Dancing About Architecture
Election 2000 gets rained out.
Years from now, the 2000 presidential election will no doubt be recalled as one of the all-time great landslides, as Republicrats garnered an astonishing 98% of the nation's votes (I still say Ralph Nader would've won if George W. Bush and Al Gore hadn't "stolen" those 90 million or so votes from him). Within the party, however, there was chaos over whether Bush or Gore would actually run the country, even as 20,000 members of the much-coveted Too Dumb to Come In out of the Rain demographic waited up all night in front of the Texas State Capitol to find out who'd be doing the honors. Earlier, the crowd had witnessed fine opening acts in the form of Pat Green (from News 8's coverage: "We'll tell you who's playing as soon as Andy Langer gets here!") and Jimmie Vaughan with special guest Lou Ann Barton, in addition to the world's whitest gospel choir, and a surprise rendition of "Danke Shoen" by Wayne Newton with Bo Derek! Still, the crowd was nonetheless disappointed, since the headliner, George "Dee-Dubya-I" Bush himself, never came out. Interestingly, when it appeared Bush had won, media advisor/former Kris Kristofferson sideman Mark McKinnon informed reporters his immediate plans called for a "stiff drink" and playing some guitar. By that point, however, even the Cloak Room had announced last call, and I don't think they have an open mike night anyway. Vaughan has been promised a gig at the inauguration if his man wins, so he especially has been kept guessing as to the election's outcome -- and at the time of this column's deadline he was still guessing.
Another FCC Seizure
It doesn't take a lot of guessing as to why the ironically-titled Free Radio Austin was shut down a second time in less than a month by the FCC and APD. Within minutes of the U.S. marshals breaking in and shutting down the station around noon Monday (see "Naked City," p. 24), dozens of listeners made their way to the house where Free Radio based its operation for a classic "pigs vs. hippies" confrontation, wherein protesters kept laying down in front of the officers' departing vehicles and were repeatedly tossed onto nearby lawns by Austin's boys in blue. The SUV containing Free Radio's transmission equipment eventually reached the end of the block and departed without further incident, ensuring the station would be safely silenced before Election Day began. The FCC, as they had during the previous shutdown (which took place immediately before the Fortune 500 conference in Austin), denied that there was any particular significance to the timing of their raid. You can make a difference, though, by attending a benefit for the station this Sunday at Club DeVille starting at 7pm. I'm getting conflicting reports, but expect most or all of these bands to perform: Superego, Migas, Dismukes, Prescott Curlywolf, Adult Rodeo, Li'l Captain Travis, Fivehead, Tinys, and the Gourds.
Last Thursday, Al Grierson, 52, known as the "Poet Laureate of Luckenbach," became a victim of the raging rains and flood waters that have been sweeping across Texas in recent days. Grierson, whom Ray Wylie Hubbard fans may know as the author of "Resurrection," which Hubbard covered, was headed home after performing at a school in Gillespie County, Texas. About 6pm that evening, while on a rural road three miles from Luckenbach, Grierson's pickup stalled in some high water, and as he stepped from the vehicle, he was swept away. His body was found Friday, about two miles from his pickup. Friend Jon Sanchez described Grierson as "a really sweet guy who'd been around the block." That block included stops along the way from Canada to Texas, and stints as a songwriter, performer, railroad worker, and even a Buddhist monk.
Those who escaped raging waters weren't necessarily made stronger by them. Willie Nelson's Backyard show Thursday night was to have kicked off KGSR's 10th anniversary, but neither the simulcast nor the performance went off as planned due to the rain (those who had planned to attend the show were further flustered to hear that Willie had played a generous, hourlong free show at his Waterloo Records in-store that afternoon!). A second, rescheduled show on Tuesday was also abandoned as the rains refused to let up, and as Nelson ran out of spaces in his busy touring schedule and the Backyard ran out of time in their limited outdoor season, it was announced that the show was canceled and that refunds would be issued to those who had bought tickets to the shows. Nelson is expected to play the Backyard early next season, but since that's standard practice anyway, the venue's management figures that that would hardly count as a rescheduling of the aborted show. No word how this affects Direct Events head Tim O'Connor, who was to have marked his retirement from the promotions business with the show.
Meanwhile, the Metro's dreams of a wild weekend of performances in Waterloo Park (including Fuel, Vallejo, Ian Moore, Vertical Horizon, Nine Days, Bob Schneider, and others) were washed away as well, ending up as cramped chaos inside the club instead, as wetness continued and other options dwindled (any hopes of moving the events to the larger Austin Music Hall or La Zona Rosa were dashed due to already scheduled private parties at the former and a Saturday concert at the latter). Schneider and the incredibly appropriately named Running From Noah skipped out altogether, but the rest of the acts played for a soaked, shoulder-to-shoulder indoor crowd. About the only person not seen at the Metro over the weekend was the club's co-owner Paresh Patel, who as of this writing has been missing for over a month.
