And now, the news
Due to poor attendance, the Hole in the Wall has ceased booking music Monday and Tuesday, and scaled back the Sunday-night Rock & Roll Free for All to once a month starting in November. "Week to week, it just wasn't drawing what it needed to draw," says booker J. Beaman. Beaman admits the club's decision to eschew advertising isn't exactly helping the turnout, but says several people have told him they would be perfectly happy to get their musical entertainment from the jukebox those nights. "Those three are the hardest nights to get people out anyway," he says. "I worked a lot of Tuesday nights with no one in here and some loud psychobilly band that wasn't very good. I'd like to stay away from that." Shows later in the week are faring much better, which Beaman attributes to the built-in draw of acts like Li'l Cap'n Travis, Meat Purveyors, and the Damnations. While disappointed to lose his weekly gig, Free for All maven Paul Minor has made his peace with the decision. "It will give us more time to promote it and make it a bigger thing," Minor says. "It could be a blessing in disguise."
Rykodisc is re-releasing the first three LPs by Eighties college radio could've-beens Dumptruck Nov. 4. What does this have to do with Austin? Founding 'Trucker Seth Tiven settled here many moons ago, putting together a local incarnation of the band (check out 2001's Lemmings Travel to the Sea). Someone Tiven "vaguely knew" at the label e-mailed him earlier this year wondering who owned the rights to the albums. Tiven did, having won them in a protracted mid-Nineties legal battle with Big Time Records. The guitarist/songwriter headed to Connecticut this summer to remaster the then-Boston-based act's D Is for Dumptruck (1984), Positively Dumptruck ('85), and For the Country ('87). "D Is for Dumptruck never came out on CD," says Tiven, "and the other two were mastered from the vinyl masters." The remastered discs, like Ryko's upcoming "expanded edition" of Alejandro Escovedo's With These Hands, include alternate takes, live tracks, and demos. Tiven says he'd like to do some local shows to celebrate their release. "I'd get e-mails saying, 'Hey, I saw [the albums] on eBay for $35-40,' but [I knew] I'd lose money putting them out myself."
Although the Austin Music Network's future is in its usual state of uncertainty (see "Mr. Kite's Corner"), local music now has another outlet on the tube thanks to KNVA's new All Access Live. The station, better known as Austin's WB (broadcast 54/TW cable Channel 12), has been running IDs and bumpers featuring bands like Vallejo and Cruiserweight for several years, so All Access turned out to be a perfect fit. "We see pilots all the time, and this was by far the best privately-funded pilot we've seen," says KNVA Director of Promotion Jim Canning. Created by local publicist Gigi Greco and hosted by AMN/KLBJ personality Brian "B-Doe" Bymark, the half-hour show combines live performances and behind-the-scenes footage from both local and national acts. The premiere followed the Riddlin' Kids around La Zona Rosa; future episodes will feature David Gray, Maroon 5, 3 Doors Down, and Gavin DeGraw. All Access, which airs Saturdays at 10pm, also provides the station with a novel way to fulfill its public-service requirement stipulated by the FCC. Besides, notes Assistant Promotions Director Tish Saliani, "a lot of our programming is geared to the same audience these bands are trying to reach."
The inaugural season of the Texas Rollergirls drew to a close at a sold-out Playland Skate Center last Sunday, with the Hustlers outskating the Hot Rod Honeys for the championship 63-46. In the third-place game, the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers triumphed over the Hell Marys 54-40. Beerland brought out 1,500 cases of Lone Star for the occasion, ...Trail of Dead and the Crack Pipes both turned in blistering sets, and onlookers got a gruesome lesson in first aid when the safety team popped Hustler jammer Pinky's separated shoulder back into place right on the track. CBS camera crews and the Austin Music Network were on hand; the match airs on AMN Oct. 19 at 7pm, with a date for the CBS Early Show segment yet to be determined. Play resumes in February.
Look for some sort of action on the smoking ban soon: The Air Quality Task Force presents its findings to the City Council at today's meeting. More in "Politics."
Releases are being signed left and right for a double-disc soundtrack to this year's Austin City Limits Music Festival. No word on when the compilation might actually surface.
