Dancing About Architecture

Driving a New Buick

Anyone who saw Buick MacKane's show at Stubb's a couple weekends ago (opening for the Bad Livers), knew it was bassist Dave Fairchild's last gig. They knew this because Alejandro Escovedo announced it at the beginning of the show, and kept complaining about it throughout the set (though, by the end of the gig, when the band was doing Oasis' "Supersonic," he was all smiles). Still, he was obviously unhappy about Fairchild's leaving. "I'm pissed off," says Escovedo. "We waited nine years for this, the band is getting good reviews. And David decided he's rather stay here. We always thought Glenn [Benavides] would flake out on us." For his part, Fairchild says the band needs to tour behind The Pawnshop Years, and with his job, he just isn't able to do so. "The more [touring] we did, the more I realized I wasn't up to it," he says. "I felt like I was holding the operation back." Escovedo says Andrew Duplantis will be filling in on the band's week-long, West Coast jaunt with Son Volt, which arrives at the Austin Music Hall in a couple of weeks. And you'll never guess who Escovedo really wants for the band. "Javier," he says. Javier? Not brother and fellow True Believer Javier? "Maybe Javier. He's learning songs now to see how it goes. He wants in bad." Apparently, he's not kidding. Escovedo says the band tours Europe in the fall and since these are good markets for him as a solo artist, the band should go over well, too -- provided they have a bassist. So there's Europe and... "Canada. They love us in Canada." Why Canada? "Who knows. Dumb luck."

Label Spinning

Cary Baker, the man who played the knight in shining armor in the fairy tale wedding of Antone's and Discovery Records, says he's one of three execs at the label to be dismissed on June 20 as part of a restructuring. For all intents and purposes, he says, Discovery has been swallowed up into Seymour Stein's Sire Records label; the press release for local saxophonist Ron Brown's new From My Eyes Only already makes reference to "Sire (formerly Discovery) Records." What does this spell for the Antone's label, and folks like Toni Price, who just released her new one on Antone's/Discovery? Boss lady Christie Warren doesn't seem too worried. She says that the local blues label will be renegotiating their contract ("actually a better contract," she says) with Stein when he comes to Austin in mid-July. Don't expect any lightning changes in the meantime, as Stein is known to take his time in such dealings. Baker, meanwhile, has started his own publicity firm, the Baker Media Group, working to promote artists through the web and more traditional means. He can be contacted at 818/501-0056.

Playing Softball

Hollywood Records picked up the big end of the moron stick again last week when they pulled all copies of the brand new album from the Insane Clown Posse off store shelves around the country. The quick disappearance of the album, which features guests Alice Cooper and Slash, songs about necrophilia, and well, insane clowns, came on the heels of parent company Disney's little problem with Baptists. After being branded as "pro-gay" by a coalition of Church Lady types, the corporation apparently didn't feel they needed to be associated with corpse-humpers as well. The end result is that Hollywood is now stuck in the middle as a label known for a lack of hits and a rep for abandoning its artists. Miles Zuniga, whose Fastball records for Hollywood, concurs that, "I think the label's getting screwed over by the parent company." When asked if he's thinking of recording a song called "Insane Gay Baptist Clown Posse," his eyes lit up. "I wish we could do something like that!"

Perhaps they might as well. After all, USA Today referred to the Austin popsters as "Los Angeles punkers" in their feature on the repopularization of punk (er, I mean pop) songwriter Burt Bacharach. USA Today describes the new Lounge-a-palooza album, featuring Fastball's rendition of Bacharach's "This Guy's In Love With You," as the "olive in the lounge revival martini." (Brit fans of Fastball won't have to check out Lounge-a-palooza for "This Guy," though; word has it that the song will be included as a bonus track on the yet-to-be released UK version of the band's first album.) As far as a second album, the band hopes to start recording sometime this summer -- if Hollywood is around that long -- and afterwards, there's talk of adding Jon Sanchez to the band. "Who knows what will happen between now and then," says Zuniga of the Superego guitarist, adding that he's had his eye on the Sanchez for awhile. "Why do you think I spend all my time at the Free For All?" he winks.

One Last Train to Clarksville

While DiverseArts' Harold McMillan admits that this year's Clarksville Jazz Festival didn't put a "significant dent" into the debts incurred in previous years, he sees nothing but positives regarding the other aspects of the Fest. "I thought this was the best we've done at getting folks out," he says, noting "decent to excellent" crowds at the club-based shows and a near-sellout at the State Theatre for the big Roy Hargrove show. McMillan's focus for next year is to get local businesses to increase their support of events like this one, which he says are "good for the community and good for [the businesses'] bottom line."

