Dancing About Architecture

Tosca are no Slackers, Pong bounces back, the Dicks still hate the police, and Ken Lieck finds a new journalist pal in this week's "Dancing."

Tosca String Quartet
Tosca String Quartet (Photo By Todd V. Wolfson)


Slacking Into the Future

With the 10th anniversary of Slacker behind him, it's time for director Richard Linklater to look toward the future, and he's doing that with Tosca along for the ride. The local string quartet has provided the working soundtrack, composed mostly of Glover Gill originals, for Linklater's new film Waking Life, which has been picked up by Fox Searchlight with hopes of a New York/L.A./Austin release sometime this fall. Tosca's Leigh Mahoney says she thinks it likely that they'll play the local premiere of the film, but the group won't have time to think about that until after they tour for a month with David Byrne (who they backed during South by Southwest this year) starting on July 25 and including the former Talking Head's August 14 date out at the Backyard. It was Daniel Johnston, not Tosca, who played Linklater's most recent shindig, the post-Slacker party at Antone's last Sunday, but rather than being backed by a string quartet, the pop savant performed with an orchestra -- an orchestra of cell phones in the hands of Hollywood wannabes in the Antone's audience, that is. Former Ed Hall members (plus two) Pong also performed for an impressed Linklater and the folks who made the trek from the packed house at the Paramount's Slacker screening, where Chronicle Editor Louis Black was heckled ("by the same people who heckled me 10 years ago," he contends). Drummer Lyman Hardy says the wait for Pong's recorded debut is almost over, with the tracks recorded and "in committee" as the band decides on track order and cover art for the disc, tentatively titled Killer Lifestyle. Hardy says, "We don't want to get anyone's hopes up," but they're shooting for an August in-store date for the self-released album. As far as film work with Linklater, though, there doesn't seem to be any in the immediate future for Pong. "I was hoping you were him," a disappointed Hardy told "Dancing."


They Really Hate the Police

From out in Kali-fornia, where I hear they make movies as well, the news comes from former Dicks leader Gary Floyd that a "Texas Terri" Laird recording of the Dicks song "Lifetime Problems" is set to appear in the upcoming gangster flick This Thing of Ours, starring James Caan and The Sopranos' Vincent Pastore. The original Dicks version of the tune was the B-side of "Dicks Hate Police," and Laird says the song is one of three demo tunes produced by her pal Jack Douglas (you may remember his work with Aerosmith and John Lennon on Double Fantasy, among his many credits). She adds that after tours of Spain and the U.S. (including South by Southwest) earlier this year, and after having her band the Stiff Ones named Best Punk Band in the L.A. Weekly's music poll, it's now time to "stay at home and write" for her next album with Douglas likely at the helm. Floyd, meanwhile, reports that he's "still happily in love and dealing with life as it comes," and that his current band Black Kali Ma is playing lots and also writing material for a new CD.


Goudie, Too, Shoos!

June is "Leave Your Label Month" in Austin, apparently, with both Kacy Crowley and the Damnations offering up their declarations of independence within these pages in recent weeks. This issue's new kid off the block is Johnny Goudie and his last-namesake band, who have opted to depart from their home at TMC/Elektra Records. The band asked for their freedom a month ago and received the OK last Tuesday, says Goudie, adding that the group liked the people at TMC, but "the Time/Warner/AOL thing changed things so much at Elektra" that the band decided it was time to move on to smaller and better things. The band received little resistance to their request from the label. "When you sell as few records as we did, no one complains when you want to leave," says Goudie, but adds quickly that to his knowledge, the label had not already planned to drop the act. There's already interest from indie labels, and that's exactly what the band wants, so look for them to sign with a smaller company in the reasonably near future. Currently, Goudie the band is in the studio, and will probably remain there until the end of July, with Johnny breaking up the monotony by performing solo acoustic shows here and there. Those wishing to stay in contact with the band while their Web site gets up to snuff can e-mail teamgoudie@hotmail.com.


