Dancing About Architecture

Crossing the Final Path

The image of Paul Sessums that keeps running through my mind is one of him standing in front of his short-lived Split Rail at the corner of Seventh and Brazos a couple of years ago, beaming. He's beaming because he's managed to do what many now (and then) would consider impossible; he's cleared all the drug dealers off that notorious corner. And he's done it by being irritating. The scruffy, leather-jacketed Sessums had been going around the area hassling dealers the way they bother people in that vicinity until they'd had enough and taken their business elsewhere. Someone else will have to keep the streets safe from now on, as Sessums was killed Monday morning when his van rolled over on Highway 71 near Bastrop. That morning, Austin lost one of its most colorful figures, and Austin music lost one of its most stubborn go-getters. His signature club, the Black Cat Lounge on Sixth Street, will live on, however, safely in the hands of his offspring, with a get-together in Sessums' honor planned at the club this Sunday, 3pm. In keeping with Sessums' attitude about life, his son Martian says, "Don't bring any flowers, just come and have fun." For more thoughts about Sessums, see related story.

Asleep, Perchance to Dream

Asleep at the Wheel apparently is a hit with Dreamworks Nashville, who have signed the local country giants to the new label. Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and a number of other stars are slated to guest on the Wheel's Dreamworks debut, Ride With Bob, another Bob Wills tribute from the band (hey, the last one won three Grammys). The album is not expected to be finished anytime soon, due to the effort required to schedule all the guest stars. In the meantime, however, you'll soon be able to check out Step Inside This House, Lovett's all-Texan-penned 2-CD set, including a Steve Fromholz trilogy that's tough to find in its original form. In other label-related news, sources close to Kelly Willis say that she's now, for all practical purposes, a Rykodisc artist, although the ink isn't quite dry on the contract yet; Willis says she's past the superstitious stage, though she knows that "anything could happen tomorrow." Upon signing, the goal is for a January release of her next effort. Willis, Bruce Robison, and Richard Buckner will soon head off on the "Good, Bad, and Ugly" songwriting tour (they're not saying who's supposed to be which), and part of the reason she's accepting her Ryko deal as done is so that she, like hubby Bruce and Buckner, will have something to plug on tour. Keeping it in the family, I should mention that Bruce's brother Charlie Robison has his major-label debut, the new Lloyd Maines-produced Life of the Party, coming out on the same label as his brother's, Sony imprint Lucky Dog. Also, Enduro has signed to Pennsylvania label Self Starter Foundation, who will release their new album Half Rack of Sugar September 4. That's the same day that Enduro member David Bucci's play for Salvage Vanguard theater company Altamont Now (with music written by Enduro) starts its run.

Q: Are We Not Back?

Maybe the Pretenders and the B-52s didn't exactly pack Southpark Meadows, but Devo still hold sway over some mighty rabid fans around these parts, and the notion that the five spuds from Ohio might be playing Austin in October is one hot potato. Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh confirms that a computer software company has indeed arranged for the band to play four semi-private shows that month with Beck; in Los Angeles, the Bay Area's Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Austin, each show benefitting a charity in that city. The good news is that the Austin show, scheduled for October 24 at the High Tech Warehouse, is confirmed, with proceeds going to AIDS Services of Austin and tickets on sale September 1 through Ticketmaster. The bad news is those tickets sell for $100 apiece. Mothersbaugh, a Reverend with the Texas-based Subgenius Church, adds that he personally has "ulterior motives" for an Austin visit, though he didn't elaborate on what those might be; he did explain, however, that the J.R. "Bob" Dobbs-predicted spaceships that were to whisk all the Subgenii safely off-planet last month refused to take him because he had once dared to appear as a "prosthetic `Bob'" in a Subgenius event. He was also disappointed that he had not been contacted about the Devo Hoot Nights that have been held here in past years. If you can't afford the steep cost of attending the show, you can still look for a newly recorded Devo tune that's scheduled for an upcoming South Park episode, wherein the Isaac Hayes-voiced Chef is revealed to be the man who first flipped an inverted flower pot onto one of the spuds' heads, and a new song the band has penned and recorded for the upcoming Rugrats feature film (see "Roadkill"). For further New Wave action, don't forget the Knack will be playing Austin in mid-September. When they do, stop by and give a nod to drummer Terry Bozzio.

Metal Health

Metallica is not dead, despite anything you may have heard on KLBJ-FM. The Dudley and Bob With Debra show claimed otherwise in a bogus radio announcement last week, raising quite a ruckus with metalheads around town at the news that the members of Metallica had all died onstage in a freak accident in Europe. "People were upset that we would kill off one of our core artists," says producer Jeff "Yeti" Gish, despite the fact that, as we all know, death only increases a band's airplay. The Chronicle's resident ratings analyst says he believes the Metallica scam was merely a desperate ploy to bolster sagging Arbitron ratings, which he adds were lost not to Howard Stern, but in a general trend away from horny shock jocks. (The local radio market continues to splinter anyway, now that a brand new alt.rock station has appeared at 105.9 on the dial.) The subsequent on-air feuding between Dale Dudley and Johnny Walker was no cheap stunt, however. "I got emotional and made a mistake and called him [a dickhead]," says Walker. "But we kissed and made up later."

Mixed Notes

The kids in Ed Hall are back, but don't expect to hear "Sandra Gubernatorial" or any other EH faves performed onstage anytime soon. Larry Strub has now joined fellow Hall monitors Gary Chester and Lyman Hardy in the band Pong (formerly Gold). The five-piece act that also includes Pocket FishRman Jason Craig and Moist Fister Shane Shelton will instead feature new material like "Bubble Jungle" and "Thank You Pac Man" ("That's gonna be the hit," declares Craig) in the new lineup, which they hope to debut in late September...

Don't be afraid of Marti Brom - even if you're uncool enough to have thrown out your turntable long ago. Her nicely packaged Mean! box of four monaural 45rpm singles also comes equipped with a CD of the same material - in stereo, no less...

Robotic stooge Coz the Shroom penned several new songs and also performs on the upcoming album from Suckdog, featuring Lisa Suckdog naked (as always) on the cover. Coz will be touring with the band for a month when the album hits shelves in September...

Maryann Price, Slim Richey, Ron Erwin, Eamon Mcloughlin, Carl Keesee, Herb Remington, and Don McCalister plan to get to work on an album of Western swing duets. McCalister says they'll begin recording in late August and have it ready for Christmas. No need to rush, guys, you're sure to beat Asleep at the Wheel...

Local saxman Elias Haslanger netted the bulk of the ink in the "Blue Notes" column in the August 15 Billboard, with jazz columnist Steve Graybow stating that Haslanger combines "an intensity and lyricism reminiscent of early Coltrane with an inherent sense of fun and adventure"...

Look for Austin-friendly Ani DiFranco at a Cactus Cafe-sponsored show at the Bass Music Hall on October 7, with tickets going on sale today (Thursday) at noon. Hopefully, she knows where to park in the UT area; for his last show at the Cactus Cafe, someone advised Daniel Johnston and his father that it was okay to park in front of the mural Daniel painted on the side of Sound Exchange, but unfortunately, tow truck drivers don't bother to check if the license plate numbers match up with the signatures on walls and they towed the Johnstonmobile. Oh, and by the way, the Daniel Johnston/Jad Fair show next week at Emo's has been canceled. Don't ask me, I didn't know about it until it was off, either...

Congrats to Quatropaw, who netted first place in the rock category of SPIN magazine/GeoCities' 98 Unsigned Bands contest. That means they get "$500 in audio equipment, a complete live-to-tape concert on GeoCities, and a mention in SPIN," according to the contest rules. Check (http://www.geocities.com/~quatropaw/) for more info...

Bob Mould is once again touring with Austin musicians in tow, and this time neither one is Andrew Duplantis. The gig goes to Matt Hammond and Jim Wilson this time...

Fred Mitchim currently has two CDs out, one under his own name and one as part of the Local Group, but fans of what he says was his most popular effort, the ambient River City tape, will be happy to learn that Mitchim has re-obtained his master tapes and plans to reissue the album in six months or so. This will mark its first appearance on CD, as well as the first time it's been readily available since a NASA study determined that listening to River City "increases subliminal awareness"...

Fastball fans better catch 'em as part of the H.O.R.D.E. festival this Saturday (see ), as their planned October date at Stubb's has been scrapped and after that the band won't get back from Europe until December. The boys will take the Southpark Meadows main stage at 5:15 and play a 45-minute set. See 'em now so you can still say you saw them before they won the Nobel Prize...

Belmont Hall have an in-store at Sound Exchange Friday, 6pm...

A benefit to pay expenses from the illness and passing of Dale Watkins is next Monday at the Continental Club beginning at 9pm. Performing will be Dale Watson, as well as Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Uranium Savages, and Freddy Steady. That'll be the night after a Friends of KOOP benefit at the Continental with Toni Price, LeRoi Brothers, Sir Finks, and Herman the German...

Oops: A couple of names got mangled in last week's column, so apologies to The Damna- er I mean the Molly Pitchers' Debra Kelly and Whiskey-town's Ryan Adams. And no, he didn't get called "Bryan"...

- Contributors: Michael Bertin, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer

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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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