Dancing About Architecture
Stevie Ray Vaughan box set hits stands and controversary
A Box-ing Match
Stevie Ray Vaughan fans may be sighing with relief now that the long-awaited SRV box set is finally a reality (see this week's Music feature), but Vaughan's former manager Chesley Milliken is making some altogether different noises. "It's the Hendrix Syndrome," he declares. "Stevie did not want those tapes out under any circumstances." Milliken's choice comments these days extend beyond Sony and the assemblers of the box set; he believes he's slowly being written out of the SRV story despite his important role during the formative years of the local guitarist's career. Angrily countering Jerry Wexler's reminiscences as printed in the Chronicle two weeks ago, Milliken exclaims, "It was I who introduced Stevie to David Bowie and Jackson Browne!" Mostly, though, he's upset over the release of lots of previously unreleased material he feels should've stayed buried along with the late performer who made them, further insisting that since he owns the master tapes in question, Sony's source materials are of questionable pedigree (plus, he says, he has a load of prime Vaughan material himself that the label won't let him put out). Milliken's worries that he's not remembered seem to be well-founded; a Sony spokesperson told the Chronicle he was unfamiliar with Milliken's name, and after hearing of Milliken's claims, said Sony has chosen to not make any official statements on the matter. Unofficially, word is that since the label worked closely with brother/executor of the estate Jimmie Lee Vaughan throughout the assembly of the box set -- using materials obtained from JLV's collection -- they feel satisfied that there should be no questions about the quality of their product. Of course, Milliken has less-than-complimentary words to say about brother Jimmie as well, but given the space limitations of this column, perhaps it's best to wait for Milliken's upcoming biography, currently being essayed by author Jeff Craig (who's just finished work on a bio of Animals frontman Eric Burden), due in the next year or so. And it's perhaps best for Milliken to think of the future and not the past -- which he's doing by working with his latest discovery, 17-year-old blues rocker Tyler Hilton, who's just completed work on his debut CD.
Live Long and Tingle
As a follower of the master of "song-speak" since long before his Priceline commercials made William Shatner's golden throat insurable by Lloyd's of London, I was stunned to find that not only does the good Captain Kirk perform a new song on the soundtrack to the upcoming Sandra Bullock vehicle Miss Congeniality, but the tune was partially recorded here in Austin by Carl Thiel, with additional vocals provided by his wife and musical partner Lisa Tingle. "The song ['Miss United States'] was written by the son of the movie's executive producer, Marc Lawrence," Thiel reveals, "and it's quite an accomplishment for a six-year-old." Hey, only the freshest new talents are good enough for the Shatman. Thiel says that although Shatner shot one of his main scenes in the film here in Austin, the instrumental version of the song was sent to him in L.A., where he added the vocals and sent the tape back to Thiel for mixing. The long-distance setup didn't provide any problems in the studio, says Thiel, since "his renditions are always off-tempo and off-beat, so you can put them wherever you want." Shatner had provided three variations to choose from, so with a little cutting and pasting, Thiel was able to create what may be the first big dance-floor hit of 2001. Or maybe not. Then again, Thiel says he's aware that a hip-hop version of the song is being prepared for some sort of special release outside the album. Meanwhile, he and Tingle will continue their Tuesday night Saxon Pub gigs, as Thiel continues working in the studio with Malford Milligan (whose solo debut should be finished "in a couple of months"), Lonnie Treviño, and Mr. Congeniality himself, Bob Schneider, whose "Bullets" is also heard on the Miss Congeniality soundtrack. Schneider's Lonelyland album, by the way, has just arrived as a sort of "retro-advance" from its new major-label home Universal. (Owners of the original, locally produced version are advised that the new edition, which won't be commercially available until the end of March, has not been remixed or remodeled -- meaning the label really does like it, apparently). Monday, by the way, is the regional premiere of Miss Congeniality at the Paramount (an Austin Film Society and Lance Armstrong Foundation benefit), and while conflicting sources leave us wondering at this point whether Mr. Shatner will be there, one would hope Mr. Schneider will happily make an appearance.
Back in the Saddle Again
A couple of weeks ago, when "Dancing About Architecture" passed along information on the theft of a valuable, silver-inlaid saddle from the Broken Spoke, it was made pretty clear this wasn't an object that would be easy to fence. Well, after a series of bungles that no doubt have Chuck Shepherd drooling for details, even the thieves figured that out, and eventually the 1940s vintage Hollywood brand saddle found its way back to Spoke owner James White. No, the culprits weren't the Hollywood Indians, they were a duo of Spoke patrons, one of whom owed a $300 gambling debt. Unlike most of us, who would've simply stolen $300 from a neighbor, these guys decided to go for a heavy, unwieldy, unique item worth several thousand dollars. Despite its uniqueness and the fact that the cops, the press, and a large network of South Austin good ol' boys were on the lookout for it, they hoped they could at least find someone to give them far less than it was worth and take it off their hands. They were wrong, and after they failed to find a taker at $100 (y'know, guys, I'll bet James White woulda at least given you that much -- but, I know, hindsight is 20/20), police found the saddle, only slightly damaged, in the trunk of an abandoned car. It's now back at the Spoke, under lock and key, and sporting a new burglar alarm.
