A friend to late-night channel-surfers and ally to underground bands, honorable Dave Prewitt occupied the humble domain of local cable access from 1990 to 2007 with two after-midnight music shows. CapZeyeZ featured uncensored live clips, in-studio performances, and interviews with Texas bands, while Raw Time screened music videos of lesser-known nationals.
During his cable TV tenure on ACTV then Channel Austin, Prewitt became Austin's busiest independent music videographer, demonstrating a Christ-like tolerance for on-air call-ins from pranksters yelling "Fuck you, fat ass!" and forging an essential pipeline between bands and music fans. His triumphs include hosting Bill Hicks' last video interview, kicking a young band called Blur out of the studio for having shitty attitudes, and inspiring Mike Judge to feature a Jesus Lizard video on Beavis and Butt-head.
One night in 2007, worn down by a diminished staff and frustrated with janky studio gear, Prewitt announced, "That's it!" and walked out, leaving 30 minutes of dead air before the next show began. Not that he stopped taping. Find him any weekend at a club with video recorder in hand. The next day, footage gets posted to his DaveTV YouTube channel, which has logged 5 million views.
"My passion is just to go see live music," he states. "I come to see a band I like, shoot a few songs, then shoot all the other bands on the bill, and put it up."
Since 1986, that's been his m.o., an interest evidenced by a garage overflowing with tapes and his steadfast refusal to monetize a hobby. Now, after seven years away from channel 10, Prewitt's heard the call of cable again. This month, he launched a tiny Indiegogo fundraiser to cover the certification and production fees for Channel Austin, reaching his $500 goal immediately. He plans to return to the small screen in November, 24 years to the month after originally going live.
"I felt like I was missing an opportunity to connect with the music fans of Austin," he admits.
The new DaveTV will likely include the same hallmarks of CapZeyeZ: in-studio appearances, original live bootlegs, and fielding phone calls from late-night shit-talkers. The everyman realm of cable access – Channel Austin reaches an estimated 200,000 households – once again finds Prewitt proselytizing his greater mission.
"My goal has always been to preach to people on the couch and get them off the couch to come to a show."
"We receive our power from Ra, the sun god," declares a dashiki-wearing masked saxophonist called Zapot Mgawi, who claims provenance to the planet Cygnus. "We came here because Earth is in dire need of help. People are burning their ship, and God is going to punish them by killing the Earth."
The sun beats heavy on a remote East Austin patio where incense burns and disco balls reflect the 10-or-so members of Afrodelic soul collective the Golden Dawn Arkestra, who wear robes, masks, and headdresses, but never break a sweat in the 101-degree heat. Maybe they're aliens.
"The vibrations of our music reorganize the molecules in every listener," explains bespectacled trombonist Hapy. "They carry love, light, and laughter with them. So shall save this world."
The GDA's alleged history begins at the dawn of the universe and finds them traversing time and space by means of sound waves. They've only been performing their live ritual – a kaleidoscopic get-down of brass, funky rhythms, and exotic physical articulations – around Austin since last year, however. This week, they bestow humankind with their debut recording, a self-titled vinyl EP.
"We had help from some beautiful earthlings named Erik Wofford and Adrian Quesada," lauds Mgawi, who looks suspiciously like Sahara Lounge co-owner Topaz McGarrigle.
Come Saturday, the Sun Ra acolytes take over Mohawk's outside stage along with a handful of groove-addicted locals including Hard Proof and the Minor Mishap Marching Band. Between their cosmic go-go dancers mincing through the crowd and a costumed fan base, it may be difficult to discern where the Arkestra ends and audience begins.
"In moments of connection and co-creating an environment," waves vibraphonist Isis of Devices, "it's a collective experience we're all sharing."
Andrew Collins remains in Brackenridge's intensive care unit following a motorcycle accident on August 12 that left him briefly comatose with a broken leg, shoulder, ribs, and a fracture at the base of his skull.
A 30-year-old Austin native, his talents as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist have been observed in several notable bands. Collins fronted the popular metalcore group At All Cost, then founded the dance rock gang L.A.X as keyboardist and singer. Most recently, he's been screaming and playing bass in the power trio Vegatron.
Early reports had Collins fighting for his life, and now an update from Vegatron drummer Ryan Greenblatt offers promising news that he's off the ventilator and, at times, awake and responsive. Greenblatt characterizes his friend as extremely strong-willed.
A fundraiser for Collins' medical expenses has been established, grossing over $20,000 as of press time. Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/d1lj6w.
› As you stuff your face with chips and beer while scorching your tongue, nose, and eyes on spicy condiments at the Chronicle's Hot Sauce Festival – Sunday at Fiesta Gardens, noon-5pm – note the event's red-hot music lineup: Rosie & the Ramblers (12:15pm), Gumbo Ce Soir (1:15), El Tule (1:15), and Latasha Lee & the BlackTies (3:30). Big props to our promotions department, who proved its booking prowess at our South by Southwest day party. Flip to "Music Listings," p.86 for more on the music talent. Free with three nonperishable food item donation.
› Last week, C3 Presents sent out letters offering free identity theft protection to former employees and contractors after those individuals' personal information, possibly including social security and bank account numbers, fell into the hands of thieves. The communication acknowledged that C3's server was stolen on June 20 "due to negligence of a third party not affiliated with C3" after "an unknown, unauthorized individual gained access to the server." In other C3 news, in-concert sign language interpreters LotuSIGN will no longer work with the local promoter's Austin City Limits Music Festival or Lollapalooza due to what LotuSIGN Executive Director Barbie Parker called a disagreement over roles and responsibilities.
› KUTX 98.9FM announced a widespread shakeup in programming this week that includes the axing of its earthier specialty shows Folkways and Across the Water, indicating that the public radio station feels that folk music's role in the "Austin Music Experience" is minimal. World music fared only slightly better with the Latin program Horizontes bumped from Friday afternoon to Sunday night and Global Grooves and World Music Sunday disappearing from terrestrial airwaves altogether. Other notable changes include Jody Denburg giving up his Sunday domain for more airtime on Fridays and the left-field musings of Eklektikos host John Aielli moving to drive time, 7-9am, Mon.-Thu.
› Willie Nelson lets his hair down on the cover of Rolling Stone's new issue. It's the 81-year-old country star's first gracing of the rock rag's front since 1978. The 10-page feature finds the old sage tooling around his Luck, Texas, ranch in a pickup and dishing on missing Ray Price, forthcoming album December Day, and cutting back his relentless road schedule. "I think after this tour, I'm working fewer dates," he said. "I'm just tired."
Copyright © 2014 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.