Dancing About Architecture
They Shoot Kennedys, Don't They?
Well, if the Austin Music Network goes under, it looks like MTV is ready to fill their offices. Not only is the former music video network shooting episodes of the logically titled Austin Stories here, this Tuesday, at a press conference at La Zona Rosa, they announced plans for their MTV Sports and Music festival to be held in Zilker Park October 17-19. MTV personalities Kennedy (the Republican one) and Peter King (the surfer-dude one) will host the festivities, which will feature a half-pipe for skaters connected to the stage so that the sports (mostly skateboarding, BMX, and snowboarding; and yes, they're bringing their own snow) and music can be run simultaneously. The network is still a bit shy about announcing the musical lineup for the extravaganza, but so far they've revealed that 311, Korn, Wyclef Jean of the Fugees, and Reel Big Fish will be appearing. They're also looking at having up to a dozen Austin acts performing on a second stage; "We're in the process of going through the talent pool," says producer R. Greg Johnston. And if that's not enough entertainment for you, Kirk Watson has challenged the entire city council to try in-line skating during the show. Kennedy was nowhere in sight for the press conference (Hey, don't worry, baby, this ain't Dallas!), but King was on hand to relate his previous experience with La Zona Rosa, where his band, Dakoda Motor Co., once played to a crowd of 200 and received dinner at the venue as their pay. (The story was apparently intended to fit in the "fond memory" category, but it came off as another "band screwed by club" tale.) The Sports and Music Festival airs November 7, and tickets priced at $5 a day go on sale September 1.
In the Pink
Speaking of La Zona Rosa, a club that's had more than its share of ups and downs, manager Charlie Jones says the venue's renovations should be completed by early to mid-September. Sunday brunch with the Asylum Street Spankers returned this week, and Jones reveals that several large acts are confirmed (with more to be announced) for the club's new, large, now-indoor stage, including David Allen Coe (September 4), Duncan Sheik (September 18), and Ziggy Marley (September 24) -- all shows go on sale this Saturday, including other Direct Events shows like k.d. lang at Bass Concert Hall (September 30), and Lyle Lovett at the Backyard (September 25-26). There's been talk of parking problems coming along with La Zona's expanded capacity, but Jones shrugs, saying, "We've never had any parking." He expects to have no trouble getting a variance allowing La Zona to use the nearby public parking garage.
Some people may call Danny Crooks crazy, but he's crazy like a fox. No, scratch that -- he's crazy about a fox. Last week in Dancing, I reported that Crooks was nervous about former owner Craig Hillis selling his note for Sixth Street's Steamboat (which Crooks is buying) to some investors in Colorado. After that issue went to press, Crooks found out that one of those investors was the group that owns the Fox Theatre. Since rumors have been popping up for a couple of years now about the Fox (which is a live music concern, not a movie theatre) wanting to open a venue in Austin, Crooks says he can't imagine why such a company would want this deal unless they wanted to take over the Boat. "They're sticking to the story that if I keep up my payments they'll leave me alone," Crooks says, not without suspicion. A meeting between all parties, originally scheduled for last Friday, has yet to occur.
A Dear John Letter
If you noticed the quip at the top of last week's Liberty Lunch ad and couldn't make heads or tails out of it, you weren't paying much attention to who has (and hasn't) recently played at the club. "Dear John," it read, "I hope you're enjoying our $$. Love, Liberty." The John in question is of course aging punk rocker John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten, whose advertised appearance drew only 70 advance ticket buyers, leading to the Lunch's decision to cancel the gig at the last minute. Clubowner Mark Pratz would only reveal that he had paid Lydon "less than $10,000" for "what was shaping up to be an unpleasant show." The final straw came when Lydon's people demanded extra equipment, spotlights, and people to operate them. At that point, Pratz says he realized any money he made on the show would be lost paying for the extra accoutrements, thus prompting him to cancel the gig. Pratz adds that he later received several calls from a promoter in San Diego who had only sold about a dozen advance Lydon tickets and wanted advice, while the Chronicle's then-vacationing Music Editor reports that the Bay Area Lydon show was cancelled as well. "They're just going around picking up money," sighs Pratz. If that sounds like a scene from The Great Rock & Roll Swindle, Pt.2, Pratz says he bears no animosity towards the PiL poppa. "I don't feel particularly swindled," he says, "I just got caught in the tailwind of the Sex Pistols tour."
Movin' On Up?
Remember when I told you that, contrary to wide-spread rumors, the tenants of that building at 504 West 24th aren't getting tossed out? Well, the situation has changed. Inner Sanctum co-owner Patrick Helton says that due to extensive renovations of the building, all tenants will have to vacate for around three months. Upon return, Helton says the Sanctum will be moving upstairs into a smaller space thanks to the tripling of his rent in the bigger space, but that he's far from displeased with the new situation. "They're doing 40 years of repairs at once," he says, adding that he believes the building's attractive new look will bring in new customers. Since he will have only a quarter of his previous space when he moves back in, he says he plans to go back to stocking new records and emphasizing quality over quantity in the shop. "He's dreaming!" laughs Technophilia co-owner Marshall Morgan, who made plans to bail out of the building on September 1 after getting a call informing him of the new developments. Morgan says that modern developers are sinking a lot of money into what will for all intents and purposes be a new building probably "don't want head shops and crusty old record stores -- they want franchises!" Morgan admits that the new management asked him to return after the renovations, but he still feels that the company was basically "giving everybody the boot." He counts himself lucky to have found, conversely to Helton, a larger new location in the former Dressed to Kill building on the Drag, adding, ironically, that his formerly CD-only store may expand to include vinyl albums.
It looks like Will and Charlie Sexton are close to signing with A&M Records. The brothers' co-manager George Couri says, "It looks good, but we don't consider anything a finished deal until there's ink on paper"...
Scratch John Fogerty off that list of people who will appear on Austin City Limits this year. "It's kind of a mystery to me," says producer Terry Lickona of Fogerty's reluctance to appear on the show after those close to the former Creedence Clearwater Revival front man assured him that Fogerty would be glad to do an ACL gig since he had a day off in Austin before his Austin Music Hall date. When they actually asked him, however, Fogerty apparently told them that he'd "freak out" if he had to think about doing a TV show while in the middle of a tour. There's talk of him perhaps making an appearance next year, but as Lickona's been working on him since 1985, he grumbles that, "I don't know if I'm going to have to wait another 12 years." Meanwhile, add the name Randy Newman to the list of artists ACL is hoping to book this year...
Through a combination of planned and unplanned moves, Larry Monroe ended up with Jerry Jeff Walker, Joe Ely, Bruce Robison, Lloyd Maines, and Pat Green all piled into the KUT deejay quarters, jamming and spinning discs for a little over three hours last Sunday night. Serendipity can't always be counted on, though, as evidenced by Paul Minor, who tuned in on his way to the Hole in the Wall Free-For-All and heard JJW reminiscing about doing the KUT thing and then trotting across the street to the Hole for an impromptu set. Minor poked in and invited the songsters to make an appearance at the Free-For-All, which they gladly accepted. Unfortunately, just as Minor's Superego were in the midst of a particularly loud and raucous rock number, Minor glanced over to see Robison opening the door and Walker giving him the "maybe this was a bad idea" look. The door closed and that was the last the Hole saw of Monroe's mustangs...
Yes, the Chris Thomas King whose Scotti Bros. debut album appears in stores next Tuesday is in fact Chris Thomas, who has added a third word to his name as he signs to a third label...
File this under the proud father syndrome: A happy Doyle Bramhall called to give us the news that son Doyle Bramhall II just got hitched to Susanna Melvoin at Studio City's famous "Little Brown Church" in Los Angeles. As a side note, the senior Bramhall noted that the junior one is going on the road with actor Steven Seagal, who considers himself a "blues singer/guitarist," and that their band includes Levon Helm. Evidently, Seagal has a new film coming out and wishes to perform at the premieres. Say, Steve, if Doyle and Helm don't work out, call Bruce Willis, Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp, and Dennis Quaid. Now there's an all-star band!
-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser