Dancing About Architecture

Moving Violations

New Sincerity-era Austinite Pat McDonald of Timbuk 3 fame is one person who's tough to track, and the Flipnotics ad touting his "Farewell Austin Shows" this Friday and Saturday night only adds to the confusion. McDonald himself admits to some bafflement over the ad's wording, since he doesn't have a home in Austin and hasn't had one in some time. These days, he spends about half the year in Barcelona and another large chunk at his parents' place in Wisconsin. He's producing Kacy Crowley's next album for Atlantic right now, so he's been in Austin for a week, but soon he'll be dragging Crowley off to the Land of Cheese and then to the Big Apple as work continues on her new disc. "I don't like making a big deal out of my comings and goings," says McDonald, "but I don't know when I'll be in Austin again," so the Flipnotics gigs will indeed be your last chance to hear McDonald until his next album reaches these shores -- assuming it ever does. He's finished an as-yet-untitled disc for Germany's Ulftone Records, a label run by his manager Ulf Zick, who's working on getting a deal for worldwide licensing for the album. Ironically, McDonald's last album was released on his publisher's label, Ark 21, and licensed by owner Miles Copeland to Zick's label. The album sold better in Germany than in the U.S., so McDonald decided not to extend his one-off contract with Copeland's company (which will be releasing Wayne "the Train" Hancock's next album Wild, Free and Restless on July 27). The new CD is due for release sometime after McDonald is finished up with the Crowley project, and will probably appear around late October, in Germany, and hopefully worldwide.

On a related note, you may recall that this column reported some time ago that Glass Eye co-founder Kathy McCarty was forsaking Austin to join her new husband in Wyoming. Almost immediately after, I followed that up with the expected report that she had moved back, the victim of a job offer that evaporated on contact. If you haven't guessed where this is going, yes, McCarty has since moved back to Wyoming, where she reports that her husband has taken a position teaching art and she is currently waiting tables at a Holiday Inn, metaphorically serving the parents from Seinfeld. "All the customers are old and cranky," she moans, "and they all think $1 is a good tip." McCarty is glad to be out of Texas for now with her Northerner hubby ("Frankly, I thought the [Texas] summer would kill him") and is looking forward to releasing her next album, tentatively titled Bootfiller (yes, that's a pants-wetting reference) on Glass Eye cohort Brian Beattie's new label, which will officially debut with Daniel Johnston's Rejected/Unknown in a month or so.

All Lunched Out

Plans are coming together for the final days of the revered Liberty Lunch, which abandons its soon-to-be-demolished Second Street location at the end of July. The Toadies have the honor of being the last band to play on the original Lunch stage, as they'll be headlining July 31. Prior to that, more and more dates are being firmed up, with Lunch rep Mileah Jordan saying, "We're gonna squeeze as much as we can tolerate physically into the last two weeks." Following the venue's last waltz, its staff will take some time off as they await the club's relocation to Red River, where a new building will eventually stand alongside Stubb's. Besides shows like Davíd Garza, Doctors Mob, and the Brooders on July 24, Bob Mould on the 30th, and that final Toadies elevating moment, expect chaos to reign for 24 hours as former Wild Seeds front man Michael Hall hosts the July 23 "Gloria-thon," a night- and day-long marathon of the Van Morrison/Them hit. "That should be fun," notes an already weary Jordan, "for the first 17 hours or so." Hall describes his plan (such as it is) as an attempt to break a world record, though he's not really sure what the record is -- or if there even is one. "Guinness has virtually nothing on rock & roll," he notes, and says the idea is to try and keep at least two members of his band the Brooders onstage at all times, while simultaneously attempting to get as many people as possible who have played the Lunch to join in. Hall's hoping to get at least a few guests on the level of Paul Westerberg, Alex Chilton, or King Sunny Ade, though so far his commitments list is comprised of Terri Lord's promise to helm the drum kit between 7-9am. The marathon, which may be webcast (very likely) and/or be made into a box set (very unlikely), is scheduled to end in time for the next night's opening act, which, yes, will be the Brooders. By then, Hall and his bandmates are expected to be in about the same shape as Jerry Lewis warbling "You'll Never Walk Alone" at the end of the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, so that set could end up being even wackier than the Gloria-thon. "We could end up doing a 45-minute version of 'Sister Ray,'" Hall admits.

The Back of the Butts

The Butthole Surfers' reissues of back catalog titles Psychic... Powerless... Another Man's Sac, Rembrandt Pussyhorse (w/the Cream Corn From the Socket of Davis EP), Locust Abortion Technician, and Hairway to Steven have made their way into the Chronicle offices and should be in stores soon. The four CDs are now on the band's Latino Buggerveil label as a result of their winning a lawsuit against former label Touch & Go and will be distributed through Revolver. None of the four Eighties releases have been remastered or remixed, but the volume on them has been boosted significantly, meaning they sound better than their forebears by virtue of not demanding as much effort from your stereo system. Unfortunately for fans, the band has no current plans for the other materials regained in the suit, including Widowermaker, the highly sought after Double Live, and the Blind Eye Sees All video. Considering the high dollars that the original issue of Double Live commands on the used market ($100+), you'd think the Butts would knock out a new limited edition at least, but word is that the band, simply put, really doesn't like the live album and therefore has no interest in reissuing it. The band also has plenty of outtakes and rarities in their vaults, but at this time, no plans are under way for a compilation of such materials.

Meanwhile, the reissue of Doctors Mob's Headache Machine and Sophomore Slump -- together on Last One in the Van Drives -- has also made it to our office and sounds pretty damn good. Like the new Butthole reissues, this disc -- the first appearance of the Mob on CD -- hasn't been remastered, because as you may recall, all the original tapes have either been lost or ruined. This sort of thing is exactly what's expected from Doctors Mob, of course, so the only surprise is that when they went to make the CD from a pair of old vinyl albums, they actually managed to find a sealed set.

Quick, Henry, the Flit!

Austin's Poetry Slam, which had made the Red Eyed Fly their home since the closing of the Electric Lounge, has now been shooed away from the new venue, says Slammer and former Electric Lounge manager Mike Henry. After being warned by the Fly's owners that their weeks were numbered since the Slam wasn't fitting the vibe of the club, Henry says that some Slammers were chastised for being "disrespectful" by playing air hockey while a musical act was performing onstage, and subsequently Henry was told not to come back the next week. The Fly's position is that while they weren't particulary averse to the Slam, it was driving away their regular customers, and the people who were coming tended to not drink -- and were even found sneaking in their own bottled water! The whole ugly mess came to a head this last Tuesday as the deposed poets came to retrieve some equipment, then began staging an impromptu protest in front of the club. Red Eyed Fly co-owner Lance Free says the situation deteriorated to the point that he had to threaten the poets with a super soaker. Fortunately, when he returned with the weapon, the slammers had dispersed. The Slam is currently looking for a new place to do it's thing, and they hope to at least get in three more nights onstage before going to the Nationals in Chicago, August 11-14.

Mixed Notes

Since damn near all of this column has been about Austin's Class of '84, I should mention that former True Believer Alejandro Escovedo is among the artists on More Oar, Reprise Records boss Bill Bentley's tribute to Skip Spence's legendary off-beat Oar album. Of course, so is Liberty Lunch adversary Greg Dulli, as well as Robert Plant, Tom Waits, Robyn Hitchcock, and Beck. More Oar is out now on the new Birdman imprint, run by a Reprise rep and distributed through ADA, and along with the disc, Bentley sent a note of reminder: "Just think -- this could have been on Watermelon!"... Say goodbye to Unplugged at Shady Grove for the time being. The newly retitled Acoustic Sunset Series is moving to Mango's on the Drag for a couple of months, starting on July 8, 8pm, with a set by Toni Price. The shows are still weekly, still broadcast by KGSR, and still free... L.A. punk-metal outfit Damnation seemed to have fallen off the edge of the earth when the band currently known as the Damnations TX were trying to find them months ago to discuss the "name issue." Well, they've turned up -- at Emo's on July 5. The members of Damnations TX, who are currently on tour, were unavailable for comment, but since they'll be back in town by the 3rd for their gig at Liberty Lunch this Saturday, I'm expecting a confrontation... There's a benefit for Kosovar refugees this Saturday at the Hyde Park Presbyterian Church, running from 4:30-11pm, with various performers of Gypsy, African, jazz, flamenco, and other musics, as well as authentic Albanian cuisine (and you all know how hard it is to get decent Albanian food in this town)... Sound Exchange has a pair of in-stores this week, with Black Heart Procession this Friday and Oi! Polloi on Monday, both at 6pm... After listening to the new Alice Cooper box set umpty-zillion times, the Chron music staff was amused to catch Jon Dee Graham performing the classic ACG tune "Be My Lover," but disappointed that he didn't even try to come up with a personal touch to replace the line, "She asked me why the singer's name was Alice." Come on, J.D., at least you could've changed it to "Alejandro"!...

--Contributors: Christopher Gray, 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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