Dancing About Architecture
How's Yer Johnson?
Venus Isle. Manager Joe Priesnitz now confirms that the "G3" tour featuring Johnson, Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai (and possibly Adrian Legg), is set for early October with 25-30 dates confirmed, including stops in San Antonio and Dallas. "They're talking about an Austin date," says Priesnitz, "but there's nothing definite yet." He also says that the album's first single, "Pavilion," goes to radio this week, and by Saturday you'll be able to sample five tracks from the new album on Johnson's website, http://www.ericjohnson.com. Priesnitz wasn't as forthcoming about a special online contest ("You'll just have to go online to see what it's all about,") but he did reiterate that Venus Isle's release date would not be changing again. But then again, isn't Venus the goddess of fickleness?
Timbuk Through?You haven't seen Pat MacDonald and Barbara K together lately, have you? Actually you haven't seen either of them at all, as they're both out of town (separately) and word is that both the couple and the band are kaput. Former T3 draftee Courtney Audain says that "I don't think there's a Timbuk 3" and that he knows he's not part of it, if there is (He's keeping busy with his Coinhead Studios, where the Killer Bees and Natalie Zoe have been doing some recording, and with the upcoming One World Fest, set for mid-September). Housesitter Wammo is keeping mum, but others close to the couple say that Pat and Barbara are staying in the house only for reasons of economy and pretty much stick to their own halves of the building. Expect to hear from both as they focus on their solo careers.
Give 'em the FingerSo you've finished up a power-pop compilation album. Not only is it finished, but it's over 76 minutes long - enough to pretty much fill up a CD completely. Then you get a call from Cheap Trick saying they wanna be on it. What do you do?
If you're new Houston-based label Copper Compact Discs and the album is Come and Get It: A Tribute to Badfinger, you offer Rick Neilsen and company their choice of still-available songs and wait while deciding who gets the boot. Austinites Cotton Mather, semi-Austinites 20/20, onetime Austinite Al Kooper, and sorta-semi-onetime Austinites the Plimsouls are among those on solid ground, as are familiar names like Adrian Belew (playing "Come and Get It" on guitar instead of keyboards?) Bill Lloyd (ex-Foster & Lloyd) and the reunited Knack. The disc is still set for a mid-September release, with or without a pick from the Trick, so look for the cool cover by Chronicle contributor Kevin Combs around that time to see the final lineup.
Meanwhile, the Halt Music Company is assembling a tri-city CD featuring artists from Austin, New Orleans, and New York City, each performing "his or her all-time favorite cover tunes." Austinites on that disc include David Halley, Troy Campbell, Lisa Mednick, Mandy Mercier, Linda Lozano, Tom Clifford, Patsy Thompson, and Kim Longacre with Garrett Williams. Can't wait to see their choices....
Spiders and FliesI guess it's called the Web because you can get caught in it so easily, as evidenced by a posting on Chris Isaak which recently caused a bit of a stir. The post quoted a supposed Fort Worth Star-Telegram story dated March 22 of this year, claiming that filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and Morgan Creek Pictures had signed a $2.4 million deal with Isaak sideman/sax maniac Johnny Reno to do movie music. The film company and Reno both are baffled as to where this story came from, and Reno says that "Robert's a friend [but] there's no deal in the works or anything like that." Reno has appeared in films and on television before, notably as a band leader in Rodriguez' Roadracers, but insists he has got no film work coming up in the near future and that the project referred to in the posting, Hang Time, doesn't even exist. Reno adds that he's not surprised that the item appeared on Isaak's site, as he understands that it "attracts a lot of the fringe element." If you get up to Dallas, you can see Reno playing at the Terry Allen-designed Red Jacket on Thursdays. "I'm going through my `lounge period,'" he says. "Just like everyone else."
When You Get Busted for Drugs Over There......then you're in trouble. But even if a drug dog pays you a bit of attention at an airport in Europe, it can still turn into a pot bust story over here. Current tales going around about the Joe Ely Band appear to be no more than rumors, though. While drummer Don Harvey allows that "someone in the band got sniffed," he says that's all to the story. Hmmm.
Such is not the case with speedmetal satirists Agony Column, I'm afraid. Unique vocalist Richie Turner ("Rattle - Rattle - Rattle - Striiiike!") is currently in a cell awaiting a visit to the courtroom, and not for the first time. This time, the incarceration is for revocation of probation or, as band member Stuart Laurence puts it, "pissing dirty too many times," and friends are not too upbeat about his chances of quick release. The band's next album has been complete for awhile and delayed a few times, but Laurence says that Way Back in the Woods should be out in October on German label Koch. Laurence adds that he expects a Murphy's Law situation; since Richie is in jail, the album will go over huge and "they'll want us to go tour over there, and we won't be able to." The Austin Curse (rattle rattle rattle) strikes again.
