Dancing About Architecture
Can you believe it, another club gone. And another gone, and another gone
Aloha Means Goodbye...
Is there anything but farewells on the music scene these days? Friday night I visited the shell of the Hole in the Wall to help set up things for their equipment sell-off, and Saturday I followed that up with a trip to the last night of the Empanada Parlour. Yep, that's right, the world music venue on Sixth has succumbed to its unceasing monetary troubles. Owner Ash Corea says she finally assembled and delivered several months of back rent to her landlord a little over a week ago, "and she told us she already had another tenant." Corea says she's "not gonna slag the landlady," though. "Austin's a small place, and I want to go out gracefully. Business is business." She's more vocal about the city, though, and the citizens of Austin themselves. Of the former, she berates that, "Their idea of supporting live music is SXSW -- that's four days a year. What about the rest of the 360 days?" Of the latter, she decries people who balk at paying even the most reasonable cover charges, saying, "They must think [musicians' pay] just dribbles in through the atmosphere." Don't expect a new Parlour opening elsewhere soon. "I fought the city and lost. I fought the Sheraton, and I wouldn't exactly say we won," Corea mutters. Now she's out of locations, time, cash. "I don't have a penny," she sighs, in between hugs from weepy Parlour patrons.
... And Hello?
Okay, it hardly qualifies as keeping up with the losses, but there are a few positive words circulating among the club community. For instance, there's word of the charred Black Cat reopening elsewhere on Sixth, plus one enterprising Ritz employee reports he's gotten the green light for occasional shows upstairs at that venue, which was believed to be dead to live music. The big move in the works, however, is that of the Austin Music Network, which is headed to the old airport come October, and rumors suggest they're bringing a venerable lost nightspot along with 'em. Relocating into a building next to the Austin Film Society's digs, AMN's new headquarters is slated to lie next to an old wooden hangar -- a wooden hangar that looks like ... an armadillo. "There's no city staff plans for a new Armadillo" in the hangar, says city staffer Jim Butler, though he admits that the hangar "is shaped something like an armadillo, and our desire is to save the building." "We've got a Jim Franklin drawing floating around showing an armadillo head on the hangar's awning," chuckles Armadillo World Headquarters/ Threadgill's/AMN maven Eddie Wilson, "and it's got a lot of people all worked up." He admits he's got a bid in on the hangar, but it would be used as a soundstage for AMN and rental to film studios. In any case, Butler says that danger of toxic waste in the hangar will keep it from being utilized for at least another two or three years. There is a new Armadillo in the works, adds Wilson, but recreating the original AWHQ is last on his list. "That's like escaping from hell and then going back 'cuz you left your wallet," he explains with typical Wilson color. What he's excited about is: 1) having rounded up all the AWHQ videotapes from the Seventies and having them sent to New York for digitizing; 2) receiving news from Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos concerning a historical marker to be placed on the original AWHQ site; and 3) AMN streaming over the Internet "in a couple months -- with enough bandwidth to reach and impress a few people!"
Fathers and Sons
Hunt Sales of Tin Machine and Iggy Pop fame popped into the Chronicle office recently to plug an upcoming event. One of the bands he produces? One of his own drumming projects? Neither. He dropped in to say his dad is coming to town for a little visit. Since Hunt's dad is famous funnyman Soupy Sales, that means a treat for Steamboat patrons on September 28, when the Sales multimedia comedy show happens there. "Basically, it's an excuse for me and him to get together," admits Hunt, but why not let others in on the fun? Meanwhile, Doug Sahm's son Shawn has wired to say, "I have some great news I thought I'd pass along. The label I'm on overseas, Evangeline, is getting ready to re-release the Mercury Records releases of Doug's on CD. This will be a first; some songs have been on comps, but not the whole record. These great LP's are some of the best, i.e., the ones that helped launch him! The CDs will be Sir Douglas Quintet + 2 = Honkey Blues, Mendocino, Together After Five, 1+1+1 = 4, and The Return of Doug Saldana. All five CDs will have bonus tracks, which will be from the Mercury LP Rough Edges. These records are what made me want to play music," concludes Shawn, "and I thought I would share the good news."
Stoners note that due to the Empanada Parlour's closing, the Texas Psych Fest has been moved to Stubb's on Saturday and Room 710 on Sunday (see poster below)... Adding fire to fire department: the Tool show last Friday would've been hot enough on its own, I'm sure. But when you add guest drummer Terry Bozzio to the mix you really fan the flame. If you didn't realize that the current Austinite was onstage for the show, that's because Maynard and company didn't announce him until he was done playing -- and then they billed him as, "the drummer for ABC and Jimmy Buffett!" Those are probably the only two acts the former Zappa/Missing Persons man hasn't played with by now... There's at least one plan the city has now in place to help live music venues -- a program to help club owners reduce their energy costs. The previously mentioned city staff member Jim Butler, who says he's most recently been conferring with the Continental Club's Steve Wertheimer, is the one to call at 974-6318... One side effect of Genitallica recording at Pedernales: I hear all the pictures of Willie Nelson around the place have had their eyes colored red (with nonpermanent ink of course). The genial Genitals say they'll get the red out when they leave, but I wonder how much longer it'll take for the red to leave their own eyes after their experiences at the studio... If you've been wondering what's up with the For Lease sign up over at Crystal Clear Sound, fear not. The last I heard was that the business had reverted to a previous owner, but the place was still doing business as usual... For those of you who are fans, and for those of you who only know them as that band Pong mentions in a song, Foot Foot will reunite and perform for the benefit of Hug at their CD release at the 710 on Saturday... The new Applicators 7-inch is out, and that doesn't mean that the girls have grown, er, appendages... Nancy Fly sends word that Ruthie Foster and Cyd Cassone broke all CD sales records at the Vancouver Folk Festival, moving more than 1,000 units of Ruthie's new CD, Runaway Soul, and breaking the sales record Ani DiFranco set years earlier. "You go, girl," says the Fly gal... I close this week's column with a notice of great importance: "My name is Sean Seagler, and I am a member of a local band called My Education. We recently got back from a monthlong tour of the East Coast and parts of Canada to promote our CD 5 Popes. Upon arriving back, we noticed that track number 12, 'Ol' 55,' on the Tom Waits Hoot Night CD was credited to us. That song was actually performed by a one-off project called the Voluptuous Horror of Rommelfanger, which contained one member of My Education, namely myself." Whew! With that cleared up, we can all breathe a lot easier. Aw, admit it, if it was your band you'd be concerned...