Dancing About Architecture

The ins and outs of Sixteen Deluxe; Josh Cisneros has a couple clubs he hopes will save Austin music.

Doug Sahm, Jerry Wexler, and a) Jean Caffeine, b) Laura Nyro, or c) Margaret Hamilton
Doug Sahm, Jerry Wexler, and a) Jean Caffeine, b) Laura Nyro, or c) Margaret Hamilton

The Ins and Outs of Sixteen Deluxe

There's no power stronger than happenstance, it would appear, and coinciding with the recent departure of Carrie Clark from Sixteen Deluxe comes both the return to Austin of former Sixteen drummer Bryan Bowden and the news that ex-Deluxe bassist Jeff Copas is leaving Texas for permanent residence in San Francisco. Copas, who preceded Clark in suddenly exiting the band last year, now says that he left the group when it became clear to him that the atmosphere of "fun and respect" among the members had reached its conclusion. "I can't speak for Carrie," says Copas, "but I would suppose that's probably pretty much what happened with her as well." (Clark's official statement to the Chronicle at the time was simply a colorfully punctuated affirmation that "I quit.") Copas denies rumors that he and Clark are planning legal action against Chris "Frenchie" Smith, the remaining founding member of the band. "I'd just as soon be done with the whole thing," sighs Copas, who says technically he still owns a fourth of the band and its studio the Bubble but isn't interested in pursuing the matter. He's content in focusing on his new life in the Bay Area where he's got a job waiting as a software programmer (!) and where he plans to get together with some friends and finally resume making music. Smith disputes any claim to the studio by anyone other than himself and partner/current bandmate Steven Hall, but says that since there are no lawsuits, it's a moot point. "It's weird technically," he advises, "but trust me, [Clark and Copas] have nothing to do with [the Bubble]." Smith says that he and Hall plan to continue on as a group, though they will dispense with the Sixteen Deluxe moniker (no new name has yet been chosen), and says he's mostly upset that, "We have this great new album [Vision Take Me, Make Me, Never Forsake Me]," and no way to push it -- not the first time he's found himself in that situation. The pair will continue to produce other bands at the Bubble (prominent current and upcoming projects include ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead and Flaco Jimenez). Bowden, who was fired from the band back in 1995 and recently returned to Austin following stints in New York with Heroin Sheik and Crown Heights, also has unnamed musical plans for the future. As far as the demise of Sixteen Deluxe goes, Bowden's settling down with a wife and child hasn't made him any less flippant than in his days with the band; his official comment to the Chronicle rivals Clark's for succinctness: "It's about time!"

A Pair of Clubs

"Hello there, you're talking to the savior of live music in the Live Music Capital of the World." Anyone who answers the phone with that creed is clearly not a modest fellow. Josh Cisneros isn't finished there, either. "... oh, and the holder of the all-time ticket sales record at Waterloo Park." Cisneros, who used to run Lucy's and is indeed a concert promoter, may not be the "savior" of live music in Austin, but if his new club Metro succeeds, he certainly will make a name for himself on the scene. The 1,000-seat venue, at Planet Austin's former location of 505 E. Sixth, was scheduled to open this weekend, but the first night will instead be next Friday (with Pushmonkey) due to delays. Soak's swan song follows the next night, with a grand opening scheduled for six weeks from now. Cisneros says his plans for the venue, which will feature live music seven nights a week, include "around 16 really big shows a year, plus the big local acts." Cisneros declined to list any of the "big" acts in question on the record, but those he mentions privately fall acceptably close to the "coup" category, and he points out that as the promoter who put on the Summerfest in Waterloo Park, "we've got a lot of pull to get these big bands on Sixth Street, which we've never had here before." This is not a cheap endeavor by any means, Cisneros having already lost big money due to the week's delay in opening, so rest assured that whether the club succeeds or fails, either way, it's definitely gonna do it big. For Sixth Street's reputation as a live music haven, let's hope he succeeds.

The 710 Club, meanwhile, has already had its grand opening with little fanfare, and still hasn't gotten its act together regarding advertising or listings, but the good-looking punk venue on Red River has been doing just fine on word of mouth alone, according to employees. The club's main problem, in fact, would appear to be its design, which allows patrons on its "no cover" side to see and hear the bands almost as well as on the "pay" side (punk rockers aren't well-known for buying the cow when they can get the milk for free), but one club worker says that hasn't been a problem due to the 710's low cover charges, "and besides, when the free side fills up, they have to move over to the other one." Upcoming shows include (you won't read this anywhere else!) Cruel and Unusual, Shiverz, Richie Whites, and Dave Bone on Friday, Superfirst and friends Saturday, a Billygoat reunion on the 29th, and Raw Power with Fuckemos andIgnorance Park on August 8.