Now Playing on the Small Screen
Viewers of Freaky Links, the new TV series from the original Blair Witch crew, are wondering how Austin and Americana got worked into such a 21st-century premise. Two weeks ago, the show featured an Old 97's song, and then last Friday night, it featured another one, as well as a pair of Don Walser songs. Somewhat more appropriately, the Hot Club of Cowtown (whose latest album features a guest yodel from Walser) can be seen for the first time on the Grand Ole Opry show this Saturday at 7:30pm on TNN. The band played the Opry once before, but didn't make the cut for the televised portion of the program. They're off next for some tour dates with the Squirrel Nut Zippers. On the other end of the musical spectrum, they may still not have a new album out, but the Butthole Surfers haven't been forgotten -- besides the rerun of the classic Simpsons episode last week with the Todd Flanders "I'm a surfer!" gag. In a recent Daily Show segment on a choir made up of elderly people who perform classic rock songs by groups like Led Zeppelin and Talking Heads, host Jon Stewart closed the routine with the comment that their audience's only complaint "is that they didn't do anything from the Butthole Surfers' Rembrandt Pussyhorse album." It'll probably be a while before the Butts end up making any TV appearances of their own (especially since Paul Leary has been busy producing his Sublime friends the Long Beach Dub All-Stars of late), but you can catch King Coffey spinning discs as a guest DJ at the Sub Oslo show at the Mercury on Friday (a benefit for Austin's other FCC-silenced microradio station, Radio One), and you might just find Gibby Haynes performing as a solo act as well on Saturday the 18th during the Led Zeppelin Hoot Night at the Metro (along with Nevolution, Flipside Den, Real Heroes, Onlys, the Conrads, and others). That's if the case of pneumonia Haynes is currently suffering from has subsided by then. The head Butthole is currently under the weather, and with weather like we've been having lately, under it is the last place anyone would want to be.
A Group of Groupies
Rolling Stone covered the Rockrgrl Music Conference in Seattle on their rollingstone.com site this week, noting that, "Among Saturday's panels, the hottest was 'The Secret Life of Groupies,' which included celebrated groupies Pamela Des Barres, Pennie Lane, Stefani Eulinberg,and Margaret Moser." The Chronicle's own Moser (pictured here with her cronies on the panel) noted further highlights of the Louis Jay Meyers-run festival, including Ann Wilson performing with the Lovemongers (minus Heart sister Nancy and with a horn section) and singing "River Deep Mountain High," which was dedicated to keynote speaker Ronnie Spector, and Courtney Love's inevitable 11th hour appearance. The latter came with a "no cameras, no recorders" clause, but Moser quotes the diva announcing that "a good hairdo is really important. I'm gonna get shit for that, but it's true." Those who went to the conference may have wondered why they didn't see former Sincola vocalist Rebecca Cannon, who has written for Rockrgrl the magazine and been a longtime fan of the Rockrgrls. Seems she was invited to play the Fest, but when she got her showcase notice, she says "it felt like a slap in the face." Turns out she was expected to play at a Starbucks! After a summer of working in plays and indie films, Cannon decided to decline the role of corporate whore, and will be returning to the live music stage with Thor (who builds his own coffee from scratch) starting November 11 at Ruta Maya.
Next week I'll hit you over the head with it again, but for now, a gentle reminder that the deadline for showcase submissions for Austin's own music conference, South by Southwest, is Friday, November 17, with the annual last-minute cheaters' assembly at Ruby's BBQ the following Tuesday. See www.sxsw.com for further information... Stubb's Charles Attal assures clubgoers that his split with wife Abigail King won't affect business at either Stubb's or Club DeVille. "That's her club, and Stubb's is my place," he says. "It's never been any different." Since longtime suspicions that Liberty Lunch can't afford opening next to Stubb's were recently confirmed, I also asked Attal what was planned for that end of the block, but that was a question he was less prepared to answer. "We have no earthly idea at this point," he admits... Adult Rodeo, who had an SUV full of equipment stolen in Dallas last week (most of the vehicle was recovered, but not the contents) are also looking for a label to release their latest, already completed album. Any offers?... Finally, look for a new live version of Fastball's "Good Old Days" on the benefit CD Stop Handgun Violence Vol. One. The disc also includes the Sixpence None the Richer track "Kiss Me," marking the 6,192nd time that song has appeared on a compilation album. Watch your back, "Louie, Louie"!...
-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser