Dancing About Architecture

The Mighty Four

"I don't know if you'd call it a reunion, but they were all there," says Susan Antone, of last Friday's on-stage appearance of Doyle Bramhall II, Tommy Shannon, Chris Layton, and Charlie Sexton -- the artists formerly known as the Arc Angels. What about it wouldn't you call a reunion, though? The four played together on a quartet of songs (including one featuring Denny Freeman, who, along with Layton, Shannon, and Bramhall, is the Mighty Zor), three of which were Arc Angels songs (whaddya expect, an ABBA medley?) In addition, Freddy King's "Goin' Down" was on their musical menu, as was an earlier appearance that night by Doyle, Sr. Both Thursday and Friday's Zor shows were packed, says Antone, with guests including filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and Beavis and Butt-head creator and sometimes Bramhall bassist Mike Judge ("I wish he'd give up that stupid cartoon stuff and get a real [bass playing] job!" jokes Antone). Layton says there are no specific plans for another Angels reunion, but the possibility remains. As for the Mighty Zor, chances are they will perform more shows in the future. Says Layton, "It's the most fun I've had in years -- since I played with Stevie."

A Princely Secret

For the record, Sire Records has just sent out a press release officially noting the "multi-faceted alliance" they now share with local indie label Watermelon Records -- but we all knew that. The new issue of Billboard, however, brings up an interesting fact about the first release under the Watermelon/Sire joint aegis, the Derailers' Reverb Deluxe. That magazine's "Popular Uprisings" column notes the popularity of the band's version of Prince's "Raspberry Beret." Ain't it funny how none of the album's early reviews mention the song, a track Billboard notes has received an "overwhelmingly positive response"? Well, that's because advance copies of the album (which many reviewers based their opinions on) didn't contain the "secret bonus track" of "Beret." Not only was it added to the album at the last minute, Sire has pressed a 7-inch single of the cut that they plan to ship to college radio the last week of November, with AAA stations set to receive it as well come early next year. If you have yet to hear it, let's just say it's better than the version by the Hindu Love Gods, the R.E.M./Warren Zevon linkup that recorded it a few years ago.

On the Rhodes Again

Kimmie Rhodes' new compilation album of tracks from 1985-90 is well-titled to say the least. Jackelopes, Moons and Angels features tracks from her hard-to-find albums Kimmie Rhodes and the Jackelope Brothers, Man in the Moon, and Angels Get the Blues and should be in the stores "any day now," according to the artist, who's releasing it on her own Jackelope label. What? You say you've already got a copy? Nope, you're thinking of the European import version on Last Call, which has been somewhat available in Austin for a short while. Completists will note that the domestic version has different packaging, but the same songs. Rhodes hopes to have an album of new material out next year
(tentatively titled The Road to Jubilee), but there's no word on whether that will come out on Houston's Justice label, which put out Rhodes' West Texas Heaven last year. Speaking of Justice, things have been quiet for them lately, and publicist Hope Edick admits that " '97 was tough for us," but points to a new Carolyn Wonderland 3-song benefit CD as evidence of their continued existence. Other irons in the fire include a recent Tab Benoit disc and a Jesse Dayton album due in the first quarter of next year. The label is discussing deals with a few more yet-unnamed artists, and Edick says she hopes "that '98 will be a better year [for the recording industry] in general."

The Abracademy Award

Abra Moore is one of 11 artists eligible to be nominated for a Best Female Rock Artist Grammy, a category that's not currently without controversy. Among those not considered "rock" and therefore not eligible are Shawn Colvin and Jewel, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times, which also lists more well-known possible "yesses" as Patti Smith and Ani DiFranco. NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) president Michael Greene has explained the situation as one of timing, genre definition, and rules twists; the latter affects "rocker" Sheryl Crow, for instance, who has some 1997 singles eligible, even though they come from a 1996 album that already won a Grammy. Don't expect the rules to change, however, as the past several years have found a dearth of eligible women to even fill the category. Instead, we'll just keep an eye on Abra.

Scooting Along

Silver Scooter seem to be doing pretty well with their album The Other Palm Springs, especially considering its origins on tiny local label Peek-a-Boo Records. So far, the disc has peaked at 13 on the CMJ college charts, and when it first hit the top 200 in October, it was the only indie listed in that chart's Top Five new adds. Peek-a-Boo, run out of local entrepeneur Travis Higdon's apartment (you might know him from The Kiss Offs), reports that while the album has gotten good reviews so far (in CMJ, Texas Monthly, and the Chronicle, for instance), it was released at a time of year when the music industry and publications are concentrating on reissues and end-of-the-year Top Ten lists. In other words, look for a second wave of press in January.

Mixed Notes

I smelled smoke in my neighborhood earlier this week. You know the kind -- the acrid, wood/plastic/heirlooms burning kind of smoke. Somebody's house was most likely burning down in the area, which reminded me that it's past time for my annual plea to you poor musicians (and even non-musicians) who depend on old, dangerous space heaters to survive these few cold months of Texas winter: Always keep an eye on those things and be aware of how easy they can wipe out everything you've got. And before I leave the subject, Frank Kozik's Man's Ruin label has put out a benefit album for Estrus Records, whose warehouse, you may recall, burned down last January. There's some Texas acts like Sugar Shack and Lord High Fixers on the comp, alongside other Estrus faves the Makers, and Man or Astroman...

There Goes the Sun: Sunflower has broken up. Heath Clark reports that vocalist Robert Becker was the first to broach the subject of disbanding, but that all the members had felt it coming for a long while, and that the quintet, who moved here from Beaumont together, remain friends. Look for Clark in Houston's Atticus Finch and for Tate Farrar in 7 Stones, and expect to see the other former Sunflowers around and about as well after their big final gig at Steamboat on December 5...

Charlie and Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis have a track together (for the first time, if memory serves) on a new all-Austin CD that benefits the Humane Society. Also on the disc are Julianna Sheffield with Felonious Funk, Mr Fabulous & Casino Royale, Don Walser, Sara Hickman, and Marcia Ball. No word on if the disc only benefits Austin-based animals (like Barton Creek salamanders and Alvin Crows, for instance)... Carl Normal sent greetings recently from Manchester, England, which he's been visiting for a few weeks (and blew off attending a Damned reunion show to hang out with his dad, which shows how close they are). Normal says that a label meeting in Jolly Olde fell through, "So I guess you'll have to wait until next year to do that Stretford cover story"...

Inside Edition reporters were spotted at the Speakeasy last week looking for dirt on Sandra Bullock. They continued their quest at Antone's and other points Bullock-known...

The deadline for listings in the Texas Music Industry Directory is December 5, so contact the TMO at the Office of the Governor, PO Box 13246, Austin TX 78711-3246, or call 512/463-6666, fax 463-4114, e-mail music@governor.state.tx.us, or check the website at http://www.governor.state.tx.us/music. Or maybe you could parade down Sixth Street with blinding lights that say "TMO," or paint it on your roof, or, oh wait, I'm thinking about that KLBJ contest now...

Ken Schaffer's Safety in Numbers showcases are being compiled for a CD to be released soon. Meanwhile, Safety in Numbers continues at La Palapa...

Plano, Texas label Barb Wire (distributed by Virgin) has just released a new album by Tejano star Ruben Ramos. Smooth should be in stores as you read this...

Just got a new catalog of books on tape in the mail and one of their Christmas suggestions is "The Dr. Laura Audio Collection." Can I suggest a slogan?: "For people you hate, but are too far away to bitch at in person"...

Duval Discs will have Yuckmouth performing in-store next Tuesday at 5pm to promote KVRX's Local Live CD...

Austin resident/legendary drummer Terry Bozzio will be back in town in a couple of weeks to work on recording some solo projects. While you're waiting to hear more about those, you can check out his collaboration with Steve Stevens and Tony Levin, Blacklight Syndrome, which is out now...

Trish Murphy inspired a "feeding frenzy" of labels, as one insider put it, at a BMI showcase recently at New York's Orleans Grocery. Count Reprise, Sony, and Geffen among the fins who were seen circling. Murphy is off next for eight dates with Curt Neuman of the Bodeans...

David Garza's 4-track EP is now available at Waterloo and Tower...

Clarification: Several readers questioned last week's reference to Scott McKenzie as a member of the
Mamas & Papas
. Though he was not an original member, the M&P's often performed with and backed up McKenzie in the Sixties, and he toured with them as a replacement for Denny Doherty beginning in the Eighties. Still, looking over the original quote from McKenzie that I paraphrased, it appears that the old hippie might have been attempting to rewrite a bit of musical history for Jennifer Cook and the rest of his audience...

-- Conributors: Michael Bertin, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Lang

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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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