Punk rock synchronized swimming and eating ribs with Snoop Dogg: What do people in other cities do for fun?
Travis Higdon is not leaving town. Since the Peek-a-Boo Records CEO and Black Lipstick guitarist posted a moving announcement on www.peekaboorecords.com, he says, "Some people are concerned I'm leaving Austin." The real story, clarifies Higdon, is, "I'm using Peek-a-Boo profits to buy a mansion in West Lake." That's not true either, but Higdon is moving in with his fiancée at the end of the month, thus affording him less space to run the label, current home to his band, Palaxy Tracks, and Octopus Project. His clutter could be the soundtrack to your next social gathering, as prices have been slashed on Peek-a-Boo inventory, with LPs by the Kiss Offs, Junior Varsity, Super XX Man, Silver Scooter, and the Bicycle Rodeo and Peek-a-Boo Book of Spells comps all available for the low, low price of $2. Among his active roster, Higdon says Octopus Project is "still going strong," Palaxy Tracks is headed this way in October, and Black Lipstick is regrouping after a death in the family forced them to cancel their summer tour. The suavely ironic quartet plays Aug. 29 at Trophy's, while debut Converted Thieves sees its European release next month on German label Glitterhouse. "I'm selling furniture, too," adds Higdon. "So if you know anyone who needs a futon ..."
A 'Tight' Squeeze
Every self-respecting musician fantasizes about attractive ladies pantomiming their song. Jason Garcia and the rest of Household Names got to live the dream last weekend, when the local trio shot a video for "Hold on Tight!" at the new Sixth Street bar Firehouse. Lensed by Yuppie Pricks drummer Darin Murano, the clip has members of OK Beth and the Cave Dwellers rocking out for the cameras. "We shot them with a bunch of fog and everything," says Garcia. "It was awesome." The video should hit the Austin Music Network next month, thanks to the generosity of high tech heavyweight Hewlett-Packard. It seems some HP higher-ups took a liking to the Names' 2000 CD, The Trouble With Being Nice, and picked it to score their new "Experience Center" digital-music demonstrations, now being tested at select Circuit City-type stores across the country. Hoping the national rollout of the HP program will provide enough seed money for the Names' second LP, Garcia has been breaking in new members Chris Peters and C.J. Barker, whom he met through this paper's musician-referral ads. "I don't know who finds good people through the Chronicle," he professes. "I never have before, but it's working pretty good this time." Umm ... you're welcome?
The Dizzle With the Gizzle
The Gourds recently missed an opportunity to further the legend of "Gin and Juice," the Snoop Dogg cover that has become the "Free Bird" of their live set, when an episode of the Long Beach linguist's hit MTV series Doggy Fizzle Televizzle aired several awful Caucasian renditions of the Doggfather's catalog. Sadly, no video of the Gourds' version exists, because as singer-bassist Jimmy Smith remarked, "We're broke and lazy." That wasn't even the rustic Austin fivepiece's first near-miss with Snoop this year, either. When the Dogg co-hosted ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live in February, he had the show's producers invite the band to perform. Immediately. "Which we would have gladly done," e-mails singer/guitarist Kevin Russell, "but they were a bit surprised to find out we did not live in Los Angeles." At least on Snoop's last trip through Texas, they were able to arrange a sit-down over ribs at Luling's City Market. "We were sure he'd never had Biz-R-B-Quiz-U like that Lockhart/Luling shiznit," writes Russell, adding that otherwise the soon-to-be Huggy Bear is "tough to get on the phizzone." Not that the Gourds don't have other things to do: Last month, accordionist Claude Bernard welcomed his first child, a girl, with Smith expecting his first before year's end. There's also the small matter of Friday's outdoor double bill at Stubb's with -- speaking of "Free Bird" -- Georgia peaches the Drive-by Truckers.
Over the Rainbow
As the Astros and Cardinals duke it out for control of the NL Central, Houston and St. Louis are in the thick of a budding hip-hop clothing rivalry. Loo rappers Chingy, Nelly, and Murphy Lee may rule the radio roost right now, but for some strange reason, they're doing it in H-town apparel. Chingy sports an Astros cap in his booty-busting video "Right Thurr," while the clip for Bad Boys II theme "Shake Ya Tailfeather" finds St. Lunatics Nelly and Murphy Lee joined by P. Diddy cavorting in a white Haywood Jeffires Oilers jersey. Bayou City uniforms have long been in street vogue; the ATLiens in OutKast were flashing the much-in-demand Seventies Astros "rainbow" home jersey as early as 1998. (Watch for 50 Cent's custom-made Clyde Drexler/Phi Slama Jama bulletproof vest soon.) Concurrently, the best Austin has been able to muster lately is Sugar Ray's DJ wearing a Horns jersey in the "Hey Bartender" video. Embarrassing, true, but if Renée Zellweger continues to light Jack White's fire, perhaps the Oscar-nominated Texas ex will convince the White Stripe to switch from red and white to burnt orange. Or not. Austin-born Nelly & the St. Lunatics shake a tailfeather at Texas State University's RecJam, Saturday, 8pm, in San Marcos' Strahan Coliseum. Tickets at the door or www.startickets.com.
