Rocking out on Red River, all the way to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Two Hearts Beat as One
There may not be a more thankless job in the music business than publicist. Bartenders at least get tips, but all publicists often receive for their efforts are unreturned phone calls and used-CD racks crammed with unopened advances. Nevertheless, for the ladies of the Propaganda Media Group, getting the word out is a labor of love that does have its benefits. "It's nice to have Ian Moore or Adam Carroll walk in with a brand-new record and hand it to you," says Vickie Lucero, who founded Propaganda in 1996 with best friend Julie Carr. Over the years, other Propaganda clients have included Terri Hendrix, Ruthie Foster, Slaid Cleaves, Chris Whitley, Eliza Gilkyson, the South Austin Jug Band, and both Jimmie Dale and Colin Gilmore. There's also the Old Settler's Music Festival and Threadgill's World Headquarters, where client Scott H. Biram releases his new The Dirty Old One Man Band tonight (Thursday). Several of her artists, notably Cleaves and Hendrix, have gone on to national airplay and acclaim, but Lucero says she's happy to keep Propaganda a boutique operation. "There's something about being here I really like," the Corpus Christi native admits, surveying the pastoral streets of Kyle from her spacious front porch. Carr left the agency earlier this year to study Oriental medicine, so Lucero's lieutenant is now Lori Lopez, a Texas State sports medicine major who just happens to live next door. "If I'm doing PR and I get a bite, I'm screaming," says Lopez. "It's a big adrenaline rush."
It's become as much a rite of October as the baseball playoffs (go 'Stros!): the Chronicle music staff's annual meeting to determine our Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ballot. Unlike some, we try to limit our selections to actual rock & rollers, so out went Buddy Guy, Conway Twitty, Percy Sledge, and, unfortunately, the O'Jays. The J. Geils Band needs a little more than "Centerfold" and "Love Stinks" for serious consideration, and some of us haven't forgiven Randy Newman for Toy Story. Gram Parsons, we decided, was a fascinating footnote, but a footnote nonetheless. That left Best Band Ever U2, to whom "TCB" suggested awarding all eight ballot slots; Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose continuing Hall omission is an obvious Yankee conspiracy; the Stooges, because they still rule; the Sex Pistols, for Johnny Rotten's potential acceptance speech alone; Patti Smith, for making Easter poetry out of Stooges squall; Grandmaster Flash, for turning rock inside out to get "The Message" across; Wanda Jackson, because if Brenda Lee is in, she should be too; and the Pretenders, for everything up to "Don't Get Me Wrong." All in all, this year's session went remarkably smooth, although we're seriously considering boycotting future voting until Doug Sahm appears on the ballot.
Almost as exciting as the Austin City Limits Music Festival itself is wondering who Charles Attal might snare in his web next year. To help start the ball rolling, "TCB" borrowed psychic consultant Madame Sinistra's somewhat cloudy crystal ball.
The Flaming Lips
Jimmy Eat World
The Real Heroes
The Stingers ATX
Trail of Dead
TV on the Radio
Little Joe Washington
What Made Milwaukee Famous
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Under a Blood Red Sky
Perhaps you've heard of the Red River Shootout, the yearly border war happening about 200 miles north of here Saturday. You may not be as familiar with the Red River Rock Out, but if the ladies behind scene zine Rank and Revue have their way (and they almost always do), this weekend will change all that. With more than 80 bands plus street vendors, Texas Rollergirls, panels, films, and poster art converging on the strip, "TCB" joined R&R publisher Brenna Parthemore, music Editor Wendy WWAD, and promotions director Tammy Moore at Headhunters last Friday to learn the method behind the mayhem.
TCB: Why did you want to start this festival?
Tammy Moore: I think rock bands, for the most part, are treated like the red-headed stepchildren of the music industry here. We wanted to do something to elevate them, and also because there's this incredible, colorful subculture here that supports it.
Wendy WWAD: Any night of the week, you can run the rock & roll gauntlet within a three-block radius. It's badass.
TCB: Do you think Red River is ready for a big festival like this?
WWAD: Definitely. I think it's needed one forever.
TM: [The clubs] need to be recognized. They generate a lot for the economy, and don't get much in return. I feel like they need recognition. That's one thing Austin is lacking, and that's what the festival is all about.
TCB: Did you design this for Red River regulars, newcomers, or both?
Brenna Parthemore: Both. Bring people down to where they're able to see what's going on, and maybe see a show or go into a club that they've never been into, but also make it affordable for regulars. If you don't want to go to all the clubs, you can go sit in your regular bar all night long without having to buy the wristband. We're not excluding anybody.
TCB: What kind of impression would you like the festival to leave with people who aren't regulars?
TM: This is about the underground. That always dictates the future of music. We'd love for people to come down here and experience what these bands are all about.
TCB: Any luck drawing out-of-towners?
TM: I got an e-mail today from a guy that's coming in from Ohio for it. I don't know how he heard about it.
Saturday's daytime schedule for the Red River Rock Out. See club ads for nighttime shows.
BEERLAND: Beky Hayes' indie film fest, 2-8pm
CLUB DE VILLE: Karaoke Apocalypse with the Dead Motley Sex Maidens, hosted by the Texas Rollergirls, 6-9pm
EMO'S: Hi-Fi High School presents the Next Generation of Live Music in Austin, 2-8pm
HEADHUNTERS: Wendy WWAD's Lip Service Clothing Party, 4-9pm
RED EYED FLY: Austin Music Foundation presents: Music Industry Boot Camp panels:
4pm: The Impact of Politics on the Austin Music Scene
5:15pm: Women of Rock & Roll: Influence & Impact
6:30pm: Getting More $ From Your Music: Proven Success Stories
ROOM 710: poster art exhibit, 2-8pm
Wristbands for the Red River Rock Out are available through Star Tickets and, starting Friday, at participating venues for $20.
The Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy and MusiCares are sponsoring a musicians' health fair 2-6pm today (Thursday) at their new Penn Field offices on South Congress. Flu and pneumonia shots, diabetes, cholesterol, and blood pressure screenings, and more.
Bullet the Blue Sky
Plans are in the works, finally, for a 5-CD Doug Sahm box set collecting the Texas Tornado's Mercury recordings. No release date yet, but son of Sahm Shawn has posted on the Yahoo! Doug Sahm newsgroup to look for it "soon."
Joe's Generic Bar, which has brought no-frills live blues to Sixth Street since time immemorial, or so it seems, hosted its final 12 bars last Thursday. Next-door neighbor the Blind Pig Pub plans to expand into the space.
The Austin Record Convention returns to the Crockett Center this weekend, and with it comes Gonn, reputed to be the bee's knees among collector types. See them at Stubb's inside Saturday after the Deftones.
"Of course I had a desire for commercial success, but I didn't want it to affect what we were doing." Or so the recently passed Johnny Ramone told the Chronicle in 2002. Read more at "Too Tough To Die."
It's Thursday, Oct. 7, the Austin Music Network is still around (more or less), and OU still sucks. Happy birthday, Mom, and hook 'em Horns!