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Off the Record

Music News

By Austin Powell, Fri., Oct. 30, 2009

Thenewno2
Thenewno2

All Things Must Pass

"I do everything backwards," laughs Dhani Harrison. "I started off with the biggest gig in the world and have worked my way down to playing in front of four people in the pub. Life's funny like that." Chances are that Stubb's will be full on Friday, Oct. 30, when Dhani opens for Wolfmother with his band Thenewno2, but that doesn't quite compare to his first gig: backing his father, George Harrison, at the Tokyo Dome in 1991, at age 11. A former industrial design student at Brown University, Dhani grew up in the studio, performing on and producing the sessions for his father's posthumously released final album, 2002's Brainwashed. He was also responsible for pitching the idea for The Beatles: Rock Band to Apple Corps. and signed off on both the Love soundtrack and the Fab Four's reissues. With Thenewno2, Harrison, 31, comes into his own. The band's self-released 2009 debut, You Are Here, which was recorded at Harrison's slightly modified family studio, bakes apple scruffs for a new generation, fusing warm and playfully experimental pop music with post-Kid A electronics and Bristol trip-hop beats. "It's a family business," says Harrison. "I don't think the music is very comparable, but a lot of the same instruments were used and a lot of the same boards. We're related, and he taught me how to play guitar, so there's going to be a lot that's carried over. I'm very fortunate to have that carried over, but we're really trying to find out who we were musically on our terms." Harrison sounds off on the Wu-Tang Clan, The Grey Album, and more at austinchronicle.com/earache.

Robin Shivers (1956-2009)

Robin Shivers
Robin Shivers
Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

A tireless and beloved philanthropist, Robin Shivers was one of Austin music's patron saints. For nearly three decades, she volunteered with the Seton Healthcare Network and worked behind the scenes in the local music community, assisting others in ways that only she could. Shivers, 53, died unexpectedly on Monday night. The cause of death is unknown at this time. Her husband, businessman Allan "Bud" Shivers Jr., the son of former Texas Gov. Allan Shivers, is in the Seton medical facility with pneumonia. "She was more than a visionary," remembers longtime friend Susan Antone. "She followed through and made her visions a reality. She was so creative, honest, and lovely; she had a way of doing things that were so helpful. I don't think I've ever known a better person." Shivers helped organize the annual KLRU fundraising concerts and managed Loose Diamonds, but most importantly, she helped create the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, the local nonprofit that provides low-cost dental, medical, and mental health services to more than 1,000 Austin musicians. "Her life was a testament to giving back," wrote HAAM Executive Director Carolyn Schwarz in a statement Tuesday.

For Those About to Rock

Off the Record

Already a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame landmark, the future home of Austin City Limits will be named Moody Theatre, after a $2.5 million contribution last week from the Moody Foundation of Galveston. The donation begins KLRU's $6.5 million capital campaign to purchase and install HD equipment as well as digitize ACL's archives. According to KLRU general manager and CEO Bill Stotesbery, the remainder of the money will come from solicitations, along with government grants made available to PBS stations. The construction for the 2,500-capacity venue – roughly $30 million – is being handled by the owners (Stratus Properties Inc., Canyon Johnson-Urban Funds, and Willie Nelson), who are anticipated to contract the theatre's management to Live Nation, a move that could shake up the local booking landscape. As for the new building, which is scheduled for completion in early 2011, Stotesbery stresses that the ground level of the studio is comparable to that of its current location and that the third tier, where the majority of the seating is, won't likely be used for the tapings. "We're confident that we can maintain the intimacy of the performance," Stotesbery says.

Directions to See a Ghost

It's not all peace and love in the local psych community. After an acrimonious split earlier this year, Adam Demetri, owner of the event production company Live Music Capitol, is bringing litigation against the Black Angels over the rights to the Austin Psych Fest. "They're trying to take the name and roll with it," says Demetri, who secured a permit for the first happening at the Red Barn in March 2008. "I'm the guy who lost $8,000 to do it each time." The Angels, who headline Mohawk on Friday, Oct. 31, aren't losing any sleep over the matter. "Adam had nothing to do with booking," counters guitarist Christian Bland via e-mail. "That was 100% me. Therefore, without the Black Angels, there would be no Psych Fest." The Angels are planning to host the two-day Austin Psych Fest No. 3 in April, while Demetri is booking the "Official Psych Fest" around that same time, touting Robby Krieger of the Doors as a possible headliner. Meanwhile, the Austin Psych Fest 2 DVD is due in December. The concert film features a minidocumentary on Sky Saxon's brief tenure in Austin with Shapes Have Fangs.

Are You Experienced?

Applications are now being accepted for the city's music program manager, a new position within the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office which gains funding from a vacant Austin Energy job as part of the adopted budget for 2009-10. Such is the consolation prize of sorts for the Live Music Task Force, which recommended the creation of a music department within city government, an idea that was shot down in June due to its budgetary implications. According to public information manager Melissa Alvarado, the program manager isn't meant to replace a music department but will serve many of the same functions, including serving as liaison for the Austin Music Commission. "This is what's feasible for the time being," says Bobby Garza, an aide to Council Member Mike Martinez and a member of the Live Music Task Force. "This person will be the face of the music community at the city level." The job posting will remain open until filled. Apply online at www.austincityjobs.org.

Random Play

Riverboat Gamblers' guitarist Ian MacDougall was hit by a car while riding his bike home Saturday, Oct. 17, resulting in a broken hip, a broken wrist, and hemorrhaging under his skull. He spent two days in the intensive care unit at the University Medical Center Brackenridge and has since started physical therapy. "He doesn't really remember anything that happened," relays frontman Mike Wiebe. The Gamblers still intend to play Fun Fun Fun Fest next weekend, and a website has been set up to help offset MacDougall's mounting medical bills: www.helpian.tumblr.com.

• Tricks and treats are one and the same for Austin's beloved Butthole Surfers. That sets expectations high for the merry pranksters' Halloween masquerade at Stubb's, the band's first hometown gig since last year ("Out of the Mouths of Children," Sept. 26, 2008). "We're bringing out some stuff we haven't done yet," confides bassist Jeff Pinkus. "We're doing shit off of [Double Live]. We've had lots of time to practice, so hopefully we'll be nice and tight." There's still no talk of writing new material, and this will likely be the final show in the States for the foreseeable future. Pinkus has already committed to touring with the Bad Livers' Danny Barnes next year and is working on a new project with the Melvins' Dale Crover and original Honky guitarist Carson Vester, tentatively called PVC.

• Genius goof Soupy Sales, who died last Thursday, Oct. 22, of numerous ailments at 83, left behind a legacy of splattered pie crusts and two sons, Tony and Hunt Sales, better known as the rhythm section for David Bowie's Tin Machine. The latter, a former drummer for Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop, now lives locally and appears on Owen Temple's new album, Dollars and Dimes. Keep an eye peeled in our Club Listings, p.94, as he occasionally gigs under the poorly disguised moniker of the Hunt Sales Memorial.

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