Dancing About Architecture

Balls to the Wall

Continuing to snowball, and I don't mean the promotional snack the band's label sent out last week, is Fastball's "The Way" single, which has risen to Number 9 on the Top 40, and shows no signs of peaking. Featured in the Beverly Hills 90210 season finale, the song is everywhere, as is anything having to do with the band; The New York Times Sunday magazine further listed the band's song on the Loungeapalooza compilation as an antidote to bad radio, plus Miles Zuniga ("Don't Forget Miles"), with Ryan Adams and Eric Ambel, made his first appearance in Rolling Stone's "Random Notes" section (bringing the band up to three consecutive mentions in issues of RS.) Still, it was the band's appearance on Jay Leno's Tonight Show that really hit home. First of all, as their Hollywood Records rep breathlessly puts it, "They got the couch!" Yep, who would expect a li'l ol' band from Austin would be given time to actually talk to Leno?! - in front of millions of viewers. The band made the best of it, too, with Zuniga using the band's anecdote time to tell the old Hole in the Wall guitar theft story, which should net him free drinks at the Hole for life. (One bartender who missed the show has aready been heard, exasperated, complaining about Miles' appearance at the club this past Sunday; "Everybody's yelling that I shouldn't charge this guy - I don't know who the fuck he is!"). Leno's sincere "hello" to the Iron Works that night should net him plenty of free BBQ in the mail as well. As to what Miles was doing at the Hole in the Wall, well, that was the night before the trio's packed show at the Austin Music Hall, which was also, in Zuniga's words, nothing short of "surreal." First, there were a couple thousand fans there to see him, one of which - his mother - almost didn't get in. When the band dedicated a song to "all of you who came to see us back at the Hole and the Electric Lounge," several hundred fans had no trouble taking personal credit with their applause! Those who had been there at those shows, however, were also seen in the audience, beaming at their buddies' success. After the show, that entire coterie picked up and moved to the Crazy Lady for a party coinciding with the Esquires (that's Speedy Sparks' new gig) set at that fine mid-town "gentlemen's" bar. Spotted were members of Morningwood, Wannabes, Superego, Gourds, Damnations, Prescott Curlywolf, Orange Mothers, Spoon, Jon Dee Graham, and numerous others oglers, who had to contend with three lovely ladies in various states of undress (whom my rep insists were not in the employ of the club) cavorting in Miles Zuniga's lap. "I'm glad I lost my dignity a long time ago," the dazed Zuniga was heard to say as he put the cap on a very busy batch of days for the band (fellow members Joey Shuffield and Tony Scalzo celebrated by sleeping in their own beds).

On a sad note, amidst this flurry of fame and fortune, the band has lost its first member. Or to be accurate, it's lost someone who seems to have thought he was a member. The band's hired keyboardist for this tour has split, issuing a press release upon his departure which reads partially: "Walt Vincent, acclaimed multi-instrumentalist for the pop sensation Fastball has decided to call it quits and return to Los Angeles to pursue other goals, [saying] `My involvement consists of 45 minutes of playing music and hours and hours of waiting around while the band does promotional appearances. It just gets boring being a glorified crew member, and no amount of sightseeing, travel, or star shmoozing can compensate for the fact that when I'm not making music, I'm not happy.'" The band's label, Hollywood, when informed of the press release, responded with a "Huh? He's not supposed to be issuing press releases!" Fastball has already hired a new tour sideman, Andy Blunda, who reportedly graduated college Thursday and was on board the band's tour with Everclear by Friday night. He is also said to be fully aware that he is not a "member" of the band.

Wall to Wall Flowers

Clifford Antone was pleasantly surprised this weekend when Joe Ely introduced him to Jakob Dylan of the Wallflowers. "Joe told him I was Antone," says Clifford, "and he said, `Oh, my Daddy's told me about you!'" (Jakob's "Daddy," in case there's still anyone out there who doesn't know, is Bob Dylan). The Wallflowers and their friends from the Rock for the Roses show last Saturday were everywhere over the Memorial Day weekend, starting with young Dylan and Ely joining Doyle Bramhall, Jr. (who, by the way, has been working with producer Craig Ross on some demos for RCA) onstage at Antone's on Friday for a rendition of the non-Clash-written "Brand New Cadillac." The following night during their headlining appearance at the Austin Music Hall's benefit for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Ely joined the Flowers again for "Cadillac," and stayed on board for a take on the Band's "The Weight" with Semisonic frontman Dan Wilson joining the growing ranks. Afterwards, following a six-hour marathon set, Banana Blender Surprise handed over the stage and their equipment to Dylan, Charlie Sexton, and other members of the Wallflowers and Tonic for versions of Prince's "Raspberry Beret" and the Beatles' "Drive My Car." Later, Dylan's keyboardist Rami Jaffee, who plays on Mary Cutrufello's current Mercury album, hopped over to Deep Eddy Cabaret to grab Cutrufello and bring her on stage for what had to be the topper in the ongoing weird covers choice competition: Blur's "Song 2." Needless to say, Clifford Antone has probably never heard a Blur song before, in any form, but after this weekend, he's still in a heavenly haze.

