Dancing About Architecture
Hold Yer Liquor
Liliths of the Field
Kelly Willis has been receiving her share of press lately -- not as much as Sixpence None the Richer, mind you, but let's be reasonable here -- with recent articles and/or reviews appearing in Time, Village Voice, People, L.A. Times, SPIN, Entertainment Weekly, the final issue of Musician, No Depression, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times -- the latter including a reference to her playing the Grand Ol' Opry. Not all publicity is good publicity, however, as seen in a fashion spread with Willis in the current issue of Request. Yes, they spelled her name right, but in the final photograph, at least, Willis looks like a cross between Linda McCartney and Axl Rose. And this from a gal who's perfectly photogenic on her own album covers. Look for an appearance on the David Letterman show next week, but expect more attention to come to Willis as this Tuesday's announcement of the Lilith Fair for this summer has her, Trish Murphy, and Sixpence None the Richer (naturally) making several second stage appearances. This year's tour, featuring headliners Sheryl Crow, Indigo Girls, and Luscious Jackson, among others, begins in Vancouver, British Columbia, on July 8, and will be shorter than previous Lilith Fairs, encompassing only 30-40 shows over an eight-week period as opposed to 50-60 over 11 weeks. Shawn Colvin will join the tour for two dates, July 20 in Austin and July 21 in Dallas, and if you can't make it to the Meadows for the event, look for two separate live discs culled from 1998's tour hitting stores May 18. Volume two will include Colvin's "New Thing Now," while the third volume features the omnipresent Sixpence None the Richer's "Kiss Me." Lilith Fair is having a talent search competition this year for female-driven musical acts, with a stop in Austin at the Continental Club on Sunday, May 16. Deadline for submission of your tape and info packet is May 7, the address being Xoom.com/Lilith Fair Talent Search, 2512 Oaklawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219. You go, girls.
Things haven't been all that cool for the Texas Tornados of late, but they've been weathering the storm. Since it was announced that they would be recording a live album at Antone's last fall for a then-undecided label, the four band members have had their share of tragedies, Augie Meyers having three major operations (one for prostate cancer and two for colon problems) and Flaco Jimenez suffering the loss of his daughter in a car wreck. These events led to the cancellation of a San Antonio show with Lee Roy Parnell that was to have been recorded for the set, but fortunately the Antone's gigs that preceded that ill-fated gig went well, so the Tornados' new album, Live From the Limo Vol. 1, will be released on the Frontera label distributed by Virgin, which had previous ties with Jimenez. The album features 14 cuts from the Austin gigs, and will include old faves like "Laredo Rose," "Mendicino," "Hey Baby Que Paso," and "Who Were You Thinking Of?" The old Bobby Darinchestnut "18 Yellow Roses" and Gene Autry's "South of the Border" are also featured on the disc, which has a street date of June 29, but expect to hear cuts in about four weeks as advances come in. And yes, volume II is planned, possibly from local gigs Doug Sahm says he hopes to do in Austin later this summer. Expect the Tornados to continue whirling on for a long time to come, as Sahm, who hopes to have a solo "country psych" album out soon, has declared that, "We are the Mexican Rolling Stones!" Guess that live recording will have to be at the Alamodome in that case!
Breakin' In ... and Out!
Ah, the magic of live television! It's not something you run across anymore, with most shows taped for your protection, but viewers of the Austin Music Network (cable channel 15) got an eyeful of spontaneity no one gambled on last Wednesday during a live performance by the Del Dragons. An e-mail from the Dragons summarizes the events that led to an on-air flip-out by hot-headed front man Troy Dillinger during the band's set on AMN's Breakin' In program. First, the band says that technical difficulties kept AMN from airing a planned phone-in introduction from 2,000-year-old man Dick Clark. Further electrical problems, they add, "led to much frustration for both us and the show [and] we all exchanged words, and Troy did throw his guitar at a cameraman and go after him. For whatever reasons, the video has not been shown again."
AMN manager Rick Melchior has a few comments to make on the situation. First, he asserts, the station is not set up to take calls on the air, Dick Clark or no Dick Clark, and that the band had been made aware of this situation. He does agree that the problem which led to the actual assault was a faulty monitor which gave the band trouble throughout the performance. The Dragons say they are currently keeping a "respectful distance" from AMN, but Melchior describes the incident as "not a big deal," and says videos of the finished songs in the band's set will be re-airing on the network, though probably not "the one they only did about four chords of" before all hell broke loose. Well, guys, there's always FOX's new series, When Bar Bands Attack.
AMN is currently looking for a break from the Austin City Council, who are scheduled to vote for or against giving the channel a $200,000 advance in mid-May. Melchior says AMN should be able to get by until early June before the vote's outcome becomes a moot point. Meanwhile, AMN got a more fortuitous break this week when TV Guide and the Prevue Channel -- oops, I mean the vastly new and improved TV Guide Channel -- began including AMN in their regular listings, effectively giving the network respectability as a "real" channel. Melchior says AMN began efforts to get listed back in November, but the process took a while as the channel was required to prove its credibility and ability to provide information in a timely manner. As such, AMN now books its acts at least three weeks in advance. Except, perhaps, in the case of their 300th act, which AMN is currently making plans for a big to-do over. At 290 and counting, the network says they're planning to celebrate the achievement of having 300 bands perform live. Oh, and yes, AMN is currently working with Dick Clark toward having him introduce acts via pre-taped audio and video clips, though if he wants to call 'em up, he'll have to make do with a one-on-one conversation in the control room.
Number One With a Remote
Austin stands to be well-represented in the alt.country market these days, as two local entities have been added to the list of contributors to the Gavin Report's Americana chart. One is local public radio station KUT, and the other is, um, Jennifer Sperandeo's record collection. Yes, Sperandeo, the self-proclaimed "Empress" of local Jackknife Enterprises, is programming the Americana channel for Music Choice, one of those newfangled digital cable/satellite radio services, available to subscribers of DirectTV now through Time Warner Cable in Austin. That's right, Austin is actually the debut market for Music Choice, which also has channels for 30-plus kinds of music including new wave retro, blues, tropical, and contemporary Christian. Sperandeo describes this new medium as well as anyone can, saying that it's the sort of thing where "people either can get it or they have no idea what it is." She does, however, admit that while she certainly knows what it is, and programs the satellite feed simply by picking songs she likes in the genre (a range she says covers everything from the Louvin Brothers to Tom Petty), she herself has no satellite access and until she got the Time Warner box this week, she couldn't even hear the channel she'd been programming herself.
Eric Johnson fans will find their boy on the new Adrian Legg album Fingers and Thumbs, on Redhouse Records. The two met, you recall, during the G3 tour. As far as his own next disc, the blues thing you've been waiting for, the guitarist's management says Johnson is currently in the studio working on it, aiming for a release late this year or early in the first quarter of 2000...
If that's too long to wait, catch this band Alien Love Child May 12 and 26...
This week's festival of note is the Mother Earth Fest at the Celis Brewery (290 at 183) this Sunday, 2-10pm. The SIMS-sposored event features Ian Moore, M.C. Overlord, a Sunflower reunion, and more...
For those of you who get your Chronicle bright and early on Thursday, I'll be on KAZI-FM's Juice and Jam show (88.7) this morning, 9am-noon, just to prove how clever I can be early in the morning (and for you Star Wars fans, hopefully they'll let me play my vintage Jimmy Castor Bunch "Bertha Butt Meets Darth Vader" 45!) If you miss it, though (understandable), check these guys out any Thursday. They throw in plenty of fresh, funny improv/sketch humor between the beats...
-- Contributors: Raoul Herandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser