Dancing About Architecture

The Jr. Files

The August 22 issue of Billboard magazine was another Austincentric issue, with articles on Los Super Seven and Willie Nelson (see below), but the big surprise was the revelation in Chet Flippo's Nashville Scene column that, "[Junior Brown] says he's been invited to appear on an upcoming episode of the X-Files"! You'd probably expect him to play a villian whose blue jeans secrete a deadly poison or some such, but in fact, Brown's management says the Austin country guit-icon simply plays a farmer that Mulder & Scully have some serious questions for on an episode scheduled to air in mid-November. Further details are sketchy, as LuAnn Thompson at Brown Central is an admitted non-fan of the show, and as such could only report that the episode's plot is "something about a government conspiracy." (Now, there's a surprise!) Brown's new Curb Records album, Long Walk Back, is due in stores September 1, and features an extended jam ("Stupid Blues") with Jimi Hendrix drummer Mitch Mitchell, which is not that surprising considering that the Hendrix-happy Brown has also performed with Buddy Miles and Noel Redding. Listen for the sudden stop in the song, too, as that's a result of Mitchell falling off his drum stool midway through.

Two Slick Willies

The American people just love Willie Nelson, as will be seen December 6 when the gray-headed stranger is honored at the 16th Annual Kennedy Center Honors celebration, along with a group of other celebs including Bill Cosby, Andre Previn, and Shirley Temple Black. In an announcement regarding the recipients of the honor, Kennedy Center Chairman James Johnson called Nelson "a man who gave a restless new power to country music." Given that the event, which will be aired as a two-hour television special, is traditionally attended by the President and First Lady, my suspicion is that the real reason Nelson was chosen was because Bill Clinton knows his White House days are numbered and wanted a partner to slip away and join him up on the roof for some serious inhaling. Oh, and speaking of Willie and TV, he'll be on David Letterman's Late Night September 8. Who knows, maybe he'll perform "Everywhere I Go," from his new Teatro album, which the current issue of Rolling Stone called, "the senior-citizen sequel to Fastball's `The Way.'"

The Live Salmon Capitol of the World

Bad Liver Danny Barnes may have moved to Washington State because the fishing is so darn good there, but the throngs that attended this year's North by Northwest Music Festival (put on by Austin's SXSW crew) in Portland were there for the music. Barnes did a solo set as one of 11 Texas acts that made the trek north, among them Matt the Electrician, Sixpence None the Richer, Zuckerman Electric, and the River City Rapists. As expected, there was trouble when the Rapists took the stage - or at least it seemed that there was. NXNW's Dave Thomson says he got a frantic call from the stage manager of the club where the punks were performing, saying the Rapists were trashing the equipment and busting beer signs, so he instructed the club not to pay the Rapists until he was able to assess the damages and subtract them from the band's take. Instead of carnage, however, Thomson says he found the Rapists were confused and apologetic, the decimated equipment was a dented microphone, and the smashed beer sign was a torn poster. Thomson was more stunned by the behavior of Dallas' REO Speedealer (yeah, I know the "REO" part is history), who Thomson called "totally professional," because they have a policy of not consuming alcohol before a performance. Now that is a shocking revelation, especially considering we're talking about a band that makes a perfect double bill with Nashville Pussy. Austinite-cum-Northwesterner Ian Moore showed up for a panel, revealing, according to Internet coverage, that the guitarist has founded his own label, Hablador Records, "out of consequence, not out of desire" following his fallout with Capricorn Records, adding that he plans to sell his new Green Grass album through his Web site (http://www.ianmoore.com) when it comes out in October, while he shops the disc that was recorded for Capricorn to other labels. Also out of NXNW came the news that Portland label Tim/Kerr Records will be releasing two albums by Daniel Johnston, the first hitting the racks as soon as October or November. Johnston was a huge hit at the festival, opening his jam-packed showcase with a killer version of "Live and Let Die" and sweltering through the rest wearing a "full-on parka," according to Thomson. The two albums will be culled from the vast amount of material that Brian Beattie has been recording with Johnston and a load of local luminaries (hell, even I play drums on one track). Label publicist Wade Metzler adds they're considering rereleasing Johnston material from his Shimmy Disc/Homestead years as well.

