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Austin soldiers on beyond SXSW with hot rods, SPAM, and puking

(l-r): Mega ASCAP songwriters, Mike Stoller, Diane Warren, and ASCAP board member Jimmy Webb join ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento at the ASCAP's annual Film & Television Music Awards dinner in Beverly Hills.
(l-r): Mega ASCAP songwriters, Mike Stoller, Diane Warren, and ASCAP board member Jimmy Webb join ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento at the ASCAP's annual Film & Television Music Awards dinner in Beverly Hills.


For the Sake of the Song

For the first time since Courtney Love's SXSW 2002 tour de force, the Four Seasons is about to be a part of Texas music history. On Wednesday at 3pm, the tony Town Lake-side hotel's ballroom hosts the first-ever ASCAP membership meeting -- kind of like a stockholder's gathering -- held outside of New York, L.A., or Nashville. CEO John LoFrumento estimates between 7,500-8,500 of the publishing society's 150,000 members reside here in God's country, so there shouldn't be any trouble reaching the hoped-for attendance of 500. "It was time to branch out," explained LoFrumento through a thick Gotham accent. "Austin is a very important center for us for members." (To which we locals reply: fugeddaboudit.) Of particular interest to attendees should be the panel featuring Glen Campbell muse Jimmy Webb, Grammy hoarder Ray Benson, and Destiny's Child sire Mathew Knowles swapping stories. The other marquee attraction will be LoFrumento and U.S. Congressman Lamar Smith (R-San Antonio), among others, discussing developments on the legislative front, including ever-elusive solutions to one of the music industry's most serious issues. "[Illegal] downloading has created a significant problem," the CEO says, with the potential to do "a tremendous amount of harm" to ASCAP members' livelihoods. LoFrumento adds, however, that the Internet's potential for songwriters to reach new ears equals the problems created by piracy; he estimates there are some 2,000 licensed Web sites for public performance. Other subjects on Wednesday's docket will include the organization's progress on licensing, copyright law, and fair use, plus a full briefing of the various benefits available to members -- everything from discounts at music stores to financial planning and an ASCAP credit union. Members attending Wednesday's meeting will be treated to a sumptuous Four Seasons' buffet, while interested parties can investigate joining the 89-year-old American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers at www.ascap.com.


Get a Load of This

One of the most common and long-running difficulties among local musicians involves loading and unloading their equipment into and out of Downtown venues. With parking painfully scarce in the Sixth Street area and access further blocked by weekend barricades, their current options boil down to bending the rules and risking costly citations, or hauling their gear several blocks and risking costly hernias. Several city departments, including the Austin Music Marketing Office, Assistant City Manager Laura Huffman, the Austin Police Department, and the city of Austin Transportation Department, have been working on a possible solution, which AMMO Director Wendy Morgan presented to the Austin Music Commission at its monthly meeting Tuesday afternoon. The plan centers around an idea to designate certain areas of Sixth Street as commercial loading zones, and issuing venues placards musicians could then place on their dashboards as temporary parking permits. Since the placards (an idea tried in the early Nineties) have been known to disappear, Morgan said one alternative could be inexpensive magnetic signs bands could place on the side of their vehicles. A handful of club owners were on hand to offer their input; Ritz owner Bob Woody said he thought the placards made good sense. "Why not start there, and then if it doesn't work, fix it?" he said. It was also pointed out that the alleys on either side of Sixth Street have been designated commercial loading zones, and APD downtown commander Lt. Harold Piatt said that signs to that effect, many of which had been missing, have recently been replaced. Morgan said she would next meet with the city to finalize loading areas, and that she was still seeking input from area business owners. "We don't want to create something that makes no sense at all for businesses," she said, adding that she can be reached at wemorgan@austintexas.org

or 583-7228. Also at Tuesday's meeting, Morgan reported SXSW 03 brought in $25 million to the city's coffers ($16.5 million by the Music Festival alone). Meanwhile, commission member Teresa Ferguson said the body was unhappy that the City Council passed the new noise ordinance without a clause allowing venues outside the designated entertainment districts to apply for variances, and would ask the council to readdress the matter soon.


Mixed Notes

Talk about a seven-year itch: Even though he's been dead since 1996, look for a new Walter Hyatt album in August. An unnamed Nashville producer has spent the past year cleaning up some recently unearthed guitar/vocal tracks, and splicing in contributions from Lyle Lovett, Allison Moorer, Riders in the Sky, the Jordanaires, and Hyatt's former Uncle Walt's Bandmate David Ball... Roots bard Nathan Hamilton will record a live CD Saturday night at John T. Floores' Country Store in Helotes, northwest of San Antonio... Austin popsters Household Names release their Hold on Tight! EP tonight (Thursday) at Club DeVille. Boldface Name Jason Garcia hopes to have free copies of the three-song disc on hand... Seminal avant-noise freaks Ed Hall reunite after six years and "months of prodding" by club owner Woody Wiedeman to play Room 710's three-year anniversary June 20-21... Honky-tonk thrush Libbi Bosworth underwent her third voice-related surgery in a year last week. The mayor of Libbiville says she'll have to wait until she sings again to tell how well it went, but for now she sounds like "one of the little people in The Wizard of Oz"... To mark the release of new IMAX movie Texas: The Big Picture, the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum (1800 N. Congress) is holding a ministate fair on May 3, 10am-4pm. San Antonio rockabilly swingers Two Tons of Steel play 1-3pm before giving way to the big-hair and belt-buckle contests... Rockers 54 Seconds have awakened and will debut songs from their forthcoming CD Coma on Sunday at the Mercury before the Earl Harvin Trio. The first 25 paying attendees get a free promotional disc... The Derailers, the Eggmen, Chrissy Flatt, and Natural Causes play a benefit for former Waco EMT Mack Park's nerve graft surgery Friday at Fiesta Gardens, 6pm. Tickets are $25 and include a fajita dinner and silent auction... The boys at Jupiter Records plan to burn a CD of next Friday's Bob Dylan tribute, featuring Stephen Doster, Troy Campbell, Elizabeth McQueen, Johnny Goudie, and a host of others (7pm showtime), and present it to Mr. Tambourine Man at one of Dylan's Backyard shows the next two nights. That's if the Man in the Long Black Coat hasn't taken out a restraining order...

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Remembering Mambo

Lucille Treanor stands with a mask of her late son, beloved Austin drummer "Mambo" John Treanor, clad in one of his infamous roadkill hats (this one's a kitty kat). Treanor addressed the Austin Music Commission Tuesday with a proposal for a statue of her son, who passed away in 2001, to be situated somewhere near Barton Springs, an idea the commission enthusiastically supported. Treanor said she planned to donate the mask, hat, and one of Mambo's washboards to the Texas Music Museum, which is still looking for a home.

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Slipped Disc

NOW YOU SEE 'EM

Black Lipstick succeeded the Kiss Offs as Peek-a-Boo's flagship band in early 2001. Ex-Kiss Offs Phillip Niemeyer and Peek-a-Boo jefe Travis Higdon are joined by bassist Steve Garcia and drummer Elizabeth Nottingham. Converted Thieves is their first full-length CD.

ENLIGHTENED ROGUES

Converted Thieves uses sedate guitar pop and disaffected post-punk to illustrate the band's charcoal sketches of rakish twentysomethings reluctantly putting their carefree collegiate days behind them, but nowhere near ready to settle into a life of corporate complacency.

GEE, THANKS FOR NOTHING "When they kick the shit out of you," sings Niemeyer on opener "Voodoo Economics," "we can kick the shit back in."

(Release party tonight, Thursday, at the Mercury with Octopus Project and Sound Team.)


The Real Slim Shady

Over at Shady Grove (1624 Barton Springs Rd.), the 10th season of KGSR's "Unplugged at the Grove" gets underway next Thursday at 8pm with Shannon McNally.

April 24: Eliza Gilkyson

May 1: Doyle Bramhall Sr.

May 8: Kevin Welch and Kieran Kane

May 15: Terri Hendrix

May 22: Toni Price

May 29: Kim Richey

June 5: Alejandro Escovedo

June 12: Darden Smith

June 19: Patricia Vonne

June 26: Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez


Kings of the Hill

Besides massive amounts of allergens in the air, spring also means a good bit of free outdoor music. 2003 Austin Music Awards Musician of the Year Kevin Fowler kicks off the KVET Free Texas Music Series 8pm Wednesday at Hill's Cafe (4700 S. Congress).

April 23: Derailers

April 30: Kings of the Motel 6

May 7: Lucky Tomblin

May 14: Ray Wylie Hubbard

May 21: Stephanie Urbina Jones

May 28: South Austin Jug Band

June 4: Danni Leigh

June 11: Gary P. Nunn

June 18: Reckless Kelly

June 25: Django Walker

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