Photo By Gary Miller

Another One Bites the Dust

Adding to the mounting dismay over the state of music retail, Tower Records announced Monday it will close its Austin store in June. Even though the nationwide record-store chain filed for Chapter 11 protection last month, Austin manager Dave Mulholland said Wednesday he thought the store would dodge the proverbial bullet. "I thought things had turned around," he said. "It was getting to the point where selling music was fun again." All the same, Mulholland, a Tower employee since 1991, admits, "When it's not paying the bills, you gotta be realistic."

Let It Snow

Despite the massive winter storms that hit the Midwest and Northeast this week, SXSW travel plans went largely unhindered. Jackie Mayo at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport's Public Information Office said that as far as she knew, no flights into Austin were canceled, and there were few delays. Then again, Sony's Stephanie F. Black said her plane was grounded for 90 minutes, and Misra Records' Phil Waldorf said two members of Brooklyn's Mendoza Line had to take a later flight. SXSW's Julia Ervin was surprised at the lack of horror stories. "I was expecting a barrage of e-mails in my in-box today," she said Wednesday, "but not a peep."

Music String


"Uncle Jesse" John Stamos sitting in on drums with Fastball Sunday at the Hole in the Wall

Jim Jarmusch at Emo's Tuesday night, searching for champagne

Heaven's Gate castmates Mickey Rourke and Stephen Bruton catching up at the Four Seasons

Patti Smith and Fred "Sonic" Smith spawn Jackson Smith with Detroit fivepiece Back in Spades at their Wednesday night SXSW showcase

Best in Show star Fred Willard having lunch Wednesday at the Magnolia Cafe table next to Masonic's John Mason and girlfriend Wendy. "He had something with syrup," reports Mason.

Former UT football coach and stadium namesake Darrell K. Royal at the Paramount Theatre for the SXSW Film premiere of Antone's: Home of the Blues and Ray Benson's birthday party at La Zona Rosa Tuesday night

What Did You Do Last Night?

MICHAEL BOOHER, Zykos "I worked on some new shit we're about to play today."

ERNEST SALAZ, I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness "I was at the Viet Nam show."

PHIL WALDORF, Misra Records "I met up with two bands staying at my house [Destroyer and Frog Eyes] and took them to Star Seeds."

WILL SHEFF, Okkervil River/Shearwater "I played a show in Norman, Oklahoma, drove four hours to Denton, slept three hours on somebody's floor, and hit the road."

MATT MESHBANE, Austin promoter "I ran sound for a blues band and rolled a fat doobie with a 34-year-old mother of four."

MARIA LA FANTASY, the Winks "Practiced."

CHRISTOPHER BENEDICT, the Spiders "I fuckin' stayed home – I think."

Forbidden Words

At Tuesday night's BMI-sponsored Howdy Texas dinner at Stubb's, Hank Jr.'s daughter Holly Williams and Austin's Greencards entertained while 101X morning show jocks Trina Quinn and Jason Alvarez bemoaned the stricter broadcasting standards imposed by the FCC and parent company Emmis Corp. As a public service, "TCB" offers a list of musical terms now considered objectionable: beat, lick, ride cymbal, humping gear, vibrato, blow, get down, skin beater, dominant, exposition, fugue, castrato, open position.

Random Snippets

Aerosmith axeman Joe Perry's "surprise" appearance with Canadian blues prodigy Kyle Riabko went out the window when Riabko was hospitalized. Find the Clear Channel/Billboard party, however, and you may see him yet.

Corporate coup of SXSW 04: The Natural American Spirit Smoking Balcony at the Convention Center

Best swag: Aspyr's earplug wallet

"$30,000, straight up," former Emo's employee Joe Sebastian on Mission of Burma's asking price

"The death of dignity," Jon Dee Graham's summation of SXSW 04

Dirty blues trio Grady borrows a page from the Rolling Stones and the Light Crust Doughboys when they serenade Austin from a flatbed truck Thursday, starting at the Iron Works at noon.

Best T-shirt (tie): Fast Tammy (ex-Eastside Suicides) and Alex End, each in a Pogues top

Music String
Photo By Christopher Gray

Howling at the Sun

Denton trio the Faceless Werewolves cut loose with some supple garage rock at Emo's day party Wednesday afternoon. Owner Frank Hendrix said the previous night's bill of High on Fire, Zeke, Nine Pound Hammer, the Lazy Cowgirls, and Viet Nam set a new Emo's record for a SXSW preshow, and, from behind the bar, he thoughtfully dispensed Centrum high-performance vitamins to those in need.

Music String
Photo By Christopher Gray

Will Work for Rock

"Dirty Gillespie" shills for the Yuppie Pricks outside the Austin Convention Center Wednesday afternoon. Gillespie said the capitalist Austin punk rockers weren't actually paying him money, but did promise him a hot meal "and maybe a wristband." He was starting to wonder if he'd been duped, though: "One of them was supposed to bring me a bottle of hooch, but he didn't."

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