Dancing About Architecture

The Lunch's Last Supper

Well, that's it. Liberty Lunch, as we knew it, is gone, the victim of a city that had better things to do with its property than let a bunch of freaks play music on it. For some, the real ending was last week, between the Gloriathon and Joe Ely's after-2am set, but many others called to pay their final respects during a set by the Toadies last Saturday night, July 31, 1999, the Lunch's last day. The Toadies put on an appropriately energetic set, especially for one that almost didn't happen; their booking agent, who had missed some important bits of information, wanted to cancel the show since the band has no current material to plug and he figured the show wouldn't draw. It was after the band's set -- which included the Reverend Horton Heat's "400 Bucks" and a good half-hour-plus encore, but not an appearance by the Butthole Surfers' Paul Leary despite the band's repeated calls out to him -- that things started to happen. Immediately upon the band's departure and the issuance of the Beatles' "The End" over the club's P.A., the audience began tearing up the place -- in addition to the hole in the stage the Toadies bassist made with a mike stand -- prompting a member of the club's security to yell, "That's the spirit!" while advising other patrons who were having trouble removing some door molding to "Try the door!" By 2:45am the security wall had been tipped over -- since it was constructed of two pieces of wood at a 90-degree angle, the net result was that another security wall popped up in its place -- and finally, at 2:50am a picture of Mayor Kirk Watson was burned in effigy by irate Lunch-lovers. I say finally, but the destruction is of course not yet complete, as Lunch man Mark Pratz says he's still "down there every day dragging stuff out," before beginning to "piddle around" later this month with setting up the Lunch's new location by Stubb's. Beyond his own efforts, Pratz says he expects everything to be stripped from the building by the professionals before it's bulldozed, which will probably come in September or October. Meanwhile, a team of angry pro-Lunch vigilantes (who shall remain nameless) have been enlisting the aid of groups like Earth First! in hopes of providing as much of a headache as possible to the city in their efforts to get their demolition work done. Said group has been checking into zoning laws to see if they can stop or delay the cutting down of trees on the property. "It's to slow them down," says one member of the civil disobedients. Coming up for next May's mayoral election: bumper stickers reading, "Kirk Watson: He Tore Down Liberty Lunch!" Maybe he should take Carole ("She Killed the Armadillo!") Rylander as a running mate.


Buckin' Tradition

Remember the cover of Prince's "Raspberry Beret" that ended up as a "secret bonus track" on the Derailers'Reverb Deluxe at the last minute? Well, the band is working on a reputation for flying by the seat of their pants, it seems, as they have an 11th-hour addition to their Full Western Dress disc in the form of a track featuring country legend/Hee Haw star Buck Owens. The soon-to-be 70-year-old, whose annual birthday bash is coming up next Thursday at the Continental Club (see "Music Listings"), said in an interview in Country Weekly that he had decided to ride de rails with the Derailers on their Dave Alvin-produced third studio effort because he likes to do "fun projects with fun people." (The Elvis Presley tribute, by the way, is coming up soon as well, but there's been no word on the King teaming with any Austin acts, although Elvis Costello just confirmed an early October date at the Backyard.) Internet rumors of personnel changes at Sire have fueled chatter that Full Western Dress could be delayed from its planned September release date, but word from Derailer Tony Villanueva expressing confidence in the disc's timely release help to lay such worries to rest. Keeping with the theme of classic country artists, Johnny Cash pianist Earl Poole Ball has taken up something of a residency at Babe's on Sixth Street (Dwight Yoakam dropped in to catch his act this week), as he's playing there most Mondays in August and September; Chris Wall has that slot this week, but after that Ball has a three-week run (dare I suggest they alternate and call it "Balls to the Wall Mondays"?). The Man in Black's spouse June Carter Cash is expected to confirm a performance soon at La Zona Rosa, accompanied by son John Carter Cash and his band. She's been making sporadic appearances in recent months, and Johnny has been spotted at all of them. While we're on the all-in-the-family subject, condolences to June over the loss of her sister, the eldest member of the Carter Family, 72-year-old Anita Carter, this week.


A Change of Venue

The Lunch aside, there's been no end to the ins and outs of the various music venues in town of late. In current news, the mostly dormant South Park Meadows has been bought up by the House of Blues company, though at this juncture, it won't affect the next-millennium plans already underway to build an ampitheatre on the large outdoor property. "Everything is still a 'go,'" confirms the Meadows' Brian Stovall. For the remainder of 1999, then, don't expect a whole lot of events at the Meadows, though Stovall says there are "a couple" of shows coming in the months ahead. On a smaller scale, Paul Minor says he's out as the talent booker for Dick Clark's American Bandstand Grill, as is their sound man and much of their live music schedule. Minor blames the Bandstand's "location and atmosphere" for the lack of success for original music purveyors, along with the general encroachment of "corporate interests" over the old Austin freewheeling spirit. Bandstand director of operations Brad Lutz says that the Friday original music slots and Sunday acoustic shows were "experimental stuff" all along, and that live music isn't out of the club's plans. The Bandstand, he says, is currently "beating the bushes" for an appropriate house band, as well as other groups to provide music from the Fifties-Nineties (both covers and originals) with emphasis on music "that people will dance to and not just listen to." In lethargic Austin? Good luck.


Mixed Notes

Paul Minor isn't the only member of Superego to find himself out of a job recently -- Jacob Schulze has parted ways with the Davíd Garza band. Minor jokes that the parting stemmed from "irreconcilable facial hair differences," citing Schulze's involvement in the Dog & Duck Pub's ongoing "Nutduster '99" handlebar mustache growing contest, which is currently ruining a number of lives. Schulze had previously been heard quietly voicing artistic dissatisfaction with the band, but he says his dismissal comes simply because Garza is done touring for the year and Schulze is not needed on the studio end of things. If asked to return next year, he says, he expects he'll do so... "I don't know how Chepo [Peña] managed to keep his composure," Minor also reports, as The Phantom Menace actress Natalie Portman apparently paid a visit to the Hole in the Wall during the Superego show Sunday night. Portman and Lucas Haas played pool while the Free for All gang, including self-confessed Star Wars freak Peña, did the rock & roll thing onstage. In other movie/Austin music-related news, the Cactus Cafe was used as a movie set this week for the upcoming feature film Where the Heart Is, starring Portman, Ashley Judd,and Sally Field (Judd was seen at Waterloo Records ordering a Maria Muldaur album or something equally impressive), while a low-budget flick about killer piñatas is set to begin shooting around town this week, including a scene with Swine King frontman Randy "Biscuit" Turner that I'm told is sure to have audiences "flushed" with excitement... "Laredo Rose" is on the new Texas Tornados album Live From the LimoVol. 1, but if you want to hear the song's author in person, look for Rich Minus doing some live recording of his own at the Hole in the Wall on Wednesday...

CNN's World Beat did a feature this weekend on summer festivals, with the network's coverage of the Lilith Fair in Atlanta featuring performance and interview footage of Trish Murphy. Ginger Mackenzie was also seen briefly...

Support your local musicians' mental health by attending the SIMS Supper next Wednesday at any number of local restaurants; see Music and Community listings for more info and lineups...

Also, be sure and check out the free Lance Armstrong Foundation celebration on Monday at Auditorium Shores from 7:30-10:30pm, featuring Asleep at the Wheel, Bruce Henderson, members of the Scabs, Soulhat, and Vallejo, Governor Bush (not to be confused with the band of the same name), and Tonic...

Art Alexakis was not on his "best behaver" (as Lester "Roadhog" Moran would say) during Everclear's sparsely attended "Coke show" last Saturday at the Austin Music Hall. Things didn't exactly start off on the right foot between the audience and Alexakis when the frontman set foot onstage and had his guitar immediately struck by an object tossed from the crowd. Alexakis then launched into an expletive-filled tirade about "you redneck motherfuckers," warning that if anything alse was thrown at the band, the show would end immediately. About a half-hour into the performance, during an acoustic version of Lynyrd Skynyrd's Southern rock anthem "Sweet Home Alabama," Alexakis stopped suddenly and declared, "I'm not gonna play that fuckin' racist song," which is when a guy almost all the way back near the sound board hurled a cup at the stage, executing a perfect "long bomb" and hitting Alexakis in the chest. Two girls ill-advisedly took credit for throwing the cup, rating further abuse from the singer, while his bass player could be seen kicking something below him; it's unclear if his foot struck the girl, but later she was seen outside claiming she was going to sue. The band then finished its set without further incident. Now, that would've made a much better final show for Liberty Lunch, if you ask me, especially since the Afghan Whigs were unavailable...

The old Wizard of Oz/Pink Floyd schtick has reached yet another plateau: The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is showing the 1939 film classic accompanied by Floyd's 1973 classic album Dark Side of the Moon for midnight shows tonight (Thursday) through Saturday. "Sounds like there'll be a lot of stoners there," says KLBJ-FM team player Dale Dudley, who admits his role in the dubious "discovery" that the two sync up in a series of incredible coincidences. An e-mail some four years ago, he says, prompted him to tout the Oz/Moon connection on the air, and soon every lowbrow radio morning show in America was passing this valuable information to the wake & bakers in their listening audience. Before attending the Alamo show, younger viewers may want to prepare themselves at home by combining the Seventies disco-schlock flick The Wiz with their favorite Cypress Hill album...


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

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More Dancing About Architecture
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