(Your Name Here) Roasting on an Open Fire...
Eric Johnson's tinnitus (a continuous ringing in the ears, usually caused by
longterm exposure to loud noise or music) is "better," says Johnson's manager
Joe Priesnitz, without a great deal of confidence evident in his voice. Johnson
has a lot of sounds in his ears these days, though, as he's currently at
Oceanways Studios in California mixing down his next release. Inside the
studio, however, it must seem like Texas: while working in the four-room
studio, Johnson found that two of the other rooms were occupied by Willie
Nelson with producer Don Was, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore with producer T-Bone
Burnett. Priesnitz estimates that there are about five weeks of mixing up ahead
before the new disc, titled Longpath Meadow (he's consistent: that's the
same title he told us around two years ago) is finally done. He says the album
should be in stores in "March or April." Of course, now that I think of it, he
didn't say of which year...
Tinnitus is the main suspect behind a big change in the career of another fine
Austin-based musician. Asked about long-spreading rumors that Sugar is breaking
up, a source at Rykodisc tried to be subtle by saying that Bob Mould's current
band was "on hiatus" but added, after a moment's reflection, "[It's a]
permanent hiatus. They'll probably never play again." This statement comes on
the heels of a meeting between Mould and Ryko last Thursday, wherein the former
Hüsker Dü-sker also announced that he'll deliver to the label a new
solo album, which our source says may "perhaps" be out by SXSW.
Out of Sugar?
The big shakeup at the Warner Bros. Corporation continues to send out
shockwaves to the monolith's subsidiary labels. Caught in one of those waves
are the Ugly Americans, who have their debut album for WB sub Giant Records in
the can, and advance copies already out to the press. The disc was set for a
January release, but now the band's Giant A&R rep is telling them that it
might be in their best interests to look for another deal (other acts on the
label, such as Letters to Cleo have been advised to do the same). The Uglys
have hopes that their producer, Don Gehman, might be a good "in" for them at
Atlantic, since Gehman produced Hootie and the Blowfish's latest, which has
sold 11 million copies and ties Led Zeppelin IV as the best-selling
album in the label's history.
Do Fries Come With That Giant Shake?
Former Two Nice Girls member and solo K-NACK fave Meg Hentges must have been
nice as opposed to naughty this year: She just signed a four-album deal with
Tim/Kerr Records, which put out her two solo discs. She will be heading into
the studio early next month while her next album for the label may come out as
early as this spring. Meanwhile, another Nice Girl's time in Austin draws
short, as Gretchen Phillips prepares to pack up and head to San Francisco next
month. The Gretchen Phillips Xperience will play its last regular show Thursday
with the Horsies at the Hole in the Wall. Still to come, though, says Phillips,
is a big goodbye show with some very special guests. More on that as plans
Nice Girls Do Good
Oh, sure, everybody's going on about what they're gonna do on New Year's Eve,
but what about Christmas Eve? You're not gonna waste it hanging around with
smelly old relatives who have more to say about things you have no interest in
than you've had hot yams? You need to go out and get wasted, cuz if you
don't pass out hard that night, Santa might hear you stirring and then Bang!
Zoom! He's outta there, leaving you giftless! My personal white collar
(and cummerbund) pick would be the Mr. Fabulous show at Cedar Street, where the
impeccably dressed Mr. F's incomparable crooning is backed with a hot band led
by Jon Blondell. Dress to impress; they won't throw you out for looking
low-class, but if I'm there I might. I don't want a lot of riff-raff coming in
and cheapening this fine weekly event. And bring lots of cash; there's no cover
but the drinks at Cedar Street are so expensive, when you spill one on your
Armani, you cry for the scotch, not the suit.
For the T-shirt and denim crowd, I recommend the Steamboat White Christmas party. If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Danny Crooks had a bit of the other kind of snow in him when he came up with the idea for this: he's lined up Ian Moore bassman Chris White, Billy White, and Jason White from Breedlove to play together as a band for the first time, and is providing lots of free refreshments to go along with the music. Plenty of the members of the White boys' bands are expected to hop up and jam, as are other special guests. It's an invitation-only affair, but all you have to do to get an invite is ask for one at the club before Sunday. Actually, you can get in without one, but there'll be a $10 cover charge for Johnny-Come-Latelys.
