It's that time of year again -- the week that the Chronicle music staff takes a little breather from the collapse of the music industry, both locally and nationally, to relive the glories of its past via our group vote toward who gets into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in lovely Cleveland. This year's selection (picking eight from a field of 15 and ranking them in order of priority) was difficult and required much backsliding to less-than-scientific methods, but the worthies we selected for inclusion in the HoF were: Black Sabbath #1, because we're pissed that they didn't make it in last year when we also voted them in the #1 slot (that, and because we just plain like evil). For my part, I begrudgingly included Aerosmith at #2, since I think they're nothing more than a Seventies Stones knock-off with, like, two good albums to their name, but I had to make concessions to break through the Queen blackballing by the rest of the team. Bonnie Raitt came in at #3, because she's a damn fine recording artist and we needed a female, while Lou Reed, #4, unlike some others on the list (Eric Clapton's already in with both Cream and the Yardbirds, so fuck him), we felt his solo output alone rated a special merit. Numba Five was the O'Jays, despite some guilt about rating a disco-era group over earlier R&B pioneers like Solomon Burke, the Flamingos, and the Moonglows (sorta like picking Rick Dees over Dr. Hepcat), but we voted for them in previous years, and by now we've learned to face the fact that they're just never gonna get in. For #6, we chose the Lovin' Spoonful for turning out scads of sweetly popped chestnuts during the course of the Sixties, and because I think the name Zal Yanovsky is funny. Seventh was Richie Valens, for dying and all, though the negative aspects of his entry into the HoF ("It's like a vote for Lou Diamond Phillips" and "Ricky Martin will probably be picked to induct!") almost overwhelmed the positive ("No, wait, they'll get Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek to induct him!"). Finally, crawling in at #8, the much-maligned Queen. (My argument: "They were intentionally irritating!" met with Margaret Moser's retort: "Well, it worked!") I still say that those Fairy Fellers comprised the best novelty band of the Seventies, louder and more bombastic than anyone from Rush to Focus and more outright hilarious (often intentionally) than Styx or any other contender for the title. In any case, the winners will be announced/inducted in January 2000, and to those who have a problem with our decisions, be warned: For 2001, we could vote for Steely Dan or James Taylor.
This is also the time of year that most of the South by Southwest staff are off in Portland, Oregon, for their second music festival, the contrarily titled North by Northwest, a three-day occurrence running September 30-October 2. Local bands attending the event include PigGie Hat, Podunk, Fivehead, Eric Blakely, Experimental Aircraft, N.O.O.K., Steamroller, Kitty Gordon, Cadillac Voodoo Choir, Kissinger, Dismukes, 81é2 Souvenirs, Hip by Association, Settle for Enemy, and Trey God. Frighteningly enough, NXNW's appearance also signals a more foreboding monolith on the horizon. That's right, the first signs of SXSW 2000 (March 10-19 '00) are, as foretold in the Book of Revelation, making themselves visible. The early deadline for showcase submissions is October 15, while the "slacker" cutoff isn't that much farther off -- November 15. Submission fee is $10 before Oct. 15 and $20 after, and an application is available via the Internet (http://www.sxsw.com), telephone (467-7979), and/or mail (PO Box 4999, Austin TX 78765). Some naysayers have called SXSW 1999 the "stumble" and are predicting a fall for the Spring 2000 event, but one staffer points out that such is unlikely thanks to the number 2000 being attatched to the Fest. Apparently, early signs reveal that record company attendance will be plentiful at SXSW, if only for the fact that it'll be one of the first big music biz bashes of the new millennium, and in the label industry, that's much more important than actually checking out new music! On a more official note, SXSW Creative DirectorBrent Grulke says this year's conference will focus on the presence of the new media (Internet, MP3s, etc.) currently changing the industry, to the extent that much of the staff of SXSW's separate Interactive Conference team are now part of the Music Conference proper. Grulke notes that the revolutionary new means of getting music to an audience are not only important, but controversial, and should boost interest and attendance. "People are excited about that," he says, "and that kind of excitement is contagious."
It looks like all is "Go" for the rave set to take place this Friday at the old Mueller Airport. Running 6pm-6am and featuring the Pharcyde, King Britt, and Biz Markie (loved his version of Johnny Paycheck's "Take This Job and Shove It" in Office Space), organizers are saying there will be a total of three stages' worth of electronica/hip-hop activity, though not any parking; shuttle sites are TBA (try http://www.tkoproductions.com). In reference to rumors that the huge project was doomed from the beginning, producer Noah Balch insists, "I wasn't aware of any controversy until an article appeared in the paper," and that "since then we've eliminated all rumors." I wouldn't say eliminated, since scads of people are still asking, "Is this thing really gonna happen?" but things look positive for the event. Representatives for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which will benefit from the rave, are cautiously optimistic, carefully pointing out that the Foundation is not responsible for or even directly tied to the event, but noting that Balch's crew has gotten the approval of the APD and the National Guard (the latter's Armory is the site of the show) and since no city property is involved, that's all that's necessary (the Mueller Redevelopment staff and the Public Information Office both concur). Both Balch and the Foundation also tout that the event will have "tons of security" to ensure all goes smoothly, and at press time, the rave's biggest concern was of course the unresolved parking/shuttle situation (there's also an info hotline: 613-6600). Come to think of it, maybe the shuttle could leave from Top of the Marc, where owner Marc Katz announced the club would be spending more money on drawing top New York DJs. Katz says he's particularly happy to find hip-hop bringing in an ethnically and sexual-preference mixed, "cosmopolitan" crowd into the Marc with no episodes of violence. Sounds like just the crew Noah would like on his ark.
No, Steamboat's Danny Crooks hasn't retreated into his basement following the closing of his club on Sunday; he's found a better way to keep busy by heading up to NXNW with his son's band PigGie Hat. Sean Crooks could probably use some encouragement, since he broke his guitar and cut his hand amidst the chaos of Steamboat's final night. And believe me -- chaos truly ruled that night. After Natalie Zoe and Malford Milligan squeezed in a four-song surprise set between the Billy White Trio and headliners Joe Rockhead, Sandra Bullock beau Bob Schneider managed to bust all hell loose during the group's big reunion gig, first smashing things upstairs in the club's above-stage VIP area to get into the mood, and later pouring Hawaiian Punch on the crowd before returning upstairs to dump bags of flour into the audience, and finally baking at 350 degrees for... No, sorry. Actually, Schneider poured a bucket of something tomato-saucey onto them, Carrie-style, before making them all lie down in the doughy mess for "Jonesin'" (an old Black Cat tradition). Only Billy White drummer J.J. Johnson declined the command, and lived to regret it after a quick tackle from Schneider put him, as it were, in the soup. Where was Bullock during all this? Safely hidden away upstairs, though after spotting a sign on El Arroyo declaring that "Sandra, It's Better to Wake Up With Scabs than Crabs," the Speed dealer is said to be planning to treat the band to breakfast at the eatery very soon.
The Fall Austin Record Convention is this weekend at Palmer Auditorium, and this time around, there are a few new additions of interest. The BBC will have a radio crew doing interviews for a later broadcast, and more importantly, VH-1 will be along taping for their new rock & roll version of the Antiques Roadshow! Cool! Now we can finally find out exactly how much Stevie Ray Vaughan's signed copy of the Beatles' "butcher cover" album is worth... Gabrielle Barnett and Stacey Smith of Morningwood took it upon themselves to ensure a gig with Don Ho by meeting him recently on his own turf -- at the Waikiki Beachcomber. No, the gals say, Don couldn't be bothered to stand up during their brief performance together, but at least the aging Ho didn't issue forth with any embarrassing "Tiny Bubbles" while in close proximity... The latest on Seed's stolen vehicle and equipment is not a happy one for the band. Their Suburban has been found in East Austin, says one member, "and it is totally destroyed!" The thieves have apparently been hard at work selling the gear that was in the vehicle, with one guitar having been recovered, but the band continues trying to track down the rest... The Austin Lounge Lizards are faring a bit better in the vehicle department; their song "Hey, Little Minivan" is scheduled for a segment on A&E's Top Ten in an episode (10/10, 6pm) profiling the 10 most influential designs in automotive history. All together now: "I'm in Love With My Ca-a-ar"...
-- Electoral College: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser
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