The Big Flamingo
This Sunday sees a less pricey and ambitious extravaganza in the form of the Flamingo Fest at Fiesta Gardens, noon-10pm. And no, Fiesta Gardens isn't in San Antonio, it's at Town Lake (I can't blame you for forgetting, though -- A Flock Of Seagulls was headlining the last show I remember going to there). The ticket price ($5 advance, $7 at the gate) goes to benefit the Austin Center for Battered Women and Big Brothers & Sisters of Austin, with the event celebrating Flamingo Cantina's fifth anniversary. Oh, did I forget to mention the music? Black Uhuru headlines, with One Destiny, Tribal Nation, Raggamassive, Amandla Poets, and Killer Bees on the Reggae Stage, and Rubberbullet, El Flaco, Pocket FishRmen, Gingbreadmen, and Billygoat on the Alternative Stage. There'll also be kids' entertainment and, you know, turkey legs and stuff like that.
Doolittle on TrialRumors have flown for awhile that local label Doolittle Records and Doolittle/Mercury artist Hamell on Trial have broken off their professional relationship, and now, finally, both parties admit that the deal between them, inasmuch as Mercury Records is involved, is over. "I think Jeff Cole is trying to be a good guy and get the hell out," says Hamell, adding that it seemed as though Mercury was not taking any of Cole's creative input seriously. He adds that Cole loses nothing by bowing out -- he gets points for the next two records either way, and the only real difference is that Mercury previously sent money to Cole, who paid Hamell. Now, says Hamell, they're just "cutting out the middleman." Cole repeats those exact words, adding that it had become clear that Hamell was no longer a Doolittle artist, and "I'd rather have my label recognized for albums we're actually involved with." Hamell sees good things in the future for both parties; he's hooking up with Henry Rollins for a tour next March, and Mercury wants a new album to be ready to go along with it. As far as Cole, Hamell recently sent him a tape of a band from Albany called Lughead, and Cole is in the process of signing them. "Sooner or later," says Hamell "[Cole's] gonna have a hit and everyone's gonna shit!"
Two Way StreetThe Old Pecan Street Association is up in arms after French Smith "decided he owned the rights to the [Old Pecan Street] Festival" and snapped up the East Sixth Street Community Association (ESSCA) and the Texas Walk of the Stars as the new sponsors, according to a fax from Esther's Follies' Michael Shelton. Smith counters with claims that, essentially, he does own it after a deal he cut with the Pecan Street Association back in 1985 when he bailed the festival out to the tune of $20,000. Both sides were in court earlier this week to decide who owns what, but that won't stop the fest from happening this weekend. "The festival will go on as planned," says Smith, "and as to who actually owns it, that'll be determined on October 10."
Sin Carola (w/o Caroline)Sincola's drummer/manager Terri Lord says the band is looking for a real manager and demoing "tons of songs" following the expiration of their option with Caroline Records and the label's subsequent decision not to continue working with the band. Lord says the band "loved the staff of Caroline and they loved us," but that Sincola hasn't necessarily been happy with decisions the label has made since the departure of A&R head Brian Long, who brought them to Caroline. "We weren't surprised about the decision," says Lord, noting that Caroline's president "has systematically gotten rid of every band there when Brian was there" in what she assumes is a move to change the label's left-of-center image. Lord adds that the band has begun talking to several bigger labels, though she won't name names. (Hint: Long now does A&R for Geffen.)
20,000 SouvenirsIt seems like it can't be much longer before a major label offers 81/2 Souvenirs the right deal, what with their little indie release looking like it's got close to 20,000 copies sold in its first year -- nearly half of that in Austin alone. Continental Records co-owner Jack Hazard says that they're still counting, but the album has definitely sold "more than we ever would have dreamed." Partner Steve Wertheimer notes that several labels, including Sony, are showing interest, but as far as the Souvs' upcoming Off-White album, Hazard says, "We're not letting [a deal with a major] drive it." Continental is more interested in improving their distribution at this point, but the new album will appear around the end of the year either way.
Stoking the ColvinsAustinite Shawn Colvin was the subject of consternation on the Internet recently, when the scarcity of her local performances was offered as evidence of her lack of sense of community." Luckily, the ever-vocal Mark Rubin came to her aid, posting that she has "the good sense not to join a community of talented paupers," and further inciting other artists to rebel against giving "[their] talents away for $15 a set at a crappy club with a joke for a PA system." Good point, Mark. Colvin can be heard and is no doubt being paid well in Europe, where's she off to in November (she just got off a two-month roadtrip with Jackson Browne). Meanwhile, you can see her in Austin -- on your TV, where she'll soon be appearing on Good Morning America, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, and Letterman. Or how about the theatres, where her music appears in several current and upcoming movies, including Grace of My Heart, Head Above Water, Tin Cup and HBO's Edie and Pen. Somehow, all that's left her time to get her own new album, A Few Small Repairs, out next week. There's no local or stateside dates scheduled yet, but we hear she'll be among the 20 performers playing the Walter Hyatt tribute at the Paramount Theatre on October 23. Announced so far are Lyle Lovett (who duets with Colvin on her new album as they did on his recent Road to Ensenada), Marcia Ball, Willis Alan Ramsey, Champ Hood and David Ball.
Mixed NotesYou may have heard rumors that this was coming, but you probably didn't believe your ears. It's true, though; the Lumberyard, that big ol' country dance hall in Round Rock, is now booking "alternative" nights on Wednesdays. New manager Mike Webb says that "Since there's no place in North Austin and Round Rock that has that kind of music, we thought we'd give it a try." The Jels, Million Sellers, and Dilly are tentatively set to play the first Wednesday show October 9... Since you people like tribute albums so much, here's the latest on the Prince covers album: The record will be finished this week, but producer John Riedie says he has a chance to work on Jack Ingram's new record in Nashville with Steve Earle, so the release may wait until his return in December. If you see the album in late October, you'll know Riedie's Nashville gig fell through and you can snicker derisively at him. The lineup either way includes Monte Warden, Royal Company Scam, Adults, Spoon, El Flaco, Guy Forsyth, Christina Marrs, Kris McKay (whose version of "When Doves Cry" inspired the project), Michele Solberg, Raggamassive, Dah-veed, Fuckemo's, Johnny Goudie, Seela and Darwin, and Missile Command... Don Walser singing on the Drag?!? Well, he's doing an in-store at Tower Records this Sunday, but if he does decide to play on the street, he's already got a mighty fine hat for you to toss yer change in... Couple of surprise club appearances earlier this week with Jerry Jeff Walker sitting in with Jon Blondell at Cedar Street on Wednesday, while Girls Against Boys showed up at Emo's that same night after their show with Rage Against the Machine in San Antonio on Monday was cancelled... Austin City Limits continues to make valuable friends; they've now added the Texas Department of Commerce Tourism Division to their list of sponsors. Ford, you recall, jumped on the funding bus last month... The only Austin track on the Beavis & Butt-head movie soundtrack is one by the Butthole Surfers, and Mike Judge's office claims it's an unreleased track, but Butthole Central says it's the rock version of "The Lord Is a Monkey," a "rarity" that has already appeared as a clear magazine flexi, a picture disc B-side, and a Trance Syndicate compilation track. The B&B feature film is set for a late-December release... Gomez have finally signed their long-discussed deal with Scooch Pooch Records and is in preproduction on an album with producer John Croslin for the label. They're also looking for a new lead guitarist since Paul Newman left to concentrate on his band Paul Newman (desperately hoping to find one before it's time to start recording). They'll also be playing a benefit next Thursday at Stubb's to help cover Tom Churchill's funeral costs, with El Flaco and Snatch Lizard (Gomez's Chepo Pena will be filling in on bass for the late Churchill during the Lizard set)... Among the new releases to show up at the Chron office lately are Laurie Freelove's Songs From the Nineline, Blort's new cassette (I can't find it right now to tell you the name of it, but it's a fine, raucous collection of high-speed trash chock-full of John Waters references), Mary Cutrufello's Who to Love and When to Leave, Lowdown Son's new album, the Squid Vicious/Los Nachos split 7-inch EP, and on local Watermelon Records is a "new album of old favorites" from Charlie Louvin, half of the legendary Louvin Brothers, just in time to capitalize on the Lemonheads' new cover of "Knoxville Girl," for which the Louvins are best known. No word yet on any Charlie Louvin/Evan Dando projects in the works... This year's Bloodfest happens Friday, with Terminal 46, Overcast, and Tungsten Coil performing, along with "Buttplug Messiah: The Musical," and the usual hijinks like scrotum piercing, bondage, and ritual sewing together of lips. That's at Icon, but who knows -- maybe by next year it'll be at the Lumberyard?...
-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser