Dancing About Architecture

South by Southwest draws closer -- lots of news from SXSW 2001

SXSW: Closing In

With South by Southwest now a mere month away, things are coalescing for the music festival and overall conference: music, film, interactive. As always, however -- on the music side, anyway -- a little chaos must ensue. While David Thomson thought that he had a complete set of showcase venues for SXSW, with Maggie Mae's being the latest addition, suddenly the Longhorn Lodge on Sixth Street shut its doors and disconnected its phone. Luckily, Randall Stockton says his Beerland will be a "go" this year, as the former Bates Motel manager has his permits and is finishing up construction on the small punk venue next to the Atomic Cafe in time for the music festival. Anyone who wants to help with labor or plywood can stop by the club or call 479-ROCK, where Stockton will soon have an answering machine announcing the work schedule. And get this: the Kiss Offs tell me that Real TV on the WB will be airing "riot" footage from the last night of the Bates this Friday at 10am (and during the late-night repeat). Wow, I don't remember it being that bad, but apparently Real TV feels that the event was up there with exploding Jet Skis and capsizing Russian freighters.

The Caucus Club, meanwhile, is currently not planned as a SXSW venue, due to its pending sale. Owner Daniel Foreman says it's not a matter of the club not making money, he just "has a baby on the way, and I'm tired of the damn bar business." Depending on which offer comes through, the Caucus could remain the Caucus or become a restaurant. Club DeVille next door is also not a SXSW venue this year because, as Thomson says, SXSW is "trying to cut out any potential weather problems this year -- booking Stubb's is risky enough." SXSW needs all the roomy clubs it can get, especially given that the fire marshal will probably be keeping close tabs on the Metro's official 299-person limit. Assistant Fire Marshal Kevin Baum says that the venue recently was discovered to have a load card that "appeared to be falsified" with a higher number, and were not prosecuted by the Department only because they didn't believe they could prove who was responsible for the allegedly altered document. (The Metro did not return calls from the Chronicle about the matter.) One new venue that won't be part of SXSW opens next week in UT's Texas Union. The Texas Union Theatre, at the opposite end of the building from the Cactus Cafe, will begin hosting live music with Rodney Crowell and Eliza Gilkyson next Friday and Guy Clark and Butch Hancock the following night.

As far as bands, the lineup continues to come together for the Austin Music Awards, with the Meat Puppets completing the bill; to recap the lineup, that's Vallejo, Gourds, Lucinda Williams, James Cotton blues revue, the "86-ed" all-stars, and now Curt Kirkwood and company. The list of showcasing bands for SXSW is up to its more-or-less final number at around 850 bands, down from last year due to SXSW 2000's high spoken-word artist count and hip-hop MCs. Among the acts due to play SXSW 2001 are recent additions Black Kali Ma, Blake Babies, Buckwheat Zydeco, John Eddie, the Gentlemen featuring Dave Dederer & Duff McKagan, Freedy Johnston, Jurassic 5, Jefferson Airplane co-founder Jorma Kaukonen, Pavement's Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Murder City Devils, Ozomatli, Dee Dee Ramone, Saccharin Trust, the Silos, Terrance Simien, Sixty Watt Shaman, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Speedealer, Supagroup, the Toadies, Simon Townshend and the inimitable (one would hope) Wesley Willis. As always, there will be changes right up until the last act plays. Another recent addition to SXSW is 1é4 Japanese, which is Jad Fair & Jason Willett, who are half of Half Japanese. You'll recall that Fair moved to Central Texas last year, and he and Willett are listed as being from Manor, Texas; note on your map that Fair has now moved up to a small town southwest of Fort Worth called Glen Rose, where his wife got a job at an animal sanctuary. Fair and Willett also have an album on the way, but Fair says the show won't necessarily be a preview of that material. He's also got albums coming soon with R. Stevie Moore and a group called AndtheBeatles, plus the Jagjaguwar label put out his recent collaboration with Daniel Johnston in late summer, after re-releasing the pair's 1988 self-titled album this spring. Dropouts from the music festival include NRBQ, whose tour schedule apparently couldn't accommodate the trip to Austin, Gary Numan, Arab Strap, Bilal, and due to visa troubles, probably the Church. Hamell on Trial's gig at SXSW is expected to be Ed Hamell's first show since his car wreck last year. Harvey Sid Fisher should be happy even if he has sound problems like last year, because this time around the "Golf Songs" wizard gets to play at the SXSW Golf Tournament on March 14.

And yes, a lot of local bands are grumbling because they didn't get into official showcases at SXSW this year, but more will be added as every last slot in every last club fills in. For those who don't get it, well, that just means more, bigger, and better non- and anti-SXSW gigs all over town this year. As always, our Calendar section will be devoted to extra-conferential activities that week, so make sure the Chronicle knows about your gigs during the week of SXSW. If you're at a club that typically has live music, make sure they give us their schedule for that week. If you're doing a non-SXSW gig at a place that doesn't typically host bands, make sure we know the name and address of the venue -- and please try to get the organizers to send us their whole lineup for "Fart by Fart Knocker" or whatever they're calling it. If we get separate single listings from each band we just get hopelessly confused. Deadline is, let's say, March 9, and you can send the info to City Beat c/o The Austin Chronicle, PO Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765, or e-mail citybeat@austinchronicle.com.

Crimewatch Pt. I: What's in a Name?

These days, the answer to the above question usually is "a previously trademarked product or service." The latest bands in town to suffer the wrath of corporate lawyers are Hotwheels Jr. and the Godzilla Motor Company. The latter were contacted by the notoriously litigious Toho company, owners of the enormous lizard of the same name, and while publicist Tammy Blevins says the attorneys "were actually pretty cool" about the matter, allowing the band six months to alter their Web site and make other such adjustments, she admits that she didn't tell them the group would simply be changing their moniker to Gähdzilla Motor Company. "You can't trademark the sound of a name," she explains. The Mattel toymakers, meanwhile, took six years to finally notice the Hotwheels Jr. people, most likely because of a recently acquired Web domain name. "A week later and the CDs would have been sent out to be pressed!" says a Adam Farina, who is instead sending off materials for the new Blackbelt disc under the group's new name, the Action 15. Say, wasn't that the name of Hasbro's original G.I. Joe and Friends line?

Crimewatch Pt. II: 'CD' Characters

A recent upswing in interest by the local authorities on CD thefts has led to some head-scratching on the part of local record stores that carry a selection of used discs. The APD has requested that music outlets start treating each CD purchase with the same level of regulation a pawn shop does with a gun or stereo. Stores with miniscule used CD selections like Antone's found the system, which entails getting detailed information on each used CD transaction, beyond workability, so you can just imagine the reaction at Cheapo Discs. Most shops now have (or already had) a policy of taking sellers' driver's license numbers and noting used purchases on a list, but stopped short of cavity searching every poor shmuck that tries to unload his old Jesus Jones collection. Both Waterloo Records and Sound Exchange say they have not been contacted by the police regarding the matter, leading one to wonder why a small place like Antone's Records got a visit. "This is pure speculation," muses Sound Exchange's Craig Koon, "but you know how much Carole Rylander hates Clifford Antone. …" Cheapo Discs, which handles enormous numbers of used CDs every day, are a more logical target. "I understand their concern," notes one Cheapo employee, waving a notebook scrawled full of disc titles and information, "but maybe they should work more on stopping people from breaking into cars instead." Ironically, the person I spoke to at Waterloo had just had his car broken into the night before.