Sitting on the Dock of the eBay

Those Reivers reissues I told you about last week should bring down the exorbitant eBay prices for the original Capitol CDs of the band's Saturday and End of the Day albums, but alas, now it's too late to use that toward placing a bid on -- Jerry Jeff Walker?!? Well, yeah. Cindy Toth's former employer was up for bids last week as seen in the following eBay listing: "Jerry Jeff Walker Fishing Trip & Private Concert Minimum Bid: $12,000 for a package that includes four people. Retail Value: one of a kind. Trip Dates: January 31-February 3, 2002. Winners meet up with Walker at the Victoria House Resort in Belize, Central America for a four-day/three-night adventure, including a private concert performed by Jerry Jeff Walker at his home, Casa Gonzo, on Ambergris Caye." A representative at Walker's Tried & True Music assured the Chronicle that Jerry Jeff is not in any money trouble, and that the proceeds from the sale (or is it rent?) of the musician go to the Tried & True Foundation to send a lucky youth to the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. A bidder going by the screen name Oventoucher took the prize for a mere $12,600, and we hear that for an extra grand, they'll guarantee that Dr. Hunter S. Thompson won't show up with a bazooka and scare off all the fish. There's less action on the eBay front for Russell Crowe this time around. Oh, people are still asking ridiculous prices for tickets to the sold-out Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts show at Stubb's Aug. 18, but few fish are biting on the $50 per ticket price tags. Guess all that Dennis Quaid & the Sharks action at Antone's has spoiled everybody.


Mixed Notes

Stella Maxwell, lead singer for Cruiserweight, has been chosen as one of the five semi-finalists in the Pantene Pro-Voice music competition, a national contest "designed to recognize, celebrate, and honor young women who choose to use their voice as a tool for positive self-expression" (I think that's PC talk for "chick singers"). As a result, Maxwell will compete in NYC's Central Park July 19 as part of the first annual Pantene Pro-Voice Summer Showcase, headlined by Jewel. If she beats the other performers, Maxwell will win a demo recording contract with Atlantic Records, among other prizes. Judges for the competition include Kimora Lee Simmons, Tracy Bonham, Kathy Najimy (last seen in Austin on King of the Hill day a couple years ago), and Robbie Jacks' buddy Sandra Bernhard… Goodbye to two more promising local acts: Adios to the Playthings, who have played their last, um, thing, though they say that if Harvey Sid Fisher comes back through and needs a backup band, they just might reform for the occasion. Here's a goodbye note from Hidden Speaker's Evan Dickson that pretty much speaks for itself (and drops name the way I like it!): "As of Friday, June 29, I am moving to the pastoral, clean, and beautiful Los Angeles. I figured that since I just received a degree in screenwriting, perhaps I should do something about it. Hidden Speaker is now an L.A. band! This makes more sense to me than being an Austin band since our appeal here has become 'more selective.' Is that my fault? No. But the effortless and easy cash of being a screenwriter, or at least a waiter at Wolfgang Puck's, beckons. So I'm moving. I will find musicians down there, hopefully ones that are willing to obey my orders, without being paid. If not, look for me solo acoustic, but still [as] Hidden Speaker, at the Viper Room. Johnny Depp is my step-cousin-in-law, so setting this up shouldn't be a problem. Perhaps I can collaborate with Marilyn Manson and persuade him that the glam thing really was a good idea. Anyway, take our two albums out of the local bins, boys, and file them under 'National.'"… Lee Ann Womack, who just wrapped the headlining female slot on George Strait's Country Festival tour, is scheduled to be the first Texas music artist to rate an appearance on the celebrity Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Specifically, the press release calls it "a very special week of Pop Superstar Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," which means, apparently, someone's gonna die, get married, or lose their virginity on the show at some point. Womack will be playing for the grade school she attended in Jacksonville, Texas, and will play alongside TLC's Lisa Left-Eye Lopes and rapper Eve plus a batch of male performers including Train's Pat Monahan, 98 Degrees' Nick Lachey, and Joey McIntyre. "I'm not exactly the queen of pop culture," says Womack, "but if they have any questions about Bob Wills or Willie Nelson, I know I'll knock those right out of the box!" I dunno, I hear Joey McIntyre has amassed a mighty large collection of Western swing 78's with his New Kids on the Block money… Quote of the week comes from Britt Daniel, in the cutline of the photo in the August 2001Guitar Player accompanying a small featurette on Spoon: "I'm not extremely skilled, but I'm tasteful"… Hey, remember back in February when I ran an item on the local company Wavefly that was developing an amazing new music player that would let you listen to Internet radio in the car and generally revolutionize the future of communication and information? Well, I recently followed up, and received the following e-mail: "As you may or may not know, the company bit the dust and so with it went my job. I am looking to get back into freelance writing and wanted to know if I could talk to you about what freelance opportunities are around in Austin." Ah, well. So much for the future of technology. And as far as your question, well, I think Greensheet may need someone for their special focus on Eastside garage sales, but unfortunately, that's about as lucrative as this field gets…

-- Contributors: Raoul Hernandez, Andy Langer, Margaret Moser

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