Scheduled acts for Saturday's Harvest Moon Festival at Wimberley's Jacob's Well Pavilion include a Peter Rowan reggae set with the Burning Spear horns, the Gourds, Cooper's Uncle, and the Onion Creek Crawdaddies. Ticket and protocol info at www.bluefishent.com.
Wednesday is the last day to get Early Bird tickets for next year's Old Settler's Music Festival, set for April 15-18, 2004. www.oldsettlersmusicfest.org.
Turn the Page
Contention and good-natured sparring were the order of the day Friday as the Chronicle music brain trust -- a term used very loosely -- convened to fill out our annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ballot. Voted in, in reverse order, were the "5" Royales, Gram Parsons, Black Sabbath, the Stooges, Prince, Patti Smith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and ZZ Top. Not so lucky were George Harrison (too obvious); the Sex Pistols (Sid would've wanted it that way); Jackson Browne (running on empty); Traffic (but yes for Steve Winwood); the Dells (doo-wop quota already met); John Mellencamp (hurts so good); and regrettably, Bob Seger. "TCB" doggedly insisted that millions of Chevy truck owners couldn't be wrong, but that wasn't enough to persuade the elders, and the whole thing turned out to be moot because Iggy Pop and company already had dibs on the Detroit slot. Art Director Taylor Holland showed up late to bellyache over the Dixie-heavy top of the list, obviously preparing for when UT finally sticks it to OU Saturday. If you think we're El Loco, too, a sample ballot is online at austinchronicle.com/feedback/musichalloffame . "TCB" will publish the results in a future column, and one lucky player will win a 26-CD set of greatest-hits discs from future Hall inductees including Ace of Base, the Thompson Twins, and A Flock of Seagulls.
Mr. Kite's Corner
It was only a matter of time before one of the Riverboat Gamblers hurt himself onstage (again), and now it's happened: Bassist Patrick Lillard was smacked in the mouth by a swinging microphone during the Gamblers' Oct. 1 show in San Francisco. The resulting six-hour surgery managed to save all but one of his teeth, but needless to say, the band was forced to cancel the rest of their tour. The Dirty Sweets, Mood Killers, White Heat, Ritchie Whites, and New Disciples play a benefit for Lillard Friday night at Beerland.
The Austin Music Network, which due to city budget cuts now needs to raise 75% of its operating budget from outside sources, is conducting its first weeklong fundraiser Oct. 12-19. Several events are planned, including a telethon, "Be a VJ" contest, and live music every night at Bigsby's on Sixth Street. See www.austinmusicnetwork.org for a complete schedule.
SAY HELLO TO THE ANGELS:
Turn on the bright lights indeed. Interpol's visit to Stubb's Monday night was defined as much by the extensive use of blinding reverse spotlights as by the NYC quartet's seething post-punk. Seasoned by more than a year of touring behind their gripping Matador debut, Turn on the Bright Lights, the boys in black rose to the occasion with stirring versions of "PDA," "Roland," and "Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down." Afterward, bassist Carlos D. hit the turntables at a packed Elysium, and drew more than a few ironically raised eyebrows when he threw on Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart."
Ronnie Dawson 1939-2003
Dallas rockabilly pioneer and Continental Club favorite Ronnie Dawson passed away Sept. 30 after a long battle with throat cancer. High Noon's Shaun Young remembers his mentor and friend:
"High Noon was in California at a music festival about to share a bill with the Blonde Bomber. I couldn't wait to meet him. I wanted to shake his hand and tell him how cool his records were. Little did I know how many doors he would open in my life from then on when Ronnie opened that door.
"I don't think I ever got to shake Ronnie's hand because he instantly grabbed me in a huge bear hug and said, 'Well, it's about time we met up! I've got y'alls CD -- when are we going to play together?'
"That's Ronnie Dawson in a nutshell: loving, joyous, and ever supportive of his peers. Everyone who ever had the pleasure of playing with him, or seeing his unbeatable live show, got the same treatment.
"He taught me more about the joy of living than anyone else. He lived for the music and loved the folks that he performed for.
"And we loved him back!"