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Playback: Mother Falcon vs. Scottish Rite Theater

Mother Falcon's open letter to the Scottish Rite, Frontier Bar's transformation into Lost Well, and soul man Bobby Patterson

By Kevin Curtin, Fri., Aug. 9, 2013

The Scottish Rite Theater's stunning interior (l) and the Facebook flyer for Friday's Elliott Smith tribute there
The Scottish Rite Theater's stunning interior (l) and the Facebook flyer for Friday's Elliott Smith tribute there
Photo by John Anderson

On July 24, the same morning that Scottish Rite Theater's Creative Director Emily Marks was fired, local musician Matt Puckett arrived at the venue to find the locks changed. It was the third day of Mother Falcon's Music Lab, a weeklong camp for musicians ages 11-17 being tutored by Puckett and his Mother Falcon bandmates. Puckett, the camp's director, was informed by Scottish Rite members that a recent inspection by the Austin Fire Department raised safety concerns and that the building would be closed. Thirty-five children and eight counselors relocated on foot to the All Saints Episcopal Church, where they completed the remaining three days of camp.

Last week, Puckett released an open letter to the Scottish Rite, with this at the heart of it: "Your choices that day displayed a flagrant and cavalier disregard for the safety and well-being of those children. It is painfully clear that you were much more interested in making a point to one of your employees – a drama in which we have no part – than in doing right by the people depending on you."

Playback: Mother Falcon vs. Scottish Rite Theater

Puckett told "Playback" by phone that the Scottish Rite organization has withheld money brought in by the camp's tuition, an estimated $8,500, funds sorely needed for Mother Falcon's current West Coast tour.

"Perhaps they just don't realize that they're taking money from young musicians and deceiving the parents who paid," he added.

Rebutting, Scottish Rite Chairman Todd Smith says the building's closure was only for the welfare of the campers and staff, and also pointed out that the camp was invited to return later on Wednesday, but leadership declined. Regarding the money, Smith says his fiduciary responsibility to the nonprofit means he can't pay Mother Falcon without being presented with contracts from Mother Falcon's manager John Riedie, who Smith characterizes as a disgruntled former contractor for the Scottish Rite Theater.

Expect a shift in entertainment at the Scottish Rite. During Marks' tenure, bookings included comedians, psych rock bands, a New Year's Eve Gourds show, and even Henry Rollins performing in the 19th century opera house. Smith promises "Quality, wholesome entertainment for families." For now, Friday's Elliott Smith tribute goes on as planned (see "Music Listings"), but Saturday's Percussion VII event by the Golden Hornet Project – also managed by Riedie – has been relocated to the Off Shoot (2211-A Hidalgo).

Fixing To Be the Man: Bobby Patterson

Arlyn Studios proprietor Lisa Fletcher with Patterson at the South Austin recording hub
Arlyn Studios proprietor Lisa Fletcher with Patterson at the South Austin recording hub
Photo courtesy of Zach Ernst

Dallas soul man Bobby Patterson, best known for funky late-Sixties/early-Seventies singles "TCB or TYA" and "How Do You Spell Love," recently completed recording a fresh new album at Arlyn Studios in South Austin.

A true polymath of the music industry, Patterson's spent the last five decades singing, songwriting, producing, promoting, and spinning songs at Soul 73 KKDA in the Big D, on which he delivered an endless Rolodex of one-liners, spoken in flamboyant rhythm and rhyme: "I don't care if you're from the hood or the trunk, you can't get away from my funk!"

"I'd make up lines like that all day," laughs Patterson. "I've probably forgotten more rhymes than Jay-Z ever knew."

Patterson allowed producer Zach Ernst, guitarist for the Relatives, to glimpse his many weathered notebooks of sharp-witted rhymes. Ernst then helped him shape them into the impeccably clever 10 tracks that make up his new album. With a backing band consisting of local soul rockers the Disciples and expert guitarist Denny Freeman, the jams live up to the jive.

Since losing his radio gig last year, Patterson's finally shifted his focus entirely to performing.

"All I'm doing now is entertaining folks around the world – every boy, girl, and man. Iraq, Iran, Jamaica, and Japan, I'm fixing to be the man."

For now, he's at the Continental Club Friday night.

Notes from the Road

Within the madness of my two-week tour with Black Eyed Vermillion, ripping through the center of America in hitting punk clubs, festivals, and sketchy biker bars – sometimes sharing the stage with Austin musicians like Miss Izzy Cox and Scott H. Biram – long hours in the van gave me time to reflect on my experiences and note some valuable lessons.

Always travel with a spare tire and a floor jack, duh. In the event of a blowout, these tools can transform you into a NASCAR pit crew instead of six sweaty assholes stuck on the side of the highway.

Earplugs are great for mitigating high decibels at concerts, but they're additionally valuable at stifling the sounds of a bandmate's snoring.

Don't expect there to be toilet paper at a three-day outdoor punk festival. Bring your own roll, otherwise you might end up with an odd number of socks.

Denver > Amsterdam.

Use a live percussionist. A drum machine cannot fuck the merch girl.

It's "Sound Engineer" not "sound guy." Show a little respect and you'll get a better monitor mix.

Everyone thinks they do the most work. Usually it shakes out pretty equally. Don't complain; just do your best.

Love your bandmates for who they are – idiosyncrasies, obsessions, quirks, and all. Chemistry beats talent any day so embrace it.

Frontier Bar Becomes Lost Well

For better or worse, the Frontier Bar picked the right name. The club stood deeper in the Eastside than safely settled regions where similar bars like the White Horse and Hotel Vegas have flourished. It had live bands most nights and sometimes drew decent crowds, but never attained the same kind of traction in the music scene as the aforementioned haunts. No surprise then, that two years after opening, the Frontier throws in the towel and makes way for a new venture, the Lost Well. Headed up by Lovejoys bartender Marcello Murphy, the heart and soul of the former Sixth Street watering hole's Thursday night music series – in which gritty punk, metal, rock, and country bands collided with $2 pints for guaranteed good times – the Lost Well will host live bands Thursday through Saturday. Cello also hopes to fill the calendar with all the old Lovejoys staples like Corrine Rose, Dirty Charlie, Blood Royale, the Beaumonts, Honky, and the Hickoids. Be there opening night, Aug. 15.

Half Notes

Tenacious D has been tapped to play Fun Fun Fun Fest's comedy stage. Jack Black and Kyle Gass will perform without a backing band, as they did at their electrifying and hilarious South by Southwest appearance at Brazos Hall. In other FFF news, local Black Flag linchpin Greg Ginn recently filed a lawsuit against his former bandmates to quash their reunion tour as Flag – including their FFF set – claiming their name and image infringe on his copyrights.

Jeff Pinkus continues pulling double duty, playing in both the Melvins and Honky as they tour nationwide. Considering his ongoing tenure in Butthole Surfers, Pinkus now has the coolest rock & roll résumé in town, playing in two of the most esteemed underground rock bands of the last 30 years. Conversely, Melvins' drum god Dale Crover, once a member of Nirvana, continues to sit in with Honky. Both bands lay waste to the Mohawk on Friday. See "Music Listings" for chatter with Melvins' front 'fro Buzz Osborne.

› Call off the search. Joe King Carrasco's amplifier has been returned safely to his castle. Wanted posters circulated at local clubs and on Facebook after Carrasco's red Fender Hot Rod Deluxe was stolen from a garage last month. Eventually, a vigilant musician noticed it at South Austin's Mustang Pawn, but the shop wouldn't release it to Carrasco or place a hold on its sale until a kindhearted musician/policeman found out about the situation on Facebook and personally intervened. Now that's community! JKC celebrated his amp's safe return by cranking it up at Strange Brew last Saturday.

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