Mixed NotesCount the Derailers among those Austin acts who were happy not only that their Olympics gigs didn't bomb, but are relieved that they weren't bombed. "I'm glad nobody decided to psycho out while we were playing," notes Derailer Brian Hofeldt, adding that though the band took off the day before the bomb went off, he had been standing less than 50 yards from where it exploded a few days before watching Brian Setzer...
Derailer Tony Villanueva, meanwhile, is one of several people with whom Monte Warden has been co-writing songs, along with "the usual suspects" Bruce Robison, Mas Palermo, Charlie Robison, plus Michael Fracasso. Warden's been busy in Chicago recording pre-production demos for his upcoming Polygram/River North debut record... Been wondering about "Jason from Austin," the guy who, along with members of Victim's Family, is in the new Alternative Tentacles band Saturn's Flea Collar? Well, that would be former Squat Thrust member Jason Christian, and the album is out now. It's called Monosyllabic and features "Billy and Some Apples," "Is in the Middle Of" and other song titles that sound like something from Arthur Lee and Love... Wheel, formerly known by about half a dozen other names (and I'm not going to repeat them anymore) has found themselves facing persecution by another band and is modifying their moniker yet again. Now they're to be known as Wheel Local 404, and they expect no further troubles, unless, of course, a certain set of Thinking Fellers take offense... Okay, so it's not Kiss, but Sunflower has snagged an opening gig for Def Leppard. That's for their show Sunday in Houston... At risk of getting involved with a Reno/Rodriguez type scam, here's a quote I was e-mailed, said to originate in the British music magazine Melody Maker: "Over in Amsterdam on the Matador/Guided by Voices tour, Britt [Daniel], singer with Spoon (no, us neither) completely disappeared, causing much lo-fi concern. He was eventually found perched precariously on the fifth-floor ledge of his hotel, trying to `be closer to the sky.' (I dunno, a couple of hash cakes and some people...)"... That David Alvin album recorded live at the Continental Club is out now. Look for Interstate City out on Hightone Records... Also keep an eye out for the Tin Cup soundtrack, with tracks from Jimmie Vaughan, Texas Tornados, Joe Ely, and Shawn Colvin (and - uh-oh! - Chris Isaak)... Abra Moore is taking off for 10 days in Holland, Belgium, and Switzerland. That makes for a nice break from pre-production on her Arista Austin album and the Texas sun (I know Texas doesn't own the sun - we're just bigger, so we get more of it)... No, Tim Kerr hasn't dropped by for a visit lately, but I hear he's done some producing of late, namely on tracks for the Makers and the Monomen... Duelling in-stores Friday at 5pm: Vallejo will be at the Blockbuster on Burnet & 49th, Michele Solberg will be at Waterloo Records... In addition to the One World Fest mentioned above, September will be bringing the Flamingo Cantina's Flamingo Fest at Fiesta Gardens. Black Uhuru are set to headline; I'll have more about both fests as they approach... VH1's tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan is set for August 13, with Live at the El Mocambo running at 9pm and the trib following at 10... Smashing Pumpkins have announced November 30 as the date for their rescheduled show here. July tix will be honored; no opener has been announced... Check out the Walking Dead, ARC Welders, Good, and Smokin' Bozo for free at the Continental tonight (Thursday) as the A.R.C. Jamboree kicks back into gear... The Butthole Surfers continue to play up their new MTV-friendly status. Not only were they on Alternative Nation, as I warned you they would be, but they also hosted 120 Minutes last week. Looks like there won't be another Austin appearance until after a jaunt to Europe... Lotsa good acts including Kris McKay and members of 81/2 Souvenirs at the KGSR blood drive this Saturday, 10am-5pm. That's at the Austin Music Hall... Fans of almost-Austinite Tonio K. (he's never really lived here as such, but he comes for long and fairly frequent visits) will be interested to know that Gadfly Records is continuing to re-release his hard-to-find albums on CD. The latest pair are Romeo Unchained (1986) and Notes From the Lost Civilization (1988) and both feature Mr. K's pal Charlie Sexton... Finally, as we may have mentioned before, Ed Hall is going bye-bye forever after their show Saturday, so look for Lyman Hardy's new TV show, In Search of the Manchester Beat, coming soon. (I know, even he's gotta be tired of that joke by now...)
Contributors: Marjorie Baumgarten, Christopher Gray, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser