Bracing for SXSW, hailing the Dicks, avoiding the cow pies

Tick Tock

Things have never been more placid and serene around the Chronicle office than right now, and that goes double for our SXSW neighbors across the volleyball court. It's not like they have a music festival to run next week or anything.

"I'm fucking tired," says SXSW Music Creative Director Brent Grulke between yawns. "I want a nap."

When he and fellow staffers aren't tending to last-minute logistics like moving the New York Dolls to Stubb's and John Cale to La Zona Rosa, trying to rescue the imperiled Scarface showcase, and plugging in late-breaking adds like MF Doom, Grulke admits he's as amused as everyone else at the fantastical rumors that crop up as the buildup begins to crest.

"I hear everybody in the world," agrees Grulke. "A couple of years ago, we heard Bruce Springsteen, and we were fully prepared to believe he was really coming and was going to do something. I don't know any better than anybody else does, particularly if it's somebody like that, because they really can move in and out undetected."

One rumor that definitely isn't true is the Arcade Fire as the Merge showcase's special guests; the Montreal mopers are booked in jolly olde London that day. Another eyebrow-raiser was Interpol and Spoon joining forces to play under an assumed name, but the New York kids will be en route from Missouri to Florida, leaving Britt Daniel and company with a little extra room on the guest list for their March 17 Austin City Limits taping with Ray LaMontagne.

Though people waiting for the purported Geto Boys reunion will have to keep waiting, every so often one does turn out to be true, like the original lineup of Guided by Voices as special guests at their own hoot night Thursday at Emo's. Like most SXSW shows, a (very) limited number of tickets will be available first-come first-served at the door for those lacking badges or wristbands, which once again sold out a heartbeat after becoming available.

Wristbands are currently going for between $150 and $225 on eBay; SXSW plans to release more Wednesday once they determine how many they can sell and still leave crowds with a modicum of elbow room – which, Grulke notes, is often more than people might think.

"[Historically], most people with wristbands have been able to get into most shows. That's what we want to and need to maintain."

Maintaining sanity, on the other hand, is now a luxury best left to a different week. SXSW is here. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

Photo By John Anderson

Not Dark Yet

For someone who doesn't live here, and doesn't even play here all that often, Bob Dylan sure seems to love Austin musicians. The curmudgeonly icon has now recruited Antone's stalwart (and ex-Dylan guitarist Charlie Sexton's mentor) Denny Freeman and former Hot Club of Cowtown fiddler Elana Fremerman for his band. Not joining the ranks of the never-ending tour, at least not yet, is Carolyn Wonderland, who has sat in with Dylan before and been the subject of such speculation for a while.

"Certainly not this tour," she says. "I'd just like to shake his hand again."

Dylan is not expected to show up for the Hole in the Wall's March 20 hoot night in his honor, but organizer Paul Minor allows, "Maybe some people who've played with Bob" will be there to join the Damnations, Scott H. Biram, Michael Fracasso, Superego, Beaver Nelson, and the Small Stars.

Local artist Federico's subterranean homesick mural outside the Hole (pictured) will stay up after the hoot; Federico is selling woodcuttings of Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Buddy Holly at the show. One-named artists seem to be all the rage these days; Minor says Federico's mural "isn't on the same scale of [Christo's] The Gates, but it's equally significant." The show is free, but a $5 donation for the SIMS Foundation is encouraged.

Pretty Boy Gary Floyd
Pretty Boy Gary Floyd (Photo By Ken Hoge)

Back to the Bookstore

If word on the street is any indication, the Dicks are much more popular now than when they were actually around. Their two-night Room 710 stand this weekend – Friday with Faster Disaster, Castle Siege, and the Bulemics, and Saturday with Free Range Bastards, the Ugly Beats, and the Ends – has had Red River denizens buzzing for months. A quick word of advice: come early.

"Some people are saying, 'There'll be 1,000 people,'" marvels bassist Buxf Parrot. "I'm like, 'Bullshit, there were never 1,000 when we were playing, why would there be now?' But who knows?" The punk rockers' legend has increased tenfold since singer Gary Floyd packed up and left for San Francisco in the mid-Eighties; even Parrot admits he's impressed their songs have held up.

The 710 lineup will be the same as their well-received reunion last fall in San Francisco, except for Davy Jones subbing for the injured Brian Magee on guitar; Parrot says he and Floyd have even talked about maybe going back into the studio. The newly svelte singer's weight loss, he adds, hasn't affected his formidable howl a bit. "We were wondering since he lost so much weight if he could still belt 'em out like he used to," Parrot says. "He still can."

Strike Live Music

Elysium owner John Wickham, already a key figure in the anti-smoking-ban fight, has decided to take it a step further. Monday, Wickham filed to run for City Council Place 4, currently held by Betty Dunkerly, in the May 7 city election. "It became apparent to me that somebody needed to speak out for the live music venues and the small business owners," he says. "Because, apparently, it wasn't getting done." Wickham's decision comes on the heels of more smoking-related subterfuge at last week's council meeting, when Daryl Slusher led a late-night gambit to strike "live music venues" from the ballot language of the anti-smoking referendum. "In my mind, it confuses the voters," Wickham says. "I think it's concealing from them that this ballot initiative is going to be bad for live music."
Whoa, Nelly!
Whoa, Nelly! (Illustration By Nathan Jensen)


There could be no better metaphor for March in Austin than a steaming, stamping, pissed-off half-ton bull furiously bucking back and forth as some leather-skinned cowboy holds on for dear life. Also, the rodeo is in town. With some of the brighter lights to come out of Nashville lately, a couple of Texas music titans, and native son Nelly as the rodeo's first-ever rapper, this year's lineup is rarin' to go. Tickets through Texas Box Office or online at

March 12: Cross Canadian Ragweed

March 13: Charlie Daniels Band

March 15: Maroon 5

March 16: Dierks Bentley

March 17: Gary Allan

March 18: .38 Special

March 19: Brad Paisley (two shows)

March 20: Grupo Pesado

March 22: Clay Walker

March 23: Nelly

March 24: Kevin Fowler

March 25: Terri Clark

March 26: Joe Nichols

Shane Bartell
Shane Bartell (Photo By Todd V. Wolfson)

Mr. Kite's Corner

"Moving forward" after a fire at the Guadalupe Arts Center wiped out their offices and the documentary they had been working on for a year, the Austin Poetry Slam team needs your help. All you have to do is show up Saturday at Ruta Maya to watch Shane Bartell, the Personals, Go Nova, Jerm Pollett, and a head-to-head haiku slam, and pitch in for a most worthy cause. Further benefits are scheduled for March 26 at Ego's and April 19 at La Zona Rosa.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

See How Much Austin Venues Received in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants
See How Much Austin Venues Received in Shuttered Venue Operators Grants
Federal program gave $130 million to over 100 local businesses

Rachel Rascoe, Oct. 22, 2021

Planned Parenthood CEO to Headline SXSW 2022 Conference
Planned Parenthood CEO to Headline SXSW 2022 Conference
Lucasfilm, Patreon, WWE all sending speakers for 2022

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 19, 2021

More TCB
Music news

Christopher Gray, June 29, 2007

Music news

Christopher Gray, June 22, 2007


SXSW, Brent Grulke, Dicks, Buxf Parrot, Gary Floyd, Bob Dylan, rodeo, John Wickham, 101X, Andy Langer, poetry slam team, Gang of Four, Charles Attal

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle