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TCB

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By Christopher Gray, Fri., June 23, 2006


STOPPAGE TIME

Scott H. Biram, whose Graveyard Shift is due next month on Bloodshot, plays the first show at the new Parlor Hyde Park (4301-B Guadalupe) Saturday. Taking a rare break from the road, Biram has lately been looking for a new country abode. "I want to be able to walk around naked and piss in my back yard again," he says.

Due to slow ticket sales, the Dixie Chicks were recently forced to cancel the Memphis and Oklahoma City stops of their Accidents & Accusations tour, but the Oct. 1 Frank Erwin Center date is safe. "Ticket sales are doing pretty good," says Marketing Director Liz Land. "We still have hopes of a possible sellout." The Chicks' new LP, Taking the Long Way, sold over 500,000 copies its first week and remains at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

With apologies to the Cranberries, Scratch Acid and Meat Puppets have decided everybody else is doing it, so why can't they? Reunite, that is. Brett Bradford's legendary Eighties Austin caterwaulers were already scheduled to play Touch & Go Records' 25th anniversary soiree in Chicago this summer, but this week also confirmed a Sept. 2 date at Emo's. (The Frost Bank Tower, former site of Club Foot, was unavailable.) The Puppets, meanwhile, never officially disbanded, but Curt Kirkwood announced last week that their upcoming album, which he has already written, will be his first collaboration with brother Cris since 1995's No Joke! A tour will follow.

He barely knows how to download an MP3, but TCB does spend an inordinate amount of time on MySpace, so he'll throw in his two cents at the Austin Music Foundation's boot camp panel "Generation Next: Internet Marketing for Indies" Monday, 6:30pm, at the Lucky Lounge. Free.

If you're going Downtown in the next few weeks, it might be prudent to pack a poncho: Another water-pistol assassination game is about to begin. Sign up at Monday's kickoff at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown, which commences with a screening of 1985's Gotcha! The $35 ticket also covers the entry fee.

Genial Houston/Austin rockers Banana Blender Surprise have finally completed their long-awaited two-disc career retrospective Paint the Town Brown, which includes some of the most forthright songs in local music history: "I Don't Like You Very Much" and "Introduce Me to Your Girlfriend." Pick one up at their Continental Club show Friday.

TCB
Photo By Aubrey Edwards


BEERLAND'S BOUNTY

Did owner Randall Stockton think Beerland, celebrating its fifth anniversary this week, would make it this long? "Yeah, actually, I did." Along the way, the cozy Red River room has become a nesting ground for several of Austin's more adventurous bands: the avant-garde noisescapes of My Education, explosive chaos of Tuxedo Killers, Pleistocene stomp of When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, and full-bore punk rock of This Damn Town (whose last show is there Saturday), to name but a few. Still, the style that remains closest to Stockton's heart is the mutant hybrid of punk and blues that, while it may not draw lines around the block the way Riverboat Gamblers or the Octopus Project can, will always be welcome. "Nobody's getting rich off it," chuckles Stockton. "It's more like, 'Because Randall likes them so much, he books them no matter what.'" In many ways, the forceful, gutbucket sounds of the Crack Pipes, Scott H. Biram, Black Joe Lewis, John Schooley & His One Man Band, Possessed by Paul James, and Chili Cold Blood – who celebrate their Walter Daniels collaboration Trashcan Parade at the club next Thursday – mirror his own development. "A lot of what Beerland does is directly related to my musical background," agrees Stockton, who blows harmonica in the Bloody Tears. "I was into punk rock as a teenager, got turned onto the blues in college, and that's a huge part of what Beerland is." At the same time, five years of booking bands on Austin's most competitive street makes him keep his ears open. "I had to wake up and realize there's new musicians that are bubbling up at all times, and, in order to maintain a fresh audience and customer base, I have to be open to them," he says. "Some of the music we have at Beerland I don't necessarily even care for, but we have it because we're about new stuff."
TCB


BLACK HILLS BOOGIE

Deadwood's John Hawkes is no hooplehead. When not playing honest, decent, Jewish hardware-store owner/mayoral candidate Sol Star on the HBO Western, Hawkes tours the nation's saloons with King Straggler, the L.A. roots-rock band he started three years ago with fellow actors Rodney Eastman and Brentley Gore. 2005's King Straggler is a folky affair reminscent of the Jayhawks; September's follow-up, says Hawkes, is "noisier in spots." Many of Hawkes' lasting musical impressions come from Austin, where he lived in the Eighties: Lucinda Williams at emmajoe's; the Butthole Surfers/Big Boys "psychedelic love-in"; the punk prom with the Dicks; and any show with Meatjoy, his 1982-85 band also featuring future Two Nice Girls half Gretchen Phillips.

TCB: What was Meatjoy like?

JH: We liked to say that it was R&C: raw and colorful. It was loud, soft, fast, slow, beautiful, ugly music, sometimes all in the same song. We were experimental and kind of learning our way. It was a little bit of everything. Everybody had to play every instrument every time we played. At least bass.

TCB: How much has being on Deadwood raised the band's profile?

JH: It probably works for and against us. To say you're an actor playing music, you might as well say you enjoy torturing small animals. I guess people figure, how big does your ego have to be? But I've always done both, and the other two frontguys are also actors. Dan Thompson, our drummer, isn't really interested in acting. He says his passion is dance. I think he's kidding.

TCB: Do you ever find the dialogue from Deadwood working its way into your songwriting?

JH: It's worked its way into my own regular speech at times. I don't usually have a lot of really long lines. What little I've had to learn, the syntax is flipped a lot of times per the period, so it's a great challenge to learn to say words in a way you'd never think to say them.


King Straggler plays Hole in the Wall Monday and the Red Eyed Fly Tuesday.

Adolph Hofner & the Pearl Wranglers
Adolph Hofner & the Pearl Wranglers


CZECH MATE

Never heard of Western swing legend Adolph Hofner? You're hardly alone. Hofner, who died in 2000, may not be a household name, but he was once known as the "Bing Crosby of Country" and remained a popular South Texas draw well into the Nineties. The Oaks, the new honky-tonk at 10206 FM 973 in Manor, which regularly features singing bartenders Rosie Flores, Jessie Lee Miller, and Dave Insley, is hosting a tribute to Hofner at 5pm Sunday. Some facts to know before you go:

Hofner was born June 8, 1916, in the small Czech community of Moulton in Lavaca County. His family moved to San Antonio when he was 10.

Hofner's younger brother Emil was a gifted steel guitarist who landed both brothers a job in Jimmie Revard's Oklahoma Playboys when they were teens.

Hofner sang lead for Tom Dickey & the Showboys on Floyd Tillman's "It Makes No Difference Now" and soon thereafter started his own band.

As Adolph Hofner & the San Antonians, he had hits with "Maria Elena," "Alamo Rag," and "Cotton-Eyed Joe," on what is believed to be the first recording of the song.

For obvious reasons, he began going by "Dub" or "Dolph" during World War II.

Hofner is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Texas Polka Music Hall of Fame.

Chronicle writer Lee Nichols' review of Hofner's 1996 Luckenbach show is here.

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