Dancing About Architecture
Closer Than You Think
Meanwhile, on the SXSW front, the first wave of invitation/acceptance letters
has been sent out, so keep an eye on your mailbox, but don't panic if your band
doesn't get one right away. This batch of missives is far from the last that
will be sent forth to showcase-seeking bands. The second SXSW volunteers
meeting is this coming Monday at the Texas Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency (not
the Texas Union Ballroom as erroneously crept in here last week). That runs
from 6-9pm. Call the SXSW office at
467-7979 for more information.
From the Coffeehouse To the White HouseWhew! I wish I could forget my days in "Georgepatch, TX" in the Eighties at Southwestern University, where only the worst novelty acts of the coffeehouse circuit were allowed to play at the student union (such as it was). The lone exception (and the only Austinite allowed there with any regularity) was the sweet-voiced Tish Hinojosa. She's been frequenting a bit more prestigous House of late -- namely the White one -- most recently at a black-tie dinner for the National Medal of the Arts (honoring among others, the original "Wild Thing," Maurice Sendak) where she was seated with the likes of actor/director Robert Redford, director/actor Rob Reiner, and current Grammy nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton. Husband/manager Craig Barker recalls an interesting encounter that evening; he was grabbed by the arm on the way to the restroom by a fan who asked if Tish had left yet, and turned to find that the inquisitor was none other than President Bill Clinton. "I didn't know he even knew who we were," says Barker, who regained his composure and replied that she was on the floor dancing with Kinky Friedman. The President, known to be a big fan of the novelist and Texas Jewboy, later asked Hinojosa, "So, how was your dance with Kinky?"
The singer-songwriter remains busy this month, appearing this Friday at La Zona Rosa as part of the club's weekly Women's Series, then preparing for Europe where she'll head soon for a month-long tour. Meanwhile, WEA Latino plans to release an all-Spanish version of her Dreaming From the Labyrinth album in April, with the single "Orilla de un Soñjar" preceding it in early February. Oh, and she's not the only Austinite who's parading in front of D.C. bigwigs these days, either. Junior Brown and Lou Ann Barton are scheduled to play the District at a fancy, $100-a-plate dinner for the Texas State Society (I think it's our embassy or something) on Saturday.
A Minor DisasterThe aforementioned Statesman did a fine job Monday of tearing down a truly ludicrous bill that one Senator Judith Zaffirini
(D -- Laredo) plans to introduce into the just-begun legislative session at the state capitol. I'm afraid there isn't adequate room here to fully cover this travesty, but Zaffirini and the Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services have drafted a doozy that -- with a few exceptions -- seeks to ban minors from entering nightclubs that serve alcohol. Never mind that existing laws make it clear that a minor entering such a venue can't be served anyway; what this bill seeks is no less than the final death-knell of live music in Austin. Clubs already teetering on the brink of closing (in other words, most of them) depend on the higher prices they charge minors for admission, and/or their purchases of bottled water and sody pop. More importantly, these younger, music-hungry citizens need these clubs to introduce them to good, local music and save them from the potential mental ravages of having to turn to the likes of Snoop Doggy Dogg and Carrot Top at the Erwin Center for entertainment. For more information on the bill, proposed as amendment Section 105.16 to the Texas alcoholic beverages code, write to Zaffirini c/o the State Capitol or call her office at 463-0121.
Those Vallejo TripletsNo, that's not a wacky new TV sitcom, nor is it what the initials of TVT Records stand for, but the brothers Vallejo have indeed signed with the label formerly known as Tee Vee Tunes. Their eponymous album on the small IMI label (run by the band's manager in Chicago) has been bought up by TVT and plans call for a reissue of the disc on January 26, along with a reshoot of their video for "Just Another Day" to support the release of that song as a single.
Liver Transplant SuccessfulEverybody knows the names of the Bad Livers, right? There's Mark Rubin, there's Danny Barnes, and then there's, uh...
oh yeah, then there's Ralph White. Well, actually, there's not Ralph White any more. The least prolific member of the trio (if such a term can apply to a member of a band that has played over 1,560 gigs -- and keeps count) has decided to call it quits. "He woke up one morning on the road in a hotel and said, `You know, guys, I'm just not into this any more,'" explains Barnes. "I can't blame him -- it's a hard life." The 45-year-old home-and business-owner has been replaced by transplanted New Yorker Bob Grant from New York City, who has played with Barnes and Rubin in the past. Of the departing Smith, Barnes adds that "We might still compose together. We'll definitely fish together."
Mercury Rising!Well, the mercury in the thermometer isn't the only kind that's been doing the up-and-down thing of late. The venue by the same name, which was to have opened New Year's Eve in the space vacated by the White Rabbit, has actually risen and fallen twice at this point, with its doors yet to open. "I just finally got the keys on Friday," says Mercury owner Mark Collins, who plans to exercise caution before making too many more announcements about the club's debut. The delays so far, he says, have fallen into the "anything and everything that could have happened did" category, starting with his "supposed partner" bailing out and heading for Mexico, leaving Collins to restart his pursuit of a TABC permit. A stab at working out a temporary deal with the White Rabbit owners to utilize their permit proved unfeasable at the last minute as well, and Collins now says he hopes to have the club's doors open by Jan. 20, but definitely has no plans to incorporate live music before Jan. 31. In the meantime, he'll be doing renovation work and putting in a new sound system. He's also hoping for a grand opening sometime in early February, and says he has interest from KLBJ in a simulcast if the station and the club can coordinate their schedules.
Mixed NotesTrance Syndicate's next big project (besides the announcement that Monroe Mustang should have an album out on the label this summer) is a series of 12-inch singles. Starting around May, the discs will be a sort of "battle of bands" project, with Windsor For the Derby vs. Drain and Furry Things vs. Electric Company planned as the first releases. Each will feature two bands both remixing a song by the other. (Remember Sub Pop's Mudhoney/Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Rev. Horton Heat/Supersuckers splits?) Plans call for a CD compilation to follow when the amount of material reaches the appropriate length...
Doug Pinnick of King's X will be producing 7 Stones' new album, which they're currently getting to work on...
Fastball will be touring soon on a six-week bill opening for popster Matthew Sweet. Handily enough, the two share the same manager. Actually, both share that same manager with Kris McKay, who has written songs with Sweet in the past (and was seen Saturday at Stubb's performing with 81/2 Souvenirs). So Matt, why doncha take Kris along too? Did she say something bad about anime or something?...
Stretford don't cancel dates lightly, but their Emo's gig on Saturday is off following the passing of Carl Normal's mother, the second such tragedy within the band in a very short time...
Here's a few artists with albums out or due soon: Mady Kaye has a new one on the way February 7 called Songs For All Seasons; Ursula's Curse has an in-store for their Move Left and Push Up CD at Waterloo Records Friday at 5pm; Alvin Crow has a new Texas Classic out on Broken Spoke Records, and will be performing in-store at Borders Books this Saturday at 6pm; Elias Haslanger has a new enhanced CD, For the Moment, out on Heart Records; former Austinite and Potter's Field founder Dan Israel has a new disc with his band the Cultivators out on Persistent Records; Slaid Cleaves is releasing a new Gurf Morlix-produced CD, No Angel Knows, on Rounder, and will have a release party at Waterloo Ice House in a couple of weeks; Johnny Reno, currently the darling of Dallas' Red Jacket, expects to have his Swinging and Singing in stores by SXSW; and -- this just in -- an Arlington alternative Christian music label has just released an album by Trip entitled Dancing About Architecture. At press time, the Chronicle is not planning any legal action; and last but not least, a spokesperson for American Recordings says Lucinda Williams is finally done recording and should head into the mixing stage soon. A tentative release date has yet to hit the books...
At last, here's the information on the Survival Research Laboratories show: It'll be out at the Longhorn Speedway on March 28. Tickets will be available through Fringeware and elsewhere. This is all assuming nothing else comes up to stop it...
Oops! Oops! Oops!: Just noticed that a couple of weeks ago we printed that Liberty Lunch's lease expires in March of 1997. That should have read 1998. So you have a little more time to rest before you panic.
-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser