The Austin Chronicle

Dancing About Architecture

A Day at the Races

By Ken Lieck, August 23, 1996, Music

Unclean Records had the unusual honor of a horserace in their name, the "Unclean 500," at Retama Park racetrack in San Antonio, thanks to a friend of the Sons of Hercules who works there. Unclean owner Roger Morgan reports that he lost money until the last race of the day, when his wife won it back (apparently a typical practice in the Morgan household) and that George Strait's private box was, sadly, empty. He also admits that, on the way out to present the trophy, he naturally "stepped in a big pile." Morgan has more to think about than the horses, though, with a new N.O.T.A. album currently out, a Dropouts CD finished and on the way, and Stretford about to hit the road. The Sons, meanwhile, had to cancel an East Coast tour when bassist Eddie Edmundson had his hand injured by an attack police dog. (I should mention that Edmundson trains police dogs, and wasn't trying to evade one for sinister purposes.)

Every Story Has A Moral...

...or at least a mural. In the case of Letters to Cleo's current album, Wholesale Meats and Fish, the mural in question is the one by Bill Brakhage and Rory Skagen that graces the front of the Carousel Lounge. It also features prominently in the packaging of the Cleo album, as the artists found when Brakhage's sister called from Michigan after seeing Wholesale... A segment from the mural appears on the CD insert (which also features snaps of the band goofing around at Austin hangouts like Chuy's), and the disc artwork itself is taken from a detail of Skagen and Brakhage's work.

The artists (who created the mural for only the cost of the materials) say that Warner Bros. was nice to them at first, but soon stopped returning their calls, and it's unclear what sort of permission the Carousel gave to the Warner photographers. (One employee says she believes they'd been given permission only to shoot inside the club.) In any case, Brakhage says "We don't want to make it an issue with the Carousel, only with Warner Bros. and bands from Boston who think they can come into town during SXSW and rip off whatever they want."

Welcome to the Real World

David Rice will be heading out next week to Bath, England to record his major-label debut at Peter Gabriel's Real World studios. Along with him will be bandmate Eddie Hawkins, Real World's David Bottrill (who just finished Tool's new one -- a non-Real World project), and omnipresent former Twang Twang Shock-a-Boomer Chris Searles. Says Rice, "We've been given the opportunity to go over there for a couple of months and work on the record." That's not an opportunity I'd pass up, either. As for Rice's own home studio, the Cher UK CD that was recorded there recently is already out. Look for the 5-song Berdella out on Crocodile Lady Records, and expect more from Rice's studio; several bands will be utilizing his facilities while he's overseas.

Fresh Hormones

All this time you've been hearing that Ron Williams was quitting the Hormones to have more time with Jesus Christ Superfly. Instead, damn near everyone else is quitting the Hormones, with what bossman Tim Stegall calls their first "all-testosterone" lineup. Original Gomez drummer Brandon Burke, along with guitarist Mark Nathan, will make their Hormonal debut on Aug. 27th at the Hole in the Wall, performing along with Dead End Cruisers and Louisville, Kentucky's Cherub Scourge. The Scourge, interestingly enough, play two days later at Emo's with Tallboy and Superfly, who are looking at their own lineup changes. Yet another drummer is saying bye-bye to JCS soon; with Steve Sanden splitting the group next month and no further shows expected from them for the remainder of the year. Superfly co-founder Rick Carney says he's at the point of offering to save death-row inmates from the gas chamber if they swear to be the permanent JCS drummer. He's also planning a country band, tentatively named Gravy Boat.

Next Year's Model

Well, it's hard to believe, but already it's time to start thinking about SXSW. The Music Festival for 1997 will begin accepting applications starting Sept. 1, at which time the "processing fee" per submission will be $10 (The fee doubles in October). To get an application, write to SXSW, P.O. Box 4999, Austin, TX 78765. This year, accepted bands will receive a choice of $175 cash (up $25 from last year) or a SXSW registration and singer-songwriters will get $45 or a registration. And in case you're wondering -- yes, there will be big shows in the Austin Music Hall and no, the Chicago House will not be a venue this year. What were you thinking?

Mixed Notes

You oughta know by now that Chicago House's big re-opening (at the Austin Music Hall) is this weekend, or you haven't been paying attention. Here's the new 24-7 number to call for more info: 444-0777, and here's a few of the folks who'll be there this weekend: Lourdes Perez, Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, Mike Jasper, Will Sexton, Michael Fracasso, and Will T. Massey... Here's a list of some people who won't be at the Chicago House this weekend: Pam Mayo, Swim, Tammy Gomez, Dexter Freebish, Gourds, Diana Jones, Hot Wheels Jr., Fastball, Sunflower, Litzbomb, and Karen Tyler will all be heading to New Orleans, but not to stay. They'll all be playing the Cutting Edge Music Festival there, from August 22-24... The Showoffs tell me that they've recorded a "smokin'" track for Bloodshot Records' Insurgent Country Vol. 3, due out this fall (you'll remember that the second volume of the series featured Cornell Hurd). That's not what the folks at the label say, though. Bloodshot says that the Showoffs are, rather, slated to appear on their Boone County Jamboree compilation. We'll just see which one it ends up being... The opening of the new Threadgill's is imminent. One emloyee of the old Threadgill's offers a tentative date of Sept. 12... The Hollywood Reporter recently reported on a Squeeze show in Hollywood (duh!) wherein "sideman Nick Harper... stepped in as opening act when Mercury's Hamell on Trial mysteriously disappeared." Hamell was not reachable at press time but Mark Shuman at the Electric Lounge says he's pretty sure that Hamell didn't jet down to the Lounge that night for a quick Austin fix... As if rush hour weren't bad enough, Lyle Lovett is scheduled to perform an in-store with a small portion of his Large Band next Monday at Waterloo Records at 5pm... Capitol Records is going whole hog with their Eric Johnson web site (, incorporating technologies that even the Chronicle's state-of-the-art computer systems may not be able to handle yet. (Time to download more plug-ins, guys). Visitors to the site get previews of songs from the new album and chances to "win" phone calls from the man himself. Those of you still trying to figure out your touch-tone phones can relax, though, as you can preview the album by dialing 800/ 955-SONG. Oh, and by the way, Adrian Legg has joined up on Johnson's tour of tweedlers... Speaking of tours, Sincola are awaiting word on the possibility of hopping on a big one, but they won't say with whom quite yet. Meanwhile, I've heard a report that MTV has played their latest video, but the band doubts it. Terri Lord says she thinks the UK version of MTV may be showing it on their Alternative Nation show (shouldn't that be Alternative Kingdom?) Maybe my source was picking up a satellite transmission... Gary Myrick & Havana 3am have a new album out by the name of Texas Glitter and Tombstone Tales... Meredith Louise Miller (Hey, I thought she had dropped the middle name schtick...) has signed with Steve Records, a division of Dallas' Crystal Clear Sound, and has a new album on the way. Look for If I Had a Hi-Fi sometime in September... Sheri Lane is off for a long bout of touring soon with Lisa Germano. If you wanna see her with the Horsies, you better rush out to Stubbs' this Saturday, when they open for Moist Fist and Crust... Ultrasound promise "three hours of mind-altering droning" at the release of their new 2 LP set. That'll be this Saturday at the Hyde Park Theatre... Say goodbye to the Specials. They're out of the lineup of the upcoming One World Festival and Toots & the Maytals are in. I think I can accept that trade... David Ball had some spare energy after opening for Dwight Yoakam at the Erwin Center and high-tailed it over to play with Libbi Bosworth at the Continental Club last Thursday night. Although the show was a record-release party for Bosworth's excellent new The Other Side of You CD on Freedom Records, it briefly turned into a mini-reunion of Uncle Walt's Band, with Bosworth covering a song by the late Walter Hyatt, and then Ball and Champ Hood jamming for a few tunes... I just got the advance tape of The Best of Austin City Limits -- Country Music's Finest Hour, featuring Yoakam's "Guitars, Cadillacs," and live versions of hits from everybody from Willie Nelson to k.d.lang. The real thing hits stores on Sept. 17... Papa Mali & the Instigators have now taken a regular Thursday slot at Antone's (Not counting tonight, when W.C. Clark will be taking the stage). Couple that with Shat Records on Wednesdays and you can see all the members of Soulhat in two days' time -- just split in half... No good deed shall go unpunished: While performing at the SIMS benefit at Liberty Lunch last Thursday, Wheel Local 404 lost an amp to a thief. Keep an eye out for someone disreputable with a Roland Jazz Chorus 120 missing several knobs... Cryptic message of the week: Guy and Wammo, did you each buy separate copies of this month's Playboy or did you just get one and share it?

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

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