Dancing About Architecture
Is the Return of Wayne Douglas on the way? Bob Schneider gets a solo record deal.
Awaiting Your Return
"There have been quite a few delays" in the release of the Return of Wayne Douglas album, admits Doug Sahm's son Shawn, from artwork problems to waiting for Bob Dylan to complete the unfinished elements of the recordings (which he never did). Adds Shawn, "I want all the Doug fans to know we're only responsible for the last one!" Just as the musical part of the album wasn't 100% finished when the senior Sahm passed away, neither was the business end of things, says Shawn, and he's making sure everything is kosher from the Sahm estate's point of view. "I hope this will be taken care of soon," says Shawn, "because this record needs to be out." Tornado Records' Bill Bentley, who's got a warehouse full of albums waiting to be shipped out, couldn't agree more, and says that the label has arranged to give the Sahms a "great" contract. If both parties agree to the terms in said contract, Shawn says the albums should be freed from their prison sometime after next week. Some import copies are already floating around thanks to Evangeline Recorded Works, Ltd., of South Molton, UK, but you can save a few dollars by waiting a couple of weeks. Next up, Shawn says he's arranging with Stuart Sullivan to start going through unreleased recordings, interviews, and unfinished material that just needs a background vocal here or a rhythm guitar track there. Observing the mass of Sahm reissues on the market, Shawn says he's pleased with some (the Japanese CD of Groover's Paradise) and appalled by others (the Austrian comp Texas Fever, which he says appears to have had bad Eighties-style keyboards overdubbed for no discernible reason), but hopes one day to get the scattered catalog sorted in such a way that Doug's many original albums can be reissued with their tracks in the order they were originally intended.
It's an Ugly Universe
Wondering when Bob Schneider was gonna get a record deal under his own name? Well, it's finally happened, with Universal/Republic electing to release his latest solo effort Lonelyland (not to be confused with his band Lonelyland) to a national audience sometime early next year. Schneider, whose Ugly Americans were once signed to Capricorn, has negotiated a similar deal to the one Sixteen Deluxe had with Warner Bros., enabling him to continue releasing albums on his own alongside the ones Universal deems worthy of their imprint -- a good thing, considering how many discs Schneider's various projects issued this year (see Shiner's "Texas Top 10 List"). The only stipulation on his indie releases, he says, is that they not sell over 10,000 copies. "I'll never sell that many copies of an album on my own," he says modestly, although I'm guessing he may have already done just that with Lonelyland. Big-label doings aside, Schneider recently had his first art opening at the Flatbed Gallery, which may be just the type of thing to keep him busy since the Scabs end their regular Wednesday night residency at Antone's September 20. Schneider also reports his next project will be an instrumental album (!).
Aiiee! The Baby, It Speaks!
Are you one of those locals who still fondly remembers 107.7 K-NACK, the Austin area's first "alternative rock" radio station? Well, I reported quite a while ago that plans were afoot for the station's return as an Internet operation and now it's set to do just that at www.psychobaby.com. A christening party is set for Saturday at the Atomic Cafe, with Spoon's Britt Daniel performing a short acoustic set at 8pm, and the Web site beginning to broadcast on that date as well. Station Manager will be Drew Bennett, with two other former K-NACKers along: Ray "Raydog" Seggern, now music director at Tulsa's KMYZ, and Paul Kriegler (aka Max Pace), now program director at KEDJ in Phoenix. Rounding out the team, according to Seggern, are a couple "players from the high tech world," Scott Kreuser of Constant.com and David Isola, a local musician and longtime K-NACK supporter who works at Dell. Seggern says the enterprise will be "a living, breathing radio station [with] a van, T-shirts, and bumper stickers. We'll be what you would expect from a real radio station. You just won't be able to hear us in your car." That little problem, naturally, is something that Psychobaby.com hopes to overcome in the near future. Also on the Internet front, Thought Interactive, a "young innovative Internet design and development shop," has become the business that finally made itself a home in the old Electric Lounge building. In a sort of forward/backward move (I think they call that "binary"), the company is having the Damnations TX perform a live set one final time at the former Lounge for the company's Grand Opening tonight (Thursday).
New Tapestry on the Wall
During the long run of the Tapestry stage production at Zachary Scott Theatre, the original Carole King LP returned to Waterloo Records' Top 50 list, beating many new national releases and recently peaking No. 15 on their chart. That popularity has led to a number of other interesting directions as well. Zach Scott's Dave Steakley reports that Marcia Ball came to see Tapestry two weeks ago before it closed and "really loved it a lot." Since Ball's next album is being produced by Doyle Bramhall, she's sent him to check out the show as well and hire some vocal support from the production to help with her album. To top that off, Fred Miller from Human Code met with Steakley a few weeks ago to pursue an "interactive theatrical" future for Tapestry in association with PBS and NY producer Lewis Allen. Says Steakley, "These past few weeks we've been hosting several guests associated with this possibility and it appears to be moving in a positive direction." Hmmm. Maybe now would be a good time for someone to try and revive that Laura Nyro thing again.
