Pat Green's politics, Raul Alvarez's field of dreams, and Gibby Haynes' "Redneck Sex"
Field of Dreams
One day this field adjacent to the Austin Public Library's Cepeda branch at East Seventh and Pleasant Valley will be a serene public garden and memorial to the many musicians who've hailed from the Eastside. "We're not talking about a sculpture garden or anything," laughs Councilman Raul Alvarez, who's planted the seed with $50,000 of city money from its East Seventh Street Corridor project. The exact form of the monuments has yet to be determined, though plaques and display cases of memorabilia have been discussed; Alvarez says he's open to suggestions. One thing he'd eventually like to see is a small amphitheatre on the site for musicians, poets, and authors to use. For now he's just starting to put the fundraising gears in motion, and hopes to begin construction next year. With developers increasingly casting hungry eyes toward the area's traditionally black and Latino neighborhoods, "We're quickly losing knowledge of its past," says Alvarez.
Pat Green won't be joining Willie Nelson in the Fort Worth Stockyards Sunday (also known as Picnic Day), because he just played the biggest outdoor arena in the Metroplex, Dallas' Smirnoff Amphitheater, and now must wait out a 60-day noncompete clause. Still riding high on last year's Wave on Wave, and with his next album recently wrapped, Monday Green was home in Austin for what he figured was only the 15th day this year.
"It's been a pretty busy life, a careful-what-you-ask-for kind of thing," he says. "I'm definitely not regretful."
Before he goes on the road again, the crown prince of KVET is stepping into Willie's running shoes in another way, hosting a big ol' July Fourth party at Auditorium Shores beginning at 2pm with friends Jerry Jeff Walker, Jack Ingram, Cowboy Mouth, and more. "I had a pretty big wish list," laughs Green, "but Springsteen was unavailable."
TCB: I take it you have Willie's blessing?Pat Green: Oh sure. He doesn't really care what anybody does. He's not going to stand in the way of anybody. He's probably the nicest guy on the planet. It's really not gonna affect him one way or the other.TCB: What's your favorite song about Texas?
PG: This guy named Walt Wilkins, who I'm a big fan of. Amazing writer, helluva guy, prince among men if you will. He has a song I don't even really think I know the title of it, but I can sing every word: "No matter what place you find me in ..." I guess it's called "Send Me Back to Texas." It's such an amazing place that it deserves songs to be written about it. People get up my ass about it, but I'm like, "If you'd like to do something different on your record, feel free."
TCB: Were you ever into fireworks?
PG: Oh yeah the standard idiot teenage boy growing up, throwing firecrackers at your brother and stuff like that. I was always kind of excited about it. My dad would take us to Fort Hood or wherever the biggest fireworks display was.
TCB: Do you think Texas has an image problem right now?
PG: With what?
TCB: There's this article, "Us Against the World," in the new Texas Monthly ...
PG: Oh, with Kinky [possible future Gov. Friedman] on the front? I haven't read that article yet. I love Kinky, he's my friend. I think the gist of it to me would be, you know, if you live in Texas, you probably don't care what other people think. We all know that it's just a label. Colorado got a bad name for the Columbine thing, unjustly, so I don't think you judge a place or a culture or a people by the actions of the people that got famous out there doing good or bad things. Are you curious where my political landings are?
TCB: Not so much politics, it's just that your music says Texas to so many people that I'm curious how non-Texans react.
PG: Well, I've never had a problem at a show. Most of the places we go are packed to the gills, and if they don't like Texas, they've got me fooled. And also, I would say if they're not big about Texas or if they're really kind of against Texas, they probably don't show up.
Hmmm ... Lollapalooza canceled? Even with blockbuster acts like Gomez and Le Tigre? Well, sha-zam! Perhaps it's for the best, if this glimpse of what might have happened is any indication ...
P.J. Harvey quits tour after organizer Perry Farrell won't stop calling her "bird."
Shows don't end until sunrise, as Sonic Youth and String Cheese Incident spar over who can drag out a song the longest.
Prolonged exposure to the Polyphonic Spree prompts Morrissey to close his set with the Partridge Family's "Come on Get Happy." Hell places huge parka order.
Über-hipsters the Walkmen, Secret Machines, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club discover severe allergy to sunlight. Absolutely no one blinks upon learning this.
Travel budget for Polyphonic Spree and Broken Social Scene larger than many European economies. Ticket sales plunge as Americans scrimp and save to buy Britney a wedding present.
No more celebrities left to dress in Flaming Lips' furry animal suits.
Physicists discuss possibility of universe collapsing if Modest Mouse and Danger Mouse appear on the same bill. Ratt unavailable for comment.
Audiences agree tour worked much better the first time when it was called Coachella.
Let Them Eat War
As a country, the U.S. has bigger problems than previously thought if Hoobastank's "The Reason" is really the best we can do right now. Perhaps these three recent releases can provide a better picture of where Uncle Sam's head is at.
Because we really need another record with Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" on it. Platitudes from Randy Travis and Aaron Tippin, non-flag-waving hits from Montgomery Gentry and Lonestar, and the rare bright spot (Alabama's "Born Country," always a pleasure). Proceeds benefit the USO, but content is weaker than the Abu Ghraib apologies.
BAD RELIGION The Empire Strikes First (Epitaph)
The Bush war machine gets it with both barrels, as do other bugaboos like the Catholic Church. The OC lifers deliver their graduate-level screeds with the Technicolor drive of 22-year-olds pissed at Ol' Mother Reagan, which is probably why turbocharged agitators like "Los Angeles Is Burning" and "Let Them Eat War" are as good as anything they've ever done.
Ah, the many pleasures of the 808, the only machine built for the express purpose of inciting ass-shaking. Port Arthur's UGK breaks down the dope game; Petey Pablo demands everyone "Raise Up"; and Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz have words with a "Bia' Bia'," whatever that is. Sleeper cut: Sammy Sam's "Knuckle Up." The new sound of Young America.
Long, tall Gibby Haynes tried not to bump his head on Room 710's ceiling last Saturday. Topping the Red River rockhaus' fourth anniversary weekend, Gibby and his Problem Kyle Ellison, Shandon Sahm, and Nathan Calhoun followed Tia Carerra's deafening drone with a psychedelically charged set that was much more "Cough Syrup" than "Shah Sleeps in Lee Harvey's Grave." If Haynes has mellowed with age, it's in a way that brings his spidery, haunted melodies to the fore and certainly not at the expense of the occasional mind-melting blowout like "Redneck Sex," either.