We Refuse To Grow Up
Life and DeathTom Churchill, bassist for Glitterpuss and more recently Blort and Snatch Lizard, was killed Friday night while riding his bike near the Planet K on South Lamar. Churchill, described by friends as a careful rider, was wearing a helmet (evidence suggests he may even have been riding on the sidewalk) when he was struck from behind by a truck. While not the most well-known name on the Austin music scene, Churchill was "sure as hell actively out there trying to do as much as he could," according to Tallboy's John Yarbrough. The folks at the Lake Austin Magnolia Cafe, where Churchill was employed, are trying to do what they can as well, with a memorial planned for this Friday, 3pm, at Pease Park.
"Drugs (Will Kill Me)" was the name of a song by Raul's-era punk band Sharon Tate's Baby, and the lyrics came all too true for 34-year-old STB guitarist Alin Black who died of a heroin overdose in San Francisco last week. Black, who also played with The Droogs and Jerryskids, last played here at the 1994 Raul's Reunion in honor of the late Joseph Gonzalez. And since these things come in threes, we'll throw in bluegrass legend Bill Monroe, whose passing Monday came two days short of his 85th birthday.
On the other side of the life-and-death fence, Jayson Hawkins of Smegma, accused of murdering a patron of the Blue Flamingo following a performance there (see last week's column), was apprehended last Wednesday at his girlfriend's apartment in San Marcos. The girlfriend was also arrested for harboring a criminal.
It's All in the WristSXSW has announced that next year they're changing their wristband policy. Under the new rules, wristbands for the music festival will no longer be marketed nationally. Instead, they'll only be made available to music fans in Austin in limited numbers and to SXSW registrants. The festival's Creative Director Brent Grulke says this is "so the clubs don't get so goddamn crowded." SXSW top gun Roland Swenson explains a bit more clearly that "as a result of SXSW being a conference for the media, it gets a lot of press," drawing increasing numbers of tourists, who in turn clog up the already limited hotel space and keep locals out of the clubs. Swenson also says that the Austin Music Awards are moving from Palmer Auditorium to the Austin Music Hall, and that this annual SXSW kick-off event will serve its purpose even more so since 1997 will mark the first year that official showcases start on Wednesday instead of Thursday. So, guys, where's the grid?
The Teevee & the FreebieYes, it's true! David Letterman wasn't enough, and now the Butthole Surfers are scheduled to shoot an episode of The Larry Sanders Show. In fact, they were already supposed to have done so, but the taping was delayed for some rewriting. Currently, neither the taping nor the airdate has been scheduled. One date I can give you is September 19 -- that's when the erudite Gibson Haynes makes his debut, alongside the likes of James Coburn, on Comedy Central's Politically Incorrect. Mr. Haynes also showed up at the Pukefest in New York, where Fastball were playing. Head 'ball Miles Zuniga notes that even once you've got a hit record, the lure of free beer is still strong. For Zuniga, the lure of free admission is powerful as well, as he and drummer Joey Shuffield found themselves pounding on the back door of a club where Spoon was playing in New York, since it's internationally recognized that if you're from Texas and the band onstage is from Texas, you should get in free. The two later found that their cacophonous banging had been accompanying the poor acoustic act who was opening the show. Unfazed, they got a message through to Spoon-man Britt Daniel that Texans wanted in free. He sent back that, "If it's Bryan, let him in." Realizing that Daniel must've meant (you guessed it!) Bryan Bowden, Zuniga tried to pass himself off as same, but his ID betrayed him. Being Austinites, the pair eventually wormed their way in free anyhow.
Radio-Go-RoundWell, sure enough, Kevin Connor has ended up back at his old KGSR morning post as we predicted last week. He'll be joining Cecilia Nasti, despite the fact that her role on the show has been reduced to mostly prerecorded materials. Ed Mayberry, meanwhile, has moved over to KLBJ. Okay, he actually just popped into their morning show for some friendly teasing. Both stations, however, have nice new glass trophies in their offices, courtesy of Billboard's radio awards. In the "Small Market, Mainstream Rock" division, KLBJ grabbed "Station of the Year," "Program Director of the Year" (Jeff Carrol), "Music Director of the Year" (Loris Lowe), and the broad-sounding "Best Radio Program," which went to the Dudley and Bob Show. KGSR's "roommate," 101X, brought in a couple of awards in the "Modern Rock" category, one for Sara Trexler as "Best Program Director" and one for Gibby Haynes for (hmmm...) "Personality." KHFI got "Top 40 Station of the Year" for our market size. Oh, before I get off the subject of radio, KUT is apparently down to three choices in the replacement of departed General Manager Bill Giorda. At this point, however, they're not naming names.
Mixed NotesWell, who's a poor weekly newspaper to believe when it comes to tour dates, the artist or the record company? Last week, we went with the record company (Rykodisc), who said that Bob Mould would be playing Stubb's on November 5, over Mould himself, who told one of our writers the show would be at Liberty Lunch on November 9. This week Ryko is saying they only can confirm Houston on the 8th, and the Lunch -- wait, the phone's ringing. Ah! Liberty Lunch says Bob just confirmed for the 9th... Mould's sideman on the tour, Andrew Duplantis, will be onstage Sunday at the second anniversary of the Free-For-All at the Hole in the Wall. Duplantis, who will also be celebrating his own 27th birthday, joins front man Paul Minor (who's celebrating his 30th), drummer Kevin Pearson, and guitarists Jon Sanchez and Jacob Schultze (who's celebrating finally getting his car out of my yard)... And what happened to Joan Osborne's October-scheduled Austin appearance? All Tim Neece knows is that opener Cracker bailed and Osborne is holding off on the tour until things get straightened out. What he didn't know is that Cracker, meanwhile, has apparently booked a November 1 date at Liberty Lunch. Also noteworthy is the October 17 appearance of The Heads at the venue; that's Concrete Blonde's Johnette Napolitano fronting a David Byrne-less Talking Heads... Jody Denberg says he had a brief chat with Patti Smith recently at the Gavin convention, and asked her if, as he had heard, the dress she wears on her Wave album was bought in Austin. Yes, it turned out that her recently-deceased brother had bought it for her here. Denberg says he invited Smith to perform at KGSR's next Anniversary Show, and she may just do that, though of course nothing is yet confirmed... Pork's new album, Slop, sporting a cover that looks like a companion piece to Daniel Johnston's Fun, has arrived at the Chronicle, and the commercially available copies should be in stores on October 1. Now, for the last time, how did the album end up on Trance instead of Elektra? Pork manager Jeff Tartakov explains that Elektra simply offered "as lousy a deal as I've ever seen a major label offer a band." When asked if he thought it was worse than Johnston's current deal with Atlantic, however, he withdrew his original statement. He does add that the person responsible for Elektra's Pork offer has recently been fired... Take note that the Diez y Seis ceremonies this Sunday, with Flaco Jimenez and others, have moved to Auditorium Shores... Hootie of the Blowfish was nice enough to thank John Croslin onstage last week for writing the song "Araby," which the Blowfish then proceeded to play. Backstage before the show, the band had asked the former Reiver if he would join them in performing it, but he demurred. "I wasn't prepared," says the Cros. One of the Dexter Freebish guys was prepared enough to join the Hootfish onstage for a Toad the Wet Sprocket number when they opened their show in Houston, but that performance was during the sound check... Internet magazine Addicted To Noise has reported that Sonic Youth are breaking in their new studio by recording the soundtrack to Richard Linklater's new film subUrbia before getting to work on their next "real" album. Linklater's Detour Productions, however, report that they're currently finding all sorts of falsehoods being spread about the film, and that it's all up in the air, anyway... Some new albums that have come down the pike: Steve James' Art and Grit and Teddy Morgan's Louisiana Rain from Antone's/Discovery, High Noon's Stranger Things on Watermelon, Lisa Tingle's In the Water, a new 2-disc collection from Ronnie Dawson, Joel Nava & the Border's Soy Otro on Arista Latin, and Fender 50th Anniversary Guitar Legends with tracks from Austin's Vaughan Brothers and Terry Bozzio (the latter performing with Jeff Beck). Bozzio is also a key player on Frank Zappa's Läther (pronounced "leather") 3-CD set, recorded in 1977 and released at last by Rykodisc in the form Zappa originally intended... Jennifer Cook, formerly of the Wallflowers (not the popular ones) debuts her new band Wilt tonight at the Electric Lounge... In-stores: Gillian Welch at Waterloo Records Saturday at 4pm, Peter Keane there Monday at 5pm... Chicago House has announced the return of its open-mike shows. Those start up next Monday at 8pm at the club's new home within the Austin Music Hall. Music hopefuls, call the ChiHouse Hotline (444-0777) at 6:30pm on the Monday you wish to play. If you lost track of Ken Schaeffer's open mike, it's moved to La Palapa on Tuesday nights. Or ya can play on the street till you get signed or arrested.
-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser