Dancing About Architecture

Fastball: The Band That Saved Hollywood?

Okay, so by this point you're expecting to see the lads of Fastball appear on MTV every half-hour or so, as well as talk shows and any music-related program on television, due to the success of their breakout hit "The Way." But who could have been ready to have no less a source than the Los Angeles Times declare that they've actually saved Mickey Mouse's ass? In a story modestly titled "Fastball Puts Disney's Label on the Hit Playing Field," the Times credits Fastball with turning around Hollywood's fortunes - or lack of same - at a time when rumors had been long abrew that the label could be headed for the mothballs. Other than their well-timed acquisition of the Queen back catalogue, the foundering, Disney Corporation-owned label was best-known for a disaster last year with a quickly recalled Insane Clown Posse CD, and the piece indicates that Hollywood is aware that it will take more than one pop hit to save their reputation. Rob Seidenberg, who signed Fastball to the label three years ago, told the Times that currently, "There's a certain momentum and enthusiasm and excitement that, in my time here, has never been present before."

Meanwhile, on the Third Coast, the story of our city's first proper major label affiliate, Arista Austin, continues to unfold. Next week's Billboard is slated to officially announce the departure of AA's Vice President/General Manager Cameron Randle, who will be leaving Arista in favor of an offer for an A&R position at a label on the West Coast. Randle assures all that the artists on Arista Austin (Jeff Black, Abra Moore, Robert Earl Keen, and Sister 7) "will be completely unaffected by my departure," and the Chronicle has been told that the label will maintain an office here, though Arista Nashville's Tim DuBois says Randle's replacement has not yet been chosen. As to where he's headed, job-wise, Randle says he still prefers not to make any specific announcements, but I'm fairly certain that he wouldn't have gone if he didn't know "the way."

Damnations 101

"It's not official official," contends Watermelon Records' Eric Zappa, but he doesn't deny the signing of the Damnations to the label or a circulating release date of August 11 for their first album for the company. Damnations manager Charles Attal confirms that the deal is hopefully to be cemented in the next few days, and that it will be with Sire/Watermelon, utilizing the local label's connections with Seymour Stein's major one. There's currently no name for the album, which is already complete (under producer John Croslin) and which the band had been shopping. The band is narrowing down their choices following auditions for a new drummer.

Meanwhile, Watermelon is buzzing with activity over the release of Don Walser's latest, Down at the Sky-Vue Drive-In. That album made USA Today this week, and should be reviewed in Entertainment Weekly by around the time you read this. The early press has been positive, says Zappa, and expects more of it since "everybody loves to talk to Don."

Fuckozik

Look for the Fuckemos' Will Kill You album, coming soon to record stores near you. What? That's already been out for years? Well, look for it again. It'll be the first release in Frank Kozik's Man's Ruin label's Fuckemos American Heritage series. Kozik has aquired the rights to all three of the band's albums and will be rereleasing them at approximately two-month intervals, while the band hopefully gets a new disc's worth of material ready to release afterwards. Man's Ruin obtained the rights to the albums from their previous labels, IFA, No Lie, and Rise, and Kozik says since the IFA disc had no title, he's planning on giving it one himself. Look for a full-length Daddy Longhead release from Man's Ruin as well, featuring the material from their recent 10" as well as eight other songs from the same sessions (with Rey Washam on drums). Also look for releases from the Bulemics and probably the Chumps. And don't forget, they're all wrapped neatly in collectible Kozik covers. Kozik sez he had "a fuckin' good time" at SXSW, and that in all likelihood will do the same next year.

For the Benefit of...

If you're looking for a worthy cause, there's no shortage of 'em this week. At the Continental Club Saturday is a benefit for Travis Heights Elementary School, (2-5pm, no smoking or drinking) and music from Hot Club of Cowtown, David Halley, and James McMurtry. Monday at 8pm, they're raising money for Addison Delanovel (the kid who was attacked at the day care center, and whose father plays sometimes with Jean Caffeine, by the way) with the Damnations, Mason Ruffner, and the Cornell Hurd Band. Antones is holding a benefit on Sunday at 6pm for the Candlelighters (fundraising for kids with cancer) with Breedlove, Guy Forsyth, and Will Knack with Red-Headed Stepchild. At Artz Rib House there's June Fest on May 2 at 1pm, to defray medical costs for the surgery on a "wonder dog" who has appeared on several CD compilations (as a vocalist, I assume), with Floyd Domino, Terri Hendrix, The Meat Purveyors, and a reunion of Jane Gilman and Darcie Deaville...

I mentioned last week that the Lance Armstrong Foundation's Rock for the Roses, featuring the Wallflowers, Tonic, Whiskeytown, Semisonic, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, etc. was coming to the Austin Music Hall on May 23, but I didn't say that tix to the event go on sale this Friday.