Kenny? Gee...

Here, I think, is a fine way to end June is Jazz Month. The following, an excerpt that unfortunately didn't make it into print, is from Andy Langer's recent Chronicle interview with Kenny G: "First time I played in Austin, I played the Armadillo. I loved that place. I remember it was a big warehouse -- a huge space that smelled like beer. I remember it as a casual atmosphere where people were into music. They were always interested in hearing us play, so there was a great vibe. When I think of Austin, the Armadillo is the first thing that pops into my mind from the old days." Reminiscences by Armadillo old-timers/regulars to Kenny's performances there vary widely. Renowned poster artist Michael Priest says, "I don't remember him playing," while Threadgill's owner Eddie Wilson counters sincerely with, "I don't recall him playing."

Mixed Notes

As the Damnations get ready to leave town on a two-month vacation, the Chronicle decided to ask Number One fan Michael Corcoran what he plans to do for entertainment during July and August. "I don't know," he muses. "I guess I'll just stay in...

Are the Gourds in town?" Actually, Corcoran says he's taken high enough dosages of the band over the last few months that he should be able to last through the drought without them -- as long as he's got his copy of their just-released KUT Live Set...

Watching Doyle Bramhall II blast away at Antone's last week, you wouldn't have guessed that he'd recently been dropped by media giant Geffen Records. Former manager Mark Proct reluctantly confirms that Geffen and Bramhall have parted ways, adding quickly, "I don't think it'll be tough for Doyle to hook up with another label"...

Jeff Smith, late of the Interstate Leisure Kings, has found his way back to Austin from Memphis following a bit of trouble with the law there. He says he won't be around town too long before moving on to Minneapolis in a few weeks. "And when I run out of `M's, I'll head on to the `N's," he says. A scheduled get-together of former Austin "psycho-country" acts that was set for this week seems to have been scuttled, despite Smith's presence; Evan Johns is apparently not going to make it down from New England due to the illness of bandmate Michael Maye...

For the past several weeks, rumors have been circulating as to whether Sunflower has broken up? Former manager Peter Raspler says he's been getting calls from curious fans regarding such a dissolution, but states that the band has merely decided to take the summer off from live performing. Due to attention from some labels (no, they're not saying which ones), the band has decided to spend the next couple months writing new material and rehearsing. "They're just switching gears," says Raspler...

Frank Kozik's Man's Ruin label has sent along an advance CD from underground author Adam Parfrey. You may recall catching Parfrey's spoken word performance at Mojo's during South by Southwest, or perhaps you even witnessed his near explosion at Fringeware when he was told that his publisher was screwing him over by sending cheap copies of his Apocalypse Culture to Half Price Books...

Rick Carney from Jesus Christ Superfly is celebrating his birthday with a "Thirsty and Miserable" Hoot Night of drinkin' songs on Tuesday at the Hole in the Wall. Look for performances from Honky and Gomez among others...

I hear that King Coffey got some attention from the boys in blue at his birthday party last Friday -- or at least Starfish did. (Perhaps the cops would have been more useful at Bukka Allen's party, where Will Sexton reportedly gave Craig Smith a pop on the honker). Coffey's label has been getting attention of a more positive kind, though; The American Analog Set just got its new 7-inch "Magnificent Seventies" reviewed in SPIN, while an upcoming Rolling Stone reportedly has a review of the band's new album, From Our Living Room to Yours...

Screwtape have a CD release on Thursday, July 10 at Liberty Lunch starting at 10:30pm. The band has also managed to put together the most elaborate press kit I've ever received from a local act...

Del Dragons have a release party for their new CD at Flipnotics on Friday, with Earthpig performing as well...

Oh, and that in-store at ABCDs I mentioned last week is tonight (Thursday) at 8pm, with Trish Murphy and the Sir Finks performing...

When Japanese garage bands 20/20 and Antonio 3 played Austin a few weeks ago, the former band did some recording with Tim Kerr for an album on a Japanese label, while the latter group did some recording with Kiss Offs drummer Dwayne Barnes for a split 7-inch due out in Japan this Fall. The Kerr sessions aren't likely to thrill long-time pop band 20/20, who are partially based in Austin. Ron Flynt, of the U.S. 20/20, says he plans to fight to protect the copyright on the name, adding that ironically, "We never sold that many records, but one of the places we sold the most was in Japan"...

-- 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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