Dancing About Architecture
Things get so bad in the Live Music Capital of the World that they're citing the 'King of Sixth Street,' Gerry Van King, for busking on the street
Long Live the King!
Austin's war on the local music community reached its final straw on Nov. 8, when the King of Sixth Street himself, Gerry Van King, was issued a citation for performing on the street with his bass and small amplifier in front of Jazz, just as he's done for years and years now. Don't blame the folks at Jazz, by the way; they didn't call the cops, and in fact, stood in shock at the scene of the "crime" defending Van King. Jazz employee Josh Paul Jones reports, "Everyone here thought it was preposterous!" Jazz owner Tom Prindible adds, "King's not loud -- that's the thing that I don't get." He says he asked why nearby establishments with their doors open and music blaring weren't being ticketed instead, and was told that King's busking and music issuing from inside a club are "two different things." Since being given the citation, Van King has been spotted sporadically on Sixth Street, without his instrument; instead, he's been selling copies of his CD. Van King, who is needless to say upset by the whole ordeal, claims that the officer who gave him the ticket told him there was a new interpretation of the law regarding amplified music, adding, "He said that he had been told [by his superior], 'If you see King, give him a ticket'!" Says Prindible, "I know he's filed a complaint with the police oversight committee, and he seemed to think he'd be back playing by the weekend, but I don't know about that." For their part, the APD say they have no idea what was behind the citation. Comparing it to a speeding ticket, APD rep Paul Flaningan says, "We don't really keep records" of such minor offenses, and he has no idea who the officer involved was or why he chose to issue the citation. "We are revisiting the noise ordinance in the next few months," says Flaningan but adds that he's sure there hasn't been a new initiative ordering officers to go out and bust street performers. "If [the police] are just looking for something to do," suggests Jazz's Jones, "there's about 40 crack dealers up the street."
It's Willie's World
First there was Luther Wright and the Wrongs' bluegrass remake of Pink Floyd's The Wall, then Camper Van Beethoven's take on Fleetwood Mac's Tusk. Well, the cover album road continues to get more traveled. Former Geraldine Fibber, forever rocker grrrl Carla Bozulich put a call into the Chronicle to report that her version of Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger was done, special guest and all, and looking for a label. You might recall that Bozulich brought said concept to Emo's earlier this spring (austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2002-05-03/music_phases.html ), reinterpreting the country classic live with the help of her former bandmate/guitarist Nels Cline. It was Cline who, during the new album's mixing stage, gave a tape of it to a friend in the real red-headed stranger's camp. This resulted in a call one Sunday afternoon, in which Bozulich was instructed to be at Willie Nelson's compound the next morning at 10am if she wanted Nelson as a duet partner. "He didn't show up for an hour," recalls Bozulich, who says Nelson was finally flagged down on his way to the golf course, and "he came in smoking a joint so big I thought it was a cigar." Nelson laid down vocal tracks to accompany Bozulich's already existing ones and played guitar on several other songs. "I just couldn't compute the data my brain was receiving," gushes Bozulich. "Willie standing there wrapping his voice around mine." Unfortunately, the label Bozulich had contracted with to release the album balked at the costs incurred by the last-minute changes (the equivalent of dumping a movie because the director brought in Russell Crowe to star at the last minute). Currently, the singer is back to looking for a label. "His voice is so tender," sighs Bozulich.
Meanwhile, don't expect Willie to have much time for playing 18 holes in the next couple of weeks. Nelson is scheduled to perform for winner Jimmy Carter at the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize Concert, Dec. 11 in Oslo, Norway. The concert will be broadcast to 450 million homes in 100 countries, with the U.S. airing scheduled for the A&E Network on Jan. 25.
Take Me To The Hospital!
Drummer to the stars Terri Lord is home from the hospital after a sudden bout with pancreatitis last week. Lord says she's taking a few days off before returning to her day job or the stage, but expects to recover fully. Lord says the malady is apparently one of the most painful conditions one can get, ranking it about equal with childbirth (which she's not worried about dealing with anytime soon). Meanwhile, Dixie Chick Emily Robison recently shared Lord's pain, or at least experienced a bit of her own, as she and husband Charlie Robison produced a son, coming in (or out) just ahead of the twins expected by Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis. While we're on the subject, I should mention that Alejandro Escovedo recently celebrated the birth of a daughter. On a more serious note, look for Al-a-Palooza this Saturday at La Zona Rosa. The benefit is for Big Al Ragle, who has been dealing with substantial hospital time of his own thanks to complications from diabetes and hepatitis C. Eliza Gilkyson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Marcia Ball, Jon Dee Graham, and special guests will perform. Donations are critical since these are ongoing problems for Ragle, a stalwart Austin scene veteran.
Nancy Coplin reports that the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport's live music program Music In the Air, recorded at the airport and broadcast on the Austin Music Network, has landed them a very special honor. The Airport Council International (which is the big organization among the airline industry) awarded them first prize for excellence in marketing over the series. This follows much previous applause given to the live music performances at the airport by magazines and other media. Now, if the ABIA would just go ahead and put in that laser tag booth I keep suggesting, they'd really start getting some awards... Jeff Klein is adding a few letters to his record label's name. The local singer-songwriter, who has previously recorded for River City indie India Records, is releasing Everybody Loves a Winner on UK-based One Little Indian Records in January, joining label owner Björk and other acts including Alabama 3, Skunk Anansie, and Kelli Ali... Austin's emissary to the Beatles, KGSR's Jody Denberg will be airing an in-depth interview with Paul McCartney this Sunday, 8 to 10pm on the KGSR Sunday Night News. Capitol Records is planning to release a portion of this interview to radio as a promotional disc in conjunction with next week's release of McCartney's Back in the US live CD. Denberg is then off to London for the tribute to George Harrison, featuring McCartney, Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, Eric Clapton, Ravi Shankar, Tom Petty, and members of Monty Python at the Royal Albert Hall on Nov. 29, the one-year anniversary of Harrison's death. That same Friday is also the release date of KGSR's Broadcasts Vol. 10, and the following Friday, Dec. 6, is KGSR's 12th anniversary concert broadcast live from Austin City Limits studios featuring the Flatlanders, Raul Malo, and the Jayhawks. Tickets can only be won through KGSR. Check out www.kgsr.com for more info... Dino Lee's drinkery Ocean's 11 closed down over the weekend "for remodeling," according to a sign on the door. The Chronicle received no response to messages asking for further information from the club owner... Last week I discussed Delbert McClinton's Sandy Beaches Cruise, coming up in a couple of months. Since then, I've gotten inquiries about a news story in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reporting that a class-action suit is under way following hundreds of people getting ill on the cruise ship the Amsterdam as a result of a Norwalk-like virus which has apparently made its home on the liner. McClinton's management says not to worry; though his upcoming cruise is being conducted by the same company, it's on a completely different ship, and is guaranteed germ-free... The Austin Music Foundation hosts its third and final free seminar highlighting promotional strategies for musicians on Monday, Nov. 25 at Momo's beginning at 6pm. Part III of the "Bootcamp" series will focus on Publicity and Media. The panelists, including Andy Langer, Patrice Pike, and others, will discuss what attendees need to know about how and when to approach the media (and believe me, some of you need help in this area) and how to get maximum impact from media coverage... Local Ween fans will be overjoyed by the result of an Internet vote for their new Chocodog CD. Sez the official Ween Web site: "The winners by an overwhelming margin were the concerts from Stubb's BBQ in Austin, TX from 2000." The concert encompasses three discs, with the third one including a 40-minute mpeg movie of "LMLYP"... Look for Gary Jules, the fellow who did the cool Tears for Fears cover "Mad World" for Donnie Darko, at the Saxon Pub early Saturday night, 8pm... Celebrity sightings abound these days, and I'm not just talking about the gal who got kicked off Survivor and now is reportedly bartending at the Aquarium, nor the guy from Ruby's Barbecue who was seen doing a Stupid Human Trick on David Letterman's show. Kyra Sedgwick, who's in town shooting Secondhand Lions with Michael Caine and Robert Duvall, was spotted with her two kids at Emo's, all digging a Saves the Day performance. Speaking of that club, the current issue of Blender, the one with LeAnn Rimes on the cover, includes a photo of dangerous David Cross proudly wearing his Emo's shirt. That must mean he's pleased that they never went through with their threat of premiering Run Ronnie Run at the club using a bootleg copy of the unreleased feature... Gene Stroia reports that his Gene Pool combo had Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of Steely Dan/Doobie Brothers fame sitting in at a gig last week... While the Flaming Lips were in town, they were spotted at the Continental Club checking out the Hackensaw Boys, who had toured with the Lips this past summer. The Lips own set opening for Beck at the Bass Concert Hall last Tuesday was a disappointment, but only because it was too darn short! And even though the following names are all locally related -- Marcia Ball, Ray Benson, Stephen Bruton, Nanci Griffith, and Tom Russell -- having them in attendance in toto, as Sarah Elizabeth Campbell did at Artz on Monday, is pretty impressive, don'tcha think?