Filling a Hole

"You know you've arrived as an associate of Courtney Love when the conspiracies expand to include you in Kurt Cobain's murder," states a report on Inside.com, referring to Austin-based Brooke Barnett, Courtney Love's 20-year-old "digital partner." Barnett first encountered Love in an AOL chat room back in 1993, but they actually met in person at Emo's the night before Lollapalooza here in 1995, many months after Cobain's suicide, when Margaret Moser marched Brooke over and barged into Courtney's conversation with L7 and introduced the two cyber-pals. (This would have been the same night that a devious Jason Cohen steered a screaming, roaring drunk Love in my direction, claiming it was me, not him, who had written some bad things about her that had her all steamed up.) Says Moser, "Courtney did a classic double take, and they have been pals ever since." Barnett's www.holemusic.com has been experiencing a boom in traffic due to Love's recent and well-publicized anti-record-label rant at the Digital Hollywood conference.

More to Crowe About

I can't vouch for the accuracy of the Globe, since unlike the Enquirer, People, and "After a Fashion," they've never come to me for tips, but their cover story this week confirms the buzz I've been hearing all week that actress Meg Ryan's marriage to Dennis Quaid (who she met in Austin during filming of D.O.A.) has been toe-tagged, and the starlet is now getting "hot and heavy" with lowly Aussie musician (oh, he's an actor, too?) Russell Crowe of Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts. Crowe was originally scheduled to be in town recording with the band by now, but his filming schedule on Proof of Life in London has delayed his arrival to the studio. Word on the street is that Ryan might just be attending one or more of the three Crowe performances, but since the shows are rapidly making worldwide press as an "event," who knows what other Hollywood types might be making vacation plans to spend the Dog Days of August in Austin? By the way, I see that the opening slots for all three sold-out Grunts shows are still "to be announced." I wonder if the guys from P are available?...

Mixed Notes

Will Austin soon have more entries on the Billboard charts? Well, advance copies of the new Fastball and Vallejo albums have just hit the Chronicle office, with heavy pushes from Hollywood and Epic, respectively, expected to kick in soon. Rumor has it that guest star Billy Preston never actually made it to the Fastball sessions for The Harsh Light of Day, and that his parts were actually done by a studio ringer, but I don't know. Whoever is on the keys plays like a fifth Beatle. On the other hand, we at the Chron were disappointed to find no apparent digs at Dynamite Hack on Vallejo's major-label debut. Then again, their "Dynamite Whack" parody on the MP3 charts was the most recent volley in the battle between the two bands. In any case, Vallejo is due August 22, while Harsh Light hits your eyes September 19... Fastball's former employer Beaver Nelson (for newcomers, Tony Scalzo and Joey Shuffield used to be his rhythm section) has a new album coming out as well. The last week of September marks the arrival of Little Brother from Mississippi label Black Dog. Though recorded with the core band from his last disc, Nelson says that the replacement of mandolin with horns means this one will be "more rockin'" than the previous. There'll be parties the week of release at both Continental Clubs... Leaning House Records in Dallas is apparently the latest label to live up to its name and fall over. The indie jazz label counted Marchel Ivery, Earl Harvin, Wes Anderson, and onetime Austinite Fred Sanders among its roster, and was noted for an attention to detail that recalled Blue Note in its heyday. The similarity, unfortunately, did not carry over to their sales figures... Soulhat's new one, Experiment on a Flat Plane, showed up here this week, with a release date mere days away, July 25. There'll be a release party at the Mercury next Friday... The Return of Wayne Douglas, on the other hand, still hasn't made it onto the racks, but legendary producer Jerry Wexler continues sending us enough rare photos of Doug Sahm to keep running one a week until it does. At this rate, we're expecting to publish an accompanying picture book by that time... Terri Lord tells me that besides the Ursa Major thing I mentioned last week, she also worked with the band Biscuit (named after a sexual term and not to be confused with Randy Turner) on their new album. Turner, who's rumored to be getting the itch to make music again himself, need not worry about any confusion much longer, as the band has been planning to change their name for a while now and will probably do so soon. How about "Kitty Biscuits"! It has the same ring as Titty Bingo, though it doesn't mean anything dirty... Speaking of Kitties, the Queen of Country Music, Kitty Wells, plans to almost make it to Austin on her "Farewell Tour" this year. Wells will be at the Llano Country Opry (given how litigious the Grand Ole Opry is, I'm surprised the LCO hasn't become the Llano Country Terrace by now) Saturday, July 22. There will be two shows, a 3pm afternoon matinee, and an evening show beginning at 8pm...

-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Jeff McCord, Margaret Moser

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More Dancing About Architecture
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The last installment of "Dancing About Architecture."

Ken Lieck, Jan. 3, 2003

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