The Shade of GreyUnfortunately, a long life can be as fatal as heroin in the long run. As the Chronicle was going to press Wednesday, Tary Owens called to tell us that Roosevelt Williams -- better known as Grey Ghost to most of you -- passed away early in the AM at Heritage Park nursing home where he'd been for the last year. Ghost, who had a stroke July 3 and remained mostly incapacitated afterwards, was 92. The Bastrop native, best known for his unorthodox style of piano playing, will be remembered in grand musical style by T.D. Bell, James Polk and others next Tuesday at the Huston-Tillotson Chapel at 5pm. Owens adds that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to: Second Mile Drug Abuse Program, PO Box 2598, Austin, TX 78767.
Z.Z. Zecret...Internet "magazine" Addicted to Noise reports that Z.Z. Top are planning to repeat the trick they pulled recently in Houston by playing a tour of club dates under a false name. Bob Small at Lone Wolf Management says that calling the tour a fact would be premature, but doesn't argue that the idea is being discussed as a late summer possibility. He says the band did the Houston shows "just because they wanted to," and that further "secret" shows (no markets have been selected yet) would provide the "opportunity to reestablish the players that they are"... not to mention guarantee a buttload of promotion for their Rhythmeen album, due on September 17.
To Panic or Not to Panic?Is it time to panic? Depends on who you talk to. A letter from Lance Fever says that Gals Panic have "finally decided to call it quits after four wonderful years together," and will be performing their last show late in August, most likely on the 17th at Liberty Lunch. However, I'd called Jeremy Pollet just before noticing this letter, and he would only allow that the swan song show (he gives the date as the 24th) would be the last show "with this lineup." In any case, a new band featuring members of Gals Panic and Miss Galaxie will be debuting tonight (Thursday) at the Hole in the Wall under the name PlayDoh Squad, opening for the Hormones and Jesus Christ Superfly. The Squad will be appearing soon on a split single with the Golden Arm Trio (featuring Eric the Butcher, another Gals Panic ex) as well.
VH1, MTV0You may have already seen the VH-1 Route 96 crew zooming around town in their Convertible Concert Cruiser as part of what they're calling the "ultimate rock & roll road trip." In fact, you may have seen them before their scheduled arrival yesterday (Wednesday) since they had to pull a "pit stop" here last Friday to tape a visit by Lyle Lovett and Shawn Colvin to Collings guitars. The two fans of the local company's instruments played and spoke for a segment on the Route, which airs the week of July 29. Waterloo Records has also hosted the show already for a Storyville segment this week, while Ian Moore is scheduled to host a tour of the store for the show this Friday. He'll be taking them to places like the Green Mesquite and Sixth Street also. Friday, the Route heads over to the Stevie Ray Vaughan memorial and Antone's. If their oft-changing schedule has gone as planned, they'll have already done their Jimmie Vaughan segment by then.
Meanwhile, local Austin Cablevision has stated that they won't even think of carrying MTV Networks' new M2 channel (it's like MTV, only with music videos in place of all the sports, game, and bikini shows) until at least 40 months down the line, when they're able to add new channels. At this point they'd have to replace a home shopping channel or a religious one (is there a real difference?) and that just wouldn't be right!
Call in Your B.E.T.sYou may recall a few weeks ago I told you about Austin teens Briana, Lori, Apryl, and Kristi, collectively known as B.L.A.K., who were headed out to Houston to compete in the semi-finals of the Motown First Annual Talent Search. Well, they won, and this Friday they'll be flying out to Washington, D.C. and appearing live on B.E.T.'s Video Soul program, where a call-in vote will determine which of 18 acts will receive the Grand Prize of a Motown record contract. There's no limit to the number of times you can vote, and the band is asking that you "tell your friends, and your friends' friends, and so on and so on!" And for those of you who can't afford a fleet of 1-900 calls, they respectfully request that you "Please, by all means... pray!"
Mixed NotesCall them the Tim Bucks Two: Charlie Sexton/Alejandro Escovedo manager Tim Neece and Austin Music Hall/Backyard owner Tim O'Connor are currently "in negotiations" over whether the former will move to Austin to run the latter's production company, Direct Events. Coming soon, the most-asked question at the Music Hall: "Who's opening, Charlie or Al?"... Joe Ely will be heading home to Lubbock to co-headline Buddy Holly's 60th birthday celebration with the Crickets on September 7. The accompanying festival, which starts on September 5, will serve as a benefit to permanently house the collection of Holly memorabilia recently bought by the city of Lubbock... Seen enough of Junior Brown lately? Well, his face is hard to miss these days. For your scrapbook, you can find him on the cover of the new BAM magazine (#488) looking a tad road-weary, or inside Musician magazine appearing with ex-Living Colour boss Vernon Reid, whom Brown interviews... The aforementioned BAM also gives a five-star review to the latest from Bedhead, who should be back from touring about now, four-and-a-half to Slobberbone's Crow Pot Pie, and a tongue-in-cheek four stars to the "astounding parody of country music" that BAM thought was an album by Spirit called Willie Nelson... Ministry apparently had a better time in Amsterdam than they ever did in Marble Falls, and for good reason. One local who flew out for their show there last week reports that Al Jourgensen seemed positively delighted and at home with the large, "hashed-out" crowd. If you don't know what I mean about Amsterdam, let me put it this way -- when said fan returned home with a sore throat and told her doctor she'd just been there, the first thing he asked was "Nothing personal, but did you do any intravenous drugs?"... Next up from Trance Syndicate: Look for the Cherubs' Short of Popular on July 30 and a new one from American Analog Set in August. Oh, and don't run out and get your tan lotion for "Plywoodstock" just yet. Trance Syndicate's Craig Stewart, who was helping book the event, says that the event has been postponed 'til sometime in September. And that's likely the last thing he'll be saying on the subject, as he has left the project to the Zendik Farm people, who were actually behind it from the beginning. Stewart's departure comes after the appearance of an XL blurb (in the issue with the big Tim O'Connor fold-out cover) indicating that he, not the Zendiks, was the driving force behind the event... They stopped sending us the The Daily Texan here, so this might have been a joke, but the news in the UT paper last week that the Ging'breadmen had signed to Capitol Records is also news to the band. They offer an impressive list of labels to whom they've talked, but Capitol is not one of them...Michele Solberg's Liquid CD is out now. The album includes a "David Lynch-style" version of the Association's "Never My Love"... Brothers R.T. (ex-Joe Rockhead) and Rick Thayer have a new album out under the name Red Church Museum. The album is called 101, and in fact the group has just altered their lineup and changed their name to that number... No word on rumored personnel changes in the Ugly Americans, but the band is back in town and their Stereophonic Spanish Fly CD is out now. They'll be doing the in-store thing at Waterloo next Thursday at 5pm... Other in-stores include Will Taylor at Tower this Friday at 4pm and Mariachi Estrella at Waterloo at 5pm, also this Friday... Also on the racks are new ones from the Loose Diamonds and Reese (no relation to Reese Whitley). Oh, and the Million Sellers have a new 7-inch out. Four songs on yellow vinyl. Cool... Necrofix's Billdo Sarver will be joining the touring 16Volt on their tour with the Evil Mothers and Bile. Expect an Austin gig in late August... The Sony Corporation has announced plans to use Austin (along with Rochester, NY) as a test market for their recordable Mini Disc. In fact, we're waiting for the Sony guy to show up at the office right now, and next week I may have more to tell you about this tiny "future of digital recording." At this moment, I'm not too clear on why Austin was chosen, though Sony rep David Sinkle did tell us the Mini Disc will be great for bootlegging live shows. Except for ones by Sony artists, right, David?... The nice folks in Starfish have landed a gig that'll keep 'em busy through the end of August: opening for the Butthole Surfers.
-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser