Dancing About Architecture

"Bob" Watches Over Us or: Weekend of Slack

How long has it been since you've seen that particular palindrome peering down from the top of this column? Yes, though original Chronicle music columnist Margaret Moser was wont to invoke the name and image of the great J.R. "Bob" Dobbs in almost every installment of her In One Ear gossip page, the Church of the Subgenius ("the fastest-growing anti-cult in America") and their high epopt Dobbs have been mighty quiet around Austin in recent years. (Hell, you hear more about Maitreya these days, for Chrissake.) That all should change this Saturday, when the "new" La Zona Rosa hosts a monstrous devival featuring the Rev. Ivan Stang, Dr. K'Taden Legume, and entertainment from the likes of Satan's Cheerleaders. Look, too, for the first live performance of conceptual telephone
harassers the Christal Methodists and some permutation of Booger 9000 (their leader, the Artist currently known as President William Howard Taft, is said to be skittish at this time.)

"Bob" Says Bless the Chronicle

It's surely the influence of "Bob" on the planets that has resulted in such a concentration of events occurring in Austin this weekend, not the least of which is the Chron's 16th Anniversary party this Sunday at Laguna Gloria (see "Recommended"). Gates open at noon, and the music starts at 2pm; Trish Murphy, Lucky Strikes, and the fabulous Don Walser are on the electric stage, while Kathy McCarty, Jon Dee Graham, and the Bells of Joy are on the acoustic stage. As always there's a kids' tent, featuring Joe McDermott, Carl Anderson, and Peter the Adequate. Costs a mere $5 to get in, and kids under 12 get in free. Remember, there are still a lot of poor, slackless children in this world.

"Bob" Urges More Slack

Besides the Chron's little shindig, there's a myriad of good ways to gain slack this weekend, including the Austin Record Convention, which is making its appearance at Palmer Auditorium this Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, those krazy kultists at the Zendik Farm are having their Z.A.P. fest at the Voodoo Lounge on Saturday with Brown Whornet, ST-37, Texas Philistines, Larry, and the Zendik Tribe Band. That same day, Robert Smith worshippers will probably swarm the Electric Lounge for the Cure Hoot Night (see ad for performers). Over at UT's Texas Union on Friday, there's PartyZilla Open House with Clandestine, Ta Mere, Breedlove, Dexter Freebish, Jack Rabbit King, Centzontle, Lucky Strikes, and showings of Gamera and Eraserhead (sounds like a good place for cultists to pick up converts, if they can fight off the Dianetics folks across the street.) Pop Culture Press magazine felt the pressure to bring a "shag-a-delic pile-up" to the Carousel Lounge this Sunday, where the Prima Donnas, Morningwood, Adults, and Stretford will no doubt bring new meaning to "pile-up." Now that all that Elvis crap has died down, we can all get down to the business of celebrating a real music icon, Hank Williams, whose birthday is being celebrated Sunday at the Continental Club, with a huge list of performers including Don Walser, the expectant Libbi Bosworth, Chris Wall, and Cornell Hurd. And for those for whom "Bob" is absolutely not their cup of holy water, Claudia Williams and the Voices of Christ will be celebrating their 16th anniversary with a live recording Sunday at the 1st Baptist Church this Sunday at 7:30pm.

"Bob" a Day Keeps the TABC Away

If you've been hanging around the UT area lately, you may have experienced the mighty hands of the Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission reaching out and touching someone. The TABC are in the midst of their thrice-yearly busy season, and have been playing the Cops in Shops game as well as operating some "minor stings" in the UT area. One might expect them to move on to Sixth Street this weekend, but Davis Ferrero at the TABC says that it'll be two or three weeks before they're ready to start sending 18-year-olds into bars and live music clubs to see how many can manage to get an alcoholic drink into their hands (Sounds like the premise for an MTV game show, don't it?). In previous years, Ferrero says about 25-30% of the 50 or so establishments stung failed the test.

He's Not Heavy, etc.

When was the last time you saw these two together -- and smooching, no less. No, no, I'm kidding, but Saturday night's Buick MacKane show at the Electric Lounge was notable not only for Whiskeytown's overwhelming local reception, but also because it featured the return of the "Ray and Dave Davies of the New Sincerity scene," according to Alejandro Escovedo. Yup, that was the night brother Javier made his debut with the band, and with Al throwing things (he dropped his water bottle), and Jav always getting his way (he got to chose the set-enders), it was just like the old days of Buffalo Springfield -- I mean, the True Believers (that was Al's joke, not mine). With the two brothers duetting on Javier's "Marianne," and sounding very, eh, believable on Al's "Goin' Home," visions of the Troobs were no doubt dancing in a lot of locals' heads -- particularly when the Escovedos sang back-up on Whiskeytown's cover of "The Rain Won't Help You When It's Over." The now-bass-playing Javier was caught looking longingly at Joe Eddy Hines' guitar a couple of times, so maybe it's time Buick gets a three-guitar front and lets Glenn Benavides handle all the rhythm chores.

Meetings of the Minds

Fastball (shut up, Paul Minor) have been recording in L.A., where studio-mate Poe guested on a song, "Which Way To the Top," for the local trio's next album. Afterwards, the group managed to track down Guns `N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum and convince him to coda a running joke that the band had during the recording of Make Your Mama Proud, wherein a metal dude screams, "Hollywood, you're kicking my ass!" Sorum's rendition of the phrase may not end up on the album, says Miles Zuniga, since "people will think we're talking about the label." If that's not enough for the "antics" file, when bidding farewell to Poe and Sorum, the band ran into Motorhead driver Lemmy Kilmeister, who insisted he sing on their tune "Charlie the Methadone Man," because it sounded like the Iveys (that's Badfinger to anyone but Lemmy and maybe Kent Benjamin). Says Zuniga, "His voice is not necessarily a harmony voice." Thus, yet another magical studio moment may end up in limbo -- or at most, as a B-side.

Mixed Notes

Mandy Mercier was rushed to Brackenridge Hospital Saturday night with dizziness caused by severe anemia and blood loss. She was diagnosed with a uterine condition and is currently resting at home preparing for surgery later this month. As a musician, she has no health insurance, but benefits are already being organized in Austin, Nashville, and California; Mercier was scheduled to begin recording an album with Lucinda Williams producing when the emergency struck...

Kacy Crowley's "Singers are Ugly" -- not about Lemmy, believe it or not -- is set to air during an upcoming episode of Fox's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Also, while on her H.O.R.D.E. dates, Crowley got to meet Neil Young, who she shares management with. Her observation was that Young was "charming and cute"...

Danny Crooks seems to be satisfied for now with the word of the investors seeking the note on his club. The buyers, he says, don't seem to want Steamboat, just the money, and will seriously discuss new payment arrangements that will make it easier for Crooks to meet the mortgage -- assuming they decide to make the purchase...

Jimmie Vaughan is in the studio right now working on his next album, tentatively slated for release in the first quarter of 1998. Any special guests on the works? "No," say manager Mark Proct, "he just likes to keep the pressure on him[self] to perform." If you plan to be in Brazil this October, you might look for Vaughan at one of several blues fests going on around there...

Hope Morgan, Pam Hart, Blues Boy Hubbard & the Jets, Edna Mae Miller, and many more will be recording a Christmas album at Top of the Marc this Tuesday and Wednesday for Marc Katz' Bagel Label...

It's hard to say what last Monday's public hearing did for the plight of the Austin Music Network, as I heard less than a half-dozen speeches regarding the local, all-music station (including an impassioned plea from Kevin Gant and a David Letterman-style "Top Ten Reasons to Keep the AMN" letter) over the course of the afternoon. One city council member noted that out of the 100-plus speakers, around 40%-50% were there to speak on behalf of the Riverside branch library...

In-stores and release parties: Merchants of Venus at the Ritz, Friday, 10pm, and then Saturday at the Carousel Lounge, 9:30pm; Therapy Sisters, Friday, Waterloo Records, 5pm, and Polk, Barton and Towhead, Friday, 7:30pm at Barnes & Noble...

Contrary to Paul Minor's recommendation, Jacob Schulze did not end up with the role of Sex Pistols take-off character "Johnny Sids" in MTV's Austin Stories. He did, however, become the newest member of Dah-veed Garza's band. You can listen for a Garza song (probably "Slave") on the soundtrack of the expected holiday blockbuster flick Great Expectations, featuring Robert DeNiro and Ethan Hawke...

This Friday at the Bates Motel is Tim Stegall's "3rd annual 29th birthday party" with the Hormones, Boozers, and Bulemics. Stegall, by the way, did get the role of Johnny Sids, and he's been heard puzzling over whether the name is short for Johnny Sudden Infant Death Syndrome...

-- Contributors: Michael Bertin, J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, and Margaret Moser

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