Dancing About Architecture
The war betwixt Dynamite Hack and Vallejo escalates, in truth and in fiction; Watchtower gears up to rock Germany's ass off; Hank's Roadside Cafe bites the dust.
Take Another Whack at It
The saga of Dynamite Hack and the travails accompanying their hit cover of N.W.A's "Boyz-N-the Hood" continues as Vallejo, recipients of a jab from the Hack via a secret track on that band's Superfast CD, responded this week with their own version of "Boyz," heard on local radio and distributed through Internet behemoth Napster. The Vallejo-fied lyrics are as follows:
"We're Dynamite's Whack and we have no schlongs, 'cause we can't even write our own hit songs. We stole a little ditty from N.W.A., no, we'll never see no royalties, we'll never get paid. We don't care because we are strong, our careers will be over when this song is done. We'll have to get jobs and sell our bongs, we'll have to move back in with our stinkin' ass moms -- because we suck!!!"
The last line is sung loudly and with deep conviction, and is followed by a schtick mocking the cracking voice of Hack guitarist Mike Vlahakis, along with further derision toward the members of the band. Dynamite Hack requested that the following response to Vallejo's "answer song" be printed in "Dancing About Architecture": "We feel that this is Vallejo's best work to date. We couldn't be happier or more proud that we were able to help push the boys in the right direction. They're finally sounding a little more like THE HACK. Kudos to you, young Vallejo. Kudos to you. -- The Hack." Adding insult to, well, insult, the band added several individual digs, such as Mike Vlahakis' comment that "Vallejo means 'fancy pants' in Spanish."
So far, all this is fine and dandy -- a bit of healthy competition and tongue-in-cheek "dissing" between local factions. Still, considering the fact that the current Rolling Stone adds fuel to the fire by declaring that the Hack's album will be "coming soon to a used record bin near you," and noting how the situation eerily parallels that of the rival rap gangs of the Nineties -- which resulted in the death of hip-hop heroes like Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur -- some fans have begun to worry what the future might bring for these vital young music warriors. Consider this possible future scenario.
July 2000: A messenger "mistakenly" delivers a load of audio-tape bulk-erasers to Vallejo's label Sony. The erasers self-activate and obliterate all the label's master tapes including the master reel containing the original recording of Michael Jackson's Thriller. Realizing the danger of getting in the middle of an escalating war, and with only days to go before the planned Aug. 1 release of their next album, Into the New, Sony drops the band.
August 2000: Tipped off by a record industry spy hired by a reprisal-fearing Farm Club/ Universal, Hack's Mike Vlahakis rushes out into the street to dispose of a suspicious package from a "fan," which actually houses a stink-bomb sent by the Vallejo brothers. Tragically, he's run over by an approaching Domino's truck delivering 15 Meat Eater Specials, which he didn't order. Though Vallejo denies responsibility for the delivery, both bands make the cover of Newsweek.
November 2000: Claiming that all is forgiven, the remaining Hack members give a gift to the Vallejo brothers -- a set of expensive "fancy pants," spun from fine cane sugar, but suitable as stage wear. Days later, Omar Vallejo dozes off backstage after a grueling set and wakes to find himself being devoured by sugar ants. A pastry chef from the bakery/gift lounge of a local hospital arrives on the scene too late. Meanwhile, the Hack's new original song, the hastily penned single, "We Didn't Do It," completely fails to chart.
February 2001: Following a series of near-miss "accidents" among members of both bands, a truce is called, along with a press conference. The New York Post covers the event, but misspells the bands' names as "Valley-Ho" and "Dynamite Wick."
March 2002: Overwhelmed by guilt, original Hack drummer Chase Scott, who ordered the original ill-fated pizza run, takes to stuffing himself with Meat Eater Specials until he reaches an incredible 400 pounds. Within a year, he will become Jerry Springer's top-rated guest before expiring from a Big Pun-level heart attack at a top weight of 834 pounds. His passing rates only a tiny paragraph in the back of Variety. Throughout, he is erroneously referred to as "Scott Chase."
June 2015: A new act is introduced to the public called "Tiffany-Two and Tyler, Too" and consists of a clone of now-aged mall chanteuse Tiffany and her robot accompanist/manager, who uses its programming to come up with sure-fire hits. Their first smash, a medley of "Boyz" and a selection of songs from Vallejo's live repertoire, becomes the biggest radio hit in music history. Unfortunately, due to a glitch in Tyler's programming, the Vallejo portion of the medley consists entirely of bad funk tunes the band used to cover under their old alias Fresco. The surviving members of both bands finish out their lives poor and unremembered.
January 2112: Following a world-shattering nuclear disaster, a man in a cave finds A.J. Vallejo's guitar. He takes it to village elders. It is promptly destroyed.
April 2134: Carefully maintained clone Tiffany-Two, long after becoming the richest and most renowned entertainer in Earth's history, finally expires. The final word to issue from her lips is a whispered "Vlahakis." No one knows what the hell she's talking about.
"They've been talking to us like we're some great gods of prog-metal!" So exclaims Jason McMaster, referring to the promoters who have invited his former outfit Watchtower to take part in this year's Bang Your Head Festival, June 30-July 1, in Germany. The band has been rehearsing for the show for the past couple of months, with original members McMaster, Rick Colaluca, and Doug Keyser. Ron Jarzembek took the place of Watchtower's first guitarist Billy White in 1986, and to those wondering if White will be at the Austin and San Antonio warmup shows for the Festival, McMaster just laughs. "He just doesn't want to play heavy metal," says McMaster of White, who now lives in NYC and still plays out occasionally. "I didn't even ask him." McMaster did call White to tell him about the shows, as well as Alan Tecchio, who replaced McMaster as singer in the band's later years, and who is expected to show up for the encore of the band's fest gig. To see the band's "dress rehearsals" for the festival, report to the San Antonio's Medieval Knights on Friday or Austin's Back Room on Saturday.
Club Ins and Outs
Say goodbye to Hank Sinatra's latest attempt at a freeform restaurant/music venue. Hank's Roadside Cafe, on the Eastside on Airport Blvd., went the way of his previous venture Hank's Roadhouse last week, when Sinatra made the decision to pull the plug on the ailing venue rather than let it suffer from colon trouble and anemic audiences any longer. Sinatra says that the club faced adversity since its opening in January, receiving a less than welcome attitude from the city, followed quickly by severe (and unsanitary) plumbing problems that forced Sinatra to give up on the restaurant portion of his business, leaving only sporadic raves, band performances, and parties to provide income. Sinatra says that for the time being, he'll return to his efforts on the Internet (hanksroadsidecafe.com) and public access TV, but he does plan to keep his eyes open for a new location to open another club eventually. Conversely, in the past few weeks, calls have come in from both Woody Weideman and Randall Stockton regarding each one's long-awaited venue in the Red River entertainment district, where live music clubs continue to pop up as the ones on Sixth Street die. Room 710, located at 710 Red River (duh), former home of Hurt's Hunting Grounds, will have a "soft opening" on July 1. And the nearby Beerland, says owner-to-be Stockton, is "still a go -- we're moving forward, just a helluva lot slower than expected."
For the Benefit of Mr. Ed
As most of you know, beloved former Austin "acaustic" rocker Ed Hamell (aka Hamell On Trial) was seriously injured in an auto accident a few weeks ago, but few of you know exactly what happened. The scoop is that Hamell, on the way to a gig in Pittsburgh, was run off the road by an oncoming van around noon on a clear day. His car flipped and he received multiple injuries including a broken arm, lacerations to the head, and several cracked vertebrae. Fortunately, as he is a solo act, Hamell was carrying no passengers; he was quickly rushed to a prominent nearby trauma unit, and he is expected to recover fully. In the meantime, though he has insurance, he's still got a totaled car (his equipment inside all survived intact) and will be without his performance income for a number of months. Ergo, there's a benefit this Sunday at Stubb's, 6pm to closing, with Los Niños (Rob Gaines, Jim Archuleta, and recently returned local Mike Nicolai), Golden Arm Trio, Damnations TX, Beaver Nelson, Alejandro Escovedo, Jon Dee Graham, Orange Mothers, Prescott Curlywolf, Slobberbone, and last-minute additions Fastball. Organizers are asking a $5 donation, but obviously, more generous offers will gladly be accepted. For more info visit www.hamellontrial.com, or send any cards, gifts, good rock & roll, or rare Bill Hicks audio/video to Such-A-Punch Media, PO Box 2452, Middletown, N.Y. 10940.
Yet another tribute to Doug Sahm is out in time to beat the release of Sir Doug's final recording, The Return of Wayne Douglas, which is currently set for an exclusive appearance here in Austin next Tuesday. Dr. Eugene Chadbourne's got a new 7-inch single out, titled To Doug and featuring Chadbourne's typically warped and spirited renditions of "Everybody Gets Lonely Sometimes" and "It Didn't Even Bring Me Down." Recorded in Houston, the platter features the Ernest Tubb Memorial Band (Susan Alcorn, Walter Daniels, Dave Dove) and a full-length CD is set to follow. While we're on the subject of Sahm, Bob Dylan may have missed out on his chance to appear on Wayne Douglas due to a busy schedule of touring, recording, and looking for new religions, but he's doing his own tribute to his buddy Doug. As the encore on the first date of his current tour with Phil Lesh, the 900 patrons at the Roseland Theater in Portland heard Dylan perform Sahm's "She's About a Mover," in between Bobby's own "Girl of the North Country" and "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" (Say, the cover of Eugene's single sure looks like a Dylan drawing, doesn't it?). Meanwhile, the current Rolling Stone also reviews Wayne Douglas, the San Antonio Rock comp, and the new Sundazed reissues of Best of Sir Douglas Quintet and Sir Douglas Quintet is Back! For a complete roundup of these and other various re-releases, see this week's Music feature... Remember Chip & Tony Kinman, amigos to the brothers Escovedo in bands like Rank & File? They've got a new act called Cowboy Nation and a new CD on Shanachie... Heads up! This year, Blues on the Green is every other Wednesday night at 7pm in Zilker Park's Rock Island and is free to the public. Next up is Guy Forsyth on the 28th, plus upcoming acts Papa Mali (7/12), Omar & the Howlers (7/26), and Miss Lavelle White (8/9)... Last week this column reported that Mark Rubin was overheard saying the Bad Livers are over for good, though he officially had "no comment" on the matter. (One Internet discussion on the matter observed that the item must have been bogus, as Rubin could never possibly have had "no comment" on anything.) I would be remiss, however, if I didn't point out that the band has a few high-paying, festival-type gigs upcoming, and they naturally have all intention of playing those concerts. Catch them while you can -- if you can -- on July 21-23 at the Calgary Folk Festival in Canada or September 3 at the Bumbershoot in Seattle. Also, look for Mark Rubin's Rubinchik's Orkestyr at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema next Wednesday and Thursday providing live musical accompaniment to The Golem, Paul Wegener's silent film adaptation of an ancient Jewish legend about a gigantic clay figure that falls in love with the Rabbi's daughter, terrorizes the emperor's court, and is subdued by an innocent child. Funny, I always thought Rubin was the Golem...
-- Catherine Fischer, Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Lee Nichols