Off the Record

Music News

J Kapone
J Kapone

The Fast and the Furious

On Nov. 5, local rapper J Kapone was sentenced by the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas to 135 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute narcotics (cocaine). According to his manager, Derek Georg of Austin's Top Dollar Records, Kapone, born Roy Rodriguez Jr., was gearing up for an Internet campaign supporting his new mixtape with DJ Grip, The Re-Up 2.0, when he was apprehended in early March by Memphis Drug Enforcement Administration agents while attending the 2010 Southern Entertainment Awards. The case, dubbed "Operation Kumbaya" due to the 13 law enforcement agencies involved, was part of a six-year investigation into a local drug ring with ties to Mexican drug cartels that resulted in 20 convictions. "I'd like to apologize to my family, friends, and those that helped and supported my music career," Rodriguez said during the sentencing. "I accept responsibility for the things I've done and will take this time to help better myself as a person." Rodriguez notched a minor radio hit a few years back with "Watch My 15s Stutter," and his long-delayed debut album, Hustle Hard, features top-shelf cameos from Houston heavyweights Slim Thug ("Boss Status") and Bun B ("Do You Wanna Ride"). "He had his business together and was trying to make it happen, getting on the road and trying to do bigger things," relates South by Southwest's Matt Sonzala, who booked Kapone for the last five editions of the music festival. "I can't imagine some goofy rapper was a cartel kingpin, but that's how it goes."

Greased Lightning

Steve Wertheimer's rides, the Waco Kid and the Black Beauty
Steve Wertheimer's rides, the Waco Kid and the Black Beauty

Gentlemen, start your engines. After five years in the Bay Area, the Hot Rod Revolution rolls into the Seaholm Power Plant on Saturday, Nov. 20, thanks in no small part to Continental Club owner Steve Wertheimer and Lucky Lounge's Will Muntz (see "Kontinental Krew," March 26, 2004). "It's a period-specific hot rod and custom car show, probably the best in the country, limited to cars that were built before 1948 in that pre-war early custom, real traditional fashion," summarizes Wertheimer, who likens the event to a more intimate version of his annual Lonestar Rod & Kustom Round Up, with 75-100 preselected vehicles. He'll have two classics from his personal collection on display: the Tom Orren Roadster, a customized 1929 Ford Model A from Central Texas that's been untouched since 1955, and a 1941 Subias Mercury Convertible with a Carson top. The vintage sounds of the Jungle Rockers, Dale Watson, Dave Gonzales & the Stone River Boys, and the Derailers accentuate the afternoon like a custom flame paint job and chrome exhaust, while Top Notch on Burnet Road hosts a drive-in screening of 1965 cult classic Hot Rod Girl, featuring Frank Gorshin as Flat Top, shortly after doors close. The Ugly Beats, the Jade Idol, and Bill Carter & the Blame with Denny Freeman and Will Sexton drive the night home at the Continental afterward.

Lord of the Highway

Surviving on the road isn't as simple as getting in the van. Fueled by "esspresso & anti-depressants," Austin's Nordic legend Thor Harris recently penned "How to Tour in a Band or Whatever," an obscenity-laced list of commandments delivered with blunt simplicity and compiled with help from his tourmates in Shearwater and Swans. The local art-rock ensemble is recording new demos next month and planning to stage its last three LPs in their entirety at the Central Presbyterian Church in January, while the latter NYC experimental outfit starts the second leg of its worldwide tour at Mohawk Feb. 18. After forwarding the list to musician friends, Chris Swanson of indie label Secretly Canadian reposted it to his blog. "Then it went apeshit on the Internet," laughs Harris, who was tickled the Chronicle is reprinting his manifesto.

Thor Harris, you dumbass
Thor Harris, you dumbass

1) Don't Complain. Bitching, moaning, whining is tour cancer. If something is wrong fix it or shut the fuck up you fucking dick. goddamn.

2) If you fart, claim it.

3) Don't Lose shit. Everybody loses shit. Don't fucking do it. Asshole.

4) Don't fuck anyone in the band. There are tons of people to fuck who are not in this band. Dumbass.

5) If you feel like shit all the time, drink less beer at the gig. You will play better & feel better. What are you ... a child? Some have the endurance for self abuse. Most don't.

6) Remember the soundman's name. He will do a better job.

7) Eat oranges. Cures constipation & prevents colds.

8) Masturbate. Duh ... Where & when? Be creative. You're an artist right?

9) If YOU can't carry your suitcase 3 blocks, it's too goddamn big.

10) Respect public space in the van. Don't clutter, you Fuck.

11) If you borrow something, return it. Not Fucked Up.

12) Do not let the promoter dick you or talk you out of the guarantee. If there were not enuf people there, it's their fault.

13) Driver picks the music.

14) One navigator only (usually sitting shotgun). Everyone else shut the fuck up.

15) Soundcheck is for checking sounds. Shut the fuck up while everyone else is checking.

16) Don't wander off. Let someone know where you are.

17) Clean up after yourself. What are you ... a goddamn toddler?

18) Touring makes everyone bi-polar. Ride the waves as best you can and remember, moods pass. So don't make any snap decisions or declarations when you are drunk or insane.

19) Fast food is Poison.

20) The guestlist is for friends, family & people you might want to fuck. Everyone else can pay. They have day jobs.

21) Don't evaluate your whole life while you're sitting in a janitor closet [in Des Moines] waiting to go on. You think you're above having shitty days at work? Shut up & do your goddamn job.

Days of Thunder

The 2010 South by Southwest Conference injected approximately $113 million into the local economy, not including unofficial events, according to a study funded by SXSW and conducted by Greyhill Advisors. The $14 million jump from the previous year was attributed to a greater number of visitors participating in multiple aspects of the annual event, which garnered a total of 200 million media impressions, valued at $15 million.

According to the latest issue of Billboard, ticket sales for C3 Presents' 2010 Austin City Limits Music Festival grossed $15,305,000.

Just as OTR predicted, Formula One plans to host large-scale music events at its outdoor racetrack, scheduled to open in 2012. "We're not going to have some of the limitations you're faced with being in Zilker Park," Full Throttle Productions managing partner Tavo Hellmund told the Chronicle (see "How Do You Formulate a Grand Prix?," News).

Former Pat Green manager and talent buyer Greg Henry has been hired as the new chief operating officer of Direct Events. The move, which includes the creation of an artist management division beginning with New Braunfels' Zack Walther Band, is meant to alleviate the stress on owner Tim O'Connor, who's facing a variety of legal and financial issues (see "Big Dogs, Young Rebels, and Aging Giants," News, Oct. 8).

The new Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theatre has announced its first batch of shows, including original soul diva Diana Ross (Feb. 27) and John Mellencamp (April 2), with tickets available exclusively through Ticketfly on Dec. 10. Back in Studio 6A, ACL Presents Satellite Sets gives a long-overdue break to Austin's Grand Champeen on Friday, Nov. 19. To attend the taping, RSVP at

Music news

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J Kapone, Thor Harris, Steve Wertheimer, Shearwater, South by Southwest, Swans, Hot Rod Revolution

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