Dancing About Architecture
Fastball gets dropped, while fans of Billy Joe Shaver hopes he doesn't drop dead.
One Strike, You're Out
The salad days are over -- at present, anyway -- for Fastball, as the band has been dropped from the Hollywood Records roster following poor sales of their most recent album, last year's The Harsh Light of Day. Hollywood reps declined comment, but "The Way" author Tony Scalzo says that Rob Seidenberg, the A&R guy who signed them and since moved to Mammoth Records while still working for Hollywood, tried to keep them on. "He was forced to go with his marketing experts," explains Scalzo, "and they don't like us." Scalzo says he's relieved to be free of the label, noting that he "knew our days were numbered when the first single [from The Harsh Light of Day] left radio," and adds that he's disappointed by the lack of support the label had been giving the band. If they don't get a better bite, then Mammoth will presumably snap them up, though Scalzo says he can't see that being an option unless nothing else comes their way. As far as keeping busy, Scalzo says the band has finished their songwriting sessions at Basset Sound and will be recording their next album in Nashville (where Miles Zuniga lives currently), with Fountains of Wayne meister Adam Schlesinger and Kevin Lovejoy joining in the creating. And of course, he's also got plenty of Young Heart Attack gigs coming up to keep him busy.
A Really Close Shaver
"Yep, I blew that operation off at the last minute," sniffs Billy Joe Shaver, who was due for major heart surgery last week. He explains that he "didn't want to be cracked open during Christmas," noting that he wouldn't be able to drive for several weeks or perform for even longer, were he to go under the knife. He admits he "wasn't going on much" when he submitted to his last operation in which Shaver opted out of the scheduled bypass in favor of angioplasty on two of his four clogged arteries following a heart attack earlier this year. However, Shaver insists he feels great now, and will get around to the surgery sooner or later. After his New Year's show at Poodie's, perhaps? "Naw, then I've got at least five shows with Kinky [Friedman]." Those include Gruene Hall, where he had his heart attack ("I'm going back for more!") and an Antone's gig on January 12 ("I don't know if they're ready for a vaudeville show!"). Okay, then, how about February? "Nope, we go to Australia in February," he reports, "we" being himself and Friedman again. So, one assumes Shaver won't be getting the life-saving operation ... "'til I decide to do it," he concludes. "I'm a Christian, so it doesn't really matter, does it?"
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