Crimewatch Pt. III: Welcome to Sambo's

It's 2001, but sometimes you wonder if your calendar isn't off by 40 years or so. Charles Byrd, aka NOOK, is one of four young African-American men who say they were refused service in January by the Taco Cabana restaurant on (Irony Alert!) Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. A press release from the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) says the quartet were told that they could not eat in the dining room of the restaurant, which is open 24 hours a day, and that while they were there, "a number of Anglo and Hispanic customers" were served, wherein Taco Cabana employees called the police, who detained them briefly. The TCRP has issued a lawsuit against the restaurant, the eighth since the organization began their "Equality Under the Law" campaign in 1999. The lawsuit seeks "better training for Taco Cabana employees, a court injunction against further discrimination, and appropriate compensatory and punitive damages." (The Taco Cabana corporate office in San Antonio said they had no information on the matter at press time and were looking into it.) NOOK and company will no doubt feel a tad more welcome at the opening of the Mecca East Hip Hop Culture Center this Friday. Guru from Gang Starr will be in attendance throughout the afternoon at the facility at 1209 E. 11th, which has an open house from 1-3pm and a "Rap Sessions" hip-hop history lesson for area high schoolers from 4-6pm. Guru will perform a fundraiser for the Center at the Mercury that night, along with NOOK, Bavu Blakes, and DJ Nick Nack, with an afterparty at the Victory Grill back on the Eastside. Talk about hip-hopping all over town.

Mixed Notes

Core Bedhead members Matt and Bubba Kadane are preparing to release their debut album with current band the New Year. The band also includes former Codeine drummer/Come guitarist Chris Brokaw, Saturnine bassist Mike Donofrio, and Legendary Crystal Chandelier/ex-Funland frontman Peter Schmidt. Newness Ends is scheduled for release on Touch & Go on Tuesday… Lucinda Williams will team with Ryan Adams to do "something more obscure than 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry'" on a Hank Williams tribute upcoming from Mercury imprint Lost Highway -- her imprint. Also on the comp, expect Hank III, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan covering "I Can't Get You Off of My Mind," and Beck doing "(I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle"… Kissinger recently won five consecutive nights on101X's "Like It or Spike it" and retired as champions with their song "Consider Bridgette." The band's last Austin show until April (except for SXSW) is at Emo's this Friday with the Waxwings and Deathray Davies, as they prepare for their first national tour in April. The tour will coincide with the national release of their debut Charm, already available in Texas… Billy Gibbons, Steve Miller, and Reese Wynans are good friends to have in the music business. Of course, so are non-Texans Jonny Lang, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Andy Fraser, and Fastball keyboardist Billy Preston. All of the above will join John Mayall to record Along for the Ride, set for release on May 8 on the Red Ink label. And here you thought that was the guest star list for the next Double Trouble album… Country music legend Ray Price underwent stomach surgery on Wednesday, Feb. 7, in Houston. The procedure went without complications, doctors say, and Price will reschedule his February shows and resume performing in March… Writing a song about Xena, Warrior Princess, wasn't enough for local pianist/songbird Marilyn Rucker, who swung into crime-stopper gear when her purse was snatched outside the Research Blvd. Target store last week. Rucker pursued the young attacker on foot, verbally rousing those around her to her cause. One of these public-spirited citizens continued the chase in his car as the perp sped off in a waiting pickup truck, pointed out the truck to a passing police officer, and the youth who stole the purse was arrested. Lucky for the young scofflaws that Rucker's song "My Little Gun" -- about the Texas concealed handgun law and its effects on stereotypical big-haired Texas women -- is a satire. Wacky radio host Dr. Demento likes that track (from her upcoming CD Teapot Lady) so much he's been playing the rough mix since October… Headline of the week comes from www.undercover.net.au/, where they note "Elton John and Eminem Confirmed to Play With Each Other at the Grammys." There's an image to make us all shudder…

-- Contributors: Michael Chamy, Christopher Gray, Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, 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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Ken Lieck, Dec. 20, 2002


South by Southwest, Godzilla Motor Company, Hotwheels Jr., NOOK, Bedhead, Bob Schneider, Marilyn Rucker

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