Dancing About Architecture
Checking up on SIMS and their $216K, checking in on Lyle Lovett's broken leg, and Tyler Harwood checks out of the Zulu as Kono and the Peenbeets.
Being for the Benefit Of ...
I had hoped in this week's column to address the matter of the Services Invested in Musicians' Support (SIMS) Foundation not returning people's phone calls, as was claimed by a letter writer in last week's Chronicle "Postmarks." Unfortunately, SIMS Executive Director Peyton Wimmer didn't return my calls. However, KGSR's Jody Denberg did, saying he had the utmost confidence in the local nonprofit, which provides free mental health services for local musicians. That's good, seeing as KGSR donated most of the proceeds ($217,000) from the sales of its annual Broadcasts CD. The monies, presented at this year's Austin Music Awards, are being "parceled out" by the station to SIMS on an as-needed basis. "We don't have any regrets about our donation," says Denberg, "but we didn't just hand the whole amount over to them." Though he suspects that last week's letter was sent by someone who has "personal issues" with SIMS or Wimmer, Denberg says it may turn out to be a "positive spark" toward talking out the problems in the "organization of the organization." Unfazed by the controversies surrounding them, the SIMS Foundation continues to keep a high profile, and now is teaming with the Hard Rock Cafe to produce a weekly live music showcase starting Wednesday, April 24, at 9pm. The Hard Rock House Band, featuring onetime Mavericks guitarist and forever Booze Weasel David Holt, plus noteworthy Austin sidemen, will perform, along with impromptu sets by local guest bands, while SIMS reps in attendance encourage participation in the organization. Says SIMS Talent Coordinator Paul Minor, "It's far from an open mic, but for those hoping to jam, joining up with a basic membership at the show might get you in [my] good graces."
Of course, SIMS isn't the only pro-musician group out there looking for your help. If you were a badge holder at SXSW this year, you may have looked into the "No More Benefits? Taking Care of Each Other in a Crisis" panel with moderator Dave Marsh and Kristin Thomson of the Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a not-for-profit think tank based in our nation's capital. Thomson says that through June 30, the FMC is conducting an online survey to better understand musicians' experiences with health insurance coverage. Visit www.futureofmusic.org/research/health survey.cfm to answer their survey. Note, too, that the Austin Music Foundation (AMF) -- not to be confused with the Austin Federation of Musicians (AFM) -- is now active and has launched the Music Industry Bootcamp Seminar Series, which meets on the last Monday of each month at Steamboat, from 6-8pm. Attendees to the previous meeting heard a seminar on tax returns and accounting tips for bands and industry professionals. Check out www.austinmusicfoundation.org/ for info.
The time of "No More Benefits" is still a long way off, however, so if you've got a little extra cash, worthy benefits are not in short supply in the next few weeks. In addition to the Lance Armstrong fêtes next weekend, the Yellow Bike Project is sponsoring a benefit show for two local cyclists who have some broken bones and can't work. That's this Sunday at Room 710, with Free Range Bastards, One-Fifth Griffith, Powersquid, and Littermeet. Meals on Wheels, meanwhile, hosts its 30th Anniversary Concert, featuring Ray Benson and friends, at La Zona Rosa next Thursday, April 11. Tickets are available through Star Tickets. Benson and former bandmate Cindy Cashdollar are among those playing the benefit for Don Walser at the Broken Spoke this Sunday, 5-10pm, along with Slaid Cleaves, Cornell Hurd, Alvin Crow, the Geezinslaws, Casper Rawls, Karen Poston, Floyd Domino, Elana Fremerman, Paul Glasse, and the South Austin Jug Band. Walser was laid up in the hospital recently because of complications due to diabetes and is now recuperating at home. You can also send cards and/or donations to the Don Walser Fund, c/o Nancy Fly Agency, PO Box 90306, Austin, TX 78709.
That's a Lot of Bull!
