The Austin Chronicle


By Christopher Gray, January 28, 2005, Music

Blueblood Gangstas

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.

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