Dancing About Architecture

A Crumb and a Spank

The Asylum Street Spankers report having more than a vacation at the Strawberry Fest in Yosemite last week. After catching a crack show by Junior Brown with Buddy Miles (Wammo has since been going around telling everybody that "when you shake my hand, you're shaking the hand of a man who shook the hand of a man who shook the hand of Jimi Hendrix"), the Spankers played an intimate indoors show for a couple hundred people and met Bob Brozman, the "King of the National Guitar" and member of Robert Crumb's Cheap Suit Serenaders. Next came a much larger show (with electricity) on the main stage, after which the band was informed they were responsible for the longest line at the merchandising booth in the fest's history and celebrated by ingesting a large number of magic mushrooms, resulting in an altercation in the mud between two band members (Wammo isn't saying which two, but I'm betting he was one of 'em). After sorting that out, the band popped the question to Brozman as to whether he'd produce their next album. His response, says Wammo, was to cancel the first vacation he's scheduled in 18 years to set aside time for the project. He'll come down to Austin in August to work on that disc. There's no definite label yet set to release the album, but Wammo says the band hopes to get Brozman and his connections "in the game."

I Sing the Liver Electric

The Spankers aren't the only ones who are becoming comfortable with that old demon electricity. The Bad Livers are going electric with what computer-savvy Mark Rubin calls "Bad Livers version 2.1" on June 13, the second of two nights at Stubb's. Drummer David Bender joins Rubin and Danny Barnes (on Fender P-bass and Telecaster respectively) playing old Bad Liver material "upgraded for the new OS" as well as tunes from their next CD, the Lloyd Maines-produced Industry and Thrift, which is scheduled for a mid-September release. The previous night will showcase the "old" acoustic Livers, with Paul Sweeny sitting in on mandolin for a few tunes. The band says they have no more Austin gigs planned or scheduled for the rest of the year, so grab 'em while you can. Another project from union man Rubin, Rubinchik's Orkestyr, will be playing their only local date of the summer this Saturday at Central Market Cafe. The Orkestyr is heading out for a two-week tour of France in July, as soon as Rubin returns from the current Livers tour. Rubin has also been invited to Washington, D.C. to participate in an all-star lineup of Jewish musicians to perform klezmer music at the Festival of American Folklife on July 2 on the lawn of the Smithsonian Institution. Partner Barnes, meanwhile, will undoubtedly savor his fishing time.

That's Mister Rock It, Baby!

If you were at the Austin Rehearsal Complex (or at Sugar's, for that matter) Tuesday before last, you might have noticed a strangely familiar face - if you're a metalhead, at any rate. That face belonged to Metallica's Lars Ulrich, who's been looking for bands to sign to his Elektra-distributed label, TRC (The Record Company). Jason McMaster's new act, Godzilla Motor Company, is said to have gotten a demo through to Ulrich, but the reason that the metal man was here, apparently, was to check out Johnny Goudie's band. Goudie himself has said the label is interested in him and that the last piece of the puzzle would be Ulrich appearing to see the band himself. Oddly, though, when contacted after Ulrich's visit, a cagey, double-talking Goudie would not even admit knowing that Ulrich had a label and only allowed that the two men had been in the ARC at the same time. Yeah, that's right, Johnny. Lars probably just popped his head in for directions to the nearest "gentlemen's club."

Clubland Ins and Outages

Babe's on Sixth Street and the bands who play there were looking forward to a brand new stage on the bar side of the establishment as part of renovations to the club. Instead, they got an unpleasant surprise this past weekend when a befuddled construction worker cut power to the stage several days before the new one was ready, resulting in the cancellation of the weekend's activities. Manager Jim Hawk says that everything should be a "go" this weekend for the bar side of the venue, and that the grill side wasn't affected by the outage. Meanwhile, at the Electric Lounge, co-owner Mark Shuman offers a bass-ackwards version of a commonly heard story; while clubowners are regularly heard complaining about the pressures of their environment and early retirement, Shuman says that after years of trying to sell the Electric Lounge, he has given up and renewed the club's lease for several more years! Along with the renewal comes changes, as Shuman and partners Mike Henry and Jay Hughey announced this week. Hoping to take advantage of increased activity in the area, the club will begin opening earlier and offering happy hour specials and bands including a regular Friday happy hour slot for Mariachi Estrella on Friday afternoons beginning June 12. The Lounge will also undergo a "face lift" process which will include redesigning, repainting, and reconstructing inside and outside the club. (Note: make sure the crew knows exactly when to cut power to the stage).

