Dancing About Architecture

Every Dog Has His Day

Last week we covered the events of May 14, which, as you all know, was declared by the Mayor and Corporation of Austin, Texas to be Bevis Griffin Day (Griffin is playing the SIMS benefit Rolling Stones Hoot Night at the Continental Club tonight, by the way). I added that this time around, I'd be advising you of your chances of rating a special day for yourself. At foist, I thought the standard method was to happen to run into Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau Music Liaison Gavin Lance Garcia; after all, that's how I got offered mine, though as yet I've declined to act on the invitation. A call to the Bureau's Assistant Liaison Lu Emmons (Gavin's on another vacation, I guess) reveals that the process is a little more complicated. "[The previous Assistant Liaison] would pretty much book who she liked," says Emmons, which helps explain things to local musicians such as former Standing Waves/Optimystics member Larry Seaman, who says he never really understood where his Day came from. Emmons says that as she recalls, Seaman was picked, "Because he has been around a long time and was part of the whole punk movement" in Austin. This is true, and he continues to play music and is something of a staple at the Hole in the Wall today - not to mention he has dressed as a giant worm in order to make children laugh and deserves some sort of recognition for that alone. Emmons says that currently, the Bureau also suggests recommendations from various sources including local promoters and staffers at the Austin Music Network, and that yes, calls suggesting worthy recipients are welcome at 404-4368. To get a Day, the person in question should be someone who has contributed part of their life to Austin music, whether they are well-known or hidden behind the scenes. Emmons says the bureau is hoping to not simply reward "your typical singer-songwriter. We want to expand the concept of what Austin's music scene is perceived as." So, call that number to influence who gets to perform a song on Channel 6 in front of the City Council (three Thursdays a month this happens), your very own videotape of said performance, and a certificate and photo with the mayor. Remember, only you can determine whether any given Thursday will be Colin Leyden Day, Johnny Motard Day, Thom the World Poet Day, Lisa Tingle Day, Phil Hurd Day, Breakfastime Day, Carin King Day, or Teddy James Day.

Plastic Spoons

Neil Young's Vapor Records has taken Spoon under their wing and put out that band's new album, A Series of Sneaks, this week. You thought that album was an Elektra release. Well, yes, you are correct, sir. What Young's folks have done is release a vinyl version of the Elektra album ("Oh how indie!" gloats a press release from Vapor). Spoon also has a couple of new 7-inches on the way, with Peek-A-Boo Records releasing one in late June featuring album track "30-Gallon Tank," two new songs, and a new version of "Car Radio." (Those of you in radio may be saying, "Hey, there's already a promo CD out with all this material," but nope, that li'l bit o' swag uses the regular album version of "Car Radio.") There's another single coming out on the Mag Wheel label from Canada, also featuring two new songs and also scheduled to appear in late June. Oh, and Britt Daniel says he's moving to Chicago. Actually, he admits that the "move" is more of a vacation to get away from his apartment (and no doubt the Texas heat) for a few months.

Returning to that "30-Gallon Tank" EP, that's a good enough to excuse to catch up with other goings-on relating to the local Peek-A-Boo label: Junior Varsity have made the college charts with their new Pep Rally Rock single, and are recording new material for a few 7-inches (maybe even a 10-inch), as well as planning a tour of the West Coast in August. The Kiss Offs are recording a full-length and planning a coast-to-coast tour for August. Their "Bottle Blonde" 7-inch is also finding college radio airplay. The Prima Donnas "left a trail of fire across the States," according to Peek-A-Boo CEO Travis Higdon (also in the Kiss Offs), when the PeeChees took them on tour in March, but Higdon don't say whether those flames came from Roman candles. "People either love 'em or hate 'em, no middle ground," he says. "[The] Kill Rock Stars [label] apparently loves 'em" and wants the PDs to be a part of their new singles club. Silver Scooter has one side of a new split 10-inch out on Crank now, and the band just recorded some new songs for a Canadian split 45 and a few compilations. They plan to head for the East Coast in November around CMJ time. The Vidi Vitties have a new 7-inch on the way, and they hope to self-release a full-length by the end of the year.

Sixpence None the Wiser

Yes, I'd heard the name before, and yes, I was vaguely aware that they were Austin-connected, but I'm the first to admit that the current buzz on Sixpence None the Richer came like a total bolt out of the blue to this writer. Perhaps my confusion was justified by the fact that though the band claims to hail from Austin, their drummer was actually born in Branson, Missouri; hence, I could've just had my Live Music Capitals of the World mixed up. The trio's singer and guitarist are from New Braunfels, however, and the three did meet up here in Austin. In any event, Sixpence seems set for success, or at least as set as things go in this business; SoundScan reports sales of the now-Nashville based trio's latest album at over 36,000, and the band has been picked to play some dates on the Lilith Fair tour. As well, they have got a load of press in industry mags like Billboard, The Album Network, CMJ, and others, which is usually a pretty good indication that movers and shakers are taking note. The band's current release from music/film company Squint Entertainment is being distributed through ADA, and that seems to be the way things will remain for the time being, though the band has been approached by a number of labels, including Arista. Keep your eyes and ears open; the band recently shot a video for the song "Kiss Me," and that tune ships to Adult Contemporary radio in four to six weeks.

Hot Club of High Tone

This week's not-so-surprising signing is of the blazing Hot Club of Cowtown to Bay Area label HighTone, past and present home of a number of other Austin acts, including Joe Ely and Dale Watson. The Hot Club only lit in this particular cow town last December, completing their lineup less than five months ago, but began amassing quite a following almost immediately on their arrival from San Diego (after originally forming on the East Coast). The band will be self-producing their HighTone debut, which will be recorded here in Austin and in Spicewood, Texas, with guests including Mike Maddux and recent Texas Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Gimble. Look for the album on August 4, with a major tour to coincide with the release.

Mixed Notes

Yes, it's true. The familiar looking drummer you've seen playing with good ol' Junior Brown is indeed none other than Buddy Miles. I have yet to catch 'em, and no offense to Brown's music here, but what in the heck does a guy who played with Jimi Hendrix do when backing up a country gentleman like Brown? You can find out if you're lucky, as Miles will continue to play with Brown when available, though he's not hooked up as a permanent member of the band. I wonder, though, if Brown will be doing drumming chores when Miles plays his own gig at Dessau Music Hall June 17...

It appears the Lone Star State is doomed to remain better known for its weather than its music; seen recently during a CNN weather report was a clip of Paul Ray at the Austin Music Awards announcing the arrival of - you guessed it - the Texas Tornados...

7% Solution is boiling over rumors that drummer Scott Sasser has left the band. Sasser, says the band, has accepted a position with a music-related retail company based in Medford, Oregon, but will continue to play with the band. Further, Sasser's new job will take him to Knoxville, Tenn. this September and there are tentative plans for the band to join him there...

Not enough multi-artist tours for you this summer? Try the "On the Fringe" tour, which features David Poe, Kim Fox, and locals David Rice and Kacy Crowley. The Fringe hits Austin on June 6...

Stress Records has just added the first new Daniel Johnston cassette in seven years to its catalog. Frankenstein Love: Live at the Houston Room 1992 is a surprisingly subdued 22-song concert recording including many of the songs that later appeared on Johnston's major label album Fun, heard here, as Stress boss Jeff Tartakov phrases it, "the way they were originally intended to be heard before Atlantic fucked everything up." Tartakov says he also took a jaunt to England to view an exhibit of Johnston's art there and saw gallery employees "remove a Salvador Dali from their wall and hang it in the kitchen to make room for [Jad] Fair and Daniel"... Kevin Booth has signed a deal with indie label Black Eden to release his album Velvet Rut, which was recorded soon after the death of his friend Bill Hicks and remained unreleased until Booth completed work on two posthumous Hicks CDs, Arizona Bay and Rant in E Minor, through Rykodisc. Booth, formerly with Chrysalis Records act Year Zero, produced the album himself and notes that it "features a track sung by Bill about my lack of interest in three-chord blues, followed by my rebuttal track, which was played on a guitar that Bill gave me." Hicks' voice is utilized in spoken word form on the album as well, which is not unprecedented, as any Tool fan can tell you...

One's dead, the other isn't, but two alliterative Texans have new albums due soon. Columbia Legacy's Randy Haecker says Janis Joplin's Live at Winterland 1968 should be available in early June, while Christopher Cross continues to take advantage of the World Wide Web (and CMC Records, a "reclamation" label who have of late released new albums from Styx and Lynyrd Skynyrd) to maintain a core of fans to buy his new Walking In Babylon...

More benefits? Of course. Try Sunday afternoon at Blondie's starting at 2pm (free but donations requested) for Austin Safehouse, with Falling Up, Righteous Charisma, Del Bombers, 40 Second Skandals, Weeks on End, and Handshake, or Club De Ville Sunday evening starting at 6pm with Skaminos, Carolina Ghost Queen, Mittens, and Amberjack Rice Band...

On a final note, I just have to say I'm appalled at just how ungrateful people are. I mean, if you'd gone around a month ago saying, "Dude, I can get you as much Mexican smoke as you could handle at no charge," everyone would have said, "Bring it on!" Well, now it's floating all around us, and nobody does anything but complain...

- Contributors: Michael Bertin, Raoul Hernandez, 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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So Long, Slug

Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002

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