Dancing About Architecture
The Austin Music Awards firm up the line-up, while Ozzy Osbourne sneaks in the SXSW back door with the film conference.
I Wanna 86 You Up
This week comes the news that the Austin Music Awards 2001 will feature none other than Lucinda Williams and her new band at the Austin Music Hall on March 13. In fact, almost the entire lineup is confirmed, with a blues revue led by last week's Chronicle cover story subject James Cotton joining the already reported lineup of the boys in Vallejo and the Gourds. Meanwhile, the show's organizer, Margaret Moser, has been inundated by everyone who ever played in a local band in the Eighties to be a part of the "86ed" set announced last week, already featuring members of the Reivers, Glass Eye, True Believers, Wild Seeds, etc. Security measures are already under way to ensure that South by Southwest Creative Director Brent Grulke and KGSR guru Jody Denberg don't storm the stage and join in on any sing-alongs. (I wonder if Pat Blashill will show up to not take pictures?) For the homebound, it looks like the ACAC will air the awards this year, while KNVA makes live reports from the scene, and live-broadcast-capable portion of the Austin Music Network continues its long convalescence. The list of showcasing bands for SXSW, meanwhile, is getting close to being final, with a few new acts added this week and available for your viewing pleasure at the conference's up-to-the-minute Web site at www.sxsw.com.
Return to Oz
Holy Publicity Stunt, Batman! If things aren't already silly enough around SXSW time, the word is out that nonperforming conference guest Ozzy Osbourne, who'll be visiting the SXSW Film Festival in conjunction with the Penelope Spheeris-directed rockumentary We Sold Our Souls for Rock 'N Roll, might be interested in adding a new twist to his Texas legend, which began nearly two decades ago when the former Black Sabbath frontman relieved himself on the Alamo. Not only has Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League expressed interest in having the pudgy death-rocker empty his bladder on the wall of the cult film venue, but Spheeris has also reportedly confirmed interest in getting the Oz to go along with the whiz-bang of a plan. Seen here in buffed up toy form (and following up last week's Janis Joplin action figure), the outgoing Osbourne should be up for the stunt; currently the main concern of those attempting to organize the wee-weeing ceremony is keeping Ozzy away from the Congress Avenue bridge.
S Is for Spoon
Spoon's new album Girls Can Tell will be released Feb. 20 on Merge Records in the U.S. and on 12XU in the UK, and naturally, the band will be doing some touring in support of it. For a change, Spoon is on a label that's supporting the disc as well, with Britt Daniel saying of Merge, "They're hands-on -- where they're supposed to have hands on." The big release party show for Girls is set for Feb. 27 at the Mercury, following a series of sneaks, er, I mean gigs, with Superchunk, with the band touring the U.S. and UK again afterward. If you've managed to live in Austin for any length of time without encountering the music of Spoon, look to the Austin Music Network for the recently delivered video for "Jealousy," off the band's recent EP, or check out the new issue of CMJ. That ish features a host of Austin acts that start with "S" (Spoon, Schatzi, Subset, Silver Scooter, and a certain Mr. Schneider) on its accompanying CD and within its pages.
Former Timbuk 3 kingpin Pat MacDonald will play a gig on Valentine's Day at the Hole in the Wall. Apart from his SXSW showcase, this will in all likelihood be the only gig MacDonald plays in the area before going back to Barcelona, Spain, where he's been more or less residing. MacDonald's new album, Begging Her Graces, was recorded in said Spanish city with producer John Parish (PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse, Giant Sand), released in Europe by Ulftone Music of Berlin, Germany, and is currently unavailable in the U.S. He already has another one on the way called Degrees of Gone, which was recorded in Berlin a couple months ago but has not been manufactured yet. "I know I haven't spent much time in Austin lately," admits MacDonald in an e-mail press release. "Therefore," he concludes, "it's nice when people show up to my gigs." Give the man a hometown welcome folks -- and bring a date!
The Latest Lennon Grads
The John Lennon Songwriting Contest has already proved itself to be a boon for the career of Austin act Dexter Freebish, who won the first contest in Lennon's name and whose video for "Leaving Town" continues to air on VH1 (see if you can spot the "Free Clifford" [Antone] T-shirt). This year, there's another River City local at the top of one the competition's categories; one Carl Gregory of Austin has won the Children's category with his tune "Adam's Lullaby," as judged by a panel including the Barenaked Ladies, Wyclef Jean, Carlos Santana, and Paula Cole. Winners receive $2,000 in cash, $5,000 in Yamaha Project studio equipment, and a $5,000 advance on an EMI publishing contract. It's rare for a song in the Children's category to continue on and take the best-of-all-categories prize, but best of luck to Gregory anyhow, as the final $20,000 "Maxell Song of the Year" award-winner has yet to be chosen among the dozen prize-winners of 2001.
