Kicking it red-state style with the Yuppie Pricks, Asleep at the Wheel, and Snoop Dogg. Suck it, blue states!
Contrary to popular opinion, life for the Yuppie Pricks isn't all caviar brunches at the Barton Creek Country Club, Hilton Head golf outings with senior Halliburton executives, and liberating rails of Peruvian marching powder from exotic dancers' cleavage. Well, OK, it mostly is. Their Alternative Tentacles debut, Brokers Banquet, isn't crammed with titles like "Hummer in My Hummer," "Gonna Die Rich," and "Day Spa" for nothing. But the recovering punk rockers are also trying to help the less fortunate, creating an internship program within the band and sponsoring the Roll Like a Prick sweepstakes at Saturday's CD release with Young Heart Attack, the Put-Downs, and Black Novas. One lucky Converse-wearing prole will win free cover at Emo's for a year, insists Pricks frontman Trevor Middleton III. "This is 100 percent legit," he swears. "The winner's not predetermined. That person's really gonna get in free all year. Not that a lot of people don't already." Although drummer Nigel Smythen-Wesson mysteriously disappeared on a recent Kenyan safari, the Pricks are as bullish on their new album as they are about privatizing Social Security. "One thing I want to ask Frenchie [YHA guitarist Smith] now is, does he cry himself to sleep now that our record sounds so much better than his," crows guitarist Deuce Hollingsworth. They even roped nominal label boss Jello Biafra into a guest appearance on bonus track "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Yuppie," their homage to Texas rap legends the Geto Boys via Mike Judge's 1999 cubicle classic Office Space. Despite the Space City crew's thuggish rep, the Pricks maintain they aren't worried about retribution. Much. "They might kill someone," muses Middleton, cocking his head toward bassist Ricky the Intern. "But hopefully not me."
Big Balls in Cowtown
To the eternal chagrin of genteel blue-staters everywhere, our nation's capital was awash in bolo ties, steel guitars, and guacamole for last week's inauguration/coronation of George W. the Younger. Asleep at the Wheel drummer David Sanger, playing the hot ticket for red-state fat cats, the Texas State Society of Washington, D.C.'s Black Tie & Boots Ball, was an eyewitness. "We get off the plane at Reagan, and there were so many fur coats I said, 'Is this an airport or a taxidermy shop?'" he recalls. At the technically nonpartisan affair, the Wheel entertained alongside fellow Texans Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Clay Walker, the Gourds, and the Derailers, and enjoyed a much better outing than four years ago. In 2001, "We didn't go on until 1am and it was pretty dead," Sanger reports. "Tanya Tucker took so long to set up she basically killed our show, but this one was good." Even more impressive than the ultra-tight security which lasted until W. came and went was the open bar. "It was free-flowing," Sanger gapes. "There's no telling how much booze they went through." (One hopes our fighting men and women at the numerous military parties around town were afforded the same luxury.) In any case, the Western Swingers restored their red-blue equilibrium with the next day's gig at the National Press Club, where they shared the bill with United Press International matriarch Helen Thomas. "You know that room was full of pinkos, so it was a nice contrast," laughs Sanger.
This is the Guitarsonist. Using imaginary fretwork tighter than his biker shorts, and bitchin' moves like dousing himself with beer, he beat out a dozen other competitors to win the first preliminary round of the Austin Air Guitar Championship Tuesday at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown. The two runners-up, Skum Missile and El Extractor, advanced after literally walking in off the street. The competition continues the last Tuesday of every month until Mays finals at Emo's.
The Octopus: SXSW 05
A defining moment in music history happened recently, and hardly anyone noticed. Several weeks ago, analog-tape manufacturer Quantegy closed its last remaining factory, a move SXSW panels coordinator Andy Flynn calls "another watershed in the move toward digital." Indeed, zeroes and ones look to be the main topic of conversation this year, with Digital Distribution, Alternative Digital Deals, and Legal Ethics in the Digital Age on the docket. The continuing mobilization of music is likewise hot, with further panels on ringtones, satellite radio, and, correspondingly, The Retail Store and Its Predators. Even the man who lit the fuse, Napster creator Shawn Fanning, will sit for a SXSW interview. Technophobes should have plenty to choose from as well, including a discussion of the 13th Floor Elevators' continuing influence, a songwriters' panel with Michelle Shocked, Rick Trevino, and Susan Cowsill, a slide show from Rolling Stone photographer/UT alum Mark Seliger, and old standbys like Record Keeping and Taxes for Musicians and Indies in Today's Marketplace. Flynn is even trying to nail down an interview with a former Beatle, but probably not the one you're thinking of. Go get the new Backbeat DVD for clues.
A Dogg's Life
Already "America's Favorite Pimp" and hotter than ever thanks to "Drop It Like It's Hot," Snoop Dogg has America at his feet. What next? Thanks to a crystal ball he found at Planet K(arnak), and some wicked potent 'dro, "TCB" was able to gaze into the Doggfather's future. Holla!
2007: Snoop receives a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Soul Plane 2. He loses, but his remake of Frank Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me" (feat. Pharrell) wins Best Original Song.
2008: "Fo'shizzle my nizzle," defined as "an informal interjection expressing absolute certitude," first appears in the Oxford English Dictionary. Snoop accepts honorary Doctor of Linguistics diploma from Harvard University.
2009: Snoop announces his retirement from music and embarks upon a Jay-Z-like "Farewell Tour." Also like Jay-Z, he never actually retires.
2011: Snoop succeeds Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California; moves seat of government to the LBC. After intensive lobbying by lieutenant governors Nate Dogg and Warren G, state assembly immediately legalizes marijuana "for purposes medicinal and recreational."
2015: After rewriting the USC record book, Snoop's son Corde, aka Lil' Snoop, is chosen by the Dallas Cowboys as the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. They still can't win the Super Bowl.
Snoop Dogg plays the Austin Music Hall tonight (Thursday) with Austin's Bavu Blakes, Houston's Slim Thug, and DJ Rapid Ric.
Bullet the Blue Sky
In one of the strangest corporate sponsorships yet, American Analog Set have released the EP Songs of Hurt and Healing, a split with folky Brooklyn trio White Magic, through the Tylenol-controlled Web site OuchTheWebSite.com. "TCB" is not making this up see for yourself.
Anyone wondering what the hell happened to Tom Green should tune into the Tonight Show, Feb. 25, when the Canadian goofball takes two-step lessons from Gruene Hall owner Mary Jane Nalley and plays drums with KVET rising star Jason Allen on "John Boat Blues." Allen appears, sans Green, 8pm tonight at Dallas Nite Club.
Temporarily welcoming guitarist John Hunt back from Red Sox Nation, Fivehead shakes off the cobwebs tonight at the Carousel Lounge. Brother band the Militant Babies opens.
Mosh-pit workhorses Rubberhed are hanging it up after six years. Say adios Friday at Redrum, where they join Fire Kills and many others, or at Saturday's Rock 281 Fest at the Burnet Rodeo & Fairgrounds, with hometown boys Hatchetwork.
Bloodshot Records will re-release Scott H. Biram's Dirty Old One Man Band March 22. Before his pre-SXSW tour, the San Marcos soul-shouter opens for the Gourds Saturday at Jovita's.
Betty Crocker mortal enemies the TunaHelpers are hosting a talent show/karaoke party Saturday at the Church of the Friendly Ghost; the winner will join the Helpers at their annual Valentine's Day show Feb. 11 at Elysium. "There may be a lot of people in tears," warns the band. $5 donation suggested.