The Compleat Stevie

Producer Bob Irwin, compiler of recent Santana and Byrds collections, has been in town meeting with Jimmie Vaughan while the two pour over hours and hours of recordings by Stevie Ray Vaughan with the goal of assembling a definitive box set of classic SRV material including a large percentage of previously unreleased tracks. Mark Proct says that no official date has been picked for the planned box set, but says that, as you might have guessed, a September or October pre-Christmas gift-giving slot is what all involved are shooting for.

A Victory for the Souvs

"It hasn't been announced yet," confirms Continental Records' Jack Hazard, "but it's been done, the check is in the bank, and it's cleared." The check he refers to paid for the signing of 8 1/2 Souvenirs to RCA Victor, which will see fruition on June 30 with a remastered and partly re-recorded version of Happy Feet (now with Krysta Bell's vocals) released internationally by the label. Hazard says that Texas should be receiving copies before that official date and a release party is likely in mid-June. After that, a new album is due from the band after the first of next year with a remixed, remade, and remastered version of Souvonica to be added to RCA's catalog some time after that. If I can suggest a title for the next album, just to save time and trouble, call it Alternate Version.

Everybody's Wandering

I wish I were getting paid by the bold print whenever an album like Songs of Forbidden Love by the Wandering Eyes comes along. With vocals by Kelly Willis, Dale Watson, Rosie Flores, Ted Roddy, and Jason Roberts, and a band that includes Mary Cutrufello, Rick McRae, Dave Biller, Chris Miller, and - well, since I don't get paid by the bold print - damn near everyone in Asleep at the Wheel, the album has an Austin/UK release this month, and a national/world release in June. The most surprising thing about the project, though, is after seeing Willis' name, I noticed there weren't any Robisons involved. Ah, well, since Bruce's new album is now officially out and Charlie's is due in August, I guess they were just busy at the time.

Mixed Notes

Former Sixteen Deluxe drummers just lead the most interesting lives: John Paul Keenon from 16D, Gretchen Phillips Experience, and Kathy McCarty's band, will soon be touring as part of Sean Lennon's combo, along with Cibo Matto's Yuka Honda, and Lennon's longtime musical pal Timo Ellis in support of Sean's well-publicized debut album on Grand Royal Records. The band will be heading to Europe this week and will return for North American dates this summer and fall...

It's been a long time, but Stretford is getting to release Long Distance, a new album on a new label. In fact, the label is so new it doesn't even have a name yet. Former Austinite Helen Triesch, currently in the employ of Sony Recordings, apparently couldn't swing a major label slot for the band, but since she's starting up her own indie, she's going to release their album in August, with a pre-release single due to arrive by the end of July. As far as naming the label, Stretford's Carl Normal says, "She's got to decide soon, because we're pressing the CDs in a month!"...

Willie Nelson will be shooting a TNN special at the Broken Spoke this Tuesday, 9-10pm, followed by a full non-TV performance. The first hour will be a live, call-in request show, with the producers expecting "maybe 100,000 calls." Tickets are limited, so beautiful chaos will no doubt result. You can also look for Nelson in a "We Are the World" type video being shot this week for the United Way/Capital Area, as well as a two-night stand with Leon Russell at Antone's in early July. I think he has something on the schedule for Independence Day as well...

June 1 is the postmark deadline for bands and solo acts interested in the 1998 North by Northwest (NXNW) Music & Media Conference. Showcase applications can be downloaded from the NXNW website (http://www.nxnw.com) or can be obtained by calling 512/467-7979...

Continuous lineup changes remain the norm for the Hormones - hell, even Ron Williams is back for the time being. He'll be playing on the debut the band is currently recording, which is being pitched among a half-dozen indies who approached the band after their SXSW gig...

Shawn Waggoner's CD Contemplating Cacti is out now, with release parties tonight (Thursday) at Ruta Maya and Friday at Spider House...

W.C. Clark celebrates the release of Lover's Plea at Top of the Marc this Friday...

Some in-stores this week include Danny Click at Waterloo Records Friday, 5pm, Dakota at Sound Exchange Friday, 6pm, and at Borders Books, you can check out the Classic Brass Quintet (Friday, 8pm), Lara & Reyes (Saturday, 4pm), Nuance Section (Saturday, 8pm), and Samba Thistle (Sunday, 3pm)...

Oops: Last week, I misstated the location of Daniel Johnston's current art exhibit. It's in Germany, not England. To all who purchased plane tickets to the wrong country, I apologize for any inconvenience...

- Contributors: 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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