Dancing About Architecture

Oh, My God! They Killed Tammy! You Bastards!

It was only a matter of time before she left us. Many were saying that because of country legend Tammy Wynette's recurrent health problems. I was saying it because I had just heard a recently unearthed copy of "Stand by Your Man" as performed by Doctors Mob and the Reivers many years ago in a New Orleans make-your-own-record mall studio. The tremendously strong emanations of evil from this cassette, I knew, were easily enough to fell such a frail figure, and so Wynette passed away quietly on Monday. No, she wasn't performing a Patsy Cline song when a plane fell on her, she was napping peacefully and never awoke. Cozy Powell, mercenary drummer for a myriad of metal acts such as Rainbow and Whitesnake, as well as the other "P" in ELP also died early this week in a car crash in England, and punk rock mom Wendy O. Williams apparently took her own life with a gunshot wound to the head. All three of these demises leave Fab Morvan, the surviving member of Milli Vanilli, with even less publicity than he probably figured on getting. Oh, didn't you know that Rob Pilatus, the other Vanilli, also died last week, reportedly from an overdose of alcohol and pills? Well, if you didn't maybe it's because his departure from this plane has already been eclipsed by Wynette's death and those of Powell and Williams. The real problem that remains for armchair death-watchers involves the "rule of three," which states that celebrity passings always come in three, and we've just plain got one too many this week. I suppose we can rescue the theory by assuming that, true to form, Pilatus actually had someone else die for him.

The Way to the Top

I've actually been easy on you people so far, so don't complain. I warned you that Fastball having a bona fide hit on their hands would plaster them across this column faster than you can say "Shut up, Paul Minor," and since then I've hardly mentioned the popsters. Without shame, then, here's a look at what their single, "The Way," has been doing: It's up to Number One on both Billboard's Modern Rock chart and Gavin's Alternative chart. This comes only one week after their All the Pain Money Can Buy album entered the Billboard Top 200 and Heatseekers charts at Number 111 and Number 3, respectively. Even the once-entertaining Entertainment Weekly has already noted their ability to "nail the power pop concept." If you don't have access to either MTV or AMN, where their video for "The Way" can be seen, look for the trio to make their debut on Late Night With Conan O'Brien on the 21st of this month (that, by the way, is a few days before a scheduled appearance by the Derailers on the same show). Finally, our spy on the road notes that while touring together, Fastball and Whiskeytown had been keeping a cool distance before a visit from Alejandro Escovedo put an end to that. After Whiskeytown's Ryan White spotted Mr. E and Miles Zuniga chatting and drinking (no doubt reminiscing about their Buick MacKane glory days), he apparently decided that Fastball were "okay."

Mum's the Word

As expected, lips are still tight about dealmaking so soon after South by Southwest, but here's a few of the tidbits that have started turning up from some of the bands whose butts are known to have been sniffed heartily: The Damnations are said to be "fielding some offers," according to Mike Stewart, but there's no decision yet made about whether to go with a major, an indie, or even DIY. Plans don't call for any choices until after their album is done, but with mixing finishing up this week, that won't be much longer. Trish Murphy also has no label revelations, but husband and manager Charlie Neath says that at her in-store during SXSW, she signed to a booking deal with New York-based Pinnacle. That means she'll be sharing a booking agent with Oasis, but not necessarily that she'll start being grumpy all the time and repeatedly compare herself to the Beatles. Reckless Kelly are holding their cards close to their chests as they continue to tour and record, but you can look for them at Robert Earl Keen's big Texas Uprisings in Dallas and Houston (Saturday and Sunday, May 23 & 24, respectively), which will also feature Steve Earle, Joe Ely, Storyville, and Ian Moore. Finally, Andy Schneider reports that as a result of his exposure at SXSW, his XX album (that's really the title) "became the number one selling 8-track in the country." I don't think I have to tell you that it's currently the only
8-track currently available for retail sale in the country (or do High Noon have some left over?)

Mad About Abra

Sure, she's appeared in SPIN, done the Grammy thing, and even knocked out a Visa ad, but who ever thought you'd see Abra Moore (or an unreasonable facsimile thereof) making an appearance in Mad magazine? The issue of the satirical rag in question is #368, the April 1998 ish, more specifically the Entertainment Weekly parody included therein. In full glaring color, Alfred E. Neuman and company take a potshot at the abovementioned series of Visa ads, which feature peeks into people's wallets, and it's pretty clear whose wallet they were scoping out when they brought out their poison pens. For those who haven't seen the mag, there are a few notable differences between Visa's Abra Moore and Mad's "Abby Burns," including the following: Abra's wallet: ketchup packet ("When you love fries as much as me, you're always prepared"); Abby's Wallet: a dog food coupon ("My monthly payments are so high, it's all I can afford for dinner. Makes its own gravy - just add water!"); Abra: air freshener ("Bought everyone in the band one of these. Things get pretty rank in a van after two days"); Abby: blood bank card ("When you go on Tuesdays they give you juice and cookies!"); Abra: photo of cute black and white pet Pablo ("I miss him on the road. Hope all this touring pays off big"); Abby: photo of cute black and white pet, Goofus ("I had to have Goofus put to sleep. Pets are so expensive!"). Hmmm. Comparing the two, I'd say Mad makes it mighty difficult to tell which of the two is the real Austin musician... no wait, "Abby" has a library card in her wallet. She must be the phony! And Moore isn't the only young Texan to be targeted by Mad in "Entertain Me Weakly." The faux magazine also features a correction from a nonexistent previous issue wherein, "LeAnn Rimes did not die in a tragic vowel accident during Celebrity Week on Wheel of Fortune."

Mixed Notes

The Gourds have quite a guest lineup set for this Friday's show at the Electric Lounge. While the band's first set will feature their new album, Stadium Blitzer, performed in its entirety, the second set features a mess of guests including Kelly Willis, Diaz Brothers, Damon Bramblett, Jon Dee Graham, Grackles, Mike Nicolai, Champ Hood, Damnations, Mark Rubin, and Robert Lee of the Blue Poets...

Ursa Major have a video unveiling party at the Ritz next Wednesday, 7-9pm...

If you don't mind mixing your art forms, Guy Forsyth headlines (with Loco Motive and Near Land's End) a benefit for the Bent Spectacles Theatre Company, also next Wednesday, at the Flamingo Cantina. That show starts at 9pm...

Quatropaw have a release party next Wednesday at Stubb's (is this a busy Hump Day or what?!) for their new Red album. Mike McLaughlin, who did some mixing on Red, reports that following his pre-production work for Orley Allen, that performer is now having tracks produced by Barbara K...

Late last month Jon Sanchez, guitarist for Superego and former Flying Saucer, loaded up his Farfisa, four-track, and funky threads, and headed back to his home turf of New Orleans to join a band formed by original Better Than Ezra drummer Cary Bonnecaze. Sanchez's official replacement as lead guitarist is Tom Cuddy of Do It Now Foundation. Jacob Schulze will continue to join in on synth and guitar, says Superegoist Paul Minor, "when he's not on tour [with Davíd Garza] or at Sugar's." And for those of you wondering whether you should start a betting pool on how quickly Sanchez returns to Austin, keep in mind that bands can make real money in New Orleans...

Steamboat on Sixth Street is now officially an all-ages venue. Anyone want to start a pool on how long that lasts before Danny Crooks runs into serious trouble?...

If you still haven't noticed the flyers on record store counters around town, there's only a week and a half until the next Austin Record Convention. Make sure you have cash on hand when you head to the convention center on April 18-19...

It looks like fine weather and the proverbial good time was had at the Old Settlers Music Festival last weekend in Round Rock. For more details, check out our "Live Shots" section and look for a very special review by Kurt Standiford in "Postmarks" this issue...

Look for the newest issue of Pop Culture Press, the one with Sixteen Deluxe on the cover, to be in plentiful supply now - though some copies were ready for SXSW. Included on the expected free CD that comes with the locally produced magazine are unreleased tracks from Sixteen Deluxe, Trish Murphy, and Mike Watt...

The Metzlers and Gong Li have a split single (or split EP, more accurately) release this Saturday at the Bates Motel, 10pm...

50 Million Crush also have a new disc out, a full-length CD on Blind Bird Records...

Vidi Vitties will be appearing in-store at Sound Exchange this Saturday, 7pm...

Shawn Colvin makes an appearance, as promised, on the Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music double CD coming out from Arista - also featuring "Four Leaf Clover" by Abra Moore. The double disc, which hits stores April 28, also includes all the usual suspects like Indigo Girls, Victoria Williams, Lisa Loeb, and of course founder Sarah McLachlan...

We received an advance sampler from Bruce Robison's Wrapped album at the office this week. The full Lloyd Maines/Blake Chancey-produced album is due in stores May 19...

If you're not already buzzing with excitement over the fact that Fred Willard will be visiting our town next week, here's two people you might have not yet noticed running into as you've wandered around Austin lately: The original Suzy Creamcheese (of Frank Zappa & the Mothers fame) and one of the less famous members of the Charles Manson family, who is currently shopping a book about his side of the story. What? No, why should I doubt that either of these people are who they say they are?

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

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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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