Record Release-a-Rama

Marti Brom comes out of hiatus with a record release this Friday at Jovita's for a box set of 45s that comes with a CD, no less. Note, too, that Libbi Bosworth is back from maternity leave, out playing, and thinking about starting work on a new album...

Phillip McEachern has a release party for Fried Fish at Stubb's tonight (Thursday) following the big Jesus Lizard show there. After his show, a hoot night of his songs will commence, as performed by the Gourds, Damnations, Earthpig, some of the Adults, and many others...

The Gourds have an in-store at Tower Records this Saturday at 3pm. They'll be trucking over to Stubb's to perform there later that evening...

Also this Saturday is ACAC's 25th birthday party, noon-4pm, 1143 Northwestern Avenue, with lots of speakers and music, including the Bells of Joy, Afrodite, Jon Dee Graham, and many more. See our "Screens" section for the full story and complete lineup...

Farther out of town, in Jonestown, Hyde Park poet/musician Glen Alyn hosts the First Annual Festival of Music on the Water, 11am-midnight, featuring Betty Elders, Steve Fromholz, Maryann Price, and a host of others. Check the festival's website for all the details: http://www.connecti.com/festival or http://www.jonestown.org...

Danny Click and Tiktok will play at ABCDs today (Thursday) beginning at 8pm. Click will be plugging his debut CD Forty Miles (see "Texas Platters"). Tiktok is promoting Oncoming Headlights, a CD of "treated" piano music, and will play Fringeware, Friday, 8pm, during Roy Tompkins and Mack White's signing party...

Friday at Sound Exchange, Nada Brahma and Meadowlark play in-stores starting at 6pm. 1066 and War Ensemble do the same thing there starting at 4pm Saturday.

Mixed Notes

It's not enough to lose Frank Sinatra, Tammy Wynette, and Carl Perkins in so short a time - now several Spice Girls have died in a tragic plane crash. At least that's what Billboard says was reported on Houston radio station KKPN by deejay Steve Kelly during his final shift at the station. Actually, the only thing that died was his future at Austin's KAMX ("The Mix"), where he had planned to take a night slot. After hearing about the stunt, the Mix rescinded their offer...

On a more serious note, the family of Walter Hyatt has received a settlement from Valujet as a result of the crash that took the singer-songwriter's life. The amount paid by the airline to the family is to remain confidential as part of the settlement...

Ian McLagan and band will soon head out on a U.S. tour as support act for Billy Bragg, who's on the road plugging his new album of lost Woody Guthrie songs. Bragg guested on Mac's yet-unscheduled-for-release new album and liked what he heard in the studio. Don Harvey, Sarah Brown, and a non-local guitarist will back McLagan on the tour, with the last added since regular Mac guitarist "Scrappy" Jud Newcomb is busy with his own band right now. Among the stops on the tour will be dates on the big Guinness Fleadh Festivals in three cities. There's also tentative talk of an Austin City Limits appearance in mid-July...

Advance copies of Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels on a Gravel Road on Mercury Records are making the rounds, proving once and for all that the long-delayed album, set for a June 30 release, does in fact exist. SPIN has already taken a turn down Williams' Road with a feature in their current (July) issue, which the press guide that came with my copy abbreviates as "Lucinda Williams doesn't give a damn." A quick call to the friendly folks at Mercury reveals that Mary Cutrufello's album for the label is scheduled for an August release... Javelin Boot ended things at Sunday's Free-for-All with a rousing rendition of "Rock & Roll All Night," the capo on their career as Dan O'Neill heads out of the country. Only time will tell if this was indeed their last show, as this paper and the local daily have reported at various times on what they said would be their final gig, only to have more (like this one) turn up. You just can't trust bands to break up anymore (for evidence, look up Shoulders in the listings this week under "Continental Club")...

It's official: Austin Stories has been given the pink slip by MTV (see "TV Eye" for details). Musicians who want to act can instead audition for Salvage Vanguard Theatre's Altamont Now, about an MTV idol who creates a militia group in West Texas. Call

Wow! I got through an entire column without mentioning Fastball, but it wasn't easy; it seemed like everything I wrote about had some sort of "six degrees" connection with the band. Examples: The owner of the Electric Lounge, who allowed Shuman and company to renew their lease, is Miles Zuniga's sister, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, spotted around town last week, was also seen whooping it up at the band's Austin Music Hall gig. Oh well, now that I have mentioned them, I'll remind you that they're on David Letterman tonight (Thursday). As much as I'm rooting for them, I'll bet they don't "get the couch" this time...

- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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More Dancing About Architecture
Dancing About Architecture
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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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