Dancing About Architecture
Hole is on hold, as is Abra Moore's new album, though American Analog Set may be dead and the Mercury's Hip Hop Humpday is definitely. Meanwhile, John Kunz fights back, and Don Imus raises the Flatlanders flag. Whew!
Hello Again, Walls?
Could the Hole in the Wall yet return? Local real estate maven Perry Lorenz says that the Hole, or something like it, at least, most certainly could. In fact, Lorenz has got two potential buyers interested in the property where the Hole stood. Basically, what that means is that the Hole in the Wall could return if new owners could be found to run it. Is there anybody out there sane enough to run a club at that location yet insane enough to want to run a club at that location? If so, give Lorenz a call -- he's waiting for the phone to ring.
Waterloo Breaks the Chains
Saying that what he's concerned about is the matter of having a "level playing field," Waterloo Records owner John Kunz has been up in arms lately about the in-development block catty-corner to the 'Loo. Though the worst-case scenario, that of a Virgin Megastore there, doesn't seem to be coming to pass, both Kunz and the nearby BookPeople are upset over the news that a Borders Books & Music franchise shop is apparently going to be one of the businesses in the new center. Actually, the problem isn't the store itself, according to Kunz, it's the project receiving $2.2 million in fee waivers and other potential incentives from the city. "The bottom line is that Waterloo welcomes any competition that comes along," explains Kunz. "However, I don't think that the city should be granting fee waivers and tax abatements to businesses looking to come in and compete with businesses that exist here and have existed here, paying taxes, paying all their fees and not being abated." We'll have to wait and see whether the city listens to his and BookPeople's pleas as far as the corner's new "boarders." For more see "The Showdown at Sixth and Lamar," p.18.
Given this week's cover stories, I should report that thanks to a challenge by radio/television "personality" Don Imus, the Flatlanders earned a spot in the regular rotation of Los Angeles' KZLA. The country station accepted Imus' offer of $10,000 to their charity of choice by being the first frequency in a Top 10 market to make a Flatlanders tune one of its most played songs. KZLA typically plays New Country stalwarts like Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, and Shania Twain rather than our Lubbock lads' more traditional brand of roots music. KZLA operations manager RJ Curtis claimed he hadn't been sent a copy of the album before hearing of the promotion, and that KZLA played the song 17 times in one day after Imus agreed to give $10k to Tilden's Children, a foundation designed to benefit underprivileged kids. Since then, listener polls have kept the song on the air and the Flatlanders album Now Again has reached No. 170 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, No. 22 on their Country Album Chart, and No. 3 on the Heatseekers Chart. A Dallas station, KSCS-FM, reportedly took the Imus challenge as well, but how far they took it is questionable, since the band hasn't shown up on their charts in industry magazines. Joe Ely has been quoted as saying, "[Imus] offered on radio to cut half his penis off if this song wasn't a hit. He did brag he'd still have 14 inches left." Why I'm reprinting that comment, however, is beyond me.
End of the Analog Era?
Rumors are swelling about the American Analog Set's show at the Mercury with Her Space Holiday on August 15. Word is that AmAnSet frontman Andrew Kenney plans to head out of state to attend grad school at Columbia University, with the upcoming Austin gig, the final one of their current tour, being the band's final one altogether. A rep for the band's label, Tiger Style, says he knows it will be the band's last tour for a while, and admits it may be the last show for good as well. "I'm not sure," he says, "but grad school is a big deal!" While you wait for updates, check out Updates, the new Analog Set EP featuring remixes by the aforementioned Her Space Holiday that just came out on Tiger Style.
Over the Hump
Hip Hop Humpday went out with both a whimper and a bang last Wednesday, as the production's third anniversary show at the Mercury became its last, presumably for good. The venue's Mark Collins says the club was packed for the final get-together by D-Madness, Bria Mendes, DJ Massive, DJ Phyfteen, Bavu Blakes, Tee Double, Tray God, and Element, and that "we went out on a good note, which was our main concern." In the future, there may be some reuniting in the works, just as there may be a CD (a demo with some freestyling is making the rounds already). As far as Wednesday nights at the Mercury, something new will be starting up at the end of August. Exactly what it is, Collins isn't ready to say.
