SXSW News: Thursday
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be ...
As you might expect, I was already drawn into the South by Southwest chaos by last Sunday, via an ASCAP party for filmmakers (I guess I always misunderstood exactly what it is that ASCAP does!) and some Interactive events (a few dozen guys upstairs at Jazz all playing Quake against each other; my "date" actually got hung up on the game until the whiskey and Cokes kicked in). Tuesday was my last chance to catch a breather before the "real" SXSW kicked in with both barrels, so I did little that afternoon other than check in briefly at the Convention Center and take a quick spin by the Capitol, hoping to catch a glimpse of someone slightly less slovenly and more Midwestern than myself. Unfortunately, I had to leave before Michael Moore finally showed up to do his "Texas Death-Row Lottery" segment for that night's Politically Incorrect. The phone had already started ringing off the hook by night, with calls coming in from anyone and everyone, including radio host Alex Jones and ex-Missing Person Terry Bozzio; the former heard I had access to videotape that might help him expose the corruptness of our evil government, and the latter had finally found a chance to chat for the first time since he'd gotten back from six months of heavy touring. Fans of the former Frank Zappa drummer will definitely want to check him out Saturday at La Zona Rosa, but note that he's also turning his garage into a studio, and currently utilizing it for recording ambient percussion tracks with King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto to send to Robert Fripp toward assembling a proposed new ProjeKCt 3 Plus Guest album. The ProjeKCt, you may recall, was responsible for one of SXSW 99's best-received shows, with Fripp and company hanging around Austin for an additional week to perform twice more. Up next? Bozzio's working on a tour to begin May 15 in Austin, with "Zappa drum brother" Chad Wackerman, with the pair scheduled to perform in hotel ballrooms around the country. Bozzio figures this way he'll have more control than on a typical tour. Well, he'll be closer to the ice machine, at the very least.
I'm used to being asked to do the occasional interview, especially during the madness of March, but I was certainly surprised this year when the first video camera that approached me as I re-entered the Convention Center on Wednesday belonged to accusatory "mullet-seekers" (mul-let (n): embarrassing short-in-front, long-in-back hairstyle seen most often in the Eighties at heavy metal concerts and rodeos) from the Web site http://www.buddyhead.com. The facts speak for themselves: My hair may be awful, but it's definitely no "ape drape," and I still count myself lucky to have had one of the Barkers at my side to loudly voice his agreement that what is on my head is definitely a far cry from an "Achy-Breaky Hairdo." The first actual song I heard during SXSW proper was a number by Wichita Falls rockers (that phrase cracked my roommates up) Bowling for Soup at the BMG Bar-B-Acoustic show over at the Austin City Limits set. Actually, Soup got to play outside and rock it up electric (and damn, but their guitarist is so big he makes John Popper look like Iggy Pop!), but afterward, the whole crowd trekked indoors for eight-plus hours of acoustic performances and free Cuervo (which goes together like Crest and Sunny D). For those at the Austin Music Awards who heard that Patti Smith had been asked to take part in the Sterling Morrison tribute but had a prior commitment, BMG is who got to Smith first, and she followed Doyle Bramhall as the final act of the Bar-B-Acoustic eve. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I got a chance to break away to see the always-unpredictable Harvey Sid Fisher, performing with a seven-piece, largely unrehearsed set of backup musicians and singers including John Perkins, Kathryn Danielik, and members of the Playthings, at the Soho Lounge. Lightning Round Review: They were like a glee club stage rendition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show with all the homosexual overtones removed. Other than that, my night of entertainment was done; you are reading the first-ever Daily Chronicle music news column, and damned if I didn't have to dive back to the hotel room and do some work while you people were still out having a ball. I'm almost starting to wish I was writing for some little zine with no particular schedule or deadline. Then I could spend the whole five days leisurely stalking Janeane Garofalo. (Admittedly, even with the workload, I'm managing to get steadily closer. ... )
So what about discussing some stuff that hasn't already happened, you ask? Well, punk legend and lawsuit magnet Jello Biafra is expected to appear onstage during more than one band's performance during the Alternative Tentacles showcase Saturday night at the Atomic Cafe. Wonder if one of the acts (Los Infernos, perhaps, or maybe Buzzkill?) will back him for Willie Nelson's "Still Is Still Moving to Me," which he covered so lovingly on Twisted Willie. Either way, Gary Floyd has promised that Black Kali Ma will be joined at some point by Randy "Biscuit" Turner, and when's the last time you saw one of the Big Boys and one of the Dicks dueting?... Friday, Austin radio mainstay Jody Denberg is slated to interview Neil Young for the forthcoming premiere of his new album Silver and Gold, a collection of new studio recordings in the acoustic mode of Harvest Moon. Also being released is an accompanying DVD consisting of a one-hour concert performance culled from Young's two shows last May at Austin's Bass Concert Hall. Denberg plans to air some of the interview and a couple of the new songs that afternoon on KGSR in the 5pm hour, prior to Young's premiere of the DVD at the Paramount. KGSR will carry the full interview when it airs nationwide on the SFX Network shortly before the album's release at the end of April. Hmmm. Denberg interviewed Tom Waits last year, and Waits ended up making a rare appearance in Austin that was the hit of SXSW 99, then Denberg became enamored of Patti Smith, and Smith appears free for the public on the SXSW 2000 outdoor stage on Friday. Now our Jody's got his mike pointed at the multitalented Mr. Young. Is it too early to take a stab at who'll be the headliner at SXSW 2001?...
-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer