Dancing About Architecture

Chicago Music Hall

Well, Peg Miller wasn't kidding when she said the new location for Chicago House would be a surprise; it's going to be located at the Austin Music Hall. Gone are the times when her best acts would get too big for the former Sixth Street club. "Now," says Miller, "I've got so much room it'll take 'em a long time to outgrow me!" The birth of the notion came when she got to talking to AMH owner Tim O'Connor at the infamous task force meeting on street closure awhile back, and its fruition came this Tuesday when the papers were signed. Miller believes that the "two criticisms people have about O'Connor" are about to be history, as Chicago House's relocation there should put an end to people complaining that the venue doesn't support enough local talent. Miller will be bringing successful plays from local theatres to the AMH, along with, of course, Austin music, starting with a big opening on the 22nd with the likes of Betty Elders, Jimmy LaFave, Will T. Massey, and dozens of others. Oh, and that second criticism of the Music Hall? Miller says she's experienced the new air-conditioning system and guarantees it'll blow you away.

Another Spoonful

Now that ex-Reiver and current hotshot producer John Croslin has ended his temporary stint as bass player for Spoon, he's headed back into the studio full force. Croslin recently hopped up to Dayton, Ohio to produce eight songs for lauded lo-fi-ers Guided By Voices, with whom he hung out during a previous Spoon/GBV tour. "We threw 'em together with four-tracks and stuff," says Croslin of the new tracks, which are scheduled to appear on GBV's upcoming album. Croslin's also finished work on the new Cattleguard album, and the band says they've just mastered it and are preparing to release the CD themselves. This week sees Croslin working with Shindig and Sick Little Monkey.

The Wannabes' Croslin-produced EP, originally titled Destroy All Enemies of the Wannabes,should be in stores as you read this, but the five-song disc took some odd turns on its way to the shops. Originally slated to contain all new material, plans changed after the band won their recent NAIRD award, and the CD now represents more of a sampler of the Wannabes' history, with one track off each of their previous two CDs, their cut from the Jo Carol Pierce covers album, and two new tracks including the former title song and a version of the Kinks' "I'll Remember." Wannabe Kevin Carney says the title change came about partially because Dejadisc owner Steve Wilkison thought it was a bit harsh for a sampler, but Carney admits that the new title, I Am God, is if anything more off-putting. Next up from the 'Bes is another full-lengther, with Croslin and Dave McNair tenatively scheduled to produce it

Getting back to former Spoon bassists, Andy Maguire has two new projects going, one a band with Pam Peltz, Susie Martinez, and Lisa Wickware (the latter two who are exiting the Hormones) that "has no name yet but is ready to play" (I guess they're waiting for Peltz to have one of her precognizant dreams). You might also notice that "Barbie Dahl" in the band Handfull looks a lot like Maguire. Of the legal battles currently in motion between Maguire and her former bandmates in Spoon, she declines to comment, noting only that "I'm really happy to be playing now with nice people." Britt Daniel was unavailable for comment since, as always, Spoon is out on the road, but his close, personal friend, "Drake Tungsten" does have a few things on his mind -- found on a new five-song EP from Peekaboo Records.

Oklahoma Friendly

Wonder why Bill Hicks once termed Oklahoma "the only state that Arkansas can make fun of?" Just ask Rey Washam and Paul Barker of Ministry about their problems there. Washam and Barker got the full Sooner treatment while driving through the state. At one point, they looked in the rear view mirror to find a fleet of police cars, lights ablaze, pursuing them. They pulled over and found that someone had called the cops saying the band had been waving guns around. The guys suspect the storyteller was probably a yokel they had previously spoken with briefly while buying gas. After a search of the van, the two were released without incident, and continued on their way to Chicago. Washam, by the way, seems to be perfectly happy with his Ministry gig (he recently turned down an audition for the drummer spot with the Smashing Pumpkins) and will be heading back up to Chi-town and into the studio with Al Jourgensen next month to get to work on their next album. Considering how long the last one took, it's good they're getting a head start.

New York Groove

Bars across Austin shut off their jukeboxes last weekend to witness the Butthole Surfers' network TV debut on the Late Show, and it was quite a show. After mumbling their name at barely audible levels, it took Dennis Miller's appearance and loud reference to the Buttholes being a "tight band" to finally loosen The Dave up. While many commented on how cool it was that drummer King Coffey was wearing an Ed Hall shirt on the show, one current Superego member and former bandmate of Surfers bassist Owen McMahon points out that "Now that Ed Hall broke up, [Coffey's] Trance Syndicate will be stuck with a load of inventory if he doesn't plug 'em as much as he can!"

S.I.M.S. Like Old Times

That proposed album of Pariah demos won't be the only musical tribute to the late Sims Ellison and the suicide prevention foundation in his name. Now in the works is a compilation album that's looking for bands and a label, and early signs show that it could be a mighty big project. The usual suspects, like the Butthole Surfers, Meat Puppets, and Toadies are tentatively involved, says brother Kyle Ellison, and some surprises can be expected as well. He'll know more about the project's progress soon, perhaps even by the time of the big SIMS foundation benefit tonight (Thursday) at Liberty Lunch. The evening begins at 8pm with a fashion show accompanied by the music of the Living Pins, continuing through the evening with SSIK, Michele Solberg, Sunshine, Johnny Goudie, and others.

Respect Your Elders

Fans of Betty Elders who were worried about her future at Rounder Records (which bought the label to which she was signed, Flying Fish) recently waged a small e-mail campaign aimed at one of the company's co-owners, and some reportedly received a gruff "cease and desist" command from the Rounder honcho. Elders says that the exec is a longtime friend and must have been "having a bad day." One fan who partook in the Betty-boosting says that she instead received a pleasant reply assuring her that a new album was in the works and that she should "channel the energy" she used in e-mailing him to calling radio stations when that disc comes out instead. Meanwhile, labelmate Peter Keane has his own Rounder/Flying Fish album coming out next week. Titled Walking Around, the new disc was produced by Bill Morrissey and includes guest shots by Champ Hood and John Hagen, among others.

Mixed Notes

Looking for more news on your favorite local bands? Both Pop Culture Press and Thora-Zine are out with new issues right now, and both have audio freebies included as well. PCP has two of the bands off their free CD, the Wannabes and Cotton Mather, performing at Waterloo Records this Friday at 5pm. Meanwhile, Alcohol, Drugs and Driving and Apathy Trend have split up again and both have new issues out... Remember Jaws of Life? Well, you don't have to rely on memory anymore, as the band is reforming in the wake of Swine King's demise. They'll be playing with Hyperfluff and Pocket FishRmen this Friday at the Hole in the Wall... Speaking of which, the Hole has their next CD planned; a compilation of artists who play their Monday "Unplug This!" nights... Plywoodstock is on again, scheduled for August 31 at the Zendik Farm. Confirmed acts so far include the Motards, Cactus Smack Conspiracy, Brown Hornet and Blort... The Killer Bees expect to have their first new studio CD in five years available in eight to 10 weeks. They've also recorded a live show in Paris for future release, but that recording almost didn't happen when the person who had brought them to France found out his girlfriend had been on the tragic TWA flight 800 (the Bees had taken TWA flight 803). Plans call for the recording to be dedicated to the victims of that flight and their families when it is released... I hear that the new 45 from the Ridgetop Westernaires is in actuality Wayne "the Train" Hancock performing two originals with Chris Miller on steel, Todd Wulfmeyer on take-off guitar, and High Noon's Kevin Smith and Shaun Young on bass fiddle and traps, respectively. That's according to a post on the net from ace critic Mark Rubin, who declares that "I've got a copy and pronounce it bad-ass, but what do I know?"... One good reason to go to KVRX Night at the Blue Flamingo next Monday, with Gomez, Bongo Hate and Provocative Elbow, is to see whether the headliners will continue to earn their new nickname of "No-Show-mez"... Quentin Tarantino may have seen more films in the last week than most people see in a lifetime, but that didn't stop him from catching some live music in the blah blah capital of the world. QT was spotted enjoying the Asylum Street Spankers after Kung Fu night last Wednesday, and even stuck around 'til after 2am through a bit of poetry slamming. Monday's end-of-fest party at Antone's found Quentin and compadre Rick Linklater running late and looking haggard, but they did get to check out some of the Monday night blues regulars... Schwaggert will be playing the first of two farewell shows next Wednesday at the Hole In The Wall. Their guitarist, ex-Neptune Steve Watson will be moving to New Orleans to join Jake Flack, another former Neptune, in $1000 Car, who just signed with Margaritaville/Island Records... Some bands make movie soundtracks, while others are bound to go straight to video. Paul Minor, the mind behind the Superego, says that MTV's travel video, Road Rules: Trippin' the Americas, will feature music from the S'ego album...

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

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More Dancing About Architecture
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The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

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