the studio, you'll often have to do 50 takes to put together one track," says 3AE drummer Matt Brown. "With Chris, every take was a great one."

The day after Rice's death WTKS-FM (104.1) played a tribute for him. Guest DJ Tyson spun a remarkably prescient 3AE song titled "A Place Beyond the Sun."

Head-shop benefit

Nearly two months ago, police in Seminole County raided Amsterdam Dreams and the county's four other smoke shops, confiscating hundreds of pipes and other "counter-culture" items and forcing the once-profitable stores into a struggle to survive [Legal Haze," Aug. 15].

Christa Edwards -- mother of Amsterdam Dreams owner Dwayne Edwards, who is presently out of the country -- estimates cops took $60,000 in merchandise. By the month's end the store will probably close. But it won't go out quietly.

On Sept. 21, former employee Randy Daniels is organizing a musical benefit to sell off what the cops didn't take. So far, local acts L.I.F.T., Crass Roots, Alias Clark, The Antics, Playground Heroes, Supervillains, Where's Moo, Coyotes and Towndogs, and Daniels' own band, The Learys, have signed on to play. The show starts at 11 a.m. inside Amsterdam Dreams, 1301 East State Road 436, Altamonte Springs.

School for scandal

Men arrested soliciting prostitutes in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco can now expunge their police record by attending John School, a one-day crash course in the social problems of prostitution.

Police lecture the men on morality, sexual addiction, venereal disease and the high incidence of crime associated with soliciting a streetwalker. Instructors also note hookers aren't always what they appear to be: There's a one in 20 chance that a prostitute is actually a man in drag.

The sessions seem to be working. None of the 250 graduates of the Washington, D.C., classes has been rearrested, according to an Aug. 28 Washington Post story.

Orange County police officials haven't heard much about John School but are willing to consider it. "It sounds like a good program," says Orlando Police Department Capt. Bob Gregory. "A lot of these guys don't realize these women are infested with sexually transmitted diseases."

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