Austin soldiers on beyond SXSW with hot rods, SPAM, and puking
Say goodbye to the Orange Mothers. The long-running Austin quirk-rockers aren't breaking up, but since drummer Tim Audy has moved to Longview to work in his girlfriend's family business, singer Ethan Azarian figures now is a good time for the band to "take on some different looks." The Mothers proper will still play whenever Audy visits every couple of months or so and in the meantime will make do with guest drummers like Azarian's brother Jesse, who sat in with the group last Saturday at Room 710. When not rocking out, the brothers Azarian have been "painting like little elves" in preparation for their upcoming art show tonight (Thursday), 5-9pm, at Azarian's in-house gallery, 5200 Leralynn. On top of that, Ethan has also been preparing for a visit from father Tom Banjo. The elder Azarian will be in town for several shows marking the release of his latest album, an untitled affair Ethan calls "a hodgepodge of traditional folk." "I went in with ProTools and fixed a few mistakes," says son/producer Ethan, "I hope he doesn't get pissed." Banjo launches his CD April 19 at the Carousel Lounge with Li'l Cap'n Travis and entertains before a screening of Woody Allen's Manhattan April 24 at Jo's Hot Coffee. Further into the future, look for the Mothers' 1996 opus Plane Crash City, which contains live-show staples "Rocketboy," "Marshmallow Girls," and "Family Affair," to finally be issued on disc. The lost classic was originally a cassette-only release, of which only 300 were pressed. A CD release seven years in the making is planned for the Continental Club in June, while Azarian takes off on an acoustic tangent April 12 at Ego's with Mothers keyboardist James E. Waymsey and stand-up bassist Vance Hazen.
NICK CURRAN & THE NITELIFES, Doctor Velvet (Blind Pig)
WHO IS NICK CURRAN? Young guitar hotshot from Portland, Maine, by way of Dallas, where he put in six months with Ronnie Dawson's road band and a stint with Kim Lenz's Jaguars. Doctor Velvet is Curran's, an Austinite since 2001, second album with the Nitelifes and first for the Bay Area blues label.
PROPER ATTIRE FOR THIS SHINDIG: Anything from the Roosevelt, Truman, or Eisenhower era, as Doctor Velvet is a proper zoot-suit riot of frisky jump blues and swampy slow-dance numbers.
FAMOUS FACE TO LOOK FOR IN THE CROWD: Jimmie Vaughan, an avowed fan who lends guitar to Doctor Velvet's "Lonesome Whistle Blues" and "Midnite Hour."
YOU'LL DIG THIS SHOW IF YOU LIKE ...: Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Big Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, Charles Brown, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Vaughan's Do You Get the Blues?
(Release party, Friday, Continental Club.)
Life During Wartime
Last week, the true meaning of "shock and awe" became clear when MTV News reported "War Inspires Jewel to Go Electronic on Next LP." In stark contrast to a March 20 New York Times article about recording artists' seeming reticence to weigh in on the war, today the airwaves are teeming with songs commenting on the conflict -- or that could be. A brief sampling that proves no, this ain't no foolin' around:
WILCO, "War on War": Vague but upbeat, much like the daily Pentagon briefings. Contains the hawkish sentiment "you have to learn how to die if you want to be alive," though top military brass are not quite as thrilled with hook "you're gonna lose."
FOO FIGHTERS, "Times Like These": Dave Grohl name-drops Hüsker Dü while playing motivational speaker over an oscillating guitar riff. Shower of appliances in video may be metaphor for America imposing consumerist values on rest of world.
HOT HOT HEAT, "Bandages": Has nothing whatsoever to do with war, Iraq, or politics but was pulled from BBC Radio 1’s playlist, because the repeated references to bandages were thought to be upsetting. For some reason, similar action was not taken for Cannibal Corpse’s "Puncture Wound Massacre."
DARRYL WORLEY, "Have You Forgotten?": Tennessee young-country hoss parrots Bush administration's linkage of current war to 9/11 attacks. With lyrics like, "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight. After 9/11, man, I'd have to say that's right," who needs actual proof?