Filling a Cavity
This Saturday marks a (supposedly) final farewell to The Greatest American Gomez, who are reuniting again, apparently, so they can break up again. The Lower Class Brats, Applicators, Ignorance Park, and Fallout are also on that bill, while Emo's outside stage provides metal mayhem with Inhabit, Human, Ichabod, and Embodiment. The breakup/ reunion syndrome continues two weeks later, Dec. 30, with an encore performance from Denton's Brutal Juice, but it's between those two shows, on Saturday, Dec. 23, when the real parade of reunions and breakage takes place. That night is "Cavity Club Reunion Night" (even though the original Cavity crew absolutely hated when people added the word "club" after their one-word name). Entry will be through the alley, just as in the Cavity days, and once inside, bands who played that venue, both the still-kicking (Warthog 2000 aka Fuckemos, Jesus Christ Superfly, Squat Thrust) and the freshly resurrected (Blort!, T.H.C., Unicorn Magic, Intent, D.O.S., 4 Violent People, Yuck, Kid's Meal, American Psycho Band). Actually, that last one hasn't yet been confirmed, but on the other hand, there could be more bands added by next weekend, as the club reports that Cavity veterans "have been coming out of the woodwork since they heard the news about the reunion." One more addition could come from Cavity cronies the Friendly Truckers, for instance, who just had a reunion show last week. By the way, there's no truth to the rumor that the entire affair is merely an attempt to get all these people trapped in the same room and finally get one of them to confess after all these years to the crime of stealing GG Allin's soiled Speedo from its place of honor on the old Cavity wall.
KGSR-FM isn't the only game in town when it comes to local band compilations -- KVRX's new Local Live Vol. 5: Aural Fixation is a 2-CD compilation of live performances from the past year of the student radio station's Local Live show and their "3x5" festival of touring bands last March. The 32 performances on Fixation include tracks from locals and visitors including the Orange Mothers, Golden Arm Trio, the Barkers, Subset, Craig Ross, Hamell on Trial, the Apples in Stereo, Rubinchik's Yiddish Ensemble, and many more, in a package including extensive fold-out liner notes... One last loose end to tie up on last week's Skunks feature. For those who enjoyed the fliers included in the piece and wondered who was responsible, the answer is Richard Luckett, the band's production manager/driver. Since the band's heyday, Luckett went on to roadie for Joe "King" Carrasco, Marshall Crenshaw, and Hall & Oates, and currently designs CD sleeves for Universal Records (no, he didn't work on Bob Schneider's new disc -- he's in the reissues division), and his merchandising clients include the estates of Chet Baker, Marvin Gaye, Antone's, South by Southwest, Ringo Starr, Robert Plant, Duran Duran, Guns N' Roses, Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, and numerous others... Latest Meat Puppets news finds the revamped band planning to start a headlining tour in January, bringing former Blind Melonheads Unified Theory in tow as openers, with a blast-off date at Tipitinas in New Orleans on Jan. 18 and Texas dates to follow immediately before the band wanders too far off and forgets us... A slight date change from last week's info on Will Sexton's first CD in more than six years: Scenes From Nowhere will be released on Tuesday, Dec. 19, and will be the third offering from India Records, the Austin-based, artist-run record label. Look for a record release party at Momo's, 8pm that night, for Sexton, who also just finished scoring the Trick Dog Film feature Brothers, Dogs and God. India's next release will be Weather from locals Kitty Gordon, scheduled to come out in January 2001... The Asylum Street Spankers are recording their Christmas album for next year at the Scottish Rite Theatre on Friday, with holiday favorites ranging from TV-special music to Pogues tunes (since Shane MacGowan is so beloved locally right now). No room to tell their Waxahachie breakdown story here -- check out Wammo's tour diary at www.asylumstreet spankers.com... This year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees were announced Tuesday, with Ritchie Valens, Aerosmith, Solomon Burke (another Jerry Wexler discovery), the Flamingos, Michael Jackson, Queen, Paul Simon, and Steely Dan making the cut out of the 16 nominees that voters (such as yours truly) were allowed to choose from. The Chronicle music staff proved our coolness by scoring an incredibly low 2-for-8, only matching with Valens and a reluctant Queen vote, with our other, losing picks being AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Brenda Lee, Lynyrd Skynyrd, New York Dolls, and Patti Smith. Next week, look for the Chron music staff's picks for upcoming sporting events -- we're on a roll!... "His flow is like a Southern breeze on a lazy Sunday afternoon -- soothing in its feel, sturdy in its power." No, that's not the opening line from a bad romance novel, it's from the Austin Music Hall's announcement that they've got Snoop Dogg performing there Dec. 29. Good way to prepare for a hip-hop happy New Year... Oh, the pain of having a deadline; as you read this on Thursday, you've just missed an expected appearance by Lars Ulrich, John McEnroe, and others at Antone's Wednesday night following the benefit tennis tournament at the Erwin they attended earlier in the day. I can only speculate what will happen as I write this on Tuesday, but no doubt they'll be raising a racket... Kathie Lee Gifford was also in town last week, and Andy Langer reports that the former morning person announced she "couldn't believe how dead Austin's downtown was" after she'd heard so much about it. Despite her brutal honesty, Langer says, "I expected the Antichrist, but she's the single nicest woman I've ever met!" After adding something about how cute Cody was, Langer had to be forcibly subdued, and was later found to have been replaced with an android lookalike...
-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser