Dancing About Architecture

Crammed With Grammys

Well, the Grammy Awards may be more irrelevant than ever this year, serving only to remind you that, yes, Journey is still around -- and that Hillary Rodham Clinton is hip enough in her book to get a nomination in the Best Spoken Word category. On the other hand, with the music industry splintering, more and more Texas artists continue to sneak into the mix. The nominees, announced Monday morning, include a plethora of Lone Star candidates. Junior Brown's "My Wife Thinks You're Dead" goes double duty with noms for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song, while Eric Johnson's "Pavilion" dukes it out with "SRV Shuffle" by Jimmie Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Dr. John, and Art Neville in the Best Rock Instrumental Performance category. Teenage mall creature LeAnn Rimes doubles up as a potential Best New Artist and a Best Female Country Vocal Performance recipient for her song "Blue." Among Lyle Lovett's numerous nominations are his duet with genius Randy Newman of "Long Tall Texan," which in fine Grammy tradition is up for Best Country Collaboration With Vocals against buffoon Jeff Foxworthy (I don't know if this clown is from Texas, but unfortunately most of the known world thinks he is) and Alan Jackson's pairing on "Redneck Games." Further Texas-related nominations include: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, "Get Out of This House" by Shawn Colvin; Best Pop Album, A Few Small Repairs by Shawn Colvin; Best Metal Performance, "Suicide Note Pt. 1" by Pantera; Best Male Country Vocal Performance, "Private Conversation" by Lyle Lovett; Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocal, "Little Bit Is Better Than Nada" by Texas Tornados; Best Country Album, The Road to Ensenada by Lyle Lovett; Best Contemporary Jazz Performance, "Joined at the Hip" by Bob James & Kirk Whalum; Best Southern Gospel, Country Gospel or Bluegrass Gospel Album, How Great Thou Art by Willie Nelson & Bobbie Nelson; Best Mexican-American/Tejano Music Performance, "Un Millon De Rosas" by La Mafia; and Best Contemporary Folk Album, Braver Newer World by Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

Starstruck

If there's a band that knows how to get rid of an unwanted drummer, it's Starfish. During a shoot at Starseeds for their new "Burden" video, in a scene where a series of alternates replace Scott Marcus, one would-be drummer found himself knocked halfway out of the restaurant's front window. Said window was closed at the time, but miraculously no one was injured. I was in the parking lot helping former Sixteen Deluxe drummer Bryan Bowden into a chicken suit at the time of the accident, but from what I can tell, the camera was rolling at the time of the "stunt" and it will most likely find its way into the finished video.

The Scott Stuckey-directed video, as well as Starfish's next CD, Frustrated, should be ready in time for SXSW. Currently, they have a new 7-inch EP out on Trance, and have made a decision on who will be their new drummer. Eric Conn, of Wookie and the Dismukes, will fill the vacancy, with fish head Jason Morales adding, "Only time will tell if this is going to be long-term thing or not".

And Speaking of SXSW...

Despite the fact that SXSW is starting their procedures earlier than ever this year, there's nothing to report on any band confirmations as yet. Brent Grulke says that most folks are just returning to their offices after the holidays and that "we're victims of everybody's Christmas hangovers." SXSW has announced they're getting their volunteer meetings underway, however, with the first set for next Wednesday, 6-9pm at the Texas Union Ballroom. Volunteer jobs range from music and film fest production to conference activities, including registration, trade show, and technical positions. The meeting is for both new and returning volunteers. They've also announced that this year's Conference/Festival, taking place March 12-16, will encompass 36 showcase venues.

Cook-ing on All Burners

Jennifer Cook has a few irons in the fire these days, with an upcoming stint on the E! Network's Wannabes show (Uh-oh! The Wannabes' lawyer is muttering to himself again), and interest from the 81/2 Souvenirs gang. On the latter count, Cook says that the Souvs and Continental Records' Jack Hazard "surprised the shit out of me" when they showed up to check her out at the Hole in the Wall just before Christmas. On the former, while on a trip to sunny California, Cook recorded two songs for the glorified talent show, which are scheduled to air in mid-January. Non-plussed only begins to describe Cook's attitude towards her E! performance, wherein she says she had to play an unfamiliar guitar with a quarter, as there were no real picks to be found. She did get to play her own songs, however, noting that the "chintzy" producers encouraged their acts to perform public domain numbers to avoid dealing with royalties. One of the choices originally suggested to Cook was "Oh, Susannah."