CLINT BLACK, "Iraq and Roll": The Katy, Texas, native and Nashville Star mentor succumbs to flagrant flag-waving jingoism. As he says, "It might be a smart bomb; they find stupid people too," Black better be looking over his shoulder.
MADONNA, "American Life": The Material Girl, who hasn't even lived in the U.S. since the late Nineties, somehow equates protesting the war with rapping about soy lattes, Pilates, and her three nannies. Makes Black's and Worley's offerings seem academic by comparison, so she just pulled the accompanying video from circulation.
BEASTIE BOYS, "In a World Gone Mad": Easily the funniest, best-informed current protest song. Not only do the Boys opine "they're layin' on the syrup thick, we ain't waffles, we ain’t havin' it," they also rhyme "America" with "hysterica" and order Bush to "get your hand out my grandma's pocket."
TYRESE, "How You Gonna Act Like That": Silken tale of ghetto love gone wrong may also be interpreted as an entreaty from the White House to America's so-called "allies," France and Germany -- or vice versa.
EMINEM, "Sing for the Moment": Because the moment may be all we have.
One Man, One Band
To go with "Thanks a Lot Shithead!," their new Dropout single featuring Spike Penetrator, Hard Feelings guitarist/singer John Schooley says the local trio has finished its third CD and sent it away to Australia for pressing. With guest appearances by Redd Volkaert and Earl Poole Ball, the disc joins the Feelings' previous effort You Won't Like It ('Cuz It's Rock & Roll!) as the sole output of Beerland Records, which came about when Schooley hit up Beerland owner Randall Stockton for a loan. For his part, Stockton isn't entirely sure if Beerland Records is a real label or not. "It's not like I'm seeking anybody," explains the proprietor. "This just sort of fell into my lap." The Feelings will join Penetrator at Chicago's Blackout Festival in May, while Schooley has just released his third one-man band 45 on Voodoo Rhythm and convinced Stockton to host a "Battle of the One-Man Bands" this Saturday with Dallas' Homer Henderson, Memphis' King Louis, and Austin's Train Wreck Washington. San Marcos shouter Scott H. Biram was originally scheduled to be part of the bill but was involved in a horrific head-on collision with an 18-wheeler last week while coming home from a gig. Miraculously, Biram survived, and after several surgeries at San Antonio's Brooke Army Medical Center, he is projected to make a full recovery. Cards, flowers, and best wishes can be sent to Biram c/o Brooke Army Medical Center, Bldg. 3600, Seventh Floor, 3851 Roger Brooke, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234 or by phone at 210/916-4141. The Weary Boys play a benefit for Biram Monday at the Parlor, 7pm, and mother Donna Biram says Scott should be out of the ICU this week and is anxious to see his friends. Call the hospital for visiting hours.
The Uranium Savages will present a Lifetime Achievement Eddy Award to Chronicle Music mistress Margaret Moser and Continental Club owner Steve Wertheimer at their annual ceremony tonight (Thursday) at the Continental. The cheeky, ever-topical satirists also promise to "embed" a lucky journalist in the band, "right next to the lead guitar amp"... Percentage of male audience members at the Robert Randolph & the Family Band show last Saturday at Stubb's with some sort of facial hair: 93. Percentage with full beards: 65... Representatives of several city departments have formulated a plan they hope will make it easier for musicians to load and unload their gear into and out of Sixth Street venues. Venue owners and musicians are invited to hear the plan and offer their input at the next Austin Music Commission meeting, Tuesday, 2pm, room 304 of City Hall (124 W. Eighth)... Chronicle spies report that Alamo star and all-around bon vivant Billy Bob Thornton "jammed" with Hill Country honky-tonkers the Cosmic Dust Devils last weekend at Poodie's Hilltop Bar and Grill (see photo). Thornton, who's taking fiddle lessons for his role as Davy Crockett, sat in on drums and twice kissed Dust Devil Barbara Maltese on the lips. Though he was heard to utter the magic words, "If I was producing that song ..." (uh oh), it was unclear if the Oscar winner for Sling Blade had him some french-fried potaters...