If neither of the above wet your stocking stuffer tin whistle, check our music listings to see what other clubs are open that night (as I write this, that information is still coming in) or just throw a nippy bottle in your car and go down to Toys R Us to watch the carnage.
On other Christmas-related notes, can someone tell me what it is about the holiday season that makes karaoke machines start appearing as fast as friggin' fruitcakes? On top of the usual places, ya got Dick Tingler and Jack Sabbath's "Las Vegas Karaoke Party" going every Saturday night from 8-10pm at the Electric Lounge and Pinetop Snooky's Christmas Karaoke Extravaganza Christmas night (Monday, that is, as opposed to Christmas Eve, which is the night before). Of course, if you really wanna know where to get the best karaoke in Austin, ask any Trance Syndicate representative... So what's up with this "My Size Barbie" thing? Is this a pedophile's wet dream or does it have something to do with that secret project Brooks Coleman's been working on?...
Velvet Hammer and Dallas' Psalm 69 are part of Go On Girl, a
compilation of five female-fronted bands, out on 100% Fret Free Records...
Rykodisc has announced the release date for Alejandro Escovedo's new album as
March 19, while the Buick MacKane disc has yet to be scheduled. It definitely
will not be out until after the solo album, they say. (Remember not to
confuse Escovedo with Virgin Records artist Cleto Escobedo. The picture
on the left is Al, the one on the right is Cleto. I think.) Also not on the
schedule is the company's issuing of material by the late incisive comedian
Bill Hicks. The company has plans to re-release his two out-of-print albums and
two unreleased albums, including an eclectic attempt to meld politically
charged standup with bluesy guitar music. Unfortunately, they say that the
recordings are tied up in a legal dispute, a matter made more tragic due to the
topical nature of Hicks' material... Remember those two Small Faces box sets I
mentioned awhile back that weren't giving any profits (or even a free copy) to
the band members, including local resident Ian McLagan and former Austinite
Ronnie Lane? Well, since that time, I'm told that one has been taken off the
market and the other has begun sending royalties. Well, I guess lawyers aren't
all bad, then, are they?... Lee Person's new cassette EP Showdown should
be out as you read this... The second monthly ARC Jamboree is next Wednesday at
the Continental Club, with Good hosting a free show including Sunshine and Fat
Daddy & the Bel-Airs. Keep an eye out for special guests; Son Volt showed
up to jam at last month's Jamboree... The Stevie Ray Vaughan Fan Club has
changed its address. Fans of SRV who want to get more info can send a
self-addressed stamped envelope to SRV Fan Club, PO Box 800353, Dallas, TX
75380 or e-mail 'em at firstname.lastname@example.org... That reminds me, I'll be passing our
computer jocks the latest batch of local musicrelated web sites you've been
sending in and they should (finally) be on the Chronicle site in early
January... Say goodbye to Brownie Points, who have their last show Saturday at
the Blue Flamingo... Johnny Goudie's working on a recording project with Billy
White producing. The demo sessions I mentioned before have blossomed into a
full-blown album project. No label is being mentioned yet, though... Say hello
(again) to Water the Dog, who have reunited (all original members, including
Chris White) and will be playing two reunion shows at the beginning of January,
one at the Continental on the 5th, and one at Steamboat on the 6th... Dan
Stuart, formerly the man behind Green on Red, may not live here any more, but
he's fond enough about Austin to open his Can of Worms tour here.
That'll be on January 2 at the Electric Lounge with the Gourds, after which
Stuart will be touring erratically around the country. Says Stuart, "In honor
of my childhood sweetheart, Peggy Fleming, we are attempting a perfect figure
eight." The touring band will include mostly former Austinites (Jon Dee Graham,
J.D. Foster, Daren Hess), who are also on the new Can of Worms album...
Oops: I didn't actually mention the name of that Saturday morning cartoons
theme song album I referred to last week, did I? The disc, out on MCA Records,
is called Saturday Morning Cartoons. Makes sense, eh? Also, I've been
taken to task for not mentioning that the recent Devo hoot was a benefit for
Tim Hayes. It raised around $700 towards Hayes' well-documented recent medical
expenses... Well, that's all for now. See you next year...
-- Contibutors: Raoul Hernandez, Margaret Mose