(Your Name Here) Roasting on an Open Fire...

You musicians out there know: I feel your pain. I live in the same type of rotting old house that you do. And, having just woken up for the second time this year to the stench of burning man-made fibers and styrofoam, let me remind you to keep a watch on those heaters this winter. We've got enough benefits in this town without a rash of property-destroying and potentially deadly house fires to add to it. And really, if you're gonna be killed by a piece of furniture, do you really want your end to be a smoky passing, clutching the wall and inhaling the acrid smoke from that ratty old hide-a-bed couch? At least rent a nice Chippendale armoíre and have someone drop it on you from a large height. That would be a much classier demise, don't you think?

Johnson's Wax

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...

Out of Sugar?

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.

Do Fries Come With That Giant Shake?

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.

Nice Girls Do Good

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 solidify.

Christmas Capers

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?...

Mixed Notes

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 srvclub@aol.com... 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

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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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