Dancing About Architecture
On Tuesday, LBJ Broadcasting (KLBJ-AM, KLBJ-FM, and KAJZ-FM) and Sinclair Telecable (KGSR-FM and KROX-FM) announced a merger that would unite all five stations under the banner of a new company, LBJ-S Broadcasting, with LBJ's Ian Turpin taking the position of Chief Engineering Officer and Telecable's Bob Sinclair claiming the post of Chief Operations Officer. At a press conference that afternoon, Cactus Pryor made the official announcement using a wide range of silly voices before turning over the event to various members of the "two families coming together," as Turpin puts it. All five stations, with an estimated total enterprise value of $80 million, will relocate to the KLBJ studios on Rundberg by January; 101X and KGSR currently share studio downtown. The "wedding," says LBJ offspring Luci Baines Johnson, will officially begin with the "blessing of the minister" (i.e.: the FCC), which should take three or four months. The personnel of the once-competing stations "are going to be very close to each other," exclaims Johnson, lending credence to a line overheard earlier from KGSR's Kevin Connor, who has worked for both companies: "There's no point in making enemies in radio -- sooner or later you'll be working with them again."
8 1/2 Spankings
Frequent guest bassist Billy Horton is now an official member of the Asylum Street Spankers, following Kevin Smith's departure to join 8 1/2 Souvenirs. Along with Horton, you'll spot a brand, eh, spanking new fiddler, Eamon McLaughlin, who's an English import working at making his home in Texas. The Spankers have just returned home following a tour and subsequent vacation, and will return to their regular weekly Electric Lounge appearances starting next Wednesday. In the meantime, Christina Marrs is still beaming over the acoustic band's achievement of "getting the New York audience [at the Mercury Lounge] to sit down and shut up."
Following Smith over to the Souvenirs camp, let's take a look at where they've been: Try New York as well, where they just completed 12 gigs in and around the Big Apple in venues ranging from the Ed Sullivan Lounge to the World Trade Center. In addition, they made several radio and television appearances, including one you already missed (CBS This Morning), and a slew of others that won't be aired down here. Their shows also drew the attention of Paul Shaffer and whoever books the Rosie O'Donnell show. Finally, in October, the band is set to appear on Austin City Limits as well as begin work on a new Willie Nelson movie, where they'll appear on both the screen and the soundtrack.
Maltin Says "4 Stars!"; Walser Replies "Huh?"
Speaking of the big screen, them little CDs just ain't big enough to contain Don Walser. Robert Redford's people just called for a load of Walser material to be overnighted to them in the interest of having the yodeller appear in Redford's new directorial effort, The Horse Whisperer. Walser would be part of a band in a dancehall scene. Meanwhile, Californian and former Armadilloite Paul McLaughlin says that a screenplay should be finished next month based on Walser's life. That project, with the working title Signpost of Life, "started out to be a straight bio, but Don's really too nice of a guy," says McLaughlin. Does that mean the flick will be a docudrama, or a country-westermentary? "We just call it a film," states McLaughlin. Plans call for Walser to provide the narration and music. Farther down the line, yet, is the "germination of an idea" for a Broadway musical about Walser, says publicist Nancy Fly. That project is the brainchild of producer Pete Ligeti, but don't expect it to come to fruition any time soon; satisfy yourself with Walser's upcoming Texas Lottery commercial in the meantime.
Speaking of Walser, his fans got a, uh, treat when Larry Gatlin dropped in on his Monday night Babe's gig to sing a few songs. "I've got a new favorite singer," said Gatlin, "and his name is Don Walser. I'd never heard him until tonight." Apparently, not too many Walser fans had heard Gatlin; when Walser yielded the floor to him, the visiting country star had trouble finding anyone in the crowd who knew the words to his chart-topping hit, "All the Gold in California." "Y'all must not have radios," said Gatlin, surprised. "This was a big hit for me."
Get Back In the Van Pt. 2
There's a benefit this Saturday at the Bates Motel to pay for damages to the Dead End Cruisers' van, which was stolen before a recent show and subsequently recovered after a chase that resulted in severe transmission damage. The Cruisers, Lower Class Brats, Hormones, and (ironically?) Econoline will be playing. That might be a good time for you to check out the "new" Bates Motel, which has been phasing out its blues bands and leaning towards harder sounds since the beginning of July. The club is talking with bands like the Motards and Stretford for future gigs, and just hosted Australia's Kimo Sabe, who've been in town recording with Tim Kerr. Beer prices have been lowered and a cover charge instated, as the club's Randall Stockton says he found the tip jar situation "demeaning" to the bands. Also, the club has ripped out its nasty old carpet, says Stockton, "So if we can convince a swing band to play here, there'll be a dance floor."
Sire Records boss Seymour Stein made a pilgrimage to Austin this week to look over his new domain. Though taking in a massive showcase at Antone's on Monday night (featuring Guy Forsyth, Sue Foley, the Moellers, Lou Ann Barton, and a half dozen others who wore him out before Malford Milligan hit the evening's final note), he was back out the next evening for a showcase by Trish Murphy at Steamboat, then off to Jovita's to catch Don Walser. Asked what he thought of the fare at Jovita's, Stein replied, "It's okay, but the music is better. There's a banquet of music here [in Austin]"...
Aqua Fest's early figures indicate a 43% increase in attendance over last year during its first four nights. This, one assumes, can be attributed to the increasing influx of new residents who aren't aware of Aqua Fest's past flubs. Our prediction for future fests continues to be less emphasis on music and more on family events. Case in point; it's been announced that since water safety tests have been completed, the Rubber Ducky race is in fact on for this Saturday at 4:30pm. By the way, the Chronicle wishes to apologize for referring to Doodle Bug the Clown as a "he" in last week's schedule (see this week's grid on p.48). As any etymologist or entomologist will tell you, the single word "doodlebug" refers to the male of the species, while the separate "doodle bug" indicates the female...
The producers and crew of Legends, the hour-long series on VH1 profiling some of the biggest names in rock & roll, visited Austin last weekend to research the subject of an upcoming segment, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Interviewed were former Double Trouble rhythm section Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton, longtime friend and writing partner
Both KVET-FM and KASE-FM have added Dale Watson's "I Think of You" to their playlists, a move that Music Director Steve Gary insists isn't all that strange for the former, but in the case (no pun intended) of the latter station, "that's on the unusual side." Gary says that while Watson's music is a bit "left of center" for the Top 40 country station, "Dale has a winner with that song." When asked the last time KASE played a local song, Gary cited regular play from the likes of Rick Trevino and Lee Roy Parnell, but confesses that most people probably don't think of them as true "local" artists anymore. Watson, meanwhile, not only went Number One on the Americana Charts, he also netted four nominations in the British Country Music Awards, and a BBC crew will be following him around Texas shooting footage for an upcoming documentary...
Look for Duval Discs to move by this Friday to 2829 Guadalupe, right by Antone's Records. Damned if the Drag isn't turning into its own record convention, starting at Sound Exchange and running up to Stashus Mule Records at Guad and 37th. Oh, and this is a good time to put to rest those rumors about Technophilia and Inner Sanctum having to move. Their building is under new management, but they say they're not going anywhere...
Millennium Swing have their album release party this Friday at
Cedar Street. That reminds me, Cedar Street regular Jon Blondell tried to tell me
some big news the other night, but at 3am, he moves and talks so fast, the only
I could make out was "double-platinum." I guess either that means the
album he plays on is still doing well, or that he has a couple of blondes waiting
back at his apartment. And speaking of blondes, here's a pin-up for your kid's
(see photo at right): Hanson, at the 1994 SXSW BBQ, before they
signed and just after they were out of diapers.
-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Lee Nichols, Margaret