Dancing About Architecture

Al No Go Ryko Solo

Alejandro Escovedo is no longer a Rykodisc recording artist. Well, he's not a Ryko solo act, anyway. His option came up a few weeks ago and Ryko wanted to renegotiate, but Escovedo chose to go elsewhere. Al says he won't be actively pursuing a label for awhile as the next six months will belong to his other band, Buick Mackane, whose debut album will be coming out on Ryko, February 25 -- as we reported last week. There may be a hitch to that, however, as Escovedo says his doctor has told him he can't drink anymore thanks to a liver ailment. (What's a Buick show without shots of Jaegermeister?) "There goes my personality," cracks Escovedo, adding that Glenn Benavidez may have to be bumped up to the Buick front man position.

Fans of the pre-personality-loss Escovedo may want to check out the upcoming
V/Search Books collection of Search and Destroy 'zines from the early punk era, which prominently features his band the Nuns and a list of a few of young Al's favorite things. Notified of the volume's impending release, Escovedo's immediate comment was, "Is there something I can do to stop it?"

Bruised Willis?

The firing of Teresa Ensenat, the A&R person who signed Kelly Willis to A&M Records, marks the third such departure affecting an Austin act in recent months -- though the Willis camp doesn't seem worried. While the departure of Brian Long from Caroline to Geffen hurt Sincola and the removal of Ruth Richards from Mercury certainly hasn't helped Prescott Curlywolf, Willis is still looking at a February release on her next album, which T-Bone Burnett is tentatively set to produce. Currently, the label is reshuffling Ensenat's workload and there's no word on who Willis' new A&R buddy will be, but since Ensenat was known to be very hands-on with the new album, I'll just wish Kelly the best of luck in the label's selection of a replacement.

Bursting at the S.I.M.S.

With the Butthole Surfers tour on hiatus, current Butt and former Pariah member Kyle Ellison says he'll be working for the next month on putting together the first of a projected series of benefit albums for the S.I.M.S. foundation in honor of his late brother. He's still keeping rather mum on the band line-up for the compilation, though it's known to be ambitious, with bands he's close to (the Butts, Meat Puppets, Toadies, and now Cibo Matto) likely to appear. Currently, though, he says his main concern is, "Getting somebody to put it out," and at press time, a big meeting had just been set by those involved to work on just that. Ellison hopes to get the go-ahead from a major label by December.

Another tribute to Sims Ellison, in the form of an album of unreleased Pariah tracks, is still under way, with bandmate Dave Derrick saying that the project is nearing completion. Derrick reports that some delays were caused by trying to remix the tracks, and questions about what material would be released. In the end, the decision was made not to hold anything back and put all the available cuts in their original form on the CD. "After all," he says, "It's not like it's the Beatles."

Butt Wait!

And you thought they were just ready to come home. Internet news services have been reporting that the Butthole Surfers cancelled a string of December dates due to Gibby Haynes busting an eardrum earlier in the tour. Apparently, by leaving it untreated, it got worse and doctors told him to stay out of the loud concert environment for a few months. Considering that the second single from the Electriclarryland album has yet to impact and the ironic similarity of Haynes' condition to the Larryland album cover of a bleeding ear, some have suggested that the whole thing may be a scam on the band's part to get some break time. Well, I haven't yelled at Gibby to see if he screams in pain, but I do know that he has been seeing a doctor.

Son of Sahm?

Is Jay Farrar always like this? During Son Volt's sold-out show at Liberty Lunch last week (see "Live Shots"), the adoring throngs should have made the sullen Minnesotan beam like Old Sol himself. Instead, the happiest person there seemed to be Doug Sahm, bouncing around the side of the stage like, well, like he was about to play. Asked what brought him to the Lunch, Sahm responded with typical modesty: "These guys from Minneapolis are good kids, good band... I'm Jay's hero, man!" Indeed, Sahm's spirits were soaring as he gave us a rundown on the Texas Tornados ("That thing y'all wrote about Bill Bentley sayin' that we were gonna teach Roy Head Spanish and gonna replace Freddy [Fender] with him? We use that to keep ol' Freddy in line, now!") and his current activities ("How about the Quintet for the Awards Show?"). After joining Son Volt for their second encore -- Sahm's chestnut "Give Back the Key to My Heart" -- the Dougster was spotted backstage after the show talking with... er, talking at Farrar, who perked up a little when Alejandro Escovedo and Glenn Benavidez entered. No fans, no friends -- just the musicians talking shop. Quite a picture. When told of his father's antics a few days later, Shandon Sahm grinned that Sahm grin and replied, "There's no one like Doug."

No Brown-Nosing

I've so far elected to turn a blind eye to a number of stories I've heard about certain attitudinal problems on the part of Junior Brown, but I must run this one. The Chronicle's Tim Stegall was shocked last week when, moments into an interview with Brown for New Country magazine, the interviewee announced abruptly that the Q&A session was over! Now, Stegall may overdress the punk look thing a bit, but I've watched him chat up Merle Haggard (he's also interviewed Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and even Pat Boone), and if anything, his obsessive knowledge of country music exceeds his worship of Johnny Thunders (okay, not quite). Stegall says the interview started on a bad foot when Brown wanted to meet at his favorite Luby's, but the scribe couldn't afford the long cab ride, so they met at the Iron Works instead. Midway into his third question, wherein Stegall noted that Junior's upcoming tour with the Mavericks was appropriate since the two shared some similarities, Brown had his outburst and discontinued the interview -- declaring, "You don't understand my music!" and berating Stegall, saying he couldn't play with the big boys if he didn't even have "gas money." Stegall says that had he been allowed to finish, he was going to compare Brown and the Mavs' updating of their respective influences, Ernest Tubb and Roy Orbison. Pointing to the uniform graciousness he's observed in the classic country artists, Stegall says it's Brown who has a lesson to learn about working with people. Though he considers Brown a "genius," Stegall had to collect his thoughts before deciding, "Fuck him -- I'm about to go hang out with Cheap Trick." Ironically, when he did so in New York the next day, Bun E. Carlos told him that he had just heard from a former Brown drummer that Junior was "a jerk."
Well, small world, ain't it?

Mixed Notes

The latest Texas major label signing is Houston's Chlorine to Columbia Records. The band is not to be confused with the old Austin act of the same name...

Dumptruck, now featuring new drummer George Duron, are set to work on a new release for 1997 with Lloyd Maines producing. They'll also be among the bands playing a benefit on December 14 at the Electric Lounge for Good's Rob Gaines, who recently suffered new complications from a previous head injury...

Word has it that bassist Vic Gerard has left the Derailers...

Danny & the Hurricanes are one of several bands who will be playing a farewell show for guitar repair guru Steve Crisp this Saturday at Babe's. Crisp will be moving to California soon...

The Bad-finger tribute from Houston's Copper Records is in stores now, with Cotton Mather and 20/20's locally-recorded tracks rubbing elbows with popsters Dwight Twilley, Adrian Belew, and the Knack. The Prince tribute album featuring all-Austin acts (the Jubilettes have been added, by the way) should be out the first week of December. Now, here's one tribute album you can't buy: Casey Monahan's 15th and final annual Jimi Hendrix Birthday Special is this Sunday at 10pm on KUT. He'll be spinning unreleased Hendrixisms by Lucinda Williams, Chris Duarte, 81/2 Souvenirs' Glover Gill, Poi Dog Pondering, and Eric Johnson...

December 5-8 has been officially slated as the White Rabbit's swan song weekend. I'll have the details on that as it approaches...

Austinite KeKe McCullough probably has some interesting stories to tell ya. He got to play alongside Paul Simon and John Fogerty on the new Carl Perkins album, Go Cat Go! (at Perkins' request). Also on the album are Willie Nelson and all four (?!) Beatles...

KGSR is going double duty on their anniversary. After their Broadcasts Vol. 4 CD comes out (40 tracks including performances from Joan Armatrading, Don Walser, and Taj Mahal), they'll have not one but two shows on December 6. First is the big show at KLRU studios, with Lyle Lovett, Suzanne Vega, and 81/2 Souvenirs (listen to the station to find out how to get tickets), then there's the Home for the Holidays benefit at La Zona Rosa with Kris McKay, Sara Hickman, Kelly Willis, and a rare local appearance by Shawn Colvin...

Threadgill's World Headquarters has its Monday Music Marathon up and running, if you haven't noticed, with Floyd Domino hosting the Pianorama 2-6pm (this week featuring Riley Osbourn and Johnny Nicholas), and Jimmy LaFave (filling in for Champ Hood) and the Threadgill's Troubadors running the Supper Sessions
6-10pm. You can ask Threadgill's owner Eddie Wilson for more information while you have him sign his new cookbook this Saturday at Waterloo Records at 3:30pm. And if you were still wondering if the Hard Rock Cafe is moving into the old Nighthawk building, the answer is a definite "no." Wilson says that Art-Carved Rings is taking that spot and were generous enough to arrange for him to take the sign for display at his place...

The December Esquire refers to Roky Erickson as an "insane guitarist." No word on whether any future Roky recordings will feature references to a "pandering magazine for aging rakes"...

The Hamicks have a new single out on Big Jerk Records, with a release party at Emo's next Tuesday...

Following the departure of singer/guitarist Lydia Emily, Sweetpea have become not a two-bass threesome, but a standard power trio called SwitchHitter, and are currently, as they put it, "recording and working up a batch of fresh goo"...

9 Worlds will be celebrating the release of their new CD, It Can't Rain Forever Saturday at Charlie's Attic...

Stockade Records' new effort is a four-artist record, including Roy Heinrich and Ted Roddy, wherein each musician gets four tracks. Apparently, the one who gets the most favorable response gets to do a whole album. Wouldn't throwing their names in a hat be easier?...

With Twisted Hippy Children on hiatus, that band's drummer has formed Space Lady, and is currently recording a five-song EP...

Javelin Boot have an in-store Friday, 5pm, at Waterloo Records for their Fundamentally Sound CD. A release party follows at the Hole in the Wall on Saturday...

The Adults are back from touring, but they can't decide on what story they want to tell from their collection of adventures on the road. Among the choices: "The waifish art school girl thief who stole our money box in Kansas City, the two 18-year-old girls on acid at Wesleyan University whose trampoline we fell asleep on, [or] almost coming to blows with a hippie in Lawrence who didn't like the rendition of `Whiskey River' played to the tune of `Autumn Leaves'"...

If you missed Orb deejay Alex Patterson when he was here with Meat Beat Manifesto, you might want to check out the ambient party he's performing at in Manor this Sunday. Tickets and directions are available at Waterloo and Alien Records...

This Week's Cryptic Comment: How do you get the Archers of Loaf out of your house? Just smear some cat food on a sleeping Texas Meat Purveyor...


-- 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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