Dancing About Architecture
What's up in the live music capital this week
Father and Son Reunion
You've heard of the Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, now how about the "Bastard Sons of Alejandro Escovedo"? Mr. E, who was once heard at La Zona Rosa referring to Davíd Garza as his "illegitimate son," has decided it's time to start paying some figurative child support. After Escovedo's show Friday at the Cactus Cafe, ("Griff [Luneberg] has barred me from the Cactus," insists Garza), Dah will, for a time at least, be joining Alejandro's band. Joe Eddy Hines, Hector Munoz, and Ames Asbell from Tosca will be along for the Cactus gig, after which Al will be touring with a pared-down outfit consisting of himself, Garza, and Eric Haywood (Son Volt, Richard Buckner). Those dates run through mid-December, and Escovedo's next plans call for the release of his Man Under the Influence album next spring and re-recordings of the best songs from his first two Bloodshot albums, this time with his Orchestra. Meanwhile, Garza's Web site now includes (alongside a note that he's "one or two songs away" from finishing his own next album) a "good news/bad news" warning to die-hard fans that "Sorry, no Davíd songs will be performed ... On the other hand you will love Al's music!"
Spanked in the French Quarter
If you go to see the Asylum Street Spankers at Antone's on Saturday, say so long to Christina Marrs and manager/hubby John Riedie. "The quality of life just isn't worth the cost of living here," says Riedie, echoing the sentiments of many in the local music community, so the couple will be moving to suburban Houston for a year or so -- there's a step up -- and ultimately plan to move to Riedie's hometown of New Orleans. "Since the band really doesn't play Austin very often," he adds, "it won't affect the Spankers too much." Saturday's show will be the last regular show of the year for the band, though on December 16, the Spankers are doing a holiday bash at the Scottish Rite Theatre, which will be recorded for a Christmas album to be released next fall. Spanks-a-Lot Records will also be releasing Wammo's Faster than the Speed of Suck album and the Stephen Doster-produced solo debut from Stanley Smith, with re-releases of the entire Spanker catalog and a new album also in the works for 2001. And finally, the Spankers are hoping to become Pearl Jam without electricity by starting work on a four-CD box set containing complete live shows from the last six years.Meanwhile, the ex-Spankers of Shorty Long continue their residencies at Ego's (Tuesdays w/Seth Walker), Empanada Parlour (Fridays), and Flipnotics (Sundays), and are talking about following the lead of Brown Whörnet, who have just issued a video of their excellent interpretation of the silent film classic Nosferatu as originally heard at the Alamo Drafthouse. The Longs are hoping to record and release a vid of the public-domain short Mystery of the Leaping Fish with their accompaniment as well, though Longster Pops Bayless says the group is not interested in touring it like the Spankers did with The Gold Rush. I'm told that Jim Jarmusch was looking for a copy of the 1916 junkie-detective flick (the showing of which was originally suggested to the Alamo by yours truly) while the filmmaker was in town last week -- perhaps he'd like to work with the band on their restoration job?
What's in a Name?
Is it worse than being the Gourds and having everybody think you're Phish? Is it as bad as being recently departed Chronicle distribution manager David McNair and getting calls at all hours for the record producer of the same name? One way or the other, local songwriter and Music Commission member Larry Cordle pleads that "you'd do me a really big favor if you'd mention that I'm not the Larry Cordle who wrote 'Murder on Music Row' and is up for a Ford F-150 full of awards of various types and sizes. I had nothing -- repeat nothing -- to do with that song. I haven't heard it and don't want to, either." With the song apparently having peaked, as well as the number of people who ask him about it ("our" Cordle says it's down to one a week or so, down from closer to a dozen), perhaps he won't ever have to. Still, he's already had his share of headaches over the tune, including e-mail from a magazine in Nashville firing questions at him about the ditty. "I played along until I realized he really didn't figure out that my snide remarks were from an imposter," Cordle says sheepishly. This isn't the first time the two have been mixed up, either -- the Nashville Larry also wrote Ricky Skaggs' biggest hit, "Highway 40 Blues," back in 1984. While working at a country music station in Denver at that time, Cordle says, "I first saw that name on the record label and thought someone had dropped orange sunshine in my coffee." The mixup hasn't been a bed of roses for the Nashvillian, either. "In 1990," Austin's Cordle confides, "my ex-wife sued him thinking I'd covered up some assets in our divorce. About a half-million dollars worth of assets! I guess he's getting back at me now."
Clubbin' With Quaid
He may return in March for six weeks to film The Rookie, but Dennis Quaid and his entourage decided to scout out the city first (things have changed since you did D.O.A. here, haven't they, Den-Den?), making the rounds Saturday night beginning with a visit to the Gourds CD release at Stubb's, where he and a few other sat upstairs alternately watching the band and the World Series on the bar's TV. Then it was off to Antone's for "celebritydom's favorite band" Lonelyland, where his special reserved table gave the audience license to gawk at one of Texas' favorite sons, seen backstage chatting up Bob Schneider, Stephen Bruton, and KLBJ's Dale Dudley. No word as to any comments about his coincidental appearance in the Preston Hubbard prison diaries last issue, but rumor is that Den-Den had a meeting with another ex-Thunderbird, Jimmie Vaughan, on Monday. Dudley and Bruton are slated to go in front of the camera soon, portraying a bar owner and one of his regulars in a television pilot called Mixin'.
Pong, the beloved "Ed Hall and friends" combo who have been recording for many months now, have finally got a label and a release date! Look for Eco-Disaster Records, home of Swine King and the upcoming (hopefully) Dicks tribute album to release a full-length effort by the quintet in February... Music and politics continue to cross paths as Fastball got to hang with presidential hopeful Al Gore on the set of Regis Philbin's morning show when both were taping segments for separate days' shows. Secret Servicemen were in abundance during the meeting, and in fact, the band had to meet Gore privately behind the closed doors of the program's Green Room. "This may have cost [Gore] my vote," says Hollywood Records' Sharrin Summers, who was excluded from this meeting of the minds. Fastball rocks the vote Saturday at Stubb's... Hopefully this is the last delay I'll report on the Ronnie Lane live album from his Austin years -- the label says store date has been pushed to December 12... Interested in visiting the lovely Austin City Limits facilities? Well, circumstances have left the show with a few more tickets than usual to Monday's Allison Moorer/Toby Keith taping, and chances are if you picked up this paper on Thursday (like any faithfully rabid Chronicle reader), you've got time to run down to the KLRU facilities at 26th and Guadalupe and get you a couple of free tickets. Also, if people are still looking to get Nina Simone seats for her performance at Bass Concert Hall, I'm told that there may be some tickets released at the door Sunday, but otherwise fuggetaboudit... Love him or hate him, you're fascinated with Britt Daniel's Spoon, so you are happy that the Spoon EP Love Ways is out as of this week. You're extra-pleased it was mixed by master Craig Ross. You're pissed that you can't make Spoon's upcoming shows in New York and Baltimore, but if you absolutely have to, you'll settle for Daniel solo Saturday at Club DeVille (see "Music Listings") or next Wednesday at Emo's, before he heads off on a tour opening for Bright Eyes... Local label Bostrox Records, who issued last year's CD collection of "lost" calypso tracks recorded by the Rev. Louis Farrakhan in the 1950s, appears to have ceased activity, but that doesn't mean they're stuck with all their back stock. Farrakhan's Nation of Islam has apparently had a change of heart about the disc, which they originally protested -- a source close to the label tells me that not only has the Rev. decided he's not ashamed of his musical career, but his people actually ordered 1,500 copies to have on hand at last week's well-publicized Million Family March in Washington, D.C. Next up -- the Million Man Limbo!... In November, listen for a track from the Onlys' new album Tune the Blue Screen on SPIN Magazine's College Radio Show, a 30-minute program which is distributed for college airplay throughout the U.S. If you don't want to wait for the magazine, the band will be performing at Room 710 next Thursday with Mad God and Peppermint... When I reported last week that Dexter Freebish had just opened for Fuel, Sister Hazel, Blues Traveler, and Barenaked Ladies, they still hadn't told me whether or not they were going be able to accept the invitation from Yoko Ono to play the opening of the John Lennon Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As seen above (the second time "Dancing" has featured an Ono photo this month ... Jody Denberg must be ecstatic), they managed to make it to Cleveland for the gig. Says Freebish's Chris Lowe, "She was awesome and totally not what we expected. She hung out with us for a while and was very complimentary of [the band's debut single] "Leaving Town." She actually asked us for one of our CDs and she had us sign it to her and Sean. How cool is that?"... The latest Hip Hop Humpday last week was the second show with the new lineup of DJ Phyfteen (Reelaktz), DJ Massive, Bavu Blakes (Soundscape, Up^South, Show & Prove, Reelaktz) Tee Double (Kinetic Marketing, Show & Prove) Tray God, Mike Longoria (Lonelyland), Bruce Bunn (Tunji, Trio D-Force), Dwayne Jackson (D-Madness, Trio D-Force), and Andrae Van Buren (Tunji, Trio D-Force), so look for more pronounced humping at the Mercury, plus an Up^South maxi-single due next week... Any final news about the Sound Exchange 20th anniversary show this Friday? "Only that you need to make it clear that Poison 13 goes on promptly at 9pm," declares S. Exchanger Craig Koon, ensuring no one misses either them or the Motards, who follow at 11pm to allow Paul and Dave Motard some time to get into town from Beaumont and Chicago, respectively. Make sure you've got some serious music money saved up for the weekend, by the way, because in addition to the goodies you buy at Sound Exchange, you'll have to get up early the next morning and head to the Fall Austin Record Convention, running 10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday at Palmer Auditorium. Look for the portable Jimi Hendrix museum parked outside and a special autograph-signing visit from Bo Diddley inside at 1pm Saturday, as he prepares for his La Zona Rosa show that night... Several sad e-mails have come in this week from local Ray Price fans mourning the loss of his longtime pianist Moises "Blondie" Calderon, who passed away on Monday from complications after surgery following a heart attack... Also, say a belated goodbye to "Governor" Bob Looney, "The Lone Wolf of the Law" who passed away last month. Few people recall the self-released album he put out in 1972, but many remember the eccentric criminal-defense lawyer/political activist from his full-page advertisement/theme song that ran in the Austin Yellow Pages in the early 1990s. Attempts by the staff of the eclectic Fringeware store to arrange for a series of live performances by the elderly "outsider musician" in the decade's later years were hampered by his declining heath, and unfortunately died with the store's closing. Looney himself passed away in early September. All together now, let's hear one for the Gov: "Cry Loo-oo-oon!"
-- Obviators: Christopher Gray, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser