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Dancing About Architecture

Tricks and Treats

By Ken Lieck, Fri., Nov. 6, 1998

In the wake of Hallowe'en comes a number of truly odd revelations. Remember our cover last week of George W. Bush as a member of the Oompa Loompas of slick Willie Wonka fame? We certainly think Bush is an ugly American, but it turns out that a more appropriate choice might have been Ugly Americans/ Scabs throat Bob Schneider. You see, Schneider's pop, also named Bob Schneider, is an opera singer and professor, who was in Germany at the time Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was being made, and in addition to making a cameo appearance in the film, the elder Schneider and his students provided the voices for the song the Oompa Loompas sing. As a further trivia note, the song was sped up to give it a more unearthly sort of sound, and the proud opera singers who provided their voices were said to have been less than flattered by the results. The Chronicle's research into this fascinating chapter of history continues; currently we have a team investigating a rumor we heard at Antone's claiming that "Oompah Loompah" translates into English as "Pussy Fever."


Smooching Deadlines

The Trickster of the Year award may just go to Waco Brothers drummer Fred Armisen, whose short film, Fred Armisen's Guide to Music and South By Southwest, made its debut in San Francisco and Los Angeles last week and moves on to a New York showing this weekend. Filmed by girlfriend/Mekons member Sally Timms, Armisen spent his spare time at this year's SXSW in various guises pranking musicians and industry types. Among the scenes in the film, according to the Internet's Music News of the World, is one of Armisen attempting to get Rolling Stone writer David Fricke and former Capitol Records president Gary Gersh to engage in some friendly smooching (as opposed to schmoozing), and querying High Llamas member Sean O'Hagan if his music is enjoyable for deaf people. SXSW Film Festival officials say that as of yet, the film has not been submitted for entry in the 1999 conference.

The deadline for submission to the film fest is coming up, by the way -- November 16 -- as is your last chance to fill out an application for the Music Festival, which must have band showcase applications postmarked that same day, November 16. For you last-minute shoppers, there will be the usual final opportunity on November 17 from 6pm-midnight at Ruby's Barbecue at the corner of Guadalupe and 29th. Those of you who are internet-inclined can instead go to http://www.sxsw.com and register, even going so far as to pay the $20 entry fee by credit card through the Net (sheesh, by next year, you'll probably be allowed to e-mail your demo tape as an MP3 file!). Also, take note that SXSW will be honoring the band with the best Web site as well, so get cracking on that, too.


This Land Was Your Land, This Land Is My Land

Quietly, very quietly, the Kerrville Folk Festival has been in the process of changing hands since the beginning of the year. Festival founder Rod Kennedy confirms that he's already sold the Quiet Valley Ranch on which the folk music gathering takes place every year, and intends for the actual event to change hands next year. "The reason I sold it," says Kennedy, "is because I'm 68 and I've been doing this for 27 years. And to make sure it keeps running." He explains that the new owners, Vaughn Hafner and Stuart Vexler, intend on having him run the world famous music festival until 2005. "If I want to stay on after that that, I can," says Kennedy. "Actually, I wanted to give it up after 25, but everyone protested." As for any changes, Vexler states unequivocally, "We love the Festival. The main goal was to perpetuate this great event." He says he and Hafner plan to build an RV park at the Ranch, and that "we don't plan any radical changes" in the way it is run. Kennedy, who reveals that it took him 19 years to pay back the $1 million in losses the festival incurred in its first few years, says he's looking forward to taking things a bit easier from now on. "It's a breath of fresh air for me," he sighs happily.


Back of the Buick

Remember the talk of a Buick MacKane live album from Bloodshot Records? Well, at this point, says Alejandro Escovedo, that's all it was -- talk. You can make your own this Saturday at Babe's, however. Just slip your Discman into the Buick reunion show (only one day after Babe's presents Artemis Pyle of Lynyrd Skynyrd -- truly this is a weekend blessed by the rock & roll gods!). As to why Buick broke up in the first place, Escovedo says the band had stopped getting along and didn't want to play together, tacitly confirming the rumor that drummer Glenn Benavides, given the choice between playing a gig and going to see Aerosmith, opted for the latter. Benavides, on the other hand, says there was no break-up -- the band simply booked some gigs he was unable to attend. Still, he adds, tongue firmly in cheek, "it was tough playing in a band with Jesus, what with his solo career and all."


Mixed Notes

It's been another week of wild shenanigans on the Austin Music Network front -- perhaps the strangest in recent memory, but this time it was our Politics Department's turn to jump into the fray. So before you read any further here, flip over to "Council Watch" and get your fill of the never-ending AMN controversy, then head back here for the rest of the music news...

Say so long to Pearl's, one of very few live music venues that served the listening needs of North Austin. That club finally closed their doors this week, after three long years of trying to regain their footing following a tragic fire which gutted the place in 1995...

Randy "Biscuit" Turner is among those scheduled to play a special tribute show for Shelley Lucksinger (ex-Weeds, Hurtbox) at Stubb's tonight (Thursday) starting at 8:30pm, featuring Mike Runnels, Lord Douglass Philips (that's Terri, Darcee, and Gretchen to you), Big Foot Chester, Jesus Christ Superfly, and Texacala Jones. It's not a benefit, says organizer Blaine Hurlbut, just a special show for friend and longtime punk scenester Lucksinger, who has been mostly homebound since his head-on collision with a drunk driver two years ago in which he lost his eyesight. Hurlbut, one of the founders of the well-remembered (by those who can remember) Woodshock concerts of the late Eighties, says his next project will be a benefit for Roky Erickson sometime around February of next year...

Those crafty ST-37 folks, late of Metropolis fame, are starting up the Houston Uncle Punk Series of concerts at Bates' Motel this week, with Zero Skills, Inc. and Houston experimental outfit Rusted Shut joining them this Friday. The Hates, whose last Austin appearance was in 1980 at Raul's, continue the series next Thursday at Emo's. Among acts planned for future shows include Culturcide, who you may remember from that legendary, copyright-smashing album they released wherein they sang offensive lyrics over Pat Benatar and Bruce Springsteen songs...

Last Friday marked the release (at last) for new material from Stretford. Their new 7-inch should be in record shops as we speak...

Sure, everybody does a Chrismas song, but how many Thanksgiving tunes do you hear? Take that number and add one, as Amberjack Rice has put out his "Thanksgiving Song" single (b/w "Dub Pilgrim") this week. The limited-edition 45, pressed on giblet gravy-brown vinyl (sorry, cranberry red is not available for vegetarians at this time) will be on sale for a limited time, says Rice, going off sale after Thanksgiving day. I guess that's to make room for the Christmas singles...

We've made several cracks to the effect that if Shawn Colvin wants to call herself an Austinite, she better play more shows here. Well, I finally figured out what may be the problem; she does play Austin, she's just really sneaky about it. For example, a good source tells me that the "special guest" appearing this Sunday with Neil Finn at his acoustic show at La Zona Rosa is none other than Ms. Colvin...

I don't understand how Austin is getting so crowded; for every person I hear about moving here from California, I hear about another leaving here for the West Coast. In this case, it's Karen Tyler, who split and headed left, and is back in town for a few days. You can catch her at Local Flavor, where her CD is their all-time best seller, this Saturday, 6pm...

If no news is good news, then every day is a great day when you're a member of Fastball. Last week's Billboard featured yet another paean to the band, this time proclaiming their second single "Fire Escape" as a "Fiery Follow-up" to "The Way." According to Billboard, Miles Zuniga still has far to go before he tires of fame, saying, "I [still] feel like a little speck. I want to be more permanent and bigger than that. I want the whole enchilada!" (Attorneys for the Texas Tornadoes had no comment.) If you're lucky, Zuniga will still be walking on the same ground as the rest of us when Fastball plays their next Austin date, scheduled for Liberty Lunch on December 12, while an Austin City Limits taping is tentatively scheduled for December 30...

It's been way too long since I directed you to one of those all-weekend free outdoor music festivals, so here's one: The Texas Brewers' Festival is Saturday and Sunday in Waterloo Park, with the Infidels, Ta Mére, Ginger McKenzie, Sexton Sextet, Gourds, and George DeVore & the Roam playing (in that order) on Saturday, and the Jim Squires Band, Danglers, Hollisters, Don Walser, and Tiny Town on Sunday. The music starts at 12:30pm both days...

Pop Culture Press has outdone themselves musically with their latest issue (#45), including both a free CD and a free flexidisc in the package. The CD features 19 acts including locals such as 20/20, Jet Jaguar, and the Swells, while the flexi spolights Gomez. Alas, sighs editor/publisher Luann Williams, "it isn't our Gomez." Nope, it's a record company-sponsored insert for the Brit band who, as you read here last week, had to pay our Gomez through the nose...

Listen for more Wannabes references on this week's episode of Cupid, this time in the form of one of their songs. The show's creator, Rob Thomas, phoned the lads to let them know that their song "Everybody Goes" will be played during the episode. Says ever-nonplussed Wannabe Kevin Carney, "We don't really care if you mention it or not, but Rob would definitely appreciate it." Talk about the grassroots approach to increasing your ratings. You'd think Mr. Thomas was still working for the WB Network!...

-- Contributors: Michael Bertin, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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