Dancing About Architecture

Like a Bullseye on a China Shop

David Garza looking sadly out the windowLast week I reported that Davíd Garza and his band were excited about going to Beijing, China, this coming weekend to perform at the Heineken Summer Music Festival, a huge cultural exchange program featuring numerous American and Chinese musical acts. That date has since fallen through, but not necessarily for the exact reasons you might expect. Yes, American jets "accidentally" bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during a botched raid as part of Operation Allied Force (OAF). Yes, Chinese civilians were killed. Yes, the USA's excuse is that the pilots were working with a seven-year-old map that proved somewhat less than reliable. And yes, the Chinese people are a tad disgruntled over all the above facts and have been taking out a sizable portion of their anger on the U.S. embassy in Beijing. Still, Garza's manager Steve Ochs says that the music festival has merely been postponed, not canceled, the organizers of the event announcing Monday that they had decided against putting on the event this weekend as scheduled. "Ironically," says Ochs, "the stage [on which Davíd would have performed] was set up behind the U.S. embassy!" Some equipment had already been sent along to China in preparation for the festival, but hadn't yet made it as far as customs; in general, Ochs is glad that the band didn't get farther along in their China travel plans (the trip was designed to double as a vacation for the lads). "I don't need my artist to be the guy in the photo like James Sasser looking sadly out the window," sighs Ochs. For posterity's sake, our Chronicle art staff has created their own representation of what might have been if Garza's jaunt had started earlier. As far as his next step, Garza finds his song "Kinder" appearing on the soundtrack for Adam Sandler's late June movie Big Daddy, with the song going to radio soon after. He's also completing a new album, Kingdom Come and Go, which will most likely be available exclusively through Best Buy, with the band continuing to travel down whichever roads the U.S. military doesn't blow up ahead of them.


Meat in the Can

It's been good news/bad news lately for local Meat Puppet head Curt Kirkwood -- or maybe just good news, depending on how you look at it. As far as the arguably bad news side of things, news reports recently announced that Curt's younger brother and former bandmate Cris Kirkwood was jailed after being arrested April 28 at his home in Tempe, Arizona. The younger Kirkwood was charged with two counts of paraphernalia possession, which placed him in violation of probation for previous possession arrests. Amazingly, despite longtime concern over Cris' addiction and reams of press coverage about it, police only decided to corral the youngerKirkwood after being summoned to deal with the body of an associate who had overdosed in his home. You might recall Kirkwood's wife Michelle Tardif perished there last summer under similar circumstances. The bassist is being held without bond pending a hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court next Wednesday. As to why I say this news is "arguably" bad, Curt and other associates of Cris have long been worried that his unstoppable heroin addiction, which drove him out of the band and his brother's life, could do nothing but kill him. "I can't speak for Curt," say Tammy Blevins, the elder Kirkwood's manager, "but I'm personally relieved. This could be a chance to save [Cris'] life."

As far as the definitely good news, Curt Kirkwood is busy in the studio right now jamming on a self-produced new Puppets album, and Blevins says London/Sire Records is "happy as piss" about it. The story over why the album will be distributed by Sire/Atlantic is complicated, but suffice it to say that former London distributor Polygram is satisfied with the album going through Sire. The new version of the band has already come up with one definite single in the form of a song called "I Quit," says Blevins, with the quartet playing some gigs during the year (their Stubb's appearance two weeks ago was met with raves) and hoping to have a "proper tour" by December. At that point, says Blevins, it would be nice if the album were out as well, but plans haven't progressed far enough to hazard a guess as to an actual release date. As far as a tentative title, forget it! "[A Meat Puppets album title] usually ends up being something someone said in passing," Blevins points out.


