Dancing About Architecture

Cheap Tricks

The Cheap Trick three-night stand at La Zona Rosa last week, wherein the band duplicated one of their best-regarded LP's each night (Cheap Trick on Wednesday, In Color on Thursday, and Heaven Tonight on Friday), was hardly unique to Austin; the Bay Area, I'm told, got four nights, with the last being Budokan (since the band apparently couldn't find the tapes for Dream Police). Regardless, the series was limited to a few cities where it could fully be appreciated, and appreciated in Austin it certainly was. I only managed to make it to the final night of the stand, but there I found a sea of people running into long-lost former scenesters they hadn't seen in ages, as well as famous faces like Billy Squier, who insisted on posing for a picture with that evening's openers the Wannabes, who were totally stroked hours later when they finally figured out who he was, and Hunt Sales, who's still trying to find the perfect spot in town for a big show by his dad Soupy Sales. And was that Doodlebug the Clown seen rocking out in full Paggliachian regalia in the third row?

If that was some other clown, it wouldn't be the only false celebrity spotting of the night, like the one going around claiming that the Goo Goo Dolls were backstage (since the Wannabes know the Goo Goos, this was ruled out, though my guess is the whole thing started with some wiseass claiming the 'Bes were the Goo Goos) and one local musician, who shall remain mercifully nameless, running around saying he had spent the previous night partying at a local gentlemen's club with Rob Zombie, who was apparently "in town on business." Said musician was later seen wearing a sheepish look after finding out he'd been had by a local lookalike, but I gotta admit, if you're gonna get made a fool of by an imposter, you at least gotta be grateful when you manage to pick one who drags you to Sugar's and gives you a fistful of $20 bills to do with as you please.

Babes in Arms

Babe's on Sixth Street is heading up a pre-emptive strike toward keeping that club viable in these hard times for live music, while at the same time hoping to help some local bands get gigs around the state and beyond. Saun Edwards (yes, for those of you who've gotten lost in the club's recent staff switcheroos, both Edwards and Jim Hawk are back) is heading up a company called Bullseye Entertainment, based out of the club, which will initially set up a small stable of local bands on a club circuit around Texas. Plans then call for hopeful expansion into larger tours, and later, a record label to support the acts as well. "It's so hard [for bands] to make money here," laments Edwards, "the scene hasn't been what it once was." He adds that it's not that easy to get good bands in the club these days, either -- or to keep them there once they've gotten established, so the idea behind Bullseye is to offer bands a nice package of gigs that naturally includes an Austin date at Babe's. "This is something to help get us on the map," he confides, but asserts that it's meant to be a "friendly" enterprise, not specifically a profit-seeking one. "Hey," shrugs Edwards, "I'm on salary anyway." If you're interested, give him a call at the regular Babe's number -- any genre of band is eligible to be among the 20 or so the club/entertainment company plans on picking for its roster, which Edwards hopes to have chosen by next month.

Steamboat Stories

Just down the street from Babe's, Steamboat owner Danny Crooks says that his doctors have just told him that he's not responding to his hepatitis C medication (Interferon and Ribovirin), so they've decided to take him off it and let nature take its course. "They said I could live one year or 20," says Crooks. That may not be as bleak as it sounds, since Crooks hasn't had a drink of alcohol in years and Hep C's worst enemy is a healthy liver. Crooks also says that the 'boat is doing the best it has in 10 years, sailing into South by Southwest this year with money in the bank (how many other clubs can claim that?), and that "having this disease had something to do with that." Yep, Crooks credits the high volume of well-wishers with helping keep the 'boat afloat, and now that he's free of the sickening side effects of the Hep meds, expect to see him at the helm of the club for many more years to come.

A Little Trish'll Doo Ya

After a long decision-making process,Trish Murphy has signed with Doolittle/Mercury, with recording for her new CD already under way at Arlyn Studios. Manager and husband Charlie Neath says Doolittle "were the first people [to make an offer] when Crooked Mile was initially released, [but we] had to look at all the other flavors of dessert before signing." Jim Ebert (Marvelous 3, Everything) is producing, and the CD is tentatively scheduled for a late June release. In other plans, Murphy is currently in negotiations for possible Lilith Fair dates.

Getting Your Just Awards

Things are coming together for this year's Austin Music Awards show, which is less than a month away. March 17 at the Austin Music Hall, with its traditional starting time of 7:55pm, this year's confirmed acts so far include last week's cover couple Monte Warden and Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, Charlie Robison, Joe Ely with Reckless Kelly, and Kinky Friedman. Special guest presenters include Shawn Colvin. This year's awards show benefits the SIMS Foundation, and along with the music and awards et al will include a presentation by 107.1 KGSR to the foundation. There's a slight change in media coverage this year, however, in that the Awards will be taped by the Austin Music Network but not shown live this year. Expect to see an edited version on the Music Network during SXSW weekend, though. With Kinky on board, that's probably the safer way to go.

Mixed Notes

Lucinda Williams has TV time upcoming, with Saturday Night Live this Saturday and Austin City Limits the following Saturday, February 27 (paired with Billy Bragg). Seeing as Flaco Jimenez, who's at the Continental Club this Saturday, appeared with the SNL band just last week, maybe the show could get the shot in the arm it needs by changing their opening cry to "Live from Austin, it's Saturday Night!!"...

Speaking of the tube, I never expected to hear the words "New Braunfels" on national TV unless they were accompanied by something like "dozens die in Wurstfest flooding," but thanks to Sixpence None the Richer the little town with the big sausage is more than getting its due. Besides constant yapping on MTV/VH1, the wholesome young band have been showing up everywhere from the Donny & Marie show to Conan O'Brien...

Dave Biller is gonna be one busy back porch beaver in the upcoming weeks. Not only do the Asylum Street Spankers have a new album out, Hot Lunch, but on the same day that they'll be appearing live on AMN's What's the Cover -- next Tuesday -- stores will also be getting copies of Biller's new duet album with slide guitarist Jeremy Wakefield, The Hot Guitars of Biller and Wakefield on Hightone's new HMG imprint...

Sunday, 6-7pm on 101X, Mayor Kirk Watson is the debut celebrity guest on Andy Langer's new show "Open Mike," the weekly show that will feature three in-studio visitors: "Two regular ol' radio listeners and a local or national celebrity, musician, politician, media figure, etc.," according to Langer. Watson will bring his records (I'm guessing we won't hear anything from Joe Ely's Live at Liberty Lunch), chat with the other guests and hopefully answer a few pressing questions from Langer, whose "Next Big Thing" will continue from 7-10pm...

Look for local manager Mark Proct to emerge from his temporary cocoon in short order. He's not ready to announce any official dealings yet, but one band he's looking at is Cadillac Voodoo Choir. Now wait a minute. If you're thinking that it's a precipitous drop from managing Jimmie Vaughan and Storyville to working with an act that our Chronicle reviewer called "a glorified Black Crowes tribute band," keep in mind that since parting ways with Proct, Storyville has been reborn as Lisa Tingle's backup combo...

Daniel Johnston, who got a positive review in TheNew York Times on his Big Apple live appearance earlier this month, says he's not exactly sure what's caused the delay in the release of his new album on Tim/Kerr Records, but says that the new release date is set for the end of this month. Johnston is already planning his next recording session, however, with Jad Fair expected to visit next month to record a follow up to their 1989 self-titled collaboration...

Mmmmm. Ya gotta love compilation albums, and two nifty ones appeared in the office this week: Hotter Than Hell: An Injection of Psychobilly Madness, is from Hairball 8 Records and includes the mighty Flametrick Subs among its 27 rockers, and Surfin' Senorita, a tribute album to the Tijuana Brass, features no less than five Austin acts (Sandblasters, Herman the German, Squid Vicious, Sir Finks, and 3 Balls of Fire). It's all quite servicable, but I especially like the Finks' Moog-sounding guitar on "Spanish Flea"...

Saturday, Silver Scooter have an in-store at Thirty Three Degrees for their new Orleans Parish disc, with Peek-a-Boo pals the Kiss Offs following them on Monday with an in-store for Goodbye Private Life at the same location ...

New local label Grey Flat Records celebrates their first release, a 7-inch by Palaxy Tracks, at the Electric Lounge on Saturday. Death of Millions celebrate the release of their Frozen CD at Neptune's, Saturday at 9:30pm...

Those folks at Epic/Legacy are out to cause trouble with Stevie Ray Vaughan completists. I told you that their new reissue series was set to contain a wealth of unreleased material, but they're not satisfied with making things that easy; a new promotional-only sampler was issued this week featuring "Shake 'n Bake," an instrumental from the Soul to Soul sessions that won't be available on any of the commercial releases. Let the brawling begin!...

A recent Canadian BMG promo shindig featuring performances by Sara Evans, the Warren Brothers, and Prairie Oyster was filmed by CMT for their Hot Ticket concert series. What does that have to do with Austin, you ask? Well, in the course of the evening, Evans and Keith Glass of Prairie Oyster covered Fastball's "The Way." Notes one witness and Internet wag, "I'd mostly ignored this song on the radio, but throw in a dobro and now I can't get it out of my head"...

-- 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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