Juice From a Gourd

Look for a new Gourds EP, Gogitchershinebox, to drop your way on September 8, and expect to start hearing their, er, different version of Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Gin and Juice" on radio stations that never would've touched the original. Watermelon Records, who also have a Hayseed CD coming out that day, says that the EP of three studio tracks (which includes a cover of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust") and five live tracks is something for the fans while they wait for the next Gourds album. That album won't be that long a wait, though, with plans calling for a full-lengther perhaps as soon as next summer. In the meantime, the Gourds play backup band to Doug Sahm's on two tracks for the upcoming SDQ '98, due in early October from the label. (Sir Doug's "She's About a Mover" has been added to the reissue of the classic Nuggets compilation album on Rhino, by the way.) Watermelon also has a Tom T. Hall tribute out at the end of October, featuring the likes of Kelly Willis, Whiskeytown, Richard Buckner, and Johnny Cash.

Mixed Notes

Magnetic Force Knocks Car Off Road: Lucinda Williams' Car Wheels on a Gravel Road has finally been dethroned from the top of the Waterloo Records chart. The Electromagnets' reissue album took the Number One spot by selling 175 copies this week, with Williams stuck in second gear with a paltry 147...

You keep hearing familiar music on commercials and realizing it's by a local favorite, but one thing you won't be hearing is Teisco Del Rey on any General Motors ads. In a move that would make Michael Moore proud, Del Rey has reached a settlement with the strike-plagued auto corporation regarding a lawsuit he filed against them in February. That suit charged GM with "copyright infringement and misappropriation of personality," as Del Rey claimed the company was using his surf guitar arrangement of the overture from Rossini's "Barber of Seville" in commercials for the Chevy S-10. The terms of the settlement are confidential, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Teisco driving around in a new truck...

Remember Tom Freund? During his time in Austin, he was part of both the Silos and all-star act the Setters. His solo album North American Long Weekend is out now on Red Ant - and coincidentally enough, the Silos' new Heater album (sans Freund) is out now as well...

Now, here's what I call hitting the big time: An excerpt from the locally written Rock Stars Do the Dumbest Things by Bill Crawford and Margaret Moser (with an assist by yours truly) appears in the current National Enquirer - the one with JonBenet Ramsey on the cover (or at least the latest one with JonBenet Ramsey on the cover). Despite the fact that the book doesn't have a word in it about Kelly Willis and Lyle Lovett, Rock Stars gets a big ol' plug for its juicy chronicling of follies by notorious over-the-toppers like Jim Morrison, Keith Moon, and Janis Joplin...

The good news for local songwriters these days is that out of some 80 folks actively pitching songs at this year's Austin Songwriters' Conference, early figures show that over half of those had songs "picked up" by industry pros. Out of a hundred demos that were picked up, a pair of reps from Sony and Asylum accounted for 20 between them...

Fastball got the expected response from the crowd at their Austin H.O.R.D.E. appearance last weekend, with John Popper of Blues Traveller joining the lads during "Out of My Head" and the band dedicating "Sweetwater, TX" to Paul Sessums. Later, Miles Zuniga was heard to quote the late Black Cat owner as telling the now-successful group, "It's a good thing you never listened to me when I told you how much you sucked." After the show, Zuniga was spotted hanging out with the Spin Doctors' Chris Barron at Club Deville... Sources tell me that Jericho Records, owned by producer John Porter and ex-Stiff Records staffer Andrew Louder, have picked up Jake Andrews' debut and will release it in the U.K. this year, with a U.S. release to follow. The disc was cut in L.A. before the departure of Jon Blondel from the band...

The Texana Dames benefit to help recover from the theft of their instruments is tonight at Antone's, with Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Gulf Coast Playboys, Jesse Taylor and others...

This Saturday is ABCDs' Fish Days of Summer, with Pam Hart, Roberto Moreno, Ginger MacKenzie, Quatropaw, Alamo Suite, and Golden Arm Trio playing between noon and 6pm. Other in-stores include James McMurtry at Waterloo Records today (Thursday), 5pm, and Los Tigros Guapos and Secret Lovers at Sound Exchange Friday, 6pm...

Jamey Karr, Program Director of KACV-FM in Amarillo is looking for recordings by Texas artists to play on the radio. Karr says the station will play "Rock, Tejano, Country ...

whatever." Send yer stuff to: Jamey Karr, KACV-FM 2408 S. Jackson, Amarillo, TX 79109...

Bill Bentley says he's about half through with a book on the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, though it's not likely to come out for a while. Feral House, who published the book on Ed Wood that the Johnny Depp feature film was based on, will publish the Elevators tome as well. Bentley says the company's owner likes books about "sickos," but even after being told that Roky Erickson was not a psychopath, he still decided he wanted Bentley to go ahead with the book, anyway...

- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, 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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