Dancing About Architecture

Blind in Texas or: Ken Don't Know Dick

Okay, so I'm winding up a lovely weekend at a beach house with some members of the Horsies, Sincola, and such, and I phone the office to say I'll be running a little late getting back to town on Monday. "Fine," says the Music Editor. "Just get back by 10pm, because you're set up to interview Dick Clark." "You mean American Bandstand Dick Clark?" "That's the one." Fine. No problem -- except that between the phone call and 10pm, I've managed to lose my last pair of glasses on a rollercoaster at Astroworld and I'm quite legally blind without them. So, here I come stumbling around the grounds of Clark's new Austin restaurant, the American Bandstand Grill at 183 and I-35, trying desperately to find the door, and generally looking like a drunken derelict until the manager comes out after me. Considering that in a review of my South by Southwest showcase the San Francisco Bay Guardian described me as "scary" and "backwoods," I can't say I was too surprised that he decided that we should hold off on the interview. (I found out later that when I headed over by the back fence to figure out what happened to my "guide," he thought I was rummaging through their dumpsters!) I tentatively rescheduled for the following afternoon and returned to my guide's car. Turns out amid the chaos of my afternoon, she had decided to drop acid, making the ride home an adventure I don't even want to go into. As for my follow-up with Clark, because my prescription is so extreme that it couldn't be filled the next day, I instead sent Andy Langer out to the Grill and he spoke to the initially still-frightened television personality amid the displays of Madonna's bullet bra, Melissa Etheridge poster (above the women's room door), Barbara Mandrell's dress, and Michael Jackson's black top hat. There were some specifically Austin-related bits of memorabilia too, like a Frank Kozik-drawn poster from a Sonic Youth/Hole show and a Thirteenth Floor Elevators poster from the Avalon Ballroom, but Clark admits that there's no specific connection between Austin and the Bandstand show. "We were scouring the records to see if we had any direct tie and there is none," he shrugs. "Stevie Ray Vaughan was not a typical Bandstand artist, but then there is no such thing as a typical Bandstand artist. We've had everybody from roots, rock, and blues people to outright hillbillies to jazz musicians. It just didn't happen for Austin and I can't say why." Clark has spent his share of time in Texas, though, specifically during the Sixties when he was touring with his Cavalcade of Stars show, and was even in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was shot. As far as his personal feelings towards our town, he simply says that Austin is a "hot city." Truer words were never spoken.

Victims, Part I

The wave of recent musical death continues unabated, as we got the news at press time that Faces/Small Faces co-founder Ronnie Lane finally lost his 20-year battle with multiple sclerosis this Wednesday. I'm sad to say I never got to meet the man, having moved to the crummy South Travis Heights apartments shortly after he moved out, but I've never heard any but the kindest words about the diminutive, spunky bassist, who moved to town in the mid-Eighties. A couple of years ago, the treacherous Austin climate finally forced the ailing Lane to move to Colorado (on the eve of his old bandmate Ian McLagan moving to town), where he finally succumbed to his illness at the age of 51.

This week we also add to the deceased list: Curt Booth, aka John HuG, former member of Marblehead Johnson, which also included comedian Bill Hicks and Curt's brother, Kevin Booth. Also gone from this earthly plane are horn legend Doc Cheatham, and possibly Jeff Buckley, who, after disappearing in the Mississippi River, may be taking the idea of following in his father's footsteps (to an early grave) a bit too far.

Victims, Pt. II

Been wondering what happened to Rob Jacks' most recent radio show, the one on KJFK? Well, it turns out that his special memorial to Glen Taylor wound up being his own swan song with the station, as he was fired after the station manager tuned in to hear the mayhem. As Jacks himself puts it, "Every punk rocker I've known over the years called up and said `fuck' over the air." Jacks also reports that the various members of the Dicks who appeared at the station that night got to see the new Dicks compilation CD for the first time; sadly, Taylor never got that chance. Sighs the unemployed Jacks, "I think the last of my punk rock ethic died with Glen."

Victims, Pt. III

You can credit KLBJ's Chris Mosser with the idea of throwing a Lubbock-style "Tornado Jam" at the Austin Music Hall today (Thursday) for the victims of the recent central Texas tornadoes. (No, that doesn't mean Doug Sahm bludgeoned someone.) "We didn't have to twist anybody's arm" to get them to play, says the Hall's Lesli Seymour. The dozen or so acts whose arms remain undamaged are Harry Connick, Jr., Tripping Daisy, the Toadies, Storyville, Hal Ketchum, Jackopierce, Don Walser's Pure Texas Band, Pushmonkey, Breedlove, Slaid Cleaves, Geezinslaws, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Ian Moore. Doors open at 4pm and music begins at 6pm. Among those of the above who were personally close to the tornadoes when they hit were Gilmore and Moore, the latter of whom was actually in Jarrell during the storm.

Follow that worthy cause with a benefit on Friday for a less terrifying form of nature: Barton Springs. Friday at La Zona Rosa there'll be a celebration of the recent citizens' uprising over the Springs, with Gilmore, Shawn Colvin, and some famous friends, along with video from the all-night hearing over the Save Our Springs Alliance and a showing of scenes from the new Barton Springs CD-ROM.

And let's throw in one more benefit this week: La Diferenzia appearing at Mexic-Arte Museum next Thursday, June 12 to play a special acoustic show in support of the museum.

81/2 Souvlakis

You'll have to look harder for appearances by 81/2 Souvenirs soon, as they'll be hitting the heavy touring circuit in mid-July, though you can start looking for their new CD, Souvonica, now. The disc is named after the Souvs' own special language (shades of the Cocteau Twins!) and features 11 songs, five (!) singers, and a cover of Nino Rota's "Amarcord." (Rota's daughter Nina is a big fan of the band.) The tour (and some cuts on the album) will feature new singer Chrysta Bell, shown here from her publicity still (we swear we didn't crop it though you might want to read the lead music feature this week for a bit of irony). Continental Records' Jack Hazzard says Bell, who comes from a musical family and has been singing from age four, was chosen after over 150 auditions, and, says Hazzard, "We finally found what we think is the perfect match for the band and the audience."

Break a Leg!

The Sillier Killers stuck a little too close to the show biz good luck cliche at their Steamboat show last week when, during the final song of their set, the lead singer took a jump off the "bird's nest" over the stage (you know, that thing way up there that Gibby Haynes was once accused of pissing out of) and -- you guessed it -- broke both his legs. Steamboat owner Danny Crooks says it appeared that the band was just trying to make an impression (and I guess you'd have to say they succeeded!), and after everyone realized the singer wasn't fooling around, EMS was called and the pained vocalist left on a stretcher (proffering the Evel Knievel thumbs-up sign). The band's last comment to Crooks that night was, "Now can we get a Saturday gig?" That depends, I would think, on what they plan to do for an encore.

Mixed Notes

The late Jubal Clark's posthumous album release celebration (it's that kind of week isn't it?), or as they're calling it, "Jubal-ation," continues this Sunday with a number of performers at the Roadhouse Cafe...

ST-37's return from tour show/release party for their split LP with Vocokesh is tonight at the Hole in the Wall. The Horsies CD release for Touch Me Columbus is this Friday at Stubb's. Maryann Price has a CD release party on Saturday at the Cactus Cafe...

Is this in-store mania or are people just all finally getting their press releases to me at once? Either way, look for Charlie Burton and Jeff Hughes at ABCD's tonight at 8pm, Pat McDonald at Waterloo Records Friday at 5pm, Spencer & Johnny (today), Unzipped (Friday) and Rumbullion (Saturday) at Borders Books, all at 8pm, and the Jels at Tower Records next Tuesday at 10pm. Roy Hargrove will be there next Thursday at 4pm...

Ill-conceived promo item of the week goes to Capitol Records, Michael Franti & the Spearhead Factory. Perhaps Northern journalists in Seattle and New York City enjoyed the Willy-Wonka styled chocolate bar with the band's name on it, but this Texas journalist didn't feel like he'd received any sort of golden ticket when he reached into his mailbag and got a big handful of warm stickiness...

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

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More Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

So Long, Slug
So Long, Slug

Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002

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