Dancing About Architecture

Network Affiliations

After all the panic leading up to last Thursday's City Council meeting that was to determine the immediate fate of the Austin Music Network, the gathering itself was anti-climactic, to say the least. Right off the bat, the council announced they intended to give the Network the two-month reprieve that had been suggested, and made it clear that they wanted to keep the network alive while ways were determined to make it self-supporting and improve its quality. That didn't stop a number of speakers from giving impassioned pleas to save AMN (much to the chagrin of the councilmembers, who were running late and wanted to get to bed). The most interesting moment of the meeting (aside from Bill Oliver's musical presentation, perhaps) came when Direct Events business manager Tim Neece stepped up to the dias to boost the idea of privatizing the network and turning it into a for-profit venture. "Oh, my God! Direct Events is trying to take over the music network!" gasped one of my colleagues. Neece doesn't deny an interest in the network, but says he was there for two distinct reasons; first, to show the council that music industry professionals in town do support AMN (besides himself, he was speaking on behalf of fellow business-people Tim O'Connor, attorney Cindy Lazarri, Austin City Limits' Terry Lickona, Jon Bon Jovi manager Paul Cordelius, Watermelon Records' John Kunz, Eric Johnson manager Joe Priesnitz, and Jimmie Vaughan manager Mark Proct); and second, because he and O'Connor are "intrigued" by the idea of getting involved with the efforts of Rick Melchior and others to commercialize the network. "Maybe there's something we could bring to the table," says Neece, who adds that Direct Events is not looking to take charge of AMN, but rather to become "part of the team" that runs it if the council decides privatization is the way to go. And despite the fact that commercialization would bring AMN a whole new set of problems, some councilmembers seem to be looking in that direction. Daryl Slusher asserted that not only should the network be privatized, but also that it would be a good idea for professional music promoters to be at the helm. One such music promoter, Jim Ramsey, says privatization won't work and can cite enough reasons to melt your ear. The council will continue to discuss suggestions while the network runs uninterrupted until May 31. What happens after that is still up in the air.

Freein' Ian

Following a long and mysterious chain of anonymous letters, rumors, denials, and verbal sniping, the Chronicle has received confirmation that Ian Moore has been dropped from Capricorn Records. A statement from label president Phil Walden declares, "We have always recognized the special talent that Ian Moore has, which is why we were so eager to sign him 5 years ago. We have watched him grow as an artist on two full-length CDs and one live EP and have supported the chances he has taken artistically through these projects. With the completion of Ian's newest record, we mutually realized that his artistic vision and that of Capricorn's is no longer the same. We felt that his CD would have a better chance of exposure with another label. This was a difficult decision for us to make. We wish Ian the best of luck and hope that he has a long and successful career." Moore's manager Jan Mirkin, upon being read the label's statement, concurred with Walden, saying, "That pretty much sums up the situation," and added that Moore's separation from the label was "just a new beginning." She says that Moore already has some new irons in the fire, but declined specific comment. Not everyone is happy with the guitarist's immediate future, however. One South by Southwest staffer admitted that Moore has the conference planners "moving him all over the place." First off, Moore has two bands in the fest this year, the Ian Moore Band and a new combo called Yummy, which Mirkin says is mostly just a fun side-project and not an act that is actively seeking a label. It's the band that does need a label that's a hassle, though; originally, Moore was to have played on Capricorn's showcase night, but understandably that fell through. Then, after he was moved into a cherry spot preceding Buddy Guy, his management informed SXSW that he was "not a blues artist, he's a pop artist," the source says. Currently, Yummy has been scheduled, but Moore's "real" spot during the music festival remains unclear. Ah, well, if you want to rag on Ian you'd better do so now, seeing as he has confirmed that he will be outta Austin in June when he moves with his girlfriend to the Pacific Northwest.

Butt, Hold on a Minute!

Last Friday, the Chronicle received an advance cassette of the new Butthole Surfers album, After the Astronaut, along with a press release noting the on-sale date as April 7. On Monday, the label phoned back to say that the release date had already been pushed back to May 19. Why the delay? A spokesperson for the label said the band "didn't turn the artwork in on time." Manager Tom Bunch disagrees, countering with, "It's not late. It's just not finished. I told them when it would be turned in, [and that's] when it's finished!" Nevertheless, the advance evinces 12 new songs, such as the Timothy Leary-inspired "The Weird Revolution," "Junkie Jenny in Gaytown," and "Turkey & Dressing." Those looking for the band to capitalize on the exposure "Pepper" gave them, both "Intelligent Guy" and "Jet Fighter" might be good places to start. In fact, Astronaut as a whole sounds a lot more "Pepper"-ish than the heavy Zeppelin sound on the Surfers' previous Capitol release, Independent Worm Saloon. As far as touring and any local dates, expect those to be announced as the album's release gets closer. Or maybe Paul Leary (no relation) will tell you during a break from his current gig producing the Toadies.

Mixed Notes

Also from Capitol Records: That nice little Scratch Acid spinoff The Jesus Lizard releases their sophomore effort for the label April 21. Blue was produced by Andy Gill from Gang of Four...

"I don't give a fuck," grunts a weary Randy "Biscuit" Turner of the Swine King reunion this Saturday at the Hole in the Wall. "I quit the band 'cause they were so fuckin' lazy," he adds, and now the other members keep bugging him to play gigs. Actually, the semi-retired punk rocker, who will also join Sangre de Toro (another Scratch Acid offspring) onstage during their set, will no doubt be less grumpy during the show since it is Valentine's Day: "I was going to make a giant paramecium suit," he chuckles, "and be giant V.D." Unfortunately, Biscuit says he abandoned the idea and currently is unsure of what he'll wear at the show. Anyone wanna bet Cupid will be a Big Boy this year?...

With less than 30 days to go 'til SXSWeek, the recruitment meetings are over, but the conference is still seeking more volunteers. Give 'em a call at 467-7979 if you're interested. For those of you wanting to register for the conference, panels and all, Friday, February 13 is the final registration deadline before walk-up prices go into effect: Interactive Festival ($175 now, $225 walkup), Film Festival and Conference ($175 now, $225 walkup), Music and Media Conference ($375 now, $450 walkup). You can register through the festival's website at http://www.sxsw.com...

Both Jimmie Vaughan and Storyville finished recording their new albums this week, says manager Mark Proct. That still leaves them with photo sessions, artwork decisions, mastering, and a fleet of other things to deal with before the discs are released, but at least they have a little breathing room. Actually, Storyville's deep breath will be of the salt air in Jamaica, but that won't be until June, which is when they take part in KLBJ's trip to that paradise. Proct says the band's addition to the cruise, at KLBJ's request, lit up the phones at the station with calls from eager would-be tourists. For his part, Vaughan rests until April, when he sets off on tour...

The Asylum Street Spankers are hoping for a special guest in the audience at their gig in Amarillo this weekend: Oprah Winfrey. "Our people talked to her people," says spokesmouth Wammo...

Fastball are already getting lots of airplay in major markets with their new single, "The Way." Word going around is that Polygram, parent company of their label Hollywood Records, is expecting to move more copies of All the Pain Money Can Buy on March 10 than their debut album has sold to date...

Looks like the Austin Lounge Lizards have made the big time; a review of their new album Employee of the Month is scheduled for the issue of People magazine dated February 23. (Abra Moore is on the back cover of Spy this month, which is cooler, but People sells more copies.) Guests on the album include Sara Hickman, Ranger Rick of the Riders in the Sky, and believe it or not, Austin's answer to "Where's Waldo," the unofficially nonexistent Dan Del Santo (!)...

The Music Commission has announced their new chairperson: Bob Livingston...

Carnaval is this Saturday at the Coliseum, if you forgot. Of course, it'll probably be sold out by the time you read this, but hey, you can't say I didn't tell ya...

The latest confirmation at Ranch Studios? None other than Megadeth, who'll be making an appearance there on April 4. (Since we're dropping touring talent, here's another one: Portishead at the Music Hall March 25)...

Fred Sanders, who is currently riding on the Gavin jazz charts at Number 15, will be on BET (Black Entertainment Television) Monday between 4-8pm...

Borders Books is packed with in-stores this weekend; Chuck Pinell will be there tonight (Thursday) at 8pm, Kacy Crowley and Chris (son of Stephen) Stills are there Friday, 7pm, followed by Steve Uhler at 8pm. On Saturday, Ginger Mackenzie and Monte Montgomery continue there at 3pm...

MoPac and the Blue Suburbans have organized a benefit for several children's charities and will be performing this Friday at Big Dave's Dam Saloon for those of you in the Lake Travis area...

Michael Fracasso has an in-store at Waterloo Records this Friday, 5pm, and a CD release party Saturday at the Cactus Cafe...

Bunny Stockhausen have an in-store at Sound Exchange, 6pm, Friday. Did I mention that Lower Class Brats have a new CD out? No? That's because when Sound Exchange called to tell me about their in-store last week, the band hadn't told them they were bringing one...

Finally, if you're like me or Cindy Toth, you probably won't be able to resist KGSR's Rock & Roll Swap Meet this Sunday at the Austin Music Hall starting at 10am. Among the items at the show's auction are guitars signed by John Fogerty, Widespread Panic, Big Head Todd, and Eric Johnson. Could be a good investment; last week's Christie's auction found a velvet blouse worn by Janis Joplin and one of her boas each selling for $5,000, while a pair of her bellbottoms fetched $10,350...

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

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More Dancing About Architecture
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The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

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Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002

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