Now, how many bands would find it a drawback having hot-shot drummer (and this year's Austin Music Awards winner in the skin-beating category) Barry "Frosty" Smith bringing up their backbeat? Well, for a while there, it looked like the Chris Duarte Band might have fit that category. Things were touch-and-go leading up to the band's Japanese tour when a 1989 "minor little brush with the law, as we like to call it," reared its ugly head, and threatened to bar Frosty's entry into the Land of the Rising Sun, according to Duarte manager Cleve Hattersley. Japan's customs laws make those of, say, Canada look "like kindergarten," says Hattersley, but discussion has finally resulted in Frosty's legal ability to cross over to Japan's shores in time for the string of huge shows the band has set up there for the 17th through the 29th of May. "Every guitar magazine" on the islands has already been running Duarte features in anticipation, adds Hattersley. After that trip, it's back to the U.S.A. for a mostly East Coast tour with Ted Nugent and Bad Company starting on June 7. Though the group don't necessarily agree with the Nuge's politics, they say his friendship is already earning them pluses; on a recent VH-1 interview, when the Wango Tango man was asked what contemporary bluesman he liked, he launched into a long praise session about Duarte. If your passport has expired, you can see Chris and company at the SoCo Music Festival this Saturday. For more on that particular event, read on, won't you?

Southern Discomfort

The SoCo music festival (named after Southern Comfort, that Dr. Peppery liquor that's sponsoring the event) has angered some Sixth Street merchants who successfully petitioned to get the SoCo show this Saturday restricted to a two-block area of the street. First and foremost of their complaints is the charging of admission ($5) into that area, effectively crippling, rather than helping, revenue for local businesses. Rev. Horton Heat and the Chris Duarte Band are the main acts, with SoCo contest winners Rhythm Child, 7 Stones, Black Pearl, and Thunderfoot also performing. SoCo's Eric Schnabel, in Chicago, says he hadn't heard about the problems, and points out that much of the money goes to the East Sixth Street Community Association, a group comprised of some area residents and businesses. Steamboat's Danny Crooks (not an ESSCA member) finds this ironic: "Most of the time they're protesting the music," he observes, but he can't help but notice that on the three days or so a year when the money goes into their pockets, they block off the streets for it. He finds the SoCo Fest to be particularly wanting, and can't imagine a big crowd paying to see the festival; even though most of the bands involved play at his club, he refers to the contest winners as "not ready" popularity-wise for such an event. "[SoCo] could've put the whole show in Fat Tuesday's," he says, "and left Sixth Street open."

Window Duressing

A truckload of fratboys decided that their Friday evening wasn't interesting enough, and allegedly chucked a couple of large rocks through the front plate-glass windows of the Electric Lounge in total disregard of the fact that there were people on the other side of said windows. Luckily, no one was injured. The Bronco's licence plate number was traced (and doesn't it seem like the Bronco is the vehicle of choice of today's criminal?), but apparently no charges have yet been filed in the case. Oh well, I'm sure that the [name of fraternity deleted pending further investigation] House has plenty of nice big windows.

A Tale of the Huns (and

Other Punk Proverbs)

First, it was the Big Boys' The Fat Elvis and The Skinny Elvis. Then, Dejadisc got the urge to re-release the Live at Raul's compilation with the Standing Waves, the Skunks, Terminal Mind, the Next, and the Explosives plus bonus tracks with Roky Erickson. Now, we hear there's a Huns CD in the works, featuring music from the band who put Austin punk on the map (they were busted on stage at the club in 1978 for obscenity), but only released one single, "Busy Kids"/"I'm Glad He's Dead." And floating in the nethersphere out there are yet two more punk/new wave reissue projects, one a compilation of past singles and the other a collection of studio tracks.

Stoned in Austin

Rolling Stone's SXSW coverage finally sees print with the May 4 issue (Tom Petty cover). That's not too bad a delay; look how long it took them to discover Elvis Costello. As expected, Hamell on Trial (in the worst photo I've seen - he looks like William Frawley auditioning for the role of Col. Kurtz) and Alejandro Escovedo get the most Austin ink, next to a bit about what a nice guy Willie Nelson is (this is supposed to be a surprise?)