Billy Beerland, the most faithful attendee of the ongoing "TCB" Wednesday-evening Beerland town meetings -- he's the bartender -- celebrates his birthday at the club this weekend with the Sons of Hercules, Step Brothers, and the Winks Friday and the Crack Pipes, Converters, a Hatchbacks reunion, and the Kodiaks Saturday. Mazel tov... Charlie Sexton no longer holds down one of the guitar slots in Bob Dylan's band, but in Masked and Anonymous, the camera continues loving Mr. Cheekbones. Dylan's one-of-a-kind all-star vanity flick opens this Friday at the Dobie and is likely to run one week only if the reviews are any indication... Congratulations to the Dixie Chicks, whose recently wrapped Top of the World tour netted $61 million, third this year behind the Rolling Stones and the Elton John/Billy Joel tandem. The Chicks are taking a few weeks off before heading to Australia and Europe, so give them a hug if you see one in Whole Foods...
Look for plenty of watering eyes and flamed-out taste buds at Waterloo Park this Sunday -- it's the Chronicle's lucky 13th annual Hot Sauce Festival. "TCB" asked this year's musical guests for their spicier salsa-related recollections.
TONY VILLANUEVA, the Derailers: "I'd advise eating a lot of ice cream when you get done. For basic Tex-Mex hot sauce, I like Juan in a Million. It'll cure what ails ya."
ADRIAN QUESADAL, Grupo Fantasma: "There was a jalapeño festival in Laredo, where five of us are from. The first time I was there, I was late and looking for a place to stand. This contestant took off running and puked right next to me and my dad."
PATRICIA VONNE: "Let me think. ... My uncles used to do the rounds with jalapeños. I have 10 uncles, and at family reunions they'd come around and make you swallow it whole. I'm not a four-alarm person -- more of a two-alarm. I know my limits."
Gates open at 11am. Admission is free. A donation of two nonperishable canned food items is requested.
Mr. Kite's Corner
Sure, roller derby we can handle, but is Austin ready for punk rock synchronized swimming? The ladies of H2Hos certainly hope so. Now in their fourth year, the group is hosting a benefit at Club DeVille Sunday. "It's basically indie rockers who need an excuse to go to the pool," says H2H's Erin Kelly, who won't reveal any details of the show except to say it involves underwater lighting, elaborate costumes, sets, and is "sort of a rock-opera burlesque." Sunday's 9pm benefit will have food, door prizes, piñatas, and DJ Catherine and Jason Reece of ... Trail of Dead spinning. Admission is $5.
Who's doing what, where:
ADULT AUDIO MEGAPLEXMandible, Li'l Cap'n Travis, the Tinys
ARLYN STUDIOSPushmonkey, Sara Hickman, the Brew, Endochine, Toni Price, Titty Bingo
BISMEAUX STUDIOSAsleep at the Wheel's Live at Billy Bob's and Asleep at the Wheel Salutes the Alamo, Wheel fiddler Hayden Vitera's debut CD
BRIDGE STUDIOSAndrew Duplantis, the Fighting Brothers McCarthy, Coco Candissi, Will Rhodes, Alton Rex, Wood Work, Moonlight Towers
THE BUBBLELi'l Cap'n Travis, the Arm, blued, This Microwave World
CONGRESS HOUSEOtis, Colin Gilmore, Eliza Gilkyson
Blake Powers, Jacob Hilderbrand, Patrick Glenn
HIT SHACKA Christmas EP from Bruce Robison, plus Rodney Hayden, Trish Murphy, and Bob Schneider
MUSIC LANEKissinger, Oliver Future, Echoset, Autumn, Matt Schultz, Barely Broke, Media Kreeps, various Dialtone Records projects
PEDERNALESWillie Nelson movie project with John Carter Cash, the Carter Family, and the Bellamy Brothers; plus Jack Ingram, Pat Green, Los Lonely Boys, and Nelson with Jerry Lee Lewis
SWEATBOXKnife in the Water, Jad Fair, Attack Formation, the Kodiaks, the Dirty Sweets
TERRA NOVA(mastering only) John Garr, Joan Baez, the Adventures of ..., Sonny Boy Terry, Milton Mapes, Matt Hubbard, Steven Fromholz, Darcie Deaville, the Plungers