Dancing About Architecture

SX3 (South By Cubed)

There hasn't been much freezing in the local weather of late, but that doesn't mean ice cubes haven't been forming. Or at least rapper Ice Cube has apparently formed an interest in Austin. A rep for the Cube called to express interest in having Ice perform at a local, er, gentlemen's bar at some point during the course of South by Southwest. Apparently the rapper's schedule matches up well with SXSW since plans call for him to be shooting a movie here during that time. Talk between the fest and the Cube is still in the early stages, but don't be too surprised to see that particular sunny G checking out the city sights sometime in March.

Asleep at the Podium

The big name so far (and the first entertainers to be announced) for the 1998 Austin Music Awards, which of course kick off SXSW, is Asleep at the Wheel, who will be performing at the star-studded ceremonies. And if you think they won't be star-studded, you must think that Ray Benson doesn't have any famous friends. As far as the actual music festival, names are starting to trickle in as well -- especially those of acts from overseas, since SXSW confirms them earlier for reasons that should be obvious. Here's a few of the confirmed you may or may not be familiar with: From Japan, Muddy Frankenstein, Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her, Zoobombs, O*N*T*J; from the UK, Altan, The Big Six, Cable; and from Germany, 17 Hippies, and Thuringian Alphorns. Remember, any of these bands could be the next big thing! From stateside, acts such as Nils Lofgren, Amy Rigby, Cheri Knight, Olivia Tremor Control, and Loudon Wainwright III have been confirmed, along with a smattering of locals including Trish Murphy, the Damnations, and the 1-4-5s. Also, for those planning to attend the music conference, among the panel discussions this year will be "Sampling Savvy: Recording Without Reprisals," "So is Paul Dead?" "Road Hazards: How Do the Record and the Concert Business Differ," and (heh, heh) "`But I Said It Off the Record': The Art of the Interview." In other SXSW news, there's a call for volunteers who want to work the music, film, and interactive conferences this Sunday at the Holiday Inn South in the Pioneer Ten Ballroom between 2:30-7:00pm. For more info, call 467-7979.

Caught in the Sprockets or: Double Trouble on the Big Screen

Bill Crawford, co-author (along with Joe Nick Patoski) of the unauthorized Stevie Ray Vaughan biography Caught In the Crossfire, seemed oddly elated when asked about the recent notice by Say What!, the SRV fan club newsletter, that "an agreement has been reached involving the authorized biography of Stevie, and a film option on that book." Crawford's reaction was that he's "overjoyed -- it looks like the film's finally gonna get made!" When reminded that the newsletter used the term authorized biography and explained further that Miramax Books would be publishing local writer Dan Forte's long-shopped bio, Crawford seemed just as jubilant. "It's good, too, that Dan Forte finally has a publisher -- the more bios the better!" It was only when directly confronted with a further statement in Say What! that Miramax Films would be using Forte's book as the basis for the movie that Crawford faltered a bit, admitting that, "I'm confused, because there's no way [that would be possible] under our contract."

"I'm sure Miramax will do what they're contractually obligated to do," says former SRV/current Jimmie Vaughan manager Mark Proct, but he asserts that indeed, director Robert Rodriguez is now slated to write the screenplay for the film (possibly to be released by 1999) from Forte's bio, not Crawford's. Jimmie, he says, has pretty much left the project comfortably in the hands of Rodriguez and Forte, who are both longtime friends of the Vaughan clan. Though reluctant to get too involved in the film discussion ("I'm in music, not movies,") Proct was compelled to state that, "You've got to have the facts right before you make a movie, and there's definitely some questions about the facts [as presented in Caught In the Crossfire.]" Say What notes February 1998 as the expiration date on the contract between Miramax and the Crossfire authors. Crawford was unavailable for further comment, as he's off in L.A. preparing for the release of his next tome, Rock Stars Do the Dumbest Things, which he collaborated on with the Chronicle's own Margaret Moser (and, no, the book doesn't include a chapter on Stevie).

Roky II?

Bill Bentley's currently at work on a sequel of sorts to his Roky Erickson tribute Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye. The Reprise exec and Texas native is working on More Oar, a tribute to another acid casualty/eccentric of the period, "Skip" Spence of Moby Grape, to be released on the small Birdman label (owned by another Reprise exec but not affiliated with the major). Look for Flaming Lips, Alejandro Escovedo, Son Volt, Robyn Hitchcock, and Wilco among others on that compilation, scheduled to appear in fall 1998. More Oar will consist of covers of tracks from Spence's addled one-man-one-day solo release Oar, which Bentley calls "the first no-fi record," which has led to at least one problem -- figuring out the lyrics to the songs. Apart from the track "Grey/Afro," Spence has slowly been recalling and providing the original words to the songs, and Bentley says that Spence is going to "take another swipe at that one," but may end up writing new lyrics for it. As with Pyramid, Bentley says More Oar is designed to bring some publishing money to the songs' author -- as well as bringing some attention to the tunes of yet another of the music world's intriguing oddballs.

I Am I Am I Am the Ramsey

He-e-e-e's back! Yep, it's former Austin concert promoter and longtime scene veteran Jim Ramsey who's behind the Sugar Ray/Goldfinger/Save Ferris at Ranch Studios. Ramsey, now a rep for Dallas-based 462 Concerts, has been back in town for a short while, following a 1993 exodus ("I had to get out of my rut," he says), which took him back and forth between Houston and Corpus Christi during the intervening years. Though he declines to discuss any plans past the Sugar Ray show ("Tickets go on sale this Saturday!"), it's pretty clear that he plans to re-enter the local promoting business with a vengeance. He'll be sticking with larger acts and infrequent shows, though, as he says he doesn't want to be in the club business; it cuts into his family life, which includes a 6-year-old, and more importantly, his Friday night X-Files watching time.

Mixed Notes

Take a listen (if you dare) to Cybill Shepherd's new album, and you'll hear not one, not two, but three Marcia Ball compositions (including one co-written with Stephen Bruton). If you're wondering if her career Moonlighting as a singer is worth checking out, the liner notes on Talk Memphis To Me don't provide a great deal of encouragement: "My love of music and life has given me all I've needed to keep singing in spite of some critics' past opinions." Gee, Cybill, maybe you could try something a little bit more subtle next time, like, "The voice you hated is back!"...

Austin City Limits has announced that both Whiskeytown and the Old 97s (at Liberty Lunch this Saturday) will be in town for a taping on January 26. While the sometimes feuding bands will appear on the same program, they'll each tape their own hour segment, and Laura Bond at ACL anticipates lots of free tickets given away to fill the studio for this back-to-back taping. She'll have more info next week, but you can always try the ACL hot-line, 465-9077...

Long-time Austin drummer Thor says he's heading to Atlanta for a bit to make a record with "my favorite band in the world," the Swans. They're going under the name Angels of Light, and the album is due out this fall. Thor will return to his current band Scarlitt in February, but for those that miss him in the meantime, just pick up a copy of the new issue of his Thor-Zine for some truly disturbing and pornographic drawings to think of him by...

That oddly familiar guy you saw at Johnny Goudie's Steamboat show last Friday wasn't Mason Reese all grown up. No, Goudie is now managed by a company run by former Simple Minds frontman/Chrissie Hynde paramour Jim Kerr and his brother, both of whom were in town to check Johnny's licks in person...

You won't have the Hamicks to lounge around on much longer; the band is taking off on a two-month tour in February, then leaving town altogether in May. They'll be relocating to Chicago then, when the Windy City ceases to be quite so chilly...

Friday and Saturday at the Continental Club are a good time to get your cheering heard and saved for posterity, as Dallas rockabilly legend Ronnie Dawson tapes a two-night stand there...

Ken Schaefer's Safety in Numbers compilation CD has a release party this Saturday at 6pm. This will mark the end of the Safety in Numbers' run at La Palapa, and Schaefer is currently shopping for a new home for the concert series...

This Saturday also initiates the MLK Heritage Jazz Festival, a planned annual event that will be held this year at the Paramount Theatre, no charge, beginning at 7pm. Headlining will be guitarist Doc Powell, with Susanna Sharpe & Samba Police, Pam Hart, Obatallah, and Ta Mere also gracing the stage. Earlier that day you can get an autograph from Powell and check out pianist Fred Sanders at an in-store performance at Borders Books at 1pm (They also have free performances from the Austin Guitar School on Thursday, Shawn Waggoner on Friday, and Ted Hall and the Pleasure Cats on Saturday, each at 8pm)...

Artists' Legal and Accounting Assistance of Austin and the Texas Music Office are co-presenting their annual seminar next Tuesday from 5:30-7:00pm at the Electric Lounge. The panel discussion, titled "All You Need To Know About Booking Your Band, Getting a Manager, and Hitting the Road," is free...

There's a new CD store in town, out at 1779 Wells Branch Parkway, by name of Neptunes -- not to be confused with the former Austin band of friends of Mojo Nixon by that name. Owner Darrell Cooper says he started the business largely because, "I finally realized I am smarter than any boss I ever had." Hmmm. Sounds sort of like the retail variation of the Big Boys' old philosophy...

Bernie Taupin and his band Farm Dogs will play a couple of live songs on KGSR next Friday (January 23), at 3:30pm, in support of their album Immigrant Sons. Hey, Bern, canya get your pal Bill Shatner to cover "Candle in the Wind?"

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

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