Ticketed Off

Hopefully, the big Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute at the Austin Music Hall will come off with fewer hitches than the ticket sales did. Several people have called the Chronicle to complain about what they felt was an unfair and disorganized handling of ticket sales to the event. Besides the expected long wait and cattle round-up atmosphere attending the line at such a guaranteed quick sell-out show, people who had been standing in line for hours suddenly found themselves faced with a new predicament; seemingly without warning, the tickets became part of a "package deal," and were only available if one also bought a ticket to the May 4 Jimmie Vaughan show as well. David Deaton at Star Tickets points out, however, that from the beginning, there were a certain number of single tickets and a certain number of package tickets available, and while "phone sales were strong" on the package tix, single tickets were much more in demand by those in line, and when those ran out, says Deaton, it became a case of "either buy a package or don't go." Those still disgruntled may want to lay a modicum of their grief on one local journalist who, I'm told, broke the story of the big show after being told about it off the record. You can see why a bit of paranoia followed regarding potential sales for the May 4 Jimmie V. show, to be held only a week before the bigger event.

Mixed Notes

No, the Ritz isn't closing, but once again it has ceased to exist as a live music venue (though this Friday's final Mr. Groper show is still a go, and a scheduled Trance Showcase may still happen). General manager Wendy Wanner says that the area is already "saturated" with live music and that "I was doing better as a pool hall." She adds that people hadn't caught on to the fact that the club was doing shows again and that she may try it again in six months... Greg Hetson of Bad Religion has finished producing that Jungle Nuns project I told you about. The group, which features Milktrout, House in Orbit, and Auschwitz 46 members (and doesn't every band have someone from Auschwitz 46 in it these days?) is shopping the recording as we speak... Remember last week's mention of Kate Moss and Johnny Depp at the Continental Club? Well, if you're curious what else Don Depp Demarco and the diminutive dame were up to, I'm told that Miss Moss had never been on an Easter egg hunt before, so Depp, Gibby Haynes, and Bill Carter were up all the night before bunny day decorating and hiding eggs. Now there's something to find outside your window when you hear a bump in the night... In the Equal Time for All Buttholes Department: Have I mentioned that Paul Leary has hopped out to Arizona to produce another Meat Puppets album? He produced their last, if you recall, and considered it less of a job than a chance to make his favorite band sound exactly the way he'd always wanted them to... Paul Minor revealed that he's wearing a Freudian slip and announced that his new act, Paul Minor's Super-Ego, featuring Jon Sanchez of the Flying Saucers, Jeff Johnston of the Orange Mothers, and Bryan Bowden of Sixteen Deluxe will be debuting as part of one of those darn Sunday night Hole in the Wall jam things. Speaking of weekly musical events, last week's Homegroan Live at Liberty Lunch was the last. Those involved just finally got sick of it. And speaking of Jeffs and Saucers, Jeff Hoskins is the latest Saucer to leave the fleet, and though you may not recognize him without the warpaint and blacklights, that's Lyman Hardy of Ed Hall who'll be filling in on drums at the Saucers' in-store at Waterloo Records (Friday at 5pm) and CD release party at the Electric Lounge this Saturday. Other in-stores this week include Charlie Robison at MusicMania (also Friday 5pm), Jeff Buckley at Tower Records at 2pm Saturday, and the Austin Lounge Lizards at Waterloo next Thursday (5/4) at 5pm... Well, there was no Tom Petty appearance at Antone's last week, but his drummer and keyboard player showed and joined in onstage with Stephen Bruton, whose new Dos/Antone's album is due momentarily. Look for Bruton with bassist Chris Maresch and drummer Brannen Temple to take over Sue Foley's Tuesday slot at Antone's during May... Just had the new Harry Nilsson tribute album For the Love of Harry dropped in my lap, and you can hear the old fence-straddler himself, Joe Ely, covering Harry's "Joy." Also on the disc, such eclectic choices as Fred Schneider, Adrian Belew, and the potentially horrifying team of Ringo Starr and Stevie Nicks... Betty Elders has a new one out entitled Crayon. That's on Flying Fish Records... Kirt Kempter's first CD on Illinois-based Zanman Records, Strange Things, gets national release next month, but you can get a jump on it by attending his release party at the Capitol City Playhouse this Saturday... John Cougar Rabinowitz has a tape release at Chicago House this Friday... You laid-back jazz types need to get your demo submitted to the Clarksville Jazz Festival before May 9. Send your submission for General, World Music, Jazz Vocalist, Composer Showcase or New Jazz Artist/Ensemble (mark the category clearly) along with $5 to 109 E. 10th St./BSMT, Austin, TX 78701. The Fest runs June 10-11... Covenant's show at Paradox tonight (Thursday) is an AIDS benefit, and a chance for you to "dress ultra-modern" and appear in the band's first video... Snoopy and Annie Melvin's new band Liberty School ("The Melvins" was already taken) pays a visit from Arizona this Thursday (Emo's) and Friday (Hole in the Wall.) Remember, they claim that any alleged dissing of Austin by the band is the result of fabrication on the part of an Arizona journalist, so don't go breaking any windows.

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More Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

So Long, Slug
So Long, Slug

Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002

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