Dancing About Architecture
Joey Ramone still dead, bands still touring, Dick Price getting bigger than Bob Schneider
Ramones of the Day
The death of Joey Ramone is still what everyone in the music world is talking about. And yes, even local frequencies are playing the Ramones now, to various extents. Specifically, Melody Lee of local alterna-rock outlet 101X-FM writes in response to last week's column, "Thanks for the laughs. Billy Perkins ripped up what I said and rearranged it to soothe what I imagine must be his damaged ego. I already had a tribute to Joey Ramone planned for the Flashback Lunch on Monday, and indeed played well over 20 minutes worth of Ramones throughout my show. The only thing I didn't do was put Billy on the air to fulfill his rock & roll pirate radio fantasy." As for the word on the Internet, a piece on www.ananova.com is one of the more interesting, claiming that Joey Ramone was listening to U2 when he died: "When the call came from the hospital for him and his mother to go to the hospital on Sunday, [Joey's brother] Mickey Hyman brought a copy of U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind. He played 'In a Little While' to Joey and by the end of the song, he was gone." Apparently, when it came to the latest from Bono and company, Ramone did choose to leave it behind. Meanwhile, world-class nit-picker and former/future Chronicle contributor Kent Benjamin just had to chime in on the matter of my mentioning that the Ramones took their name from a pseudonym Paul McCartney used on occasion: "OK, this is too good to pass up," writes Benjamin. "You're part right. 'Paul Ramon' (I think it's without an 'e,' but I'm at work) was the nickname Paul used when he played bass and sang on Steve Miller's 'My Dark Hour' on Brave New World, his classic 1969 album." Not content with that, Mr. B goes on to relate that, "On that same album is 'Space Cowboy,' and the DVD for the film Space Cowboys came out on Tuesday, the day after the news about Joey broke." (I suspect that Mr. Benjamin is currently in negotiations to host VH1's rock & roll version of Connections). Finally, local caterer and gadabout Steve Chaney pointed out that damn near every music journalist who offered up verbal tribute to the late rocker continued to further the eternal myth that the Ramones were the greatest "three chord" band in history. Chaney is correct in correcting what even as piss-poor a guitarist as myself knows full well: The Ramones "sound" required four chords in the vast majority of their songs.
The Touring Syndrome
Is this a really busy touring summer, or are more people just happening to e-mail me about their international adventures? I mean, even Stella Bowes is going on a European tour! That's right, everyone's favorite senior Carousel Lounge hostess will be heading off on a performance tour of Austria and Germany in mid-May -- as part of her church choir (but that still counts). It's also just about time for her birthday, so look for a b'day and farewell combo party on May 4 at the Carousel, with Ted Roddy providing that night's music. (In case you still need more Roddy, don't forget the annual Muddy Waters tribute with Roddy, Gary Primich, and a "cast of thousands" is this Sunday at the Continental Club.) The latest local act to announce they're embarking soon on rock & roll airlines are the Lower Class Brats, who are heading off to Europe for a five-week tour of Poland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Germany, though they probably won't be performing at any of the same venues as Stella Bowes. They'll be playing their last U.S. show before departure at Emo's tonight (Thursday), in what the club is calling "a night of mourning for Joey Ramone," with Blunt Force Trauma, the Strap-Onz from San Antonio, and the Krum Bums. In some strange variation on the old "exchange student" deal, while the Brats are in Europe, their UK pals and counterparts Beerzone will be in Austin in late May to play a gig at, naturally enough, Beerland. That's assuming the place is open by then, of course. "I've got shows coming up, so I hope I'll be open in time for them" says long-suffering would-be club-owner Randall Stockton. The first scheduled night is May 4, with the Hatchbacks, Hard Feelings, Damn Times, and an opening set from Holy Happy Hour Charlie. That's if Beerland can make it through the "final stretch of red tape," sighs Stockton.
A Dick Bigger Than Madonna (aka "Dick Dick Dick Dick Dick Dick ...")
Pardon the gratuitous Tarantino reference above. We recently discussed in Dancing the notion of Bob Schneider being bigger than the Beatles, and now comes forth the assertion that Dick Price is bigger than Madonna. A recent e-mail pertaining to Dick size noted that "Mr. Price currently has the fifth-most-popular song on all of MP3.com, charting higher than Madonna, AC/DC, and Faith Hill! 2,800 people listened to 'The Easter Bunny That Time Forgot' yesterday, and I'm predicting that it'll be close to 4,000 today." That message came in on April 13, and as I type this column up on the 23rd, charts.mp3.com/charts/topchart.html finds Price's song holding its place after three weeks, remaining at No.4 on the MP3 weekly chart (between the Offspring and Brooke Allison, if anyone can find a deeper meaning in there somewhere). With nine songs in MP3.com's General Comedy Top 100, continued national airplay on the Dr. Demento show, and the expanding audience since he's returned to doing live shows locally, if Dick keeps it up, he could be bigger than Bob Schneider!
Careful With That Axe
As McGruff the Crime Dog might say, thanks to him being too busy mucking with pot offenders and people who don't wear their seatbelts, you're never safe from thieving scum. Not anywhere. Silver Scooter lost a guitar to thieves in Ohio last week. Though they're trying to not escalate the matter into "another spam on the scale of Sonic Youth's stolen gear e-mail," they're hoping that if you have musician friends in Ohio you might have them keep an eye open for a Sixties Standel semi-hollowbody with a starburst finish and unique headstock, as seen at www.peekaboorecords.com/standel/. Meanwhile, in Austin, after loaning amps to Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz for both of their Texas shows, guitarist Andy McWilliams returned to his car to find his six-string had been stolen out of the vehicle. That instrument is a 1957 Gibson Les Paul Jr., which has had the headstock broken off and repaired and a bad paint job ("sort of a goldish greenish with a lot of paint faded off from playing"). Leads for McWilliams? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Linklater is trying to track down all his original cast and crew members from Slacker, and though most of them are still, by definition, lying around their same crappy abodes doing as little as possible (Greg "Wendell Stivers" Wilson, fire your agent!), if you know of any who might be out of Rick's current address book tell them to call 322-0031 or e-mail cathy@detour film.com with their updated address and phone information. (Let's see, Teresa Taylor lives a block from me, and Johnny Rat was just in town last week, I swear!) Rumor has it that the search is on due to a possible Slacker reunion sometime this summer. Myself, I'd like to see an animated series More outdoor fun as the sunny Texas days wear on. The 7th Annual Louisiana Swamp Romp and Crawfish Festival is this Saturday and Sunday, April 28 & 29 in Waterloo Park, noon-10pm with touring acts on the bill including C.J. Chenier, Dikki Du, and Steve Riley, plus all the typical earmarks of a French Smith event, like children's areas and arts and crafts booths, along with alligator-on-a-stick (a personal favorite if it's not overcooked), a traditional New Orleans funeral procession, a "Voodoo Village" replete with "Ju Ju Mamas," and costumed females throwing lots and lots of beads. Hopefully, other elements common to Austin Mardi Gras-style festivities will be absent, especially in the "street brawls and tear gas" department Rick Treviño's first post-"Ricky," post-"hat act," and post-Los Super Seven solo album is coming out in May, with advance copies having already made their way to the press (meaning the Chronicle). Producer on the new disc, titled Mi Son, is Steve Berlin, and as expected, guests from Los Seven y Los Lobos are plentiful Young and old provided musical highlights in Austin this week. Despite being warned, I missed what I'm told was an incredible debut by a band of 11-year-olds called Three Hours Sleep at Gaby & Mo's, though I did manage to see Tom Banjo's Continental Club performance of his indescribable "cranky show." Mr. Banjo appeared on a Grateful Dead album back in the day, but then, he moans, "My son Ethan [Azarian of the Orange Mothers] was born, and I stayed out of the music business for 30 years." (He has that effect on many of us, Tom.) Mr. Banjo had to head back to Vermont before we had a chance to plug in his splendiforous "cranky" machine, but the Orange Grandfather promises to return to Austin in full force in November Oops: That mention in last week's column about Guy Forsyth in The Ape Man of Manhattan being at the Off Center was slightly incorrect. That play will be at Austin's Off Center, not the original one in New York (my theatre days are too far behind me; I didn't know we had an Off Center here!). It's at 2211-A Hidalgo on the Eastside, and the play isn't until June so you still have plenty of time to cancel those plane tickets Finally, despite anything that may have been claimed on last Sunday's Show With No Name, I do not have any sort of "collection" of "potty movies." And even if I did have one, and donated it to the SWNN, I say this to those who e-mailed me about their "abject uncomfortableness [at] the unshakable [mental] image of you making potty while listening to the potty song with that little man with the glasses sitting on your tub cheering you on" (for the record, I do not appear in the film): Who is truly to blame for you being "frozen in horror" in front of the tube that night -- me or host Charlie Sotelo, who made you watch it?!? If you're really out for "abject uncomfortableness," I sat through that myself this weekend when the Asylum Street Spankers decided that the wedding dinner they were playing was a "wallpaper gig" and that tossing "Shave 'em Dry" into the set would liven things up. A friend of mine who was sitting near one of the elderly relatives' tables insists that after Christina Marrs belted out the line about "I can't get a fuck!" one nearby bluehair turned to another and muttered something along the lines of "ain't that the truth, sister!"
-- Contributors: Michael Chamy, Raoul Hernandez