The ever-popular (huh?) Weezer managed to sell out their Feb. 21 Austin Music Hall show in two weeks, say the folks at Direct Events, even though it's been five years since their hit album. The sellout is even more impressive since those two weeks were before tickets were to have gone on sale to the general public. The band has an Internet thing going with their hard-core fans to give them first whack at tix for their shows, with the public getting their chance (or in this case, not getting their chance) later. Of course, you can still nab a pair of tickets to the show on eBay for around $130 if you wish; hey, it must be worth it, 'cause if you've been reading the letter pages of SPIN and comparable music magazines over the last few months, you know that "when Weezer's third album finally comes out, they're gonna change the world!"... Tired of albums that aren't ambitious enough? Here's one: Bobby Bridger's A Ballad of the West: The Epic Trilogy is a 4-CD (shades of Douglas Adams!) set with an accompanying 150-page paperback book that spans tales of America's native peoples. With Bill Clinton's recent denial of clemency for Leonard Peltier, maybe now is a good time to learn more about the subject... Bryan Bowden of the Young Heart Attack called to announce that Tony Scalzo is now "a full-time member" of the band, joining the exclusive clique alongside ex-Barker Alice Spencer, Tune in Tokyo's Chris Hodge, and former Sixteen Deluxe players Bowden, Steven Hall, and Chris "French Dip" Smith. How can Scalzo, a key member of hitmakers Fastball, join the Heart Attack fold? Well, other than the fact that the 'ballers have recently come off a long tour and have some break time coming, fact is Young Heart Attack have so far managed to play only one three-song set in their career, and have no plans for a follow-up until at least April... If you missed Warrant last night at the Metro, don't fret. Your heavy metal sweet tooth can still get a fillin' when the club hosts Ratt next Thursday (minus lead singer Stephen Pearcy but with Jason McMaster's Broken Teeth, who open), or on March 8, when Quiet Riot shows up. Don't worry, the club hasn't assumed an all-Eighties metal format. The "Sugar's Presents Pimpadelic" show this Friday should tell you that... The Flamingo Cantina is equally vocal in assuring us that they haven't gone all retro-rap. That's despite the evidence presented by the last-minute 2 Live Crew show coming this Sunday, plus the Digital Underground in March, and Sir Mix-A-Lot in April -- plus maybe Tone Loc in the future. No Vanilla Ice for the Flamingo, though, as he's just too popular for them to afford and is booked for the Austin Music Hall on March 10 instead. The 2 Live Crew have an interesting opener in Li'l Black, the rapper who's been getting attention for his duet with Willie Nelson. Jay Leno's been heard getting into the act, using the old joke about mixing country and rap and calling it "crap." Ha ha. Even Wammo's used that one already... Whew! What a relief! With Jeff Hughes & Chaparral's new all-covers album in heavy rotation at the Chronicle music office lately, you can imagine that when we got Darden Smith's Extra Extra! (Darden Smith Sings Twelve Songs by Heart), there was a chill in the air as we flipped the case over to get a look at the song list on the back. Fortunately, not one of the 12 songs is actually by Heart. In fact, Smith is covering Smith here, the local singer-songwriter's latest release being a collection of re-recordings of his best-loved works. He'll be doing the record release thing this Friday at the Cactus Cafe, in front of an audience that no doubt knows these songs by heart and thinks Smith is something of a "Magic Man" even without any help from the Wilson sisters... Delilah Long, the daughter of a late Motown artist who recorded under the name Shorty Long, asks that the Chronicle "let everyone in Austin, Texas know that Shorty Long is not a band but a man and that the disgraceful men who use his name are using it without permission." The band she refers to is, of course, the act headed by Asylum Street Spankers co-founders Pops Bayless and Mysterious John. Bayless told the Chronicle that the name has been appropriated by numerous performers over the years, then began screaming into the phone and threatening legal action if I mentioned our conversation, while complaining that the Chronicle only writes about "punk" and ignores "contemporary" music. By "contemporary," I assume he means his 1920s-style vaudeville act... Stop the presses!!! Reckless Kelly's mascot Lester is missing. An e-mail sent from RK HQ states breathlessly that the hapless ape, or lizard, or whatever the hell the damn thing is, was "last seen in Houston on Feb. 2," wherein "the opening act was Blind Luck." (I don't know if this is supposed to constitute some sort of accusation or what.) Info will be posted at www.rootsrockmusic.com and the RK discussion group at: www.recklesskelly.com/club_millican/default.asp. Meanwhile the band has my condolences on the loss of their, um, thing...
-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer