Dancing About Architecture
Carrie Clark quits Sixteen Deluxe; Sire Records is in a muddle.
They'll Have to Carrie On
Lips are still sealed regarding the status of former Warner Bros. artists and living symbols of the Austin Music Scene Sixteen Deluxe, but singer Carrie Clark has officially told the Chronicle, quote, "I quit. Exclamation point, happy face." (Writing Dancing About Architecture is one of the few occupations where you regularly have to deal with people who talk like characters from The Phantom Tollbooth). Repeated calls to the Bubble, Sixteen Deluxe's recording studio and "compound," went unreturned leaving unresolved issues, such as how the group members, who share ownership of the Bubble, will deal with this situation. Even with the band's long-awaited new release just out -- see "Texas Platters" -- I'm assuming there's no truth to the rumors that Malford Milligan will front the band. He's not as cute as Carrie, but he does have a damn fine voice!
Only Six Shopping Months Left 'til Christmas!
It's getting to be that time, even though the summer's barely under way anywhere other than Texas, but by now, pretty much everyone who's going to be releasing an album by the end of the year had better have their plans cemented by this point. That's partially because of the lead time involved in getting an album out, and partially due to the record company tradition of not breaking any new artists or trying to push anything but the blockbusters, box sets, and "great gift ideas" during the six weeks or so before Christmas. Some acts, we know, have had their new projects delayed until after the holidays (Kacy Crowley) and some haven't (Patti Griffin). A look around the Web, the trades, and the phone book provided a few more ideas on who still plans for this year. To wit:
Yes, Sire, No Sire
The once-mighty Sire Records empire is, like so many other labels nowadays, in the midst of a chaotic muddle of reorganizing and industry kerfuffle (or perhaps they just got involved with enough Texas artists to become eligible for the Austin Curse). Among their Lone Star stalwarts who one might expect to issue forth new material via the label, there are several different situations afoot. Don Walser, for instance, doesn't know what label he's on right now, but he knows what label he's not on. Sire asked for a 90-day extension in dealing with his contract, "and we didn't give it to 'em," the country legend says quietly. The gentle Walser adds that he's not angry with the label, but neither is he satisfied with the way they promoted his previous work for them. It was the confusion stemming from the company's reorganization that gave him the impetus to split, but he says he felt that the type of promotion Sire gave him was more suited to a radio hit-oriented rock/pop act than a traditional country one. (The heavyset 65-year-old wasn't too happy about touring California recently and finding there was no product available there for new fans to purchase, either). Walser is currently in the middle of a bidding war that's expected to be settled next week, and he's not naming names until then, but his plans call for going into the studio in a few weeks and hopefully having a new album out by the end of the year. In the meantime, both Walser and Santiago Jimenez found themselves honored by the National Endowment for the Arts with a National Heritage Fellowship, with both heading to Washington, D.C., in September to perform and accept their awards. Tony Villanueva of the Derailers says his band will have a new album out next year, thanks in part to Sire's Seymour Stein, but that the disc won't be on Sire, exactly. They're recording for Curb Records now, he says, in a deal that Stein helped engineer (the CD will have a Sire imprint on it as well, but it's a Curb release for all intents and purposes). As for Sire itself, "They're still writing us checks," Villanueva confirms. "That's why I haven't closed the door on them" (a savvy businessman, that Tony). Progress on that album includes songwriting with the fine Bill Carter/Ruth Ellsworth team, with other band plans calling for a return to Europe soon and fall dates in Japan. The Damnations TX don't have plans for another album this year, and manager Charles Attal further says they have no real news at this time -- though they also haven't given up on Sire. "I just got off the phone with Seymour 10 minutes before you called!" chirps Attal, "but there's really nothing to say right now." Finally, as far as the fourth "D" of the former Sire Texas quartet of acts, Dale Watson, well, the Chronicle hears he's currently hiding behind a dumpster out back of the Little Longhorn. Soon as he comes out, I'll tell you what his future plans are.
Outside of the Sire dynasty, Fastball's new one should be out in September, and the band can currently be seen on the cover of the new Texas Music magazine, photographed by Andrew Yates, the same guy that shot Texas Monthly's classic "a blurry day in Austin" photo. Meanwhile, the new Billboard includes a feature on Johnny Goudie's upcoming major-label debut with his selfishly titled band Goudie, including chatter from fan Lars Ulrich, who says of Goudie that, "You just can't keep your eyes off him!" and whose Music Company label (a subsidiary of Elektra) will be issuing Goudie's Peep Show on July 11. Expect heavy promotion from the label via press, radio, and Internet for Peep Show, which features songs co-written with Kevin Hunter of Wire Train and Jane Weidlin of the Go-Go's, plus guest vocals from Aimee Mann. Capitol Records signees/John Lennon Songwriting Contest winners Dexter Freebish are also set to get things moving before the big end-of-year rush. Their single "Leaving Town" will be hitting the radio airwaves in July, with an East Coast tour starting up in conjunction with that release. DF's new album, titled A Life of Saturdays and helmed by Kid Rock producer John Travis, is also scheduled for release in September. Amazingly, former Capitol signees the Butthole Surfers, whose The Last Astronaut was originally to have come out on that label back in 1870 or so, and who are currently signed to Surfdog/Hollywood, are delaying the release of their next album yet again. Surfdog reps say there's no problem keeping the Butts from issuing a new disc this summer as planned, it's just that "they're having such a blast in the studio, and we're not going to impede them." The label says that they're hoping now for a September or October release, but if it takes 'til November or December, they'll release the album at Christmastime if necessary. (Hell, even the long-delayed next album from the Butthole's buddies the Toadies at least has a name now -- Stars Above/Hell Below.) As far as the conventional wisdom of getting out of the way of holiday blockbusters, the label's reply was, "We don't work that way." For now, they remind fans that a version of Astronaut's "They Came In," is on the Mission: Impossible 2 soundtrack, which should be just enough to prove to the world that the band actually still exists. Seriously, though, if letting the Butts go crazy in the studio for great long periods of time is the way to get one more brilliant and twisted album out of them, God bless 'em. They can call in Eric Johnson and Lucinda Williams as efficiency consultants as far as I'm concerned. Finally, the Scabs' Destroyer CD as well as a new Bob Schneider solo disc, Underneath the Onion Trees, should be out soon after you read this. Given that and Schneider's track record, I'm expecting at least three more releases from each of his bands before year's end -- maybe even a box set. What a great gift idea!
Mike Hall is back! Well, he didn't actually go much of anywhere this time, but he has a new band (the Woodpeckers) and a new album (Dead by Dinner) out in August on UK label Blue Rose, with plans to self-release here in the States. Extra special bonus fun: The cover is by Mekons man Jon Langford!... "The fliers are up all over town!" e-mails Coz the Shroom, but unfortunately he doesn't say what the fliers are for. So I'll refer you to the fliers (and Music Listings). It's good to see that madman Coz is back, though. As they say, absinthe, er, absence makes the heart grow fonder... Familiar Austin Faces face Ian McLagan's book It's All the Rage has finally landed in bookstores on these shores. For those keeping track, there's a UK hardback, revised UK paperback with new cover, and now the U.S. paperback revised with yet a third cover. At this rate, the Brit rocker could be as popular as Pokémon... He's fond of reviving Jimi Hendrix, but apparently Junior Brown doesn't give a hoot whether Brian Jones lives or dies. The hotly anticipated Jones hoot at the Continental Club, scheduled for Sunday, has been bumped to give Brown's fans an extra dose of their hero. No date yet for the rescheduled Jones hoot; hell, the SIMS Foundation, which was to benefit from it, just found out it was off two days ago... If putting Texas Flood in the walkman and staring at the statue doesn't do enough for you, take note that the new Guitar World has an incredible five Stevie Ray Vaughan interviews this week, four of which are previously unpublished (and the fifth is the old Austin Sun piece we ran a photo outtake from a while back)... On July 1, Sinis is having a party featuring "some sexy girls with hot meat in their hands!" and a wet T-shirt contest ("That means WET TITS!" they explain). All this is to celebrate the release of their new CD Electromagnetized. Speaking of bands who have trouble differentiating between the words "sexy" and "sexist" (Sinis appropriated the old Spinal Tap classic to get a series of plugs in the Statesman during SXSW), Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins, and Derek Smalls reunited on VH1's The List last Thursday, with Mick Fleetwood filling in for the band's various late drummers. The classic documentary about the band's 1982 tour, This Is Spinal Tap, is finally getting a decent reissue on VHS and DVD, and there's a Where Are They Now episode and other special appearances in the works (Teisco del Rey, check your answering machine). And finally, the other biggest influence on Sinis, the one and only Kiss, return to the Frank Erwin Center on August 17, with Ted Nugent and Skid Row opening. Tickets went on sale this week, and though Sinis guitarist Krank Von Shaftt says he's heard that Kiss' Gene Simmons intended to serve the band a cease-and-desist over their appropriation of the angular Kiss-logo "S''s, that didn't put a damper on his enthusiasm to be first in line for tickets to the show. In fact, says Shaftt, the band had already begun phasing out the derivative lettering by the time Kiss took offense, in favor of their current sexist, er, sexy round calligraphy...
-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer