Dancing About Architecture

AMN DOA? Or: Don't Torch That Dial!

The Austin Music Network recently issued its annual Team Report, asking for an increase in staff and budget. AMN General Manager Ester Matthews says the cable channel has been scraping along for a good while and that it was time to tell the powers that be they needed to "either lower expectations or increase funding." Unfortunately, the city Finance Department seemed to come up with a budget of its own -- one that didn't even include the Music Network! "The Music Network was not in the basic budget," confirms Matthews, "and now it's up to the council to put it back." The apparent absence of funding for the cable channel comes from it being labeled non-essential in the wake of a budget shortfall of approximately $15 million on the part of the city. Matthews notes that while the AMN is in no position to do any lobbying, she's hoping that the music community will show their support at future city council meetings. She hopes especially that Finance Department Chair Betty Dunkerly, who Matthews describes as a "longtime supporter" of AMN, will be able to accommodate the station. "It's premature to say they're not going to be in the budget," says Dunkerly. "We're in the process of trying to close the $15 million gap. We're sure they're nervous." The budget will not be formally published until mid-August and won't be voted on until mid-September, and before that, says Dunkerly, more money could still come in or other solutions might be found that would benefit the network. Hopefully, the money will be allotted (AMN's budget for this past year was $280,000) before the vote in September, otherwise AMN could go dark before Halloween.

Sign On the Dotted Line

Don Walser recently admitted in this column that he was considering an offer from a major label, which he told me off the record was the Sony offshoot, Lucky Dog (to which Asleep at the Wheel are currently signed -- see "Texas Platters"). Well, that's not who he ended up signing with, but if you read last week's column about changes at a certain Texas-friendly label, you just might have figured out that he's instead gone with Sire Records. That's the label that just took over Discovery, which you know is partners with our own Antone's Records. Walser cites his reasons for signing with a major as his being "kinda upset" with the lack of distribution his albums on local indie Watermelon have recieved. His specific motive in going with Sire was that "[Label boss] Seymour Stein is real interested in my career, and I thought, `Hell, this guy's got a track record!'" The latest talk about what might happen on the already-in-progress album includes a possible duet with either k.d. lang or Linda Ronstadt; the planned track featuring the Butthole Surfers is still up in the air.

In other local country news, we've just received the advance of Wayne "the Train" Hancock's new album, That's What Daddy Wants, which will be coming out in August on Miles Copeland's label, ARK 21 (you'll remember that's the same label that just put out Pat MacDonald's new album -- again, see "Texas Platters."). Hancock's new album, which features a odd, but rousing version of the Clash's "Brand New Cadillac," was recorded live over three days and actually includes drums on three tracks.

Hell and the Damnations

Damnations fans better have snapped up a copy of their Live Set CD by now, because they're only selling 'em at shows -- and with the gals on vacation for the summer, there won't be any shows for a while. Band member Rob Bernard says the main reason they won't be in stores is that the band had less than 100 pressed (half of which we figure are being horded by a certain Statesman writer), but also because the band wants to make a studio album soon. The band must've felt like they were living up to their name when they played Stubb's last weekend. Sewage had flooded the restaurant, so they (and all the food) were moved outdoors. Since Ian Moore had played an early show and the Damnations' starting time got moved up, there were of course the requisite jokes like "Thanks to Ian for opening for us." The only time the band really had to deal with the stench was when they were sloshing inside for their free band beers. Says Bernard, "I thought I was gonna die!" Thinking about it, that really does sound like a musician's picture of hell -- and Damnation.

Van-dalism

Maybe the Dead End Cruisers should stick to dead ends and avoid alleys. At least they had the year's best excuse for missing their show last Thursday at the Bates Motel: When they left the club to get their equipment, they found that someone had made off with it -- van and all! (I'd tell you how the guy managed it, but then I'd probably end up having to run a similar story next week.) After the band phoned the police with the license number, the vehicle was soon retrieved, but not before the thief had run down a mailbox and messed up the transmission. Think of it this way, guys; you got back all your stuff, and anyway, a van without transmission problems isn't truly a van at all. (Keep your eyes open for a Cruisers/Lower Class Brats split single on the Second to None label around August.)

Mixed Notes

Legendary Houston-bred guitarist Johnny Copeland ended up being less known to the general public for his music than his poker hand -- and unfortunately, two hearts won't keep you in the game forever. Copeland made a flurry of television appearances over the last year following his heart transplant and his experiences with an experimental heart pump, but he died last week on the operating table at age 60 following complications relating to his replacement heart... Travis Lacey of Pigpoke suffered a broken neck among other injuries while riding in the back of a pickup which rolled when its driver swerved to avoid hitting a deer. Doctors pronounced Lacey completely paralyzed, but just to be ornery he began regaining feeling and movement the following day. Lacey is currently in rehabilitation therapy in San Antonio and a benefit for his medical bills is in the works. If you'd like to help out, call Bob Ray at 916-9682...

Pushmonkey are rumored to be near a deal with Arista, but David Brichler at Lone Wolf Management will only say, "I can't comment on that at the present time"...

Iggy Pop took a bad stage-dive recently in Columbus, Ohio and did some tendon damage to his shoulder, causing him to leave the R.O.A.R tour (rumors have it that it's the tour itself, not Pop's shoulder, that's coming apart). Local band Soak, who are scheduled to play the tour's San Antonio stop this Saturday, hopefully know better (following their own little incident, recently reported here) than to do any stage diving at this point...

Look for a "new" live album from Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble at the end of the month. Live at Carnegie Hall captures a 1984 show at the famous venue with SRV&DT plus special guests Jimmie Vaughan, Dr. John, Angela Strehli, and the Roomful of Blues horns...

No, Jon Dee Graham hasn't joined Buick McKane, but you can "truly believe" that his Escape From Monster Island album is out now. JDG (doesn't someone else 'round these parts have those same initials?) will be at Stubb's on Wednesday for a release party, and hopefully the place won't smell like Monster Island...

Graham is also taking part in the Borders Books Texas Summer Music Series. Clip `n' save: Graham, David Halley, and Jo Carol Pierce with Guy Juke (7/19); Dale Watson and Don McCalister (7/26); Don Walser and Laughing Dogs (8/2); Derailers and Charlie Burton (8/9); Omar & the Howlers and Floyd Domino (8/16); Asylum Street Spankers with Guy Forsyth (8/23); and Michael Martin Murphey, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Troy Campbell (8/30)...

'Zine report: The new Alcohol, Drugs and Driving is a whopping four-pager dealing with the "Mysteries of Austin," like "Who are all these kids hanging out in the street and where do they come from?" AD&D has a web site, too (http://www.zilker.net/add). Show Us Your Butt also got on the Net awhile back, so instead of cheap black-and-white copy machine crap, you can now see the hairy asses of your friends in the Austin scene in full color. I don't have their URL handy, but think of all the amusing things you're likely to run across while searching for Show Us Your Butt! Oh, and the second issue of my 'zine is finally out, but since self-promotion makes me itchy, I'll just let you try and figure out which one it is on the racks...

In Beck's most recent video, look for a cameo by Willie Nelson as some kind of freaky wizard. Reportedly, both Johnny Cash and Johnny and Edgar Winter turned down the role before Nelson said "Yes" (or "Shazam!" or whatever)...

I hope the possibility of losing the Austin Music Network is at least enough impetus to get you tuned in to the debut of their new live show this Sunday. It runs from 9-10pm, is hosted by the world's coolest house-husband, Dave Prewitt, features interviews, tapes and live acoustic performances by local acts, and damned if I didn't forget to ask what it's called!...

Chasing the Dream: A Bull-Riding Adventure, a local film, makes its debut at the Dobie Theatre at 7:30pm next Thursday. Why do I mention this -- besides the fact that the acting bug has hit me again and sucking up to local filmmakers seems like a fine idea? Well, the film features a number of Austin artists on its soundtrack including Don Walser, the Derailers, Jack Ingram, Stop the Truck!, ThaMuseMeant, Chris Wall, and Mary Cutrufello. There's also an after-party at Donn's Depot where some of the above will perform...

Screwtape have an in-store for their new CD at Waterloo Records this Friday at 5pm...

Ursa Major have a release party for their new no-paper-involved CD at the Hole in the Wall this Saturday...

There's a release party for bluecanoe's new CD at Hondo's on Tuesday...

Necrofix have their debut album out now and there's a release party tonight (Thursday) at the Atomic Cafe... Carol Gilson's medical costs are the impetus for the benefit this Saturday at the Electric Lounge with Sexy Finger Champs, Sxip, Brown Whornet, and Garnet. If you haven't heard of Garnet, they were known as Olive until a band by that name on RCA "paid a shitload to have the name. We screwed the Man out of a lot of money and now we're Garnet," says the band...

...

Hey, next Tuesday is Roky Erickson's 50th birthday. A half century of Roky! Long may he wave!

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

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