Doesn't that ass look familiar? You know, the one on the cover of the new SPIN? No, the one next to David Lee Roth -- it has a backstage pass from the band's Austin 1979 show stuck across it. Not sure if the photo was taken at the band's Performing Arts Center gig that year, but ya gotta wonder if those cheeks belong to anyone you know... Jon Dee Graham, whose songwriting career began with the Skunks' recordings mentioned in recent columns, tells me that his song "Big Sweet Life" was used recently as the theme for the Outdoor Games that have been running on ESPN. "It sounded vaguely Olympian," Graham says, but it turned out that the Outdoor Games are in fact a lumberjack competition. When he picks up his royalty checks from ESPN, Graham can be proud of taking a job that most people would have expected to go to the members of Monty Python. ESPN aren't the only ones who've taken an interest in Graham's "Life," either. Jean Caffeine's new Idée Fixe disc features her version of the song, as well as a new number co-written with Graham titled "Firewall" that features Miles Zuniga of Fireball, er, Fastwall, I mean Fastball on percussion... "According to Pat and Mikey from Weezer, Dynamite Hack is doing well considering the fact that the Hack is getting applause and cheers when every other band that plays before them gets booed and gets the 'Weezer chant' going between songs -- including the Mighty Mighty Bosstones." Mind you, that info comes through the Hacks' manager, but the two bands definitely have a mutual admiration society going. Weezer's favorite Dynamite Hack song, "Pillowhead," will be on the Hacks' next album. Meanwhile, the band is included on the 10-band disc that comes with the new, hotly anticipated Playstation 2, and their "Dear Kate" is on one of the first Playstation 2 games -- ESPN Winter X Games. Also, if you're watching MTV's video music awards this week, you might hear "Wussypuff" during one of the presenters' introductions, just as the Hack's song "Alvin" played during Keanu Reeves' acceptance of a trophy at the MTV Movie Awards. Guess MTV didn't have any Dogstar CDs handy... Big Boys fans should keep an eye out for the outtakes compilation Wreck Collection to make its CD debut soon on Colorado-based label Owned and Operated Records, home of power punk gods All. Randy "Biscuit" Turner confirms that more lost tracks are being looked at for inclusion on the reissue. Meanwhile, Turner has got the itch to get onstage again, and is working with Jeff Pinkus, Brett Bradford, and Max Brody toward that end. "I don't know if it'll be as big a costume show" as some of his previous bands, says Biscuit, "but I'm gonna sing my ass off!" No date on when the group-in-progress hopes to make its live debut. Maybe you can ask Pinkus on Saturday when his ever-popular Honky shares the Room 710 stage with a Horseshit Gunfire reunion including the return of ex-Dynamite Hack drummer Chase Scott aka Chase Ass... There's a benefit party for the documentary feature Ladies' Nite, about male strippers and the ladies who love them, at the Red Eyed Fly tonight (Thursday) featuring Playdoh Squad, Ringer, Pop Unknown, and the Westbury Squares. No word on whether or not the bands will keep their shirts on... Also tonight, the Austin Music Commission holds its monthly meeting at One Texas Center, South First and Barton, 5:30pm. Chairman and KGSR personality Kevin Connor reports that invitations have been sent to local club owners, as well as a representative of Vignette, the high tech firm whose chief executive Greg Peters expressed interest in these pages about developing a fund to help downtown clubs survive. "This is exactly what we've been striving for," says Connor. "The tech community is attracted to downtown by live music, so why not support the clubs with direct patronage similiar to the support shown for the opera, symphony and ballet?" The meeting is open to all...This week's new Willie Nelson album is Farm Aid: Volume One Live, which comes out September 12 and also features Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Johnny Cash, and a host of others. This year's Farm Aid follows on September 17 in Bristow, Virginia... Shawn Colvin alert: Stubb's BBQ, September 20, benefit for Planned Parenthood... The new one from Chris Duarte is called Love Is Greater Than Me, and will be in stores on September 26 from Rounder Records. The band plays Antone's two days later... Loudness at Emo's next Thursday as Zulu As Kono release their new CD with some help from Egypt, which the Emo's folks say "features ex-Fuckemos folks and a current Butthole Surfer." No official confirmation from the band, but I've been told a number of times in recent months that Nathan Calhoun is the Butts' new bassman. On that bill as well are Migas and John Galt... Also next Thursday is the new installment in the series of silent films with live musical accompaniment at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. This time out it's another Buster Keaton comedy, The Navigator, paired with a very strange short from 1916, The Mystery of the Leaping Fish. The latter features Douglas Fairbanks Sr. as "Coke Ennyday," a happy narcotics addict/detective who consumes mountains of cocaine, tins of opium, and gives himself constant injections, overcoming his adversaries with the use of drugs. If you dig the flick, you can thank me for bringing this very bizarre film to the attention of the Alamo's Tim League. If it just makes you go, "huh?" you can blame him for actually searching out a 35mm print of the obscure thing. Shorty Long, featuring former Asylum Street Spankers members Mysterious John and Pops Bayless will provide the music and attempt to keep a straight face...
-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer