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Dancing About Architecture

Dejadisc All Under Again

Fri., Nov. 29, 1996

"Steve Wilkison is that rarity in the music business," says the Wannabes' Kevin Carney. "A guy who does exactly what he says he's gonna do." And even though the Wannabes had already made the decision to leave Dejadisc, Carney says he was sorry to hear that what Wilkison says he's gonna do now is pack up his label and leave town. "We're just not making any money," is Wilkison's simple reason for relocating -- though if he'd been able to come up with some lunch money, things might have turned out differently. Seems that on his way out of Austin, Wilkison stopped by 101X's Sunday talk show to discuss the failure of local indies and got into it with host Sara Trexler over the fact that he never took her out to lunch to push his product. "Are you saying that you would not play [the Wannabes] just because nobody came by to see you and talk about it?" asked Wilkison. "I'm saying it helps a lot," was Trexler's reply. Wilkison was understandably outraged as were more than a few locals who complain that 101X does nothing to support the local music. Dejadisc, meanwhile, will be supporting local music from Nashville, where Wilkison expects to have his new offices up and running by next week -- also his time frame for starting to look for a "day job." As for local bands still on the label's roster (Wayne Hancock and Richard Buckner left some time ago for bigger labels), Wilkison insists that he's not leaving anyone in the lurch, saying, "We didn't have anything scheduled that didn't come out."

Bogs on the Highway

It's been a long, hard ride for the Bad Livers to make it to the safety of Sugar Hill, but their first album for that label is done and set for a release date of February 18. They're no doubt breathing a sigh of relief, since as Danny Barnes told me awhile back, "We were working six labels at the same time, and going back and forth. Things were changing every day. Like, no label wants to deal with you, then one starts sniffing around, and four more will call just 'cuz they're afraid someone will make money and they won't get any." Bad man Mark Rubin says that currently the band and the label are still ironing out details over the number of songs and their sequence on the long-awaited, tenatively titled, Hogs on the Highway.

Meanwhile, Rubin's got his hands full -- literally -- with a Don Walser project. The former "Little Donnie" Walser handed Rubin an armload of reel-to-reels from the Sixties, consisting of radio shows featuring him and his then-current band. Says Rubin, "If this isn't a double CD, I don't know what is." Watermelon confirms that while nothing's official yet, they are planning to release material from the tapes. That won't be until later next year at the soonest, however, as they don't want to conflict with Walser's new album, due this spring. Work on the earlier material is concentrated on preserving the tapes, though, given the current state of Watermelon and indie record companies in general, I'd say they should put as much effort as possible in the preservation of the label.

On a final Walser note, he got to give Crook & Chase a yodelling lesson on their TNN show last week, and those of you who watch the channel may have caught the busy Don on Prime Time Country and TNN Country News as well. (Sorry I couldn't tell you about this in advance, but no one really knew when the shows were going to air until the last minute.)

Books & Movies

Ian Moore's acting career continues to soar with a non-musical appearance in the film Sling Blade, but he hasn't put down his guitar for good just yet. Moore jammed with fellow actor Dwight Yoakam at a party for the flick in Hollywood last Sunday, following the big premeire with luminaries such as Cher, Ben Stiller, Mike Nesmith, and Micky Dolenz in attendance. In addition to Yoakam and Moore, the big after-show jam featured Emmylou Harris, Harry Dean Stanton, and Daniel Lanois. Sling Blade hits the theatres on Thanksgiving.

Moore's not the only musician exploring other media on the side. Anyone who's heard the Individuals will be delighted to know they've turned to prose writing. The singers/guitarists/authoresses, Gina Marisa and India Taylor, have titled their "children's story for adults" Torpedo Cat and the Raven of Zing, and this "modern myth about two kids who get lost in a world of a dangerous cat with a jet-propelled tail, a talking melon on an ego-trip, a giant worm in a tuxedo, and love-beads and other vivid characters" sounds like an ideal stocking stuffer to me.

Movie soundtracks are bigger than ever these days, and Rick Linklater's got a powerhouse of one set for Suburbia, as I noted here before. What I didn't mention were a couple of Austin bands that won't be on the soundtrack. Both Sincola and Ed Hall will be represented audibly during Suburbia, with Sincola's music "very prominent," according to Linklater. He "kinda feels bad" about the locals not making it onto the album, but he's busy enough keeping 100% control of a feature film without having to deal with the soundtrack. Someone's taking care with those albums, though; Dazed and Confused went platinum and spawned a sequel, but Linklater didn't get a piece of either.

