Dancing About Architecture
The rains came, sweeping away parking at Noahfest, Boozoo Chavis, and DJ Muppetfucker's name. Clifford Antone, meanwhile, remains in the pokey, while Schatzi prepares to go the same route and sign a record deal.
Most folks who have federally subsidized residences wait until parole to begin their community service, but Clifford Antone never did do things like everyone else. Next Thursday, May 17, Antone's nightclub will be the scene of the first "Help Clifford Help Kids" show to benefit American Youthworks, the organization the club owner has chosen to work with upon his release. "The first time I saw American Youthworks I knew it was something I would have done even if there hadn't been trouble," said Antone in a call to the club Tuesday night. Obviously, Antone won't be in attendance, but his name will doubtless be invoked numerous times during the evening, scheduled to start at 5:30pm with a performance by Monte Montgomery. "Cliff's favorite foods" will be provided by Antone's for-real culinary hangouts, including Iron Works and Güero's. A celebrity benefit auction, which will include a small speaking part in Dennis Quaid's new film The Rookie, will be followed by musical sets from Toni Price, Vallejo, and Bob Schneider. Goodwill doesn't come cheap, as the tickets are $125, but Antone's commitment to the program is intended to fund an AYW arts and technology center. The organization's goal is to provide "at promise" kids with education, job skills, and training, preventing them from falling into society's "at risk" factor. Technically, none of this will apply to the community service time that Antone must do in addition to his prison time, but then again, I guess if you could do these things by proxy, the entire Big Brother program would be filled with off-duty members of the Sopranos.
Give Me Liberty or Give Me Lunch!
And the next Mayor of Austin will be former Liberty Lunch co-owner J'net Ward?!? Well, it's a possibility, if a remote one, and "it all depends on what Kirk Watson does," says Ward's "aide" Mileah Jordan. Rumors that Watson might resign his post to seek higher office originally sparked the idea of the club veteran attempting to take the office. Campaign manager Terri Lord, who says her job so far consists of thinking up ideas for bumper sticker slogans, says this "could be very serious, or it could be another Hank the Hallucination candidacy." Then there's also the matter of Ward not actually residing in the city limits. Her partner Mark Pratz told the Chronicle, in a report from the couple's home in Taylor, that at this time, new information on the return of Liberty Lunch was more likely to come up before news on the Ward for Mayor campaign. (He was serious, by the way -- Pratz says there may be some sort of progress to report on the future of the beloved Austin ex-landmark/nightclub in upcoming weeks). As for the candidate herself, as she gears up for an exciting political season, Pratz says that, "Um, she's in bed right now -- do you really want to bother her about this?"
Pitching the Next Fastball?
March's South by Southwest showcase by locals Schatzi drew quite a strong turnout from the label folks -- you may have seen it referenced in Entertainment Weekly's SXSW coverage as one of the two bands with the most label buzz at the conference. "From that point," says Schatzi manager George Couri, "we started talks to figure out who could do things the very specific way we wanted to handle the Schatzi project. We came to the decision that that company would be Mammoth Records, who, although the deal is not exactly signed, we are in negotiations with as we speak." Besides the fact that Rob Seidenberg, the man who signed Fastball to Hollywood Records, is now the Austin-friendly president of Mammoth, Couri adds that the reasoning behind the label choice stems from the fact that "we all know that the Columbias and Atlantics and such do one thing for artists: try to get them immediately on the radio. If that doesn't work, they give up and move on. Indies hardly worry about radio, and build things up through touring, but their resources are very very limited, and there is little to no chance of hitting it when you are ready." Mammoth proved to be the solution to the Schatzi dilemma. The company has the per-project money and distribution of a major, but the patience of an indie, according to Couri, and they only puts out some half-dozen albums per year, unlike a major's 60. "As a result," explains Couri, "Schatzi will be allowed to tour for two and a half years guaranteed, in writing, meaning the label will pay for that touring no matter what. And they will not put one dime into worrying about commercial radio until we are ready." As far as his other clients, Couri says there's a new Abra Moore album finishing up this summer, and Dynamite Hack has hired producer Keith Cleversley (Flaming Lips, Hum, Mercury Rev) to produce an album that the band will be heading to Chicago to record in two weeks. Meanwhile, the original Fastball fellas (and non-Couri clients) haven't disappeared -- they make an appearance on the new all-star Who tribute record, Substitute: The Songs of The Who, which after some delay will finally see release June 12 on indie label Edsel Records. The disc features Pearl Jam doing "The Kids Are Alright," Sheryl Crow flying with "Behind Blue Eyes," David Bowie taking "Pictures of Lily," Phish counting out "5:15," and The Who themselves performing the title track. Fastball chose Quadrophenia's "The Real Me" for their number. According to Fastball bassist Tony Scalzo, quoted at Allstarmag.com, "I've loved them since I was 12, back when they were a band, still." Scalzo is in Fastball, still, but is currently playing with Young Heart Attack during the band's touring break, while Miles Zuniga is off in France as this year's Austin guest at Miles Copeland's castle songwriting retreat.
The Snap Beans Really Were Too Salty ...
Despite what seemed like a promising prognosis for zydeco legend Boozoo Chavis at press time last issue, following the attack of congestive heart failure he suffered prior to his second scheduled appearance at the Louisiana Swamp Romp on April 29, the reported attack was later followed by a severe stroke. Chavis never made it out of Austin, passing away on Saturday morning, May 5, due to "complications." Those interested in supporting Chavis' family to offset high medical bills and funeral expenses are urged to send donations payable to Leona Chavis, Boozoo's wife of 50 years. Their address is: 115 Petah Street, Lake Charles, LA 70607. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time, but will be held at Johnson's Funeral Home, Lake Street, Lake Charles, LA. Cards and well wishes can also be sent to that address.
Raving and Ranting
Noah Ark (real name Noah Balch) is not happy about how the rains turned out. That's the rave promoter, not the Biblical figure, and the rains are the ones from this weekend, which were only a distant cousin to the Great Flood. This Noah can't understand why the news reports on his Electric Daisy Carnival rave have centered on the pre-dawn traffic snarl in one of the parking lots following the all-night event last Saturday/Sunday. "The weather was the only thing we couldn't control," he says, and points out that all his acts, rides, and effects ran smoothly over the 12-hour event, and there were no notable injuries or criminal activity. I have to side with him somewhat; you go to a wet field with 20,000 other people, you better expect some delays getting out. (In fact, that's exactly why my lovely companion and I decided against heading out to the Carnival after Sonic Youth let out around 11:30pm that night.) Ark should just be glad that bad press and mud pits are the worst things he's had to worry about. The current issue of Rolling Stone features a deeply disturbing story chronicling the DEA's current efforts to apply existing "crack house statutes," which were originally created to allow charges to be brought against landlords who knowingly allow their property to be used as a base for drug dealers, to arrest rave promoters on the assertion that their events promote drug use. According to RS, the DEA has gone so far as to refer to glow sticks and bottled water as "drug paraphernalia"! Great. With crack dealers lining our streets, the Evian man is now public enemy No. 1! DEA people, get a clue -- you're mostly made of water! Balch says his raves and many others don't sell alcohol and thus have a very low level on crime incidence. "These people are happy and peaceful," he says, "and you can't persecute people for their musical taste." Assuming the national rave witch hunt stalls out, does Ark have any particular area he'll be concentrating on for future events? Well, next time, he sighs, "We're going to look for a place with a parking area that can take that kind of traffic flow as the event keeps getting bigger. That's all we can do." Don't worry, Noah, didn't the Lord promise he'd never do that to you again?
Though I can't imagine what they found objectionable, the word is that attorneys for the Jim Henson Company have issued a cease and desist to local DJ Muppetfucker (real name Noah Lee). Since making contact at the end of March, the Henson lawyers have demanded that Lee do three things: 1) cease using the moniker Muppetfucker; 2) not register any more domains that infringe upon their trademarks; and 3) transfer his domains, muppetfucker.org and muppetfucker.net, over to them (where I'm sure they'll find some use for them). In an interview online with RaveMedia.org, Lee suggests to others that, "I guess the best thing I can recommend is to not establish yourself with a name that violates any large trademark or copyright. I figure becoming 'DJ Pepsi' or 'DJ BurgerKing' is out of the question now." So does the local spinner have a new name picked out? Sure does -- Noahphex. Hmm, that wasn't stolen from any punk band's name, now was it? Some people never learn On similar grounds, perhaps you should take the opportunity to see the Marshall Fucker Band while you can. They'll be playing the Red Eyed Fly on Friday, so better act fast; either the Marshall Tucker people or the Marshall amp company could come after them at any moment Analog Aether will kick off the six-week long Farewell Fest for Technophilia Records on the Drag this Saturday at 2pm. Also performing will be members of Ctrl, the Alpha Conspiracy, Kusser, A.I.A and others If you thought you saw George Bush being pushed around in a wheelchair by George Dubya Bush in the Capitol area over the weekend, the former screaming about the rise of the demon Moloch and the latter bearing the sign 666 on his forehead, relax. The men behind the masks were none other than radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and NewsRadio star Joe Rogan, fooling around with the Sacred Cow Productions gang and taping an intro for Rogan's new shot-in-Austin stand-up comedy video. When that becomes available, expect to hear comments on there being too many musicians in Austin ("Haven't you people found any other way to get laid?") and the Austin Music Network ("I saw a rock version of The Jeffersons theme on there this morning -- AMN is like bad stand-up in that it inspires you to start your own act. You're sitting there thinking 'Fuck, dude, I could do that!'") among more important subjects. Of Jones, Rogan seems to be increasingly obsessed with the obsessive InfoWars conspiracy guy, insisting that much of what Jones says is brilliant and true, if only he'd get rid of his crazy side. "I should move here -- I could change him!" Rogan insisted during a phone conversation with yours truly. I dunno, Joe, you kinda sound like a girl there. You're starting to worry me, dude
-- Contributors: Christopher Gray, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser