Dancing about Architecture
By the Short and Curlys
Splitting HaresWell, the Split Rail is one club that didn't get any publicity mileage out of last week's Chronicle cover feature on the Red River music scene. The club closed its doors last Saturday without warning, almost exactly one year to the day since it made its debut. Owner Paul Sessums blames himself for the Split Rail's failure, saying the closing is a result of "my own stupidity for opening a live music club in that area when people aren't looking for that. " (Hmmm. Seems to me that at least a few people are looking for Stubb's.) Sessums adds that he'll be concentrating more on the Black Cat and his non-Austin investments; in fact, he'll be packing up the Split Rail's equipment and mural and reopening the club in Palacios, Texas, a Gulf Coast town of about 4,000 people where he owns some other businesses.
White Rabbit owner Jordan Silber, currently in San Antonio running the larger version of the Rabbit, fesses up that, "Yes, we're considering selling [the Austin White Rabbit]." However, he flatly denies specific rumors that Halloween weekend will be the swan song for the Sixth Street club. The S.A. venue is clearly the bigger success of the sister clubs, but Br'er Silber says he much prefers the Austin life, and commutes here two or three times a week. And anyone familiar with the drive between the cities will agree with his assessment that "I'm already tired of Selma and Schertz."
Big in Japan (and Reasonably Large in Belgium)The Motards will be taking a slow boat to the Land of the Rising Sun October 21, staying there until Oct. 29. Of the circumstances behind the trip -- during which the band will play clubs in Osaka, Tokyo, and elsewhere -- Motard Toby Marsh says, "I don't know. It's kind of like winning a game show." Basically, a popular club in Japan contacted the band through Brent Comiskey at Thora-Zine and arranged the week of dates. The band is recording a split single with Permanent Voltage for a Japanese release, as well as some material for a Belgian label, but neither of those discs will be easy to come by in the States. Not to fear, though, as Marsh says that when the band records a new album stateside, those songs or versions of them will be on it.
Daddy LongbuttThe new SPIN features a major oral history of the Butthole Surfers (compiled by Texas Monthly guys Joe Nick Patoski and John Morthland), but as far as the future goes, there's still no word on what the band have planned as a follow-up to their smash "Pepper." A caller named Trish tells me that Gibby Haynes wanted her to pass on a story to me, though: It seems that the Surfers' live show is becoming more and more improv-based, to the point where their sound man tried to quit. "Can you imagine a sound man being embarrassed by the band?" queries Trish. Grumpy Butt manager Tom Bunch says he doesn't recall hearing about any sound man problems, but adds that he's been so busy he probably wouldn't remember if he had.
Former Surfers bassist Jeff Pinkus is keeping mighty busy with Daddy Longhead these days. The band has a double release party at Emo's this Friday afternoon for a 10-inch on Man's Ruin that was recorded when Ministry drummer Rey Washam was in the band, and for a new album called Supermasonic on Pinkus' own Honest Abe's Custom Records label. The latter disc will begin getting distribution from Caroline Records in January. After the release comes a big two-month tour (51 gigs in 55 days!), which will probably include a gig with the Buttholes in Orlando, Florida. Touring, he says, will continue off and on after that for another four months. During their break at the end of the year, Pinkus says there's a possibility that the Cows will be added to the list of acts who have recorded at Honest Abe's studio.
Mixed NotesI know, you're still skeptical about when (or if) the Survival Research Laboratories show is coming to Austin. Well, they tell me that the display of industrial light, magic, and carnage is "definitely on;" there's just some adjustment going on as far as the time and place. Currently, expect that show to come off in December or thereabouts... 101X's porno-collecting drive may be going strong, but one assumes that deejay Rachel Marisay was hoping to keep it on a business level. Unfortunately, someone with a grudge or a twisted sense of humor has been posting sex ad flyers with her name and number and she says she's been getting 10-15 calls a day from gentlemen looking for some hot action. It's a shame -- she's so sweet and innocent in person... Michelle Shocked may not be the most welcome guest at Liberty Lunch in the future. First, I heard that her husband/manager raised hell about low advance ticket sales, and then I'm told he smashed a tape recorder that a would-be bootlegger had in the audience at her show that night. Strange move, considering that her best-known album was recorded on a Walkman! I tried to contact Liberty Lunch about the matter, but their answering machine wouldn't pick up -- perhaps Mr. Shocked ordered all recording devices in the area destroyed?... Yee-Hah! The Cowboy Jubilee and Western Swing Festival is at Old Settlers' Park in Round Rock this weekend. The Texas Playboys perform Friday, Asleep at the Wheel are there Saturday, and the Cowboy Church finish things up on Sunday... Steve Vai will be autographing stuff at Blockbuster Music today (Thursday) at 2pm. I wonder if he'd sign my copy of the "groupie tape"?... Lisa Tingle has an in-store set at B-buster the next day at 5pm... Houston rapper Big Mello will be signing autographs at MusicMania Friday at 5:30pm... The Ugly Americans are shooting a video for "You Turn Me On." The single just went to radio stations this week... That Me'shell Ndegeocello sure is hot on Doyle Bramhall II (who just played the Viper Room and has shows here tonight at Stubb's and Friday and Saturday at Steamboat). She talked up Bramhall so much in a recent Los Angeles radio interview that his manager Mark Proct says, "She sounded like she was a press agent or something"... Missile Command has a tape release show this Saturday at Emo's for their Try Japanese Fast Food cassette. That's a five-songer recorded at Music Lane... There's a benefit to keep the Voodoo Lounge open this Friday, with Death of Millions headlining. If you can't figure out where the benefit will be held, you've got a problem... This Sunday is the "Rock the River Clean" benefit at the LCRA office complex in West Austin. Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jimmy LaFave, and Toni Price will play and the event is free (okay, I'll admit that I'm stumped by the idea of a free benefit)... Del-Fi Records has put out a lovely two-disc set of Bobby Fuller's Texas-recorded tracks. That comes just in time to coincide with the Unsolved Mysteries episode about his bizarre death... The T.A.B.C. has been nice enough to announce that they'll be conducting sting operations at local clubs over the next few weeks. Time to start betting on which venues will fall into their snare... Will Taylor is back from his week-long stint of string arrangement in Bath, England. Taylor was there at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios working with David Rice on his upcoming Columbia debut. Taylor returns to the no-cover world of Austin music at Cafe Bremond on Thursdays from 4:30-7pm and Coffee Plantation on Fridays from 5-7pm... Damn! I was feeling under the weather and had to miss the big secret opening of the new Threadgill's. I hear it was so packed that Kim Longacre had a baby while waiting in line... Updates, Corrections, and such: Following my Bill Hicks piece two weeks ago, Kevin Booth reports that he's received a fax from Rykodisc advising him to, "Finish the album as you see fit and to the best of your ability." Looks like that February due date for the Hicks material is on track... El Flaco will be opening for P-Funk in Oklahoma, not Arizona (my fault) and the date is November 7, not the sixth (not my fault -- it got changed)... A couple of e-mails came in asserting that Superego guitarist Jacob Shulze's nose was not actually broken by the audience member who slugged him at the Free-For-All, as stated here last week. One writer explained, "I'm pretty sure that if Nora had wanted to break his nose, she would have done so. Sure was a nice solid punch, though."
-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Lee Nichols, Margaret Moser