Dancing About Architecture
George Jones comes to Austin and everyone gets arrested in the melee. Meanwhile, Matthew McConaughey gets naked and busted, and Austin's answer to Santana, Vallejo, signs with Gloria Estefan's Sony imprint. Maybe K-NACK, a local alt.rock station from earlier this decade, can play them online as the station returns -- on the Internet.
The Race Is On!
I think it's safe to say that if you were a member of the Austin Police Department on duty this weekend, you had something to talk about on Monday. Friday night, the atmosphere was infused, it seems, with the rowdy presence of George Jones. A mostly all-Jones set by Doug Sahm kept a surprisingly civil crowd busy on the dance floor at the Broken Spoke, while the genuine article took the stage over at Stubb's. The Ol' Possum's crowd for his short but energetic set was somewhat less peaceful and more intoxicated than the steermen at the Spoke, however, and both the club's security team and the APD were kept busy hauling out the rowdy ranchers, to the point that in the confusion, Stubb's manager Charles Attal found himself collared and cuffed at one point! Attal downplays the incident, calling it a "miscommunication," and saying that the second policeman on the scene recognized him and promptly straightened out the situation. This would have been mere moments after fellow club owner Steve Wertheimer of the Continental Club wisely and carefully removed himself and his Black Dahlia hot rod from the tiny space between Jones' equipment truck and a cop car full of busy officers.
Of course, the king of this weekend's APD adventures is without dispute actor Matthew McConaughey. As the legendary "Page Six" column in the fabled New York Post put it: "Any celebrity can get himself arrested for smoking marijuana, but it takes a rare talent to do it buck naked while playing the bongo drums." For those still under the weekend's biggest rock, after leaving the Digital Underground show Sunday night at Bob Popular, where he was seen doing shots with local rapper Tee Double, McConaughey was arrested Monday morning during a disturbance at his home around 3am and booked into the Travis County jail on suspicion of possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and resisting transportation, but was later charged only with resisting transportation. Most interesting were the repeated mentions in the press about an unnamed companion who was not charged in the incident, leaving us to wonder who the young actor was bongoing in the buff with that night. Was it director pal Rick Linklater? Maybe Bob Schneider? Or could it have been -- Mayor Kirk Watson!?!
In the Vallejo of the Crescent Moon
Former TVT recording artists and Storyville fans Vallejo are signing a new deal, this time with a company not best known for issuing the themes from Falcon Crest and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl in crystal clear digital sound. The Brothers V are off Tee Vee Toons and on the cusp of inking their signatures on the bottom of a contract that reads Sony/Crescent Moon Records at the top. Crescent Moon is a label owned by Emilio Estefan, hubby and manager of Gloria, and the band, says manager Mark Proct, is in a great position to uniquely benefit from the pairing of the two companies. "When recording in English, the band will have all the same benefits of being on Epic (Sony) that Korn or Pearl Jam get," he observes, and when they issue material for the Hispanic market, they'll be able to better target that audience through the expertise of Crescent Moon. That's not an advantage shared by many acts, notes Proct, as a rock band like Vallejo would normally have to prove itself with a U.S., English-language hit before a label would even think of putting any effort into marketing them outside the States. "This is a worldwide project from the get-go," he proclaims.
The Knack Is Back
Remember K-NACK? The local alternarock radio station with the oddly devoted following that started up on Hallowe'en of '91 and ceased operations a few years ago? Would you believe it's coming back? Yup, but not on the airwaves. If you get on the Internet and point that thing to http://www.austinsknack.com, you'll find the beginnings of what is hoped to be a 24-hour live online radio station, which will begin by focusing specifically on the "Home Groan" portion of K-NACK's programming, meaning Austin rock, explains K-NACK music director Drew Bennett. And this isn't just the co-opting of a name; in contrast to the usual absence of anything resembling loyalty in the radio biz, this Web venture, which Bennett calls a "full-on labor of love," is planned to feature participation from a scad of familiar names and voices from the original K-NACK, including Ray-Dog Seggern, Paul "Max Pace" Krieger, Melody Lee, Rachel Marisay, and maybe even Wammo. The plan naturally calls for the station to make money someday, and Bennett says that a local-friendly station is the only way he can see that working. "A lot of these [Internet radio sites] are global sites with 56 jocks apiece," he says, "and I could give a shit about that." Plans call for a studio to be in the works soon for the currently shoestring-run affair, with T-shirts and other merchandising to be sold on the site as well, since original K-NACK honcho Richard Rees has given the Net station the rights to do so. Things kick off with a grand opening show live on Hallowe'en at Club DeVille with Hotwheels Jr., Defrockers, and special guests, benefiting the SIMS Foundation. So beware! Soon you'll be seeing that irritating "Psycho-Baby" logo of theirs everywhere ... again!
Every week in Austin's various record stores there are plenty of free live in-store appearances by various acts hitting town or local acts with CD releases. This week a photo of Courtney Love sent in by Bill Brakhage gives me the excuse to run some on the "Dancing" page. Manchurian Candidates, Spasm 151, and Dragworm are all at Sound Exchange on Saturday, 6pm; Tuesday, look for Ugly Duckling at Waterloo Records, 5pm, and Royal Trux on Wednesday, same time. Joe West & the Sinners and Judith Miller Band, are both at ABCD's next Thursday, 7pm.
It's still too early to name any names as far as musical acts attending the next spring's South by Southwest 2000 (aside from keynote speaker Steve Earle, who was announced last week), but creative director Brent Grulke admits he's already seeing some "nice submissons." As far a festival, to be held March 10-19, Grulke says, "I don't know that it will be markedly different [from previous years], though we hope to feature more under-represented music once again -- meaning anything other than rock, country, and blues." There'll no doubt be plenty of all of the above, as well, though you'd better get your tapes and bios submitted soon to PO Box 4999, Austin TX 78765 (see http://www.sxsw.com for info). The final deadline for submission is November 15, with the "no, really, we mean it this time" dropoff at Ruby's Barbecue as usual on Nov.16, 6pm-midnight... Terry Lickona tells me that Don McLean (best known for writing the music to the Weird Al Yankovic hit "The Saga Begins") recently delighted his biggest fan Garth Brooks by joining him onstage at a big show, and now Brooks is returning the favor by doing a couple of songs with McLean at his Paramount show (also featuring Nanci Griffith) on November 2, which is being taped for Austin City Limits. Apparently, Brooks is kinda fond of ACL himself, as he's taping his own episode next week as well (Nov. 3) -- and yes, half of it will be performed as Chris Gaines. Clint Black is also on the ACL taping schedule for November 8... Austin's Groove Junkies became an international act recently when they had a song from their self-released debut Inside Every Soul used by ESPN for coverage of the men's world volleyball championships. "Superhero Superstar" was used as the opening and closing for the tournament coverage of Team USA highlights, aired in both the USA and Latin America (could they be the next Vallejo?). Additionally, the Junkies have been playing acoustic happy hour shows at Shakespeare's on Sixth Street and report that the pub is going to start brewing live music on a regular basis... Fans of the Small Faces can look for the Ooh La La: Ronnie Lane Live in Austin CD, due out first quarter 2000 on Sideburn Records out of Portland, composed mostly of tracks recorded at KLBJ and KUT... First Jupiter Records trades compliments with Bob Dylan via the Chronicle's ad pages, then along comes Jonathan Richman into the fray. Last week's plugola poem for Eco-Wise, tucked neatly under the Continental Club's ad, noted that, "The owner doesn't know I took this ad out for surprise," and author Richman wasn't just blowing smoke. Eco-Wise's Jim Holland still wasn't aware of the freebie as of Tuesday when I called the store for a comment. "Jonathan was in here yesterday, and he didn't mention it," said the slightly puzzled Holland, who says he and Richman became buddies over their shared ecological concerns and that they had recently engaged in debate over whether or not the shop would benefit from print advertising. Richman apparently lost the bet, if Holland's continued obliviousness to the ad is any indication, but on the other hand, how many people do their shopping for earth-friendly house paint in the Club Listings section?... Oops! I had a little pronoun trouble in my discussion with Bill Bentley last week. It's Doug Sahm, not Tornado Records co-owner David Katznelson, who's putting out a counntry solo album on the label (Curiously, that same day the Statesman went the other way with it, mistakenly calling Sahm, not Katznelson, the label head). Also, a shocked Sahm insists that he didn't make that comment about the Dixie Chicks that ran in last week's column, though he admits he had been reading about the Chicks right before our brief conversation. Perhaps I misunderstood him, but I'll just reiterate that as I pointed out at the time, the comment was nothing more than a rushing-out-the-door non sequitur and should be regarded as such. There's no need for Lloyd Maines or Charlie Robison to storm Sahm's house with rakes and torches. Or mine either for that matter...
-- Countertenors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser