Off the Record
Feats of Strength
To repurpose a phrase from Seinfeld, 2009 Fun Fun Fun Fest is the Festivus for the rest of us, a two-day alternative holiday for all the freaks and geeks. Transmission Entertainment's fourth annual fall classic, which takes over Waterloo Park this weekend, colors outside the lines with four stages dedicated to indie rock (Of Montreal, Ratatat, Yeasayer), hip-hop (GZA, Pharcyde, Kid Sister), comedy (Whitest Kids U'Know, Brian Posehn), and perhaps most importantly, classic punk and modern metal (Danzig). "Half the bands we book most festivals wouldn't touch, and it wouldn't make sense for them to," figures booker Graham Williams at Jaime's Spanish Village, now owned by Transmission partner Michael Terrazas. "There's a glass ceiling there for us, and we use that to our advantage." New additions this time around include a mechanical bull, a coffin extension to its trademark skate ramp, and an American Poster Institute show, not to mention another full batch of aftershows. "This is the first year where I feel like everything's come together, and we've captured the brand," enthuses promoter James Moody, who, depending on the turnout this weekend, is considering moving the fest to Auditorium Shores next year. "Our only concern at this point is weather," Williams concludes, "but things are looking pretty good." Consider it a Festivus miracle. www.funfunfunfest.com.
Tales From the Crypt
Only a grave digger's jacket and top hat separate Jesse Dayton from Captain Clegg, the rockabilly fiend he plays in Rob Zombie's Halloween II (see "Off the Record," Aug. 28). That's convenient since the local country soul brother won't be out of costume anytime soon. Captain Clegg & the Night Creatures bring their phantom jam to Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe 2 Tour, which touches down on Tuesday at the Austin Music Hall, the smallest venue on the 30-date jaunt. Moreover, a documentary on the fictitious horror band is scheduled for release this Christmas, featuring footage from the recent Fangoria convention. "Rob came up with everything in terms of the name and the concept," says Dayton over Maker's Mark at the Lustre Pearl. "He gave me the ideas, like what if 'Two Headed Teenage Transplant' sounded like Iggy Pop meets Johnny Horton. We created these new American hybrids." Under Clegg's guise, Dayton is also recording Ghost Soldiers, which he deems "a full blast off toxic hillbilly album" that will serve as the soundtrack to a Captain Clegg B-movie that's set to begin filming early next year at the Lamothe House Hotel in New Orleans' French Quarter. "It's all about the health care industry," Dayton reveals. "It's basically about this pharmaceutical company called Zombax, like Xanax, that eventually turns everyone into zombies." Just don't expect Captain Clegg to ever grace the Broken Spoke. "Not no, but hell no," Dayton laughs. "I have too much respect for James White."
Fun Fun Fun Footnotes
• The Jazzus Lizard is ready to meet its maker. "Some calls have been made," assures bassist Adam Kahan. As part of the official afterparty at Mohawk on Saturday, the local tribute quartet is releasing its second LP, Keys, which covers Scratch Acid staple "Greatest Gift," along with berserkers such as "Seasick" and "Nub." Of the latter Jesus Lizard selection, David Yow reveals in liner notes to the Goat reissue: "Although 'Nub' is about a little boy who lost his hand out of a bus window, I like to picture the one-armed man in Twin Peaks with his shirt off and his nub all a-twitchin'."
• According to singer/guitarist Jonathan Meiburg, Shearwater's sixth LP, The Golden Archipelago, due in February, is about islands – real and imagined – and opens with a field recording of Bikini Atoll's national anthem: "We've also made an 80-page document to go with it, full of photographs, notes, and drawings. We're trying to figure out how to print it without breaking the bank!"
• The Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz gets in on the FFFF action with a three-part series of related screenings. On Saturday Youth Brigade sits in for the documentary Let Them Know (10:15pm) and nerd-core rapper MC Chris presents Gremlins (11:59pm), while Boston's finest field questions after Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story (Sunday, 10:15pm).
• The Strange Boys' debut LP, ... And Girls Club, has proven fortuitous. The local garage-rock wunderkinder have added vocalist/saxophonist Jenna Thornhill of Mika Miko, which takes a final bow on Sunday, and signed a worldwide deal with Rough Trade. The London-based label will co-release with In the Red the Boys' sophomore outing, Be Brave, in February, and exclusively handle the following two LPs. "It all came together pretty fast," says singer/guitarist Ryan Sambol.
Fun Fun Fun Facts
• Toronto's Fucked Up is putting its Polaris Music Prize money to good use, creating a charity version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" that features David Cross, Bob Mould, and Yo La Tengo, among others. GZA's cameo is being recorded at the fest.
• The last time Sunday headliner Danzig woke the dead in Austin was at the City Coliseum, April 1995. Marilyn Manson and Korn opened.
• The Sword's thunderous "Maiden, Mother & Crone" landed on Guitar Hero 5, and drummer Trivett Wingo informs us, via e-mail, guitarist "Kyle [Shutt] still can't grow a beard."
• Post Present Medium, the DIY label from No Age's Dean Spunt, is issuing the debut LP from local hardcore outfit Total Abuse in February.
• The new punk dive from Red 7's Jared Cannon, the Brixton (1412 E. Sixth), should be the unofficial afterhours hot spot this weekend.
• Motor City zeitgeist Death has played only four reunion shows to date.
• Brazilian DJ duo Mix Hell, who spin at the Beauty Bar's afterparty on Sunday, features Sepultura's Igor Cavalera.
• Local drummer Luke Abbey keeps time for both NYC hardcore band Gorilla Biscuits and Austin's metallic Rat King.
• Total number of acts being flown in for the weekend: 29.
• James Moody's open letter to C3 Presents: "Dear ACL, please get the Cars back together, the Talking Heads, and the Smiths. We can't afford it, but we'd love to see it happen."
Along with raising funds for Doug Sahm Hill in Butler Park, Antone's tribute to the original cosmic cowboy, featuring the SQD2, Jimmie Vaughan, and Paul Ray & the Cobras with Denny Freeman, will also feature a Gold Record presentation for Sir Douglas Quintet's Scandinavian Years (see last week's "High Texas Rider").
Paul Saucido, host of Sonido Boombox on the struggling ME Television ("A Rocky Road to Recovery," Screens, Oct. 16), was arrested last week for sexual assault after an alleged incident at a Sept. 23 party.
Eugene Hütz proved a man of his word at Stubb's on Sunday after his gypsy punks Gogol Bordello took the streets and then Lovejoys for a second encore.
If money talks, then KUT's most successful pledge drive to date should be the final word in the controversy over its recent programming changes. The station raised $854,000.
Don't forget: The annual Help Clifford Help Kids benefit at the Austin Music Hall takes place on Thursday, Nov. 12, with local Latin phenom Grupo Fantasma. For more info, see www.americanyouthworks.org.