Dancing About Architecture

Paying the Electric Bill

"We're not out of the woods yet," says Electric Lounge co-owner Mike Henry, "but I can see the edge." That statement comes in the wake of a week's worth of highly successful benefits the live music venue held for itself because mounting bills had pushed it to the brink of closure. "We're close enough to make arrangements [with the city comptroller and our landlord] that will allow us to get by" through the advent of South by Southwest. The income from the music festival is in turn expected to keep the club going through the summer. Henry calls response to the club's pleas for help "phenomenal," noting that "Saturday we had a real, actual sold-out show featuring local bands [Spoon, Wannabes, Monroe Mustang -- see "Live Shots"]! More people came than to Joan Jett, Mixmaster Mike, or the Melvins!" Including a silent auction (for gift certificates, posters, etc.) in the proceedings added to the profits -- if not to the club's reputation for being stingy; when I, er, my friend got called as high bidder on a date with a lovely young bartendress and showed up to pay the $48 bid money, Mr. Henry announced that the call had been a "mistake" and that someone else had been allowed to continue the bidding after Lounge Aid was already over. I, er, I mean my friend chose to bow out and spend the money elsewhere. Perhaps it's better this way; I've already heard that two Mariachi Estrella band members who took high bid on a date with another Lounge female have already found themselves committed to attending an Ice Bats game with her in full costume. Who calls the shots on these "dates," anyway?

You all know there's no reprieve for the doomed Bates' Motel on Sixth Street, so I'll just remind you to get your last look at the charmingly grimy and smelly club this Saturday, when the Kiss Offs (whose full-length debut, Goodbye Private Life, is due next month), Houston trio the Fatal Flyin' Guilloteens, and Peek-A-Boo supergroup the Wontons play the club's final night. Meanwhile, on the continuing Liberty Lunch watch, that venue reports that they are still "in the middle of meetings" with the city regarding relocation of the club and have nothing new to report. However, you can look for plenty of coverage in these pages next week as the Chronicle's venerable politics and music departments team up to provide a veritable juggernaut of news, information, and opinion on the future of downtown Austin.

The Blaze Craze

February 1 marks the 10th anniversary of the death of local singer-songwriter Blaze Foley, who was killed while trying to help a friend whose Social Security and veteran's benefits checks were being stolen. That night there's a free tribute show at the Hole in the Wall (the last place Foley performed on stage, opening for his friends Timbuk3 less than a week before his death), and scheduled performers include Ponty Bone, Sarah Elizabeth Campbell, Lost John Casner, George Ensle, Sheri Frushay, Champ Hood, Cody Hubach, Pat Mears, Rich Minus, Gurf Morlix, the Waddell Brothers, Mickey White, J.T. Van Zandt, and several surprise guests. Music starts around 8pm, but if you can't make it (or even if you can), there's also a new Blaze tribute album out which features an equally impressive lineup including Pat Mears, Mandy Mercier, Calvin Russell, Jubal Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Timbuk3 and other worthies.

Double Trouble Redoubled

On another lost hero front, things may remain fuzzy regarding the box set, but Sony is hardly ignoring their library of Stevie Ray Vaughan recordings. A new announcement calls for the catalog of SRV albums to be "expanded and enhanced" almost immediately, with a first wave of five albums (four reissues and the new Real Deal: Greatest Hits Vol. 2) set for release March 23. The new hits package will be issued first as a Limited Edition with a foil embossed cover and includes a couple of "rarities" such as the version of "Pipeline" from the hard-to-find Back to the Beach soundtrack (looks like it's time to sell my 45). The four reissues -- Couldn't Stand the Weather, Texas Flood, Soul to Soul,and In Step -- fare a lot better for collectors, with five previously unreleased tracks added to each; Couldn't Stand looks most impressive on paper, as the extra material consists entirely of studio outtakes from the album's sessions. On the other hand, budget-minded fans should take note that the original issues of the CDs have now been transferred to cutout bins to get them off the market.

Dangerous Discs

If Godzilla Motor Company's appearance at the Meat Puppets SIMS benefit a few weeks ago left you jonesing for a dose of Dangerous Toys, take heart that Cleopatra Records and Caroline Distribution plan to re-release the band's last two, little-heard discs and a new live album sometime this summer. Former Toy frontman and current GMCer Jason McMaster says that when the band toured in support of Pissed and The Artists Formerly Known as Dangerous Toys, the distribution afforded them by the short-lived Antone's Records hard rock spinoff DMZ "left people thinking we were touring promoting our greatest hits. None of the kids knew we had a new record out." Nonetheless, McMaster says the band managed to move some 20,000 of the first and 10,000 of the second of their original pressings through their live shows, not bad numbers for an album you couldn't find in the stores. Of the live album, McMaster says that the disc, titled Vitamins and Crash Helmets (after an inside joke regarding requirements for life on the road), will include seven or eight songs recorded by the Westwood One Radio Network as well as board tapes from various stages of the band's career. Of the Westwood One tapes, he says, "They just ran off a DAT tape and said, 'Here. You guys have always been cool with us.' We didn't have to pay a cent!" Now that's what I call a deal!

Mixed Notes

Sadly, this past week marked the passing of Jimmy Day. You'll find an obit of the legendary steel player elsewhere in the "Music" section...

Anyone been wondering who'd end up as the City of Austin's Music Liaison since Gavin Lance Garcia resigned? Okay, not a whole lot of hands went up, but for the record, the post has finally been filled by former Technophilia co-owner Wendy Morgan, and the official title of the office has now become Music Marketing Director to reflect changes in the nature of the position (which are what led to Garcia's resignation). Morgan, who had already worked for the Convention & Visitors' Bureau in their public relations department, will, according to the current job description, "work with the City of Austin Music Commission, local music venue owners, and performers on such programs as the Music Instrument Pool Program where musical instruments are donated for local school children"...

Abra Moore just got back from a sweet gig, performing an acoustic set along with Lisa Loeb, Lyle Lovett, and Duncan Shiek as part of the first Sundance Film Festival Music Studio, a concert filmed and audiotaped by the Sundance channel for release as a CD and possible video. HBO and VH1 have also expressed interest in the show sight unseen, and their interest is liable to increase, says Moore's management, as the footage "turned out much better than anyone expected." If nothing else, look for the show sometime in the future on the Sundance Channel (if you move somewhere that actually carries it) and the album on the Beyond label (current home to Blondie and Mötley Crüe)...

Every week we say goodbye to another music-oriented business, it seems. This week it's farewell to Henry and Beverly Maldonado, owners of Maldonado's record shop, who are retiring after over 30 years at the store. Fortunately, they plan to keep the business open under new ownership...

Ana Egge reports that her new label and album are moving along well. Grace Records is securing a distributor while Mile Marker is nearing completion just as Egge prepares for more tour dates with Iris DeMent. Look for the album March 2, the same date as Rosie Flores' new Dance Hall Dreams. One week after that, expect to see trespassing, the third CD by Plum, on the racks. I assume the band has no fears of the common CD-not-ready syndrome, as the Chronicle has already received a nice copy of the disc (cool artwork, by the way)...

Gary Primich releases his second CD for Black Top Records in March as well (I can see that much of this column is going to be filled with new release info for the next couple of months, and the voicemail full of complaints from people who believe I missed mentioning their discs on purpose). Botheration features a number of local musicians including Mark Korpi, Steve James, Frosty, James Polk, and Riley Osbourn. Primich has been playing with Omar & the Howlers for the last year, but hits the road in support of the new album in April with his own band...

¡Avansar, Grammys! Ruben Ramos is among those up for multiple awards ("Best Tejano Album" and "Best Male Entertainer") in the upcoming Tejano Entertainers and Music Association (TEMA) Awards, with winners set to be announced on February 27. Other acts in the running for various honors include La Diferenzia, La Tropa F, Mazz,and Jay Perez. Call Star Tickets and head to the Municipal Auditorium in sunny San Antonio if you're free that night and interested...

Bobby Blue Bland is taping Austin City Limits this Sunday on short notice. Anyone who buys tix for the Antone's show this weekend qualifies for ACL tix...

You may have heard about an incident during the making of Jon Dee Graham's new album wherein an ugly scene between the producers and the engineer led to co-producer/guitarist Mike Hardwick waking up to a lawnful of two-inch recording tape strewn across his lawn. Rumors flew that though there was a master DAT of the tape, any future access to the original tracks would have to be obtained via a Weedwacker, but fortunately, as I understand it, the yard-art turned out to be merely an effigy of Graham's reel, which itself remains unharmed. (The latest rumor to start up is that the ruined tape was actually the lost third True Believers album, and that a portion has been recovered, which when playedbackwards, clearly states, "I buried Alejandro").Graham's album, titled Summerland, hits shelves in March (of course), and I hear the CD comes with a guarantee that if you don't like it, you can return it to the record store and the manager will take it and throw it on Hardwick's lawn...

-- Contributors: Michael Bertin, 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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