Mixed Notes

Also on sale Friday are tickets to Willie Nelson's Fourth of July picnic in Luckenbach. This year's lineup has been announced as including Willie, Ray Price, Robert Earl Keen, Leon Russell, Toni Price, Daniel Lanois, Asleep at the Wheel, Gary P. Nunn, Kimmie Rhodes, Derek O'Brien Blues Band, Bells of Joy, 81/2 Souvenirs, Alvin Crow, Freddie Powers, Steve Fromholz, Ronnie Dawson, Billy Joe Shaver, Jesse Dayton and yes, everyone's favorite bumper sticker manufacturers, Titty Bingo...

Last column saw Harold McMillan of the Austin Jazz & Arts Festival mourning the dearth of corporate donations for jazz in Austin. Perhaps McMillan should have thought of calling a lawyer. I say that after noticing that the upcoming Texas Urban Music Showcase (Monday at MidTown Live, with Kyle Turner, NOOK, April Gray, and a number of others) is being underwritten by the firm of Iris Jones & Associates, P.C., Attorneys At Law. If you can find a lawyer who will sponsor a show that includes rap, you ought to be able to find one who likes jazz, I would think...

What's with this habit of Austin bands to double up on recordings? Can you really save on studio time that way? I mean, in my collection I've got a B-side performed by Timbuk 3 with Glass Eye, as well as album tracks by Poi Dog Pondering with Two Nice Girls and Butthole Surfers with Daniel Johnston, just to name a few of the odder ones. Nothing could be odder, I suppose, than the recording I have of Jarrito Porter's Mariachi band jamming with a group of Tibetan monks, but conceptually, the new album from Sambaxé and Silver Thistle Pipes and Drum Corps comes close. Imagine songs that start out with a strong African beat - and then the bagpipes kick in?! If that sounds like your, er, bag, look for Sambaxé Thistle, available locally...

Speaking of things Gaelic, the Guinness Fleadh Festival, starring Sinead O'Connor, The Chieftains, and Shane MacGowan isn't coming near Texas (after all, O'Connor has people here waiting for her to make up the shows she bailed out of after three songs) but you won't be able to avoid Texans at two of the fest locations. Nanci Griffith and Joe Ely play the New York show on June 13-14, and the Bay Area show (San Jose, June 28) features Alejandro Escovedo. It looks like Al is planning on following Ely's lead as far as other uses for a stage. He's currently working on a musical play based on the life of his father, with hopes of having it ready for a debut by next year's SXSW...

Spoon have headed out on tour to support their new Elektra album - finally. Their van didn't get out of the shop in time and the band decided to axe the first few dates of the two-week tour. Tour manager Hunter Darby reports that in making his calls to the various clubs on their path, he gets the idea that many of the venues aren't yet aware that planned tourmates Sixteen Deluxe have canceled all dates for the immediate future. Expect Spoon to be weary of repeating that tale by the time they get back, and look for an upcoming single from the band on Peek-A-Boo Records...

Looks like another theme show at Blondie's weekly free show Saturday at 7pm, with Madcow, Open Hour, and Search For Saturn. The connection? All three bands are from San Marcos...

Bonnie Raitt broke in the new stage at the Backyard last weekend. No, I'm not implying that she's put on a lot of weight, I'm just saying she was the first act to perform on the venue's new stage, which came from Atlanta, where it had been used during the Olympics. In fact, the Backyard's Leslie Seymour says with a straight face that "I think it's the one where the bomb went off." Sounds like an urban legend in the works to me, but here's some advice to the security folks at the Backyard - if you see any strange backpacks lying around, just walk the hell away!...

"AMN 15 is now offered up to the best bidder." With that sentence, an e-mail from Ester Matthews sums up the current situation of the Austin Music Network. For more info, see "Naked City"...

Finally, I've been trying to put this off, but there's a new Sean Connery movie in the works called Dancing About Architecture, and since the American-Statesman jumped in claiming Martin Mull originated the phrase (Mull rocks, but that's a total load), I suppose it's time again to challenge readers to come up with definitive proof of the phrase's origin. Many have tried and failed - just check the Web at http://www.pacifier.com/~ascott/they/tamildaa.htm to find a guy who's spent too much time on the subject already - he's already found it attributed to Mull, Frank Zappa, William S. Burroughs, Steve Martin, Elvis Costello, Frank Zappa, Charles Mingus, Nick Lowe, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, George Carlin, Mark Mothersbaugh, W.G. "Snuffy" Walden, and amazingly, most often to Laurie Anderson. If I had to bet I'd go with Burroughs, and believe me, I wish I'd called him to ask back when Ed Ward gave me his phone number...

Contributors: Andy Langer, Raoul Hernandez, 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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