As soon as their landlord puts on a new roof, Beerland owners Randall and Donya Stockton will open Rio Rita at 1308 E. Sixth. "We're waiting on permits and stuff, TABC and all that," says Donya. The Stocktons plan for the Rita to be a coffeehouse by day and beer-only lounge by night, open 24 hours if they can figure out how to staff it. "People are always looking for a place to go and hang out and talk after shows," Donya says. Talking is an important part of their plan, so the only music will come from the jukebox. "Live music isn't always your friend," Donya says. "You can say Beerland is your favorite club, but if you don't like the band that's playing, then it's not." The Stocktons had been considering diversifying for a while, explains Donya, and snapped up Rita when the building owner, a former employer of Randall's, told them it was available in late September. As far as renovations, a new color scheme was about it. "For the past couple of years, it's been Club Sirenitos, which means 'little mermaid,'" Donya says. "When we walked in, the walls and ceiling were bright neon blue, and the floor was pink Armstrong tile." The Rita is only a couple of blocks from Red's Scoot Inn, leading some to dub the area a new Red River, especially since the current one is about to undergo significant change. "As soon as they build those condos down by Reddy Ice [Ninth & Red River], we're going to go the same way the Warehouse District went," Donya says. "All of Red River is going to have to find a new place to live."
Believe it or not, Grand Champeen have finished Dial "T" for This, their first album since 2003's The One That Brought You, and will release it March 6 on Portland, Ore., label In Music We Trust. Careful calendar observers will note this day is also the recently announced release date for another long-delayed, much-anticipated album called Chinese Democracy. Preparing to fight fire with fire, Champeen have been working up versions of "Paradise City" and "November Rain" to join their cover of G'N'R's "It's So Easy."
Bullet the Blue Sky
Skateboarding maybe, but the Riverboat Gamblers aren't exactly synonymous with big-time college football. Not until our eagle-eared Music Editor Raoul Hernandez noticed "On Again Off Again," from this year's To the Confusion of Our Enemies, soundtracking some CBS smashmouth highlights a few weeks back. And, it turns out, not entirely legally. "We heard it, too," says Gamblers manager Bryan McClellan. "It was used without permission, and the band's lawyer is getting it figured out right now."
One local TV/music tie-in that is legit: Round Rock computer behemoth Dell using the 13th Floor Elevators' "You're Gonna Miss Me" to hawk their latest line of Dimension desktops. Ad agency BBDO wanted a song similar to the music used on The Sopranos, and when they heard "Miss Me," "it sounded real, with a rawness that felt immediate," relays Dell attorney Dean Blackwood. Once they discovered the Elevators' local connection, he adds, "Everybody became even more enchanted by the tune."