Ignore any dates you saw here in regard to Abra Moore's upcoming album No Fear. There's been some debate over which song to push and what markets to push it to, causing delays in the release date. "It's a Clive [Davis] thing," says her manager George Couri, referring to her label's music industry legend-cum-CEO. Couri adds that the track in question, a cover of Sly & the Family Stone's "Everyday People," was being groomed for AAA radio before everyone involved realized that perhaps a more pop route needed to be taken. Now the disc is likely to come out in September. More news on that as it becomes clear. Meanwhile, check out Abra's "strings attached" show at the Hyde Park Methodist Church on August 10.
It probably wasn't a record crowd, since the Emo's folks were careful not to oversell the joint, but the Butthole Surfers show at the club last Saturday was a full-on success. I'm not sure whether the picture accompanying this column was taken during their rousing rendition of "Negro Observer," but that is the film work of Lori "Surfer-- Vargas in the background, with donations of material from those who have held the dirty job before her. Daniel Johnston and his young punk cronies the Nightmares also put on a fine performance following Johnston's dawdling in England with David Bowie, and the U.S.S. Friendship set was nothing to sneeze at either... Ocean's 11 is now open 7pm-2am Tuesday-Saturday, except Fridays when they open for Happy Hour at 4pm. Better yet, now owner Dino Lee is performing at his own club as Mr. Fabulous, with his full band appearing there on Fridays starting in August. The only real question is "what took him so long?"... Music archivist and pioneer of field recording Alan Lomax, who was born in Austin in 1915 and discovered Huddie "Leadbelly-- Ledbetter in the 1930s, died in Sarasota, Fla., this week in a nursing home. Lomax began his career in his early teens, traveling with his folklorist father and collecting the music of plantation workers, prisoners, New Orleans jazz bands, and Haitian witch doctors... If you haven't heard of Kissing Chaos, it's because the band is 80% unknown. That's 80% Pop Unknown -- Gabriel Wiley, Joel Ganucheau, Matt Breedlove, and Erick Sanger. The band has formed from the ashes of Pop Unknown following the departure of frontman Tim Lassiter. Word is that Lassiter decided, after their last tour this past spring, that constant roadwork, being away from his fiancée, and the band's direction wasn't for him. Kissing Chaos' next show is this Sunday at Emo's with Taking Back Sunday. The band is currently in the studio wrapping up some demos being recorded by Rory Phillips... The enhanced Fastball best-of collection comes out on August 27, complete with videos for "The Way," "Fire Escape," "Out of My Head," "You're an Ocean," and "Vampires"... It looks like the band Larry has picked up an interesting new guitarist. Kenny Withrow from Edie Brickell & New Bohemians will be performing with the Larry lads at the Vibe Friday and Saturday... Among the acts tapped by the Sex Pistols for yet another reunion concert in London on Saturday are the Libertines, Dropkick Murphys -- and the ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead guys. That should get the Dead boys ready for further touring with the Queens of the Stone Age, a show scheduled for outdoors at Stubb's the weekend of Austin City Limits' big festival. Recently, the lads were approached by VH1 for help on an upcoming program about groupies. The band's response, found at www.trailofdead.com, is priceless. Suffice to say that the Trail's TV viewing habits don't include large doses of The Real World... Coming on DVD from the MVD label in July, there's Willie, featuring Willie Nelson in the Nashville Superstar Concert and the Austin Great Outlaw Valentine Concert. In August or September, they promise that the Butthole Surfers' Blind Eye Sees All will follow... Wanna do your part for the SIMS Foundation in a simple way? Wednesday shows at the Hard Rock Cafe continue to benefit the newly-energized organization dedicated to musicians' mental and emotional health, and next Wednesday's show features Blue Mist, Gnappy, and a jam hosted by Alter Ego, all for the standard $5 donation... Patrice Pike is playing at the Hard Rock tonight (Thursday) since they'll be unveiling a display of her guitar there. She will be the first Austin musician to have something up on the HRC walls, I'm told. That's current, living Austin musician, of course. We've all heard the story about Stevie Ray Vaughan's guitar and its Hard Rock Cafe adventures...