Butthole Surfer Update!

Fooled you! There's really nothing here about the Butthole Surfers this week! Instead, how about this: Wammo, who was seen scarfing free chow at the Buttholes' Capitol Records party a few weeks ago, has signed to Mercury Records! Yes, it's true; Wammo -- whose real name I will reveal at the end of this column -- has signed with Mouth Almighty, the spoken word branch of Mercury Records, and will start releasing albums in September (hopefully), commencing with one called Fat Headed Stranger, which is already in the can. Many Wammo allies, including members of his old band W.O.R.M. (which as we all know stands for Wammo's Organic Rubber Band, even though the letters in the anagram don't match), Ed Hamell, and the entire Asylum Street Spankers are on the album, which was engineered/co-produced with Barbara K of Timbuk 3, (who is now off on tour for a month). Note to bands: Never underestimate the power of your audience. The folks who got Wammo onto the label were not regular A&R types, but shall we say menial employees of Mercury who saw him at SXSW's spoken word show at Mojo's and suggested to the powers that be that they sign 'im up.

Remember when it was a rarity for a Texas band to get signed? Now you got yer Panteras, Buttholes, and Junior Browns and all hitting the tops of various charts and it ain't enough to just list one signing a week, so how about this: veteran roots rockers High Noon have signed with Watermelon Records. Look for their Stranger Things album (previously available as an import) at the beginning of September.

Hey, Baby, It's the Fourth of July!

Okay, aside from the Diamond Smugglers show at the Electric Lounge and Willie Nelson's little soiree tonight, there's still a few other potential distractions this fourth of July. For instance, Gary Chester called to say that tonight's Ed Hall show at Liberty Lunch is the second to the last one for the band, who, true to the spirit of Cherubs, johnboy, and the Pain Teens, will release one last album on Trance Syndicate after they've ceased. (Look for their last show to be a barbecue affair at Emo's, August 3.) For more local holdiay happenings, see the box on p. 51. I've also heard that a number of people are going to go see a band called KISS in Dallas on the 5th. Well, that kinda screws those people up as far as experiencing the ultimate dichotomy of trying to catch both the Butthole Surfers and the Monkees in San Antonio that night. The former are at the Sunken Gardens and the latter are at Sea World. Me, I'm taking one of them fancy shuttles and seeing if I can't catch both. Ever since Playboy had Micky Dolenz review Rembrandt Pussyhorse and then let Gibby Haynes return the favor by passing judgment on Monkees Greatest Hits in the late Eighties, I've always linked the two bands together. Now, if they'd only play on the same bill! Just imagine: "I shot the Pope/I shot his ass/I saw his face/Now I'm a believer!"

Speak No Evil

And guess what Michael Nesmith's doing right now -- mixing down the new Monkees album for Rhino Records. Trying to figure what's up with the project is like pulling teeth; Rhino says that he/they won't talk to anyone about the disc (they recently nixed a cover for People), but it's expected that, like their best album, Headquarters, they will have played the bulk of the instruments on the album. Considering the time they've had since their last one, we figure they've had time to write most (all?) of this one, too. Rumors on the Internet are starting about an Austin show for the currently touring three Monkees (Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork), but since Dolenz's mother, who lived here and whose presence prompted a MusicMania in-store a couple of years ago, recently passed away, I doubt that an Austin gig will happen, unfortunately...

Achieving Closure

An astonishingly low number of people bothered to show up for last Tuesday's meeting regarding street closures in Austin, considering the fracas raised by the issue in the past. Lovejoy's owner Chip Tait, long concerned about the issue, refrained from showing up since, as he put it, "Everybody was just trying to find a way to get rid of French Smith, and there's no way to pass a law that does that -- as much as we might want one." As far as those who were there, I'm told that one elderly Sixth Street resident commented that she was satisfied with matters since the "steel rock" stage was eliminated from Smith's festivities. Later questioning revealed that she was actually trying to refer to "heavy metal."

See You in September

Look for the Red River allies to gain more support in a couple of months as both the former Chances and Auntie Mame's buildings will be housing new music venues come fall. Nathan Tate of Club DeVille takes over the former Chances come September and describes the new establishment as "a nice swanky place to have a couple of drinks and listen to music." Uh, oh! Given the location, if the place lives up to that description, the Black Triangle of Emo's, Lovejoy's, and Casino's may turn into the (ooh-ooh!) Black Diamond! Tate adds that to his knowledge, the Elixir Lounge, a jazz club in the space where Auntie Mame's once stood, will open even sooner.

A Loan for a Star

Nope, they ain't gonna buy you a P.A. or anything, but the Lone Star Brewing Company has got in on the music business to some extent, and in a refreshing (burp!) way. They've been "sponsoring" the likes of the Patty David Band, Johnny Rodriguez, Gary P. Nunn, and others by making posters for them to distribute. While the company seems to have an almost unhealthy preference for people whose first names end in "i", (Corbi Dyann, Rusty -- they spell it "Rusti" -- Rae, Debbi Walton) they seem to be open to a variety of country artists. Says rep Clay Morehead, "I like to support the local artists." He also likes to think that the posters the company provides give bands a sense of self esteem; especially the ones who don't get a lot of applause because they play in honky-tonks where everybody's drunk. It's a small-time operation, but you still may want to get in touch with Brett Bradford at the San Antonio Lone Star plant if you think you're a "Lone Star Beer Band." Their credo is too detailed to print here, but it has to do with drinking, breathing, and dreaming of Lone Star all day, every day.

Mixed Notes

Thought you'd heard about enough fires for a while? No such luck, I'm afraid. Maryann Price, Chris O'Connell, Danny Levin, and Rick O'Brien were in Nashville recording a video ad for Southwest Airlines at the Grand Ole Opry and guess what?!? The Union Station Hotel where they had been staying burned down. None of them were hurt, but this, along with several other blazes I've reported here recently, makes me think someone's seriously trying to drive up the price of musical instruments... Yeah, I know you're gonna take this with a grain of salt -- and well you might -- but I have it on good authority that the Survival Research Laboratories will indeed be putting on a show in Austin this year -- finally! Mark Pauline will in fact be in town in early August, and the SRL show is slated for August 26. That may not be Halloween, exactly, but it is the full moon before Halloween, at least... Any of you goobers who might think it funny to jump a train on your way out of the Electric Lounge might want to ask Dave Thomson about the events of last Saturday night, when the Electric Lounge manager found himself trying to keep what was left of a transient from being hit by a second train. When it was clear the train couldn't stop, several members of the club staff and patrons had to move the fellow off the tracks -- and were later chastised by the ambulance crew. Gee, sorry, guys! I guess he would've been easier to handle in smaller pieces... Daniel Johnston is slowly but surely progressing towards his next album for Atlantic Records -- with the emphasis on slowly. Atlantic rep Yves Beauvais says that Johnston is currently writing songs, but there will be no further studio work for another couple of months... I heard last week (from Sixteen Deluxe's booking agent, of all people) that the great dinosaur known as Boston had abandoned their touring ground, leaving Cheap Trick to seek greener pastures. This week, that news may have been eclipsed by David Lee Roth's return to Van Halen (and I, for one, didn't listen to a note since he left), but it's been confirmed, so all you cool bands, start harassing Rick Nielsen. He knows good music when he hears it... Sorry, Charlie! As always, Roky Erickson only stuck around to do one song (well, actually, he mumbled a few "Two Headed Dog"s before doing "You're Gonna Miss Me") at the Antone's benefit for his brother last week. For a change, though, he performed with the band before the one he was expected to play with, and was seen later in the parking lot with customer Rob Bernard of Prescott Curlywolf, who had missed Roky's performance and unsuccessfully begged him to return to the stage... If Tim Stegall's piece on the Texas Tornados in this issue has you all twisted, they'll be doing a signing at Waterloo Records this coming Tuesday at 5pm... I only have tenuous evidence that the episode of MTV's Road Rules that was shot here during SXSW may air during the next month. As evidence of how confused/confusing MTV people are, though, when they were shooting the show, one of our writers was headed to SXSW Central at the Convention Center when a production coordinator asked, "Why? What's going on over there?"... Look for a live Austin Lounge Lizards EP from Watermelon in a couple of weeks, as well as a new Iain Matthews album at the beginning of August... Say a prayer for the Grey Ghost, who suffered a stroke this week. He's in St. David's Hospital right now. And as long as you've assumed the position, get Jay Clark in there, too, as his health has been none too good, either... I assume this has been well-covered on 101X, but damn it if I didn't show up at that party last Saturday just a little too late to catch Rachel Marisay shaving unconscious people's butt-cheeks... Just kidding about exposing Wammo's real name. You think I want to die?!?...

-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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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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