One of SXSW's most rewarding ventures, the Flatstock poster exhibition, boasts 86 artists showing their screen-printed wares at the Austin Convention Center, completely free and open to the public. Some of the more prominent poster houses on hand this year will be California's Aesthetic Apparatus, Kentucky's Print Mafia, former Austinite Lindsey Kuhn, and locals Obsolete, Decoder Ring, Sleepy Giant, and Bearded Lady. "It's easier to tell you who's not coming," says organizer Geoff Peveto of Decoder Ring, on his way to print some Moonlight Towers tour posters. (Flatstock founder Frank Kozik is skipping this year.) "It's kind of a perfect scenario for us, because we're right in the middle of all the people we want to be doing work for," Peveto says. More and more bands, he notes, realize selling posters at gigs can be as lucrative as T-shirts; Decoder Ring printed separate posters for all of Modest Mouse's tour dates last year. "Being around that level of talent and experience [at Flatstock] seems to be making everybody become better designers," Peveto says.
SXSW Poster Brigade
Stray SXSW tidbits: Expect an announcement in the next day or two about the date and time for additional SXSW wristbands to go on sale. Notice will be given via SXSW's text-messaging service (sxsw.com), as well as on KLBJ, 101X, and KGSR. This will happen no later than Wednesday, March 15. Limit one wristband per person, which will be cash-priced at $175... Potato peelers Built to Spill and Norwegian porn-punks Turbonegro have dropped out, but fellow oddball Scandinavians Dungen have been added (March 17, Buffalo Billiards, 11pm)... Ray Davies, the Kinkster not running for governor, will show home movies and play a few acoustic bits of Other People's Lives 5pm March 17 at the Convention Center, Room 12... Two of jazz's most recognizable names will be hanging around: Herbie Hancock for the March 17 SXSW Film premiere of Possibilities, tracking the gestation of his latest album, and Norah Jones for her honky-tonk side project the Little Willies' show 7pm March 17 at the Town Lake Stage... If you can't get into the Secret Machines Wednesday night, take note that Spin's newest Next Big Things are also playing the Roky Erickson Psychedelic Ice Cream Social Thursday afternoon at Threadgill's World Headquarters with the Minus 5, Powell St. John, and Roky himself at his only performance next week besides Wednesday's Austin Music Awards, which bid farewell to MC-for-life Paul Ray with an earlier start time (7:25pm) and a rumored appearance by Miss Lavelle White.
Congratulations to Texas author emeritus Larry McMurtry for his Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar (good show thanking son James). And roll this around your tongue for a while: Academy Award winners Three 6 Mafia. It really is hard out here for a pimp.
Whatever happened to Grand Champeen? Well, singer/guitarist Channing Lewis became father to James Calder Lewis on Feb. 18, and the rockers are feverishly trying to finish their untitled fourth album, the first since 2003's The One That Brought You. "We're recording the 15th song tonight and mixing tomorrow," bassist/vocalist Alex Livingston said Tuesday. "We're basically staying here until we take [the record] to the mastering studio." They would have been done sooner, says guitarist/singer Michael Crow, but he moved his Adult Audio Megaplexxx studio into his house near Ben White and Manchaca, and "it took a while to get wired up." Crow hints that the new album may be a tad less wired than Brought You, though. "The last album, we went out of our way to make it abrasive," he says. "So on this record, we're trying to rely a little less on walls of guitars." It's also the first Champeen album without any Crow-penned tunes. "I've been busy recording other people's songs, but Alex and Chan have come up with a pretty good batch," he says. "The general response seems to be they're poppier than previous songs, and at times a lot weirder." Champeen, who plans to shop the album around and release it on current label Glurp! if no one bites, play inside Stubb's Tuesday after the sold-out Strokes show and a SXSW showcase 10pm March 16 at the Karma Lounge.
Jesse Taylor, longtime guitarist for the original Joe Ely Band and an unsung linchpin of the scene dubbed the "Lubbock Mafia," passed away from hepatitis C complications Tuesday evening in South Austin Hospital. He was 55 years old and scheduled to be inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame at Wednesday's Austin Music Awards. Taylor was born and raised in Lubbock, began playing guitar at age 12, and spent part of his youth hopping trains between Lubbock and Venice, Calif. He joined Ely's band in 1976 for an eight-year hitch, a period that saw the group criss-cross the globe and open for the Clash, Tom Petty, and the Rolling Stones. "Musically, he just kicked everybody's ass, but in the kindest, gentlest way," says former Ely drummer and local booking agent Davis McLarty, who met Taylor in 1978. "He was this ferocious player, but he never stepped on anybody. When it was his time to step up, he would just knock it out of the park." Taylor played with numerous other musicians before and after Ely's band, including the T. Nichol House Band in Lubbock, Kracker Jack with alumni of Johnny Winter's band, Terry Allen, Butch Hancock, the Maines Brothers Band, and his own group Tornado Alley. He released a solo album, Last Night, in 1987, and played on numerous other albums including Marcia Ball's Gatorhythms, Jimmie Dale Gilmore's After Awhile, and Kimmie Rhodes' West Texas Heaven. Last April, his many friends organized the "Jessefest" benefit at Threadgill's World Head-quarters, and Taylor sat in with most of the bands on the bill, including Ely, Billie Joe Shaver, Reckless Kelly, and the Texana Dames. "He hung out and played the whole day, and talked about it afterward for weeks and weeks," says McLarty. Taylor is survived by his girlfriend Kim and daughters Nicole, Carrie, and Chelsea. Visitation is 7-9pm tonight (Thursday) at Cook-Walden Funeral Home, 6100 N. Lamar. Funeral services are Saturday at Resthaven in Lubbock.
Gone With the West Texas Wind
It's not on new album You Don't Know Me: Songs of Cindy Walker (Lost Highway), but Willie Nelson's conveniently timed, f-bomb-dropping gay-cowboy waltz "Cowboys are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)" has drawn attention from Entertainment Weekly, ABC News, and the mighty BBC. Howard Stern premiered the song, written by Lubbock's Ned Sublette in 1981 and available on iTunes, on Valentine's Day or so everyone thought. "Willie brought it to us one morning, roughly three years ago, so we put it on the air," says Bob Cole, co-host of popular KVET-FM morning show Sam & Bob in the Morning. "He hadn't recorded it yet; it was a demo by the writer. When it got to the part with the f-bomb, he said, 'Whoops guess I shoulda told you about that!'" Predictably, "Secretly" is not on KVET's playlist KGSR spins it occasionally, "as a novelty," says Program Director Jody Denberg but Sam and Bob have been playing Nelson's "He Was a Friend of Mine," the Bob Dylan-penned song that spools over the end credits of Brokeback Mountain. "When we associate it with the movie, a few jokester/morons are lying in wait to ring in," says Cole. "But 99% of the feedback is stunningly positive."
It's rodeo time, y'all: The 69th annual Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo gets under way this weekend at the Travis County Expo Center. As it predates SXSW by 49 years, going head-to-head with the music festival has never been a problem. "Our attendance has continued to grow, and brought increasing awareness to our mission of promoting youth education [and] preserving Western heritage," says spokeswoman Katy Berdoll. The Western fun starts 6am Friday with the free cowboy breakfast at Auditorium Shores. Tickets at Texas Box Office (477-6060), HEB, and www.rodeoaustin.com. Your 2006 headliners, taking the stage at 7pm each night. Freebird!
Saturday: Cross Canadian Ragweed
Sunday: Dwight Yoakam
Monday: Ashlee Simpson
Tuesday: Pat Green
Wednesday: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Thursday: Sara Evans
March 17: Kevin Fowler
March 18: LeAnn Rimes (also 1pm)
March 19: Duelo
March 21: Bow Wow
March 22: Montgomery Gentry
March 23: George Jones
March 24: Joe Nichols
March 25: Gary Allan