South by Southwest headliners -- well, sort of: The Dixie Chicks
South by Southwest headliners -- well, sort of: The Dixie Chicks

Shooting the Curl

President Bush may be ready to go to war, but Austin is ready to go to sleep. The thrill ride is now officially over, so while they clean up the vomit, peel off your shirt and enjoy one last dip in the SXSW stream of consciousness. Here goes: Tastiest snack of the week was Beerland's Frito pie, served straight out of the bag... Britain's NME reported last week that White Stripes drummer Meg White's broken wrist forced the Detroit duo to cancel a surprise Saturday showcase, but if that was true, SXSW Creative Director Brent Grulke insists, "It didn't come from us"... Spiro's found a novel way to increase SXSW revenue: charging everyone, even thirsty performers, for water... Total Request Live and Last Call host Carson Daly was spotted at the Hideout party Saturday, possibly scouting locations for yet another TV show... There are no lingering hard feelings from the Mooney Suzuki's tirade at Tower Records. Store manager Leanna Lampore says Sony representatives eagerly offered to pay for any damage (i.e. blown PA, broken shelves) caused by the frisky NYC garage rockers... Former Hole in the Wall bartender Waldo was all smiles after being handed an invite to the High Times party Saturday afternoon. "I've waited my whole life for this," he gushed... Austin noise maven Jason Morales found a way to add even more clamor to his band Migas: riding his motorcycle onstage... The Flatstock poster exhibition was a roaring success, and Grulke says he "certainly hopes" it will become a permanent part of SXSW... Brits the Coral were one of the week's most-hyped bands, but went virtually unrecognized busking outside Elysium mere hours before their Saturday night Stubb's showcase... Louisiana lightning rods Dash Rip Rock had to scrap their SXSW plans when their van broke down in Corpus Christi... Crammed into a shower backstage at the Austin Music Awards Wednesday were Willie Nelson, Woody Harrelson, Billy Bob Thornton, and Lucinda Williams. The smoke was too thick to tell exactly why they were there... The week's best timing belongs to singer-songwriter Matt Keating, whose cell phone went off during his own showcase... Adam Bork, also known as Earthpig, has given up on "cold and dismal" New York City and moved in with ex-Li'l Cap'n Travis bandmate Jeff Johnston... Will Robinson Sheff was enjoying a breather Saturday afternoon at the Red Eyed Fly after playing three shows each with Shearwater and Okkervil River. That still falls short of guitarist Scrappy Jud Newcomb, who played five in one day, or bassist Andrew Duplantis, who did 10 gigs overall... Saturday's Australian barbecue at Emo's Annex found a willowy teenage blonde whipping out a passable rendition of "Voodoo Chile" on guitar, while one happy staffer marveled, "These are the hottest women I've ever seen"... SXSW 03 marks what will likely be the last issue of longtime local zine Geek Weekly, with Statesman/Spin scribe Joe Gross the final subject of the mag's infamous "Rock Critic Interview"... R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck got a lesson in humility when, after playing bass for part of Cedell Davis' keynote prelude, an adolescent interviewer asked him, "Are you in any other bands?" "Yeah," the bemused Buck replied. "I'm in the Minus 5"... Punk-blues godfather Tim Kerr got a little carried away during his band Total Sound Group Direct Action Committee's set at Beerland Saturday afternoon and wound up breaking his leg... Slash and Billy Gibbons were seen hanging out at the Four Seasons. Pray the hatted one wasn't trying to talk the bearded one into abandoning ZZ Top for the reconstituted Yardbirds... The Helio Sequence reportedly spent 25 minutes of their set trying to fix various computer glitches, and 15 rocking out... Hippie icon Wavy Gravy took his fish for a walk Saturday afternoon at the Porchlight Studio party on South Congress, as Harvey Sid Fisher hit up the crowd for backup singers... Grand Champeen's performance Saturday at the KVRX/Glurp/Misra party was a family affair, with guitarist Michael Crow's mom watching her son's band for the very first time. Also present was Crow's brother Colin, who's stationed at Killeen's Fort Hood and "waiting to go" any day. Meanwhile, singer Channing Lewis gave away several GC T-shirts after splattering a Bloody Mary all over his companions... Rumors, which turned out to be true, circulated that the new owners of the Hole in the Wall are the same folks behind Austin's Pizza. Pizza will indeed be on the menu, says new booker J.D. Torian, but the name out front will remain the same. One band he hopes to land is Japanoise-makers Electric Eel Shock, whose festival-long fliering binge fell just short of compulsive... The unqualified hit of the conference was Uzbek collective Abbos Kosimov, who filled in for at least two no-shows and were immediately booked for a private party the day after SXSW. Be on the lookout for their five-foot horns, because they're probably still hanging around somewhere... Senior New York Times pop music writer Jon Pareles found out what local critics already know when he tried to cut in line Wednesday at the Mercury. Pareles was forced to go to the back and wait with all the other peons, but still raved about Austin's Stars as Eyes, Fozlur, and Explosions in the Sky in his SXSW wrap-up... A faulty satellite feed forced our own Andy Langer to guess what questions the CNN Headline News anchor was asking him during his Tuesday-night interview... The presence of several label execs at their Friday night Back Room showcase didn't stop HeKill Three's drummer from tossing his cookies over the side of the stage. No wonder: According to a bystander, the local metalheads had "people killing each other out there"... Frodo lives: Elijah Wood camped out at Emo's, taking in Burnt by the Sun and Mastodon one night, Mudhoney and Nebula the next... For some reason, the youth who swiped two tom-toms from the Mexican band Molotov at their Vibe showcase decided to return to the scene of the crime. The band "persuaded" him to call his accomplices before taking a shuttle van to search for the missing drums. Though the rendezvous initially went awry, the goods were later recovered in a hotel parking lot, and the would-be thief got off with a T-shirt and CD instead of jail time... Sunday night, attempting to relax at Emo's, SXSW Director Roland Swenson said the only major glitch in a festival everyone was raving about (hallelujahs about the weather coming in a close second) was an influx of phony wristbands that was "as bad as I've ever seen it." The conference will investigate alternative materials to avoid a repeat in the future, he said, but other than that everything went remarkably well. Hopefully, all that will hold you for another 51 weeks.

Chicks and Balances

Ironically, the biggest Austin-related bit of music news last week had nothing to do with SXSW. Local transplants the Dixie Chicks became either latter-day Hanoi Janes or the coolest band on the planet (ending Radiohead's six-year run) March 10, when lead singer Natalie Maines told a London crowd, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." Though Maines later apologized, saying, "I am a proud American," the comment caused many country fans' tempers, and subsequently radio-station switchboards from sea to shining sea, to light up like, well, the Fourth of July. As late as Tuesday, the message boards were drawing topics like "Dixie Chicks Honorary French Citizens" and "Quick Poll -- Number of Anti-Chicks" (1,111 replies). The Billboard charts due out today should reflect a sharp drop in sales and airplay, since the group's songs were pulled from many stations, although not all. KGSR's Jody Denberg said his station would keep playing the Chicks, because "we don't make our music choices based on an individual's politics," while Houston Pacifica outlet KPFT vowed to spin the trio "now more than ever." John Ashcroft permitting, the Chicks' Top of the World tour stops at the Frank Erwin Center May 21 (sorry, it sold out in two hours). At least one "Free Natalie Maines" shirt was spotted at SXSW.

Crossing the Bar

Austin, which has already witnessed enough music-related deaths this year to last until next January, lost two Raul's-era survivors in recent days. Onetime Talmadge d'Amour keyboard player Gary "Wheelchair" Guthrie, who succumbed to emphysema last week at 50, was remembered by Southwest Texas State roommate Jesse Sublett of the Skunks as a "chick magnet," who was "smarter than the next 10 guys in the room." Also passing away was former Standing Waves drummer David Dage, 43, who played in local outfits Mr. Jones, Great Guns, and Last Straw. A Short History of Standing Waves Part 1 is now available at Waterloo Records, and the band's reunion show April 19 at the Saxon Pub will be dedicated to Dage's memory.


Buckaroo Banzai

Saddle up, pardners, because it's time to git on down to the Travis County Expo Center for the 2003 Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo. This year's musical lineup is long on hot-country favorites, plus a few familiar faces, and even the Godfather of Soul. Think I wanna kiss myself!

March 22: Tracy Byrd

March 23: Diamond Rio

March 24: Terri Clark

March 25: Neal McCoy

March 26: Charley Pride

March 27: Robert Earl Keen

March 28: Asleep at the Wheel

March 29: Rascal Flatts

March 30: Kumbia Kings

March 31: James Brown

April 1: Martina McBride

April 2: Brad Paisley

April 3: Charlie Robison, Radney Foster

April 4: Trick Pony

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SXSW, Dixie Chicks, Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo, David Dage, Gary Guthrie

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