Horsies Unglued?

Rich Malley of the Horsies sent this message in response to my query about whether the band has broken up: "In this day of bands breaking up and then having `reunions' six months later, it kind of doesn't make sense to say we're kaput. We will play SXSW if invited. We will play in Japan if invited by our Japanese label, Benten. We will play specific events that we deem beneficial to our common interests. But with Julia & Brant about to have their second child, it won't be feasible to continue playing club gigs in the near term." Malley adds it's unlikely that the band will release their second CD, Touch Me Columbus, locally, "which kills me," he sighs, "because we worked really hard on it and it's good."

Mixed Notes

I'm told that the (far too) prolific Wesley Willis has a song entitled "Electric Lounge" on his newest CD. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Willis can assume that the song makes it clear that the club "rocks the donkey's ass" and sounds like one of about three tunes that have made up the bulk of his previous albums...

Another benefit for Brown Hornet, who had all their instruments and equipment stolen, occurs tonight (Thursday) at the Electric Lounge, with Tony Campise's Brain Damage Ensemble, Drums & Tuba, Um Ting Tum, Adults, East Babylon Symphony, and the Stephen Doster Trio providing the entertainment...

Wammo experienced more than a touch of nervousness at the Mad Cow XXX-mas Show in Chicago where he opened for Pantera. After watching a comedian who preceded him get verbally crucified, Wammo says he dreaded what would happen to someone who dared follow with (gasp!) poetry. Fortunately, his reading of "There's Too Much Light in This Bar" knocked the crowd dead, he admits modestly. Also knocking 'em dead that night, he adds, were strippers dressed as reindeer, live sex acts, and "Miss Puerto Rico walked out naked, got covered in eggnog, and then was licked clean by members of the audience"...

What I really want to do is direct: Following on the heels of poster king Frank Kozik directing a Soundgarden video, former Scratch Acid/current Jesus Lizard menace David Yow has helmed the clip for the Offspring's "All I Want." And don't be surprised if Kozik's heir apparent Lindsay Kuhn turns to directing next. He's made the decision to bail out of Austin's high-rent, low pay atmosphere as well, and after he gets back from a visit to Japan with Tim Kerr and company, he'll be returning to his new digs in Dallas...

As one of the privileged few who got to sneak a free look at the "Women of the Hole in the Wall" calendar, all I can say is "Hotcha!" -- and then add that you can get 'em at the club for $9 with proceeds going to the Battered Women's Shelter. Oh, and it looks as though the Hole's Unplug This! CD won't be coming out until around SXSW...

Superego's video is presently featured on MTV's "Out From Underground" website. http://www.mtv.com/music/underground. The Road Rules travel video produced by MTV and featuring soundtrack selections from Superego's album is now available in video stores and travel agencies nationwide. Meanwhile, Paul Minor continues to videotape everything in sight to fill the band's own webpage...

Dallas may be out of the running for the Superbowl, but if you think that means Texas won't be represented, think again. ZZ Top will be joining James Brown and the Blues Brothers for the halftime show this year. Even with the three comedians (Dan Aykroyd, James Belushi, John Goodman) who comprise the Blues Brothers, this show has no hope of being as laugh-packed as that Michael Jackson travesty a few years back...

The Texas Philistines have a release party for their Rumple Four Skyn album at the Back Room this Saturday. That disc features such lovely song titles as "Howdy Doody and Godzilla at the Steak Knife Convention"...

Miss Lavelle White plays an in-store show next Wednesday at Borders Books, 7pm, and has a release party for her new It Haven't Been Easy release on Discovery/Antone's next Thursday at the Continental Club...

Sometime Chron contributor Kent Benjamin has a cover-noted story on Phil Seymour in the current issue of Goldmine (Joan Baez is the main cover feature) and if you're wondering how that's relevant to this column, you'll be surprised to see the number of tie-ins between the late popster and various Austinites. Benjamin also gave his list of 1996's best long-form music video releases in their previous issue...

Speaking of end-of-year lists, indie mag VOX presented a series of "stars tell their five fave albums" in their January issue, with popular-in-U.K.-but-not-here star Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine not only picking Sincola as his Number One, but giving up after Number Three and noting, "Sorry, I couldn't think of five, and everything else is shit"...

Finally, don't forget, the Chron music poll is elsewhere in this issue, so get your opinions on paper so that all your faves will win at the Awards Show in March...


-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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