New Queen of the Castle

Kacy Crowley is this year's local contender in the musical joust that Miles Copeland holds at his castle outside of Paris every year (you may recall the Chronicle's extensive coverage and tour diary by Lady Kris McKay in previous years). Along with performers reportedly ranging from Rebekah to Jon Bon Jovi, Crowley's task over the 10-day sabbatical is to write a song a day, paired with various other attendant artists. Her departure for the castle comes little more than a week after musical competition from her better half Karl Anderson reared its head; at the John Mellencamp concert at the Erwin Center last week, the former Cougar pulled Anderson out of his front-row seat and onto the stage to join in on singing "Hurts So Good." Said Crowley at the time, "He was good -- a little too good. It was scary." Still, she need not worry about the competition sneaking up on her while she's away. Anderson says he's taking advantage of his time alone to work not on his vocal scales but on finishing his novel. And since this time of year you can't mention a female musician without asking, "Is she playing the Lilith Fair?" no, it doesn't appear that Crowley will be taking part in the annual extravaganza's 1999 edition; she certainly won't be available for this Sunday's Lilith tryout show at the Continental Club. You can, however, now add Ana Egge to the list of performers slated for inclusion in this year's Lilith Festival. Her dates include the Austin (7/20) and Dallas (7/22) stops.


Mixed Notes

Antone's Nightclub Inc. finally received its shiny new liquor license last Friday, dropping the blues venue out of the "next club to close" pool. Not so fortunate is (or was) Austin Blues, which after less than six months has closed its doors and sold off its furnishings. Apparently, as I predicted in this column several months ago, the venue, which got off on a bad financial foot with several weeks of delays before finally opening early this year, never managed to find a profitable niche to cover its high Sixth Street rent costs. Said one neighboring businessman, "I knew their number was up when they brought in Omar & the Howlers on Thursdays with no cover and still couldn't get people to come in." Susan Antone couldn't be reached for comment, but we imagine she would have said, "I told you so!" ...

Thursday (today) the City Council decides whether to approve advancing the Austin Music Network their second-year budget of $200,000, after the network spent their initial $500,000 allotment in less than six months. The controversial vote spans Items 10 and 11, which should be discussed around 2pm if you care to attend...

Charlie Sexton is heading out to L.A. this week to feel things out regarding a gig as touring guitarist for Bob Dylan. "They just tracked us down," says manager Tim Neece, adding that Charlie has known Bob for a while, and has done session and impromptu stage work with him before. If Sexton ends up with the gig, expect things to get rolling in early June and continue off and on through at least the end of the year. Meanwhile, did you spot Sexton Sextet sideman Michael Ramos on Late Night With David Lettermanas part of Deanna Carter's band? That's what he's been up to lately...

Rather than face any closer shaves, Billy Joe Shaver canceled a string of late-April gigs after his boy Eddie faced health problems from exhaustion. The Shaver band's Hilltop show this weekend is thus canceled, but a duo performance is scheduled for Friday at Waterloo Records, 5pm, showing that the little Shaver is doing all right. The band's management is quick to point out that their Stubb's gig on May 22 is a "go" as well...

Mental Health Month continues so SIMS Foundation gigs are in full force this week. To do your part choose from any of the following artists and venues: Monday May 17, Lonelyland and Blu at the Saxon Pub; Tuesday 18, Scabs and Get It On Productions at Antone's; Thursday 20, Wan Santo Condo and 54 Seconds at Stubb's, Ant Man Bee and the Shindigs at the Hole in the Wall, and Jon Dee Graham, Charles Alberty Band,and Sparkwood at the Continental Club...

To close the column this week, Dancing notes the passing of Américo Paredes, the 83-year old folklorist and founder of the Chicano studies movement, who died in an Austin hospital last Wednesday; Shel Silverstein, the cartoonist/humorist who wrote "A Boy Named Sue" and its lesser-known but funnier sequel "Father of a Boy Named Sue"; and finally, I turn the reins over for a touching eulogy from correspondent Margaret Moser: When Charles Comer died last month, his death received little attention but music industry insiders sadly took note. Comer's career began as publicist for the Beatles' first world tour; he went on to do PR for Bob Marley & the Wailers and Peter Tosh at Island Records, where he began his work with the Chieftains. When Comer started his own agency in the mid-Seventies, he took on clients like Marianne Faithfull, Grace Jones, and eventually Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Omar & the Howlers. His longtime friend and former SRV manager Chesley Millikin mourned Comer, calling him a "maestro with impeccable timing" and pointing out that Comer made sure David Bowie did not "trash" SRV.

-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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More Dancing About Architecture
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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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