A Town East of Fort Worth

The latest victim of the amorphous nature of the Internet is former Dallas Observer music editor Robert Wilonsky, whose name appeared attached to a post in austin.music disparaging the Toadies and their new guitarist Clark Vogler. Specifically, the notice opined about the new guitarist being the nephew of the Interscope Records president Ted Fields and the alleged gift of three BMW's to the guys following Vogler's hiring. After that, "Wilonsky" went on to mess with Texas in general. The post turned out to be bogus, with Wilonsky posting his real e-mail address and notifying the net-folks from his California post at L.A.'s New Times that the culprit was no doubt "some fat wretch who lives with mommy and surfs the net at 4am looking for Swedish kiddie porn and Star Trek wav. files."

Speaking of the Toadies, they make an appearance, along with most of Dallas' currently hot bands, on a new CD called Sandy Does Dallas. Since all the songs are from the movie Grease, I'm assuming that the "Sandy" in question is Olivia Newton-John's character in the film. Personally, all I know about Grease is that it has some kinda nice animation during the opening credits; I've never been able to get through more than about a minute more before leaving the room. There's two good things I can say about this album, which also features Dooms UK, Caulk, Course of Empire, UFOFU, Ugly Mus-tard,
Baboon, and others. The first is that,
mercifully, John Farrar wrote a lot fewer songs on this than I had thought (only two). Second, though I know at least one of you out there must've thought of doing this at some point, for once, Austin held back long enough to make some other poor sucker of a city take the blame for a load of lame pop-culture
regurgitation. Congratulations!

Trimming the Hentges

It was appropriate, I suppose, that the news of Meg Hentges signing with BMG spinoff label Robbins Records first appeared in our April Fool's Day issue. That label is Profile Records' founder and hip-hop maven Cory Robbins' "excursion into rock," and Robbins decided to play a little prank on Hentges and producer John Croslin by pulling the plug on the album after hearing the basic tracks. Things aren't as bad as they could be, says Hentges, as Robbins is "aiming at the radio" and wants to throw more money at the album and have Hentges re-do the songs with a new band and producer. "It's hard, though," she adds, "I was having a great time."

Mixed Notes

Billy White's Illusionation CD may be an import-only number, but hardcore White fans still have a chance at getting a copy. Now that White's back from touring, he'll be returning to his regular Steamboat gig and bringing some discs along with him. The album is said to be doing well in England, and a number of periodicals there are set to feature stories, pictures and in one case, a cover of Billy. Around these parts, plans also call for some copies to be available at Waterloo Records, but be warned, they'll be sporting import CD prices...

With Doyle Bramhall II firmly in with the Wendy & Lisa crowd, there's been talk that his stint with local manager Mark Proct may be at an end. While Proct doesn't actually say that such changes are in the works, he allows that "there are obvious things [to give that idea] -- he is in California." If there is a split, Proct assures us that it will be amicable, and that "I'm not ready to pick up out of Austin and move to Los Angeles"...

Ooh, pretty! I've just been handed the new Planet of Forbidden Delights compilation CD, featuring Dizzyluna, Olive, 23 Aliens, and the Girl Robots. Obviously, I haven't got to listen to it yet (I told you it was just handed to me), but the mostly hand-crafted packaging is mighty nifty, and there's a total of 17 tracks distributed almost evenly among the four self-described "psychotronic pop" bands (Dizzyluna gets the extra one). There's a release party for the disc next Wednesday at the Flamingo Cantina...

I'm told that the Eels covered Daniel Johnston's "Living Life" on a recent Morning Becomes Eclectic show on Los Angeles radio station KCRW. Since they liked Kathy McCarty's version of the song from her Dead Dog's Eyeball, the band admitted that "we're kind of doing a cover of her cover"...

Count Jack O' Fire among those acts working on the "big in Japan" label. Their record company plans to fly them out to the Land of the Rising Sun for a week in January...

Ani DiFranco's new More Joy, Less Shame remix CD includes a version of "Both Hands" recorded live in Austin...

Sunshine have advance copies ready for their soon-to-be released debut CD, and I see that on the prototype insert, somebody misspelled drummer Shandon Sahm's name as "Shandon Sham." Wow, so all this time he's actually been Domingo Samudio's kid....

-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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