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Standing Waves

Standing Waves was formed by Larry Seaman, guitar; Shona Lay, keyboards; and David Cardwell, bass, summer 1978, and played their first gig at the Texas Union Ballroom on Oct. 10, billed by a malicious promoter as "The Latent Homo's." They quickly became part of Austin's exploding New Wave scene, playing their first gig at Raul's on Nov. 13. Early that December, they added drummer Bob Murray, and in January 1979, guitarist Randy Franklin completed the lineup. By spring 1979, they were getting opening slots at the Armadillo World Headquarters for John Cale and Joe Jackson, and in July, they won the Texas New Wave Battle of the Bands at Dallas' Palladium. In September, they self-released a three-song EP, Early Warning, one of the first records to come out of Austin's punk/New Wave movement and one of the best in terms of recording quality. A high school friend of Seaman's, Roland Swenson, was managing the band by now, and a gig opening for Blondie in Houston landed them a role as the punk band Spittle in Alan Rudolph's film Roadie, which was partially filmed in and around Austin. The end of the year saw them included (with the Explosions, Skunks, Terminal Mind, and the Next) on the Live at Raul's compilation with two songs. A second self-released record, a single of "Don't Worry" b/w "Integrating Circuits," came out in March 1980, and the band headed to New York City for the first time. They were well received, enough so that Seaman and Lay later decided that New York would be a good move, since Austin was taking the band for granted. Franklin didn't want to relocate and left the band on New Year's Eve. The two remaining Waves (Murray had also quit) recruited two Oklahomans, Bruce Henderson (bass, vocals) and David Dage (drums) and played a few gigs in Austin before moving to New York to a fifth-floor walkup apartment on West 43rd St. They continued to tour, and built up some national support. They were regulars at CBGB and Maxwell, and eventually were approached by Warner Bros. A&R woman Karen Berg. During sessions for the demo, the band began to fight and eventually broke up. All except Henderson eventually returned to Austin, and all went on to other music projects. Dage died in 2003. The original band now reunites semi-regularly and occasionally records. – Ed Ward

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11/14/15 @ Hole in the Wall
Standing Waves, the Next

For an Austin act that helped pioneer the local New Wave and punk scene at a dive bar on Guadalupe, the Standing Waves come out swinging post-punk on the opening title track of their new mini LP, Here Comes the Twist Again. Plus, either bandleader Larry Seaman or his first lieutenant, guitarist Randy Franklin, imbue “Flying Girl” with a prog riff. “Johnny Too Bad” – not Steve Earle’s reggae cover – could be off a Weezer disc. Homegrown era peers the Next and American Werewolf Academy open.

05/04/14 @ Continental Club
Margaret Moser’s Retirement Party

Sundays usually find Margaret Moser on her porch with her boyfriend listening to KUTX and reading. Lately, she’s been thumbing A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman. Now that the Chronicle’s senior music scribe is retiring, she’ll have a lot more free time. This was rarely the case in the past.

For more than three decades, Moser’s schedule has been at the whim of the music gods, whether covering it live, writing about it, or simply living it. She’s one of the people who made Austin the live music capital of the world. Her decades on the beat end May 16, the day she turns 60.

“I don’t really know any other life,” she acknowledges. “The Chronicle is my family.”

For two years now, Moser’s battled cancer. Instead of dividing her time between chemotherapy and work, she’d rather concentrate on the finer things in life, like listening to the aforementioned station’s Saturday night Paul Ray slot, Twine Time, without worrying about having to be out covering bands. That’s a far cry from 1981, when this magazine’s editor and publisher, Louis Black and Nick Barbaro, respectively, hired her after a stint at precursor weekly the Austin Sun.

“I nearly blew it early on,” she laughs. “Don’t ever hire a night scene columnist to double as your morning receptionist. But it’s been a dream of a career, and thanks to them, I’ve been able to interview people from Bob Geldof to Liz Carpenter. Black and Barbaro are remarkable men.”

Her only regret? Not interviewing Willie Nelson.

Cow punks the Hickoids kick off Moser’s official retirement party at 2pm, which climaxes with a very special surprise guest around 7:30pm. In between, ranging from swamp pop and blues to country and roots punk, Eve Monses, Churchwood, Standing Waves, the Wagoneers, Bluebonnets, Paul Oscher, Rosie Flores, my band the Painted Redstarts, and my father Jon Dee Graham perform.

Come thank the guest of honor for 30-plus years of public service.

11/18/05 @ Paramount Theatre
The English Beat, the Standing Waves
Twenty-five years ago, the notion of black-and-white and rude all over didn’t seem like much of a stretch in Birmingham, UK. Dave Wakeling, Andy Cox, and Ranking Roger’s irresistible blend of two-tone brass, dance-floor sass, and ska-punk panache remains as infectiously joyful and relevant today as it did in those dreary days of Thatcher-ite greys. They freed Nelson Mandela, shattered the mirror in the bathroom, and, thank your lucky porkpie-hat-and-creepers ensemble, really did save it for later. Austin proto-punk legends the Standing Waves open.
07/29/05 @ Continental Club
Sons of Hercules, Terminal Mind, Standing Waves
Ah, summer, and time for the Standing Waves annual reunion. So what if they played earlier this year? So did Terminal Mind, both proving bands need no new tricks. These two Austin first-wave punk acts were models for edgy, pre-Eighties smart rock – no surprise their music maintains its shape and style more than 25 years later. Headlining are the San Antonians we love so much that we wish they were ours: the ever-lovin’ Sons of Hercules with the fabulous Frank Pugliese.
09/24/04 @ Saxon Pub
The Standing Waves
Two Fastball sets are followed by a rare reunion of the Standing Waves. Larry Seaman (Violet Crown), Randy Franklin, and Dave Cardwell will be joined by guests Davy Jones (Ideals, Hickoids) and Steve Marsh (Terminal Mind) for a return to local punk-era New Wave. It’s quite likely you’ll leave the evening humming "The Way," but it’s just as likely you won’t be able to get "Refugee" out of your head. KGSR will be broadcasting a portion of each performance.
Last Updated: March 10, 2009

Origin: 1978
Genre: New Age and Punk
Austin Music Awards:
1982: Best New Wave
1982: Best Video
1982: Bon Voyage Award
1981: Best New Wave/Punk
1981: Best EP
Full Discography:
A Short History of Standing Waves Part 1 (2003)  
From the Archives:
One, Two, Tres, Cuatro: Roadie (Music Column March 2, 2012)

The shot about midway through 'Roadie' that travels from her sparkling shoes slowly up to her beaming face – that's Margaret Moser.
Off the Record (Music Column March 18, 2011)

Music News
Off the Record (Music Column March 4, 2011)

Music News
Get Me Back to Austin (Music Story March 12, 2004)

Five 'Fantastic' reasons the 2003-04 Austin Music Awards shine