Pat Green may not be too comfortable around people, but at least animals leave him alone. Hell, even Joe Ely's broken leg incident a few years ago leaves him with nothing on poor Lyle Lovett. The tall-haired Texan is facing months of rehabilitation following an attempt to help his uncle, who had just been flipped by Lovett's pet bull Cotton. According to a Houston Chronicle interview with the singer's doctor, 20 pieces of bone were broken in Lovett's leg, including nine major bone fragments that had to be put back together. Big, big ouch! Lovett faces some six months of recovery time. Meanwhile, Lyle's wishing his "Skinny Legs" had been wearing "Flying Shoes" at the time, and as far as being "Black and Blue," he's hoping that "Once Is Enough." Here's wishing this year's Austin Music Awards guest a speedy mend.
Brown Zulu Beets It?
I got an e-mail this week in reference to my mention last week of Friday being Zulu as Kono's final show for a spell since member Tyler Harwood was apparently moving to San Francisco. "You have been misinformed regarding the imminent departure of Tyler Harwood," came the missive from Brown Whörnet's Peter Stopschinski, who added brusquely, "He's not leaving. That's just what he told Zulu and the Peenbeets so he wouldn't have to play their stupid music anymore. We kindly ask you to retract your statements regarding this matter and look for Tyler at the next Brown Whörnet gig. Sincerely, Brown Whörnet. PS: Whoever told you that is a chump!" A stunned Josh Chalmers of Zulu as Kono replies that, "At first, I just thought Peter was being a 'jealous lover' since his compositions are actually all written by Tyler -- Peter just transcribes them -- but now I've learned that maybe his comments were true. It seems that the two of them are planning to stick around Austin to become a singer-songwriter duo, with the rest of those Brown Whörnet losers as their backup band." Chalmers adds he's "pretty sure" the new project is called Sax & Money, but admits that his information comes from a former roommate of Harwood, as his ex-bandmate would not return his (or the Chronicle's) calls. "This was really painful for Zulu as Kono to discover," sighs Chalmers. Those who bemoan the lack of dirt-dishing in Austin's press lately will no doubt be waiting with bated breath!
Besides the afterparties at Stubb's and every other club on Sixth Street following the weekend's String Cheesiness, not to mention co-sponsor Waterloo Records' big Sunday show and their other presentations (Peter Case at the Cactus Cafe Friday; W.C. Clark at the Pier Saturday), the Dung Beatles are "doo-ing" a performance at Club DeVille after Tenacious D's set at Waterloo Park tonight (Thursday). "We're going to head to their show in full Beatle dress and see if'n they wants to head down the street for a Dung-off." The D's other local pals, Wan Santo Condo, will be playing a few shows with the Tenacious ones as well, in New Orleans, Houston, Oklahoma City, and Dallas, before heading off to Hollywood to play the Viper Room... An A&R rep from London's Catfish Records was at Quatropaw's SXSW show, the band reports, checking them out again the following night at Leanne Atherton's annual Barn Dance, and then videotaping their happy hour at Hole in the Wall the following Wednesday. Next step: their set at Antone's opening for Bob Schneider this Friday will be recorded for the record company and possibly released as a live CD... Been waiting for live music to return to Threadgill's North (the old one)? Well, Warren Hood's South Austin Jug Band is crossing town on Wednesday to play a 9pm show at the classic "Janis Joplin slept around here" venue. The eatery is looking to add more live music to its schedule in the future, so I think it's safe to say that the number of people who make it to Wednesday's show will weigh heavily on the management's decision regarding future live band action at the chicken-fried steak house... Trying to diet? The tuna salad and cake being served side by side at the Tuna Helpers' CD release party should put you off your feed right quick. That's Saturday at Room 710, also featuring Hug, Toof, and more... Jose Greco, scheduled for April 13 at the Paramount Theatre, has apparently canceled his tour and will not be performing. No reason has been given, but I expect that at his age, Greco can invoke the "Methusela Rule" whenever he wishes... Finally, comes the announcement that a Kansas-based chain operation, the Fox and Hound, will be serving up beer and grub at the former spot of the much-beloved Waterloo Brewing Co. Keeping in mind the landlord's tossing aside a perfectly good local business in favor of a faceless national clone, perhaps they should change the name to the Bait and Switch.