It's hard to say which is growing faster: the size of SXSW or the number of
clubs in town. Luckily, the two tend to be symbiotic. SXSW this year has added
no less than 13 venues that it hadn't used before, most of which didn't even
at this time last year. Work on the new Stubbs Barbecue has been
timed so that it will actually open right at SXSW time (hey, that strategy is
what got Emo's started off so strong). In addition to using Ohms for danceable
acts like Psychosonic and multimedia masters EBN and utilizing Mojo's Daily
Grind as a spoken word haven, SXSW will be adding the Coffee Plantation,
Wylie's Annex (in the former Chicago House space), Hang 'Em High Saloon, the
Copper Tank, Icon, the new Split Rail, the State Theatre, Tropical Isle, Voodoo
Lounge, and the White Rabbit. That takes up a good deal of the venue space in
town, but that's not to say there won't be plenty of non-SXSW shows going on
this year during the Music Conference. Some of the participating clubs will be
putting on afternoon shows featuring bands who don't have official showcases
like Barkmarket, and 7 Year Bitch, both of whom will be playing Emo's, which
might also host some kind of High Times
"hempathon" with Ian Moore. And
speaking of bands without showcases, now's the time for me to put out the call
for those of you who are performing that weekend at non-SXSW clubs, warehouse
gigs, parking lot parties, and the like: Write me, fax me, call my voice-mail
or e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the Chronicle
before March 8 with
the info on your show. And please
, if there's a multi-band showcase
going on, get me the full lineup. Trying to assemble a list from a mass of "my
band is playing sometime Friday at Chuckie's Burger Hut" notes is like trying
to solve the Bob Crane murder case.
Meanwhile, the Austin Music Awards show keeps filling up: look for comic Kerry
Awn to guest-host with emcee-for-life Paul Ray;Generation Ecch!
co-authors Jason Cohen and Michael Krugman as guest presenters; and -- another
first -- the show will be broadcast live on channel 15, courtesy of the Austin
Music Network. Hey, wait a sec... AMN starts broadcasting at 8pm but the Awards
start at 7:55pm sharp. Hmmm...
KUTZ-FM (Z-Rock) Program Director Darryl O'Neil was quick to react when I
asked him if the rumors were true that Z-Rock was bringing the King of Shock to
Austin. "No, we have no plans to put Ronald Reagan on the air," he quipped,
before adding seriously that he "really can't say anything at this time" about
rumors that the station will be yanking their morning show to bring the Howard
Stern program to our airwaves. Insiders insist, though, that it's happening --
and soon -- with Sharkman moving to afternoon duty. Local activist groups will
no doubt be up in arms, but no more so than the city's other early-morning
shock jocks (Can you say Dudley and Bob? I thought you could.), who would be in
for a bumpy ride competing with the Stern line.
In other radio news, 101X's Program Director Sara Trexler was adamant recently
in denying rumors of an upcoming format change. Well, it may not be a format
change per se, but I don't think I'm the only one who's hearing a
lot more Depeche Mode and dance music on that particular FM frequency.
Q: So how can you tell that Tom Jones is getting old? A: Now he's started
stuffing a gray
sock in his pants. Actually, ol' Tom wasn't looking too
archaic the other night when he was in town, though, as evidenced by the above
photo, taken by -- and, as usual, featuring -- Johnny Medina, who found Jones
wandering on Sixth Street after his show at the Paramount (see "Live Shots").
Steamboat doorman David Cotton says he noticed a "strange-looking man by the
hot dog stand" and when it turned out to be Jones, he invited him into the
club, where he graciously posed for photos and checked out Joe Ely. Cotton says
that he got a little worried by the way Jones lit up when Ely went into "Not
Fade Away," fearing the Welshman might jump up on stage. "He was loaded, but
real cool," says Cotton, but that didn't mean he was in any condition to be
guesting with anyone. Fortunately, Jones made no such attempt, and instead hung
out awhile longer and then was escorted out the back of the club (to avoid
unnecessary gawkers) from whence he headed into Maggie Mae's.
Best Alternative -- Reading
Check out the new Alt-Rock-A-Rama
book from Rolling Stone
some Austin insights, including a piece by King Coffey about Roky Erickson,
Trance Syndicate, and, of course, eating at Pancho's. Chronicle
contributor and Generation Ecch!
scribe Jason Cohen has a few essays
in the tome as well, and Austinite Thomas Anderson (who'll be at the Electric
Lounge with Kathy McCarty, League of Nuns and Orange Mothers this Friday)
contributes a screed on the aesthetics of DIY. Overall, the book, assembled by
Scott Schinder, lives up to its subtitle of "an outrageous compendium of facts,
fiction, trivia, and critiques on alternative rock" and is recommended far more
enthusiastically than that Aerosmith book Schinder wrote last year under a fake
name (oops, sorry Scott...).
The Envelope, Please
The local branch of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS
festivities) held festivities last Monday to honor Texas' Grammy Awards
nominees Yolanda Adams, Asleep at the Wheel, Ramon Ayala y Sus Bravos Norte,
Brave Combo, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Junior Brown, Bruce Carroll, Albert
Collins & the Icebreakers, Steve Earle, Jaime y Los Chamacos, Flaco
Jimenez, George Jones, La Mafia, Little Texas, James McMurtry, Lee Roy Parnell
and Doug Sahm. Plenty of schmoozers were in attendance, but few performers;
only the first two acts on the list made an appearance. Still, I wish I'd
gotten a picture of Ray Benson and SXSW's Dave Thomson standing next to each
other. Maybe I could convince them to start a new band called the Tall Faces.
Ministry are tentatively scheduled to hit Texas in early May, with a San
Antonio gig on the 3rd and Dallas on the 4th, but no Austin show planned at
this time. One band member says, though, that he expects the tour schedule to
change drastically before it's finalized... Didja notice that Lisa Mednick and
Richard Buckner are sure playing together a lot? A rep for Dejadisc says that
the labelmates are "not madly in love or brother and sister or anything, they
just respect each other's music." Mednick heard Buckner's latest album awhile
back and liked it so much she flew out to his place in Bellingham, Washington
to write some songs together, and now the two are doing a small tour, with the
first stop being at the Cactus Cafe on Tuesday, February 27 (see
"Recommended")... Among the talents recording at Arlyn Studios right now,
you'll find Jimmie Vaughan and Bo Diddley working together on a track for Bo's
new album, produced by Mike Vernon. Well, actually, you'll just find Jimmie;
he's adding his guitar part to a tape of Diddley that was recorded elsewhere...
Willie Nelson must've been having some fun on Larry Monroe's Live Set
last week. I'm told that Willie kept a'playing for around two and a half hours.
Maybe he's just making sure he'll be all practiced up for that acoustic duet
tour he and Merle Haggard are planning (by the way, am I the only one who
thinks that the image below from the Haggard box set looks like an ad for
"Merle For Men"?)...
Look for a new acoustic duet act from Pam Peltz and Sixteen Deluxe's Carrie
Clark called the Living Pins. Peltz says the name comes from a dream she had
"where I was backstage somewhere sitting on a smelly couch talking to a very
congenial Wayne Coyne [of the Flaming Lips]. He was going on and on about a
totally cool band he'd seen with a totally cool name -- the Living Pins."
They'll open for Violet Crown and Sincola at the Hole in the Wall this
Saturday... Not sure if it was my mistake or an omission on the list that the
W.C.Handy Foundation sent me, but one way or another, Marcia Ball got left off
of my list of Handy Awards nominees a couple of weeks ago. She's up for
Contemporary Female Blues Artist and Blues Piano awards, and if you want to
check out her qualifications, you can head over to La Zona Rosa's Pianorama
this Sunday, where she, Floyd Domino, Johnny Nicholas, Nick Connolly, Robert
Skiles and Ben Conroy will be tickling a lot of ivories... The Austin
Blues Family Tree's African-American History Month Concert Series is this
weekend, with Houston blues guitar legend Pete Mayes and T.D.Bell playing
Friday at the Victory Grill and the Austin Gospel Showcase Saturday at the St.
James Episcopal Church... The Metro Espresso Bar on the Drag is starting up an
open-mike night on Tuesdays for acoustic and mostly acoustic acts. That starts
this week, with hosts Dickie Dunkin & the Dunkineers... No, the following
isn't the result of a bribe, but trust me, it's gonna cost somebody:
Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat
Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust,
Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat
Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust, Squat Thrust. Sorry, I don't have room to
explain. Ask later...
-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser