Playback: G.O.A.T. Goes Viral
The God of All Texas might get your G.O.A.T.
Standing on Sixth Street in his Lone Star bikini bottoms, battered cowboy hat, and Texas flag cape, G.O.A.T. looks like a cross between outlaw country biker David Allan Coe and Austin's late, lamented street governor Leslie. You've probably seen him Downtown, picking an electric bass and barking out indecencies. More likely, you've seen him online, where the local busker's found a considerable audience for his perverted songs.
These days G.O.A.T. – God of All Texas – gets recognized by name and spends too much time posing for pictures with tourists. Such is the life of an Internet celebrity. A live video of him and his band, Your M.O.M., performing "Quack Like a Duck" has achieved full viral status, prompting reaction videos, fan covers, cartoon tributes, and even a Harlem Shake version. The clip, notorious on the Opie & Anthony Show, Cracked.com, and Comedy Central's Tosh.0, finds G.O.A.T. at an East Austin house party shaking his junk with such exactness that it inspires a fan to approach the stage and drunkenly inspect G.O.A.T.'s kinetic package.
"There's no such thing as bad publicity," explains G.O.A.T. "Even if it's another man touching your penis."
"It's a myth we're a joke band," insists guitarist Toni Gnosis, who admits he was "horrified" when he first saw G.O.A.T. perform at an open mic, yet later joined the band. Hard to argue with G.O.A.T.'s craftsmanship of obscenity, sewing together smut with the acrobatic diction of Shel Silverstein. "You wouldn't believe it, but he's a very serious musician," Gnosis adds. "We'll spend hours discussing song development."
Six years ago, G.O.A.T.'s filthy songs were being coldly received in California bars. Then he met an old man named "Satan" who pointed him toward the promise land.
"He told me to come here to Austin," shrugs G.O.A.T. "That this is where I could make it, where they would understand what I was doing and want to hear even dirtier songs."
How dirty are the songs?
"Honestly, the first album, which we record next month – every single song will have something to do with anal sex," explains G.O.A.T. while trimming his nails through fingerless gloves made out of underwear. "The second album will have additional levels of wrongness that go way beyond that."
In its third year locally, HONK!TX made ever more converts last weekend, setting up multiple stages behind Spider House Ballroom on Saturday and hosting hundreds of onlookers for dozens of brass bands from around the country. Sunday, the closing parade on the Eastside strung together a half-mile of madness beginning at noon and testifying to a way of life. "In Vancouver, there are no other bands like us," commented saxophonist Ross Barrett, who comes to Austin from Canada with his Carnival Band every March. "We recognize the camaraderie of this event. It keeps us from feeling like a bunch of freaks."
Ely's Snatched Axe Comes Back
A very unique guitar made its way back to Joe Ely this month at a show in San Francisco. Symbolizing Ely's pool shark skills, local luthier Ted Newman-Jones built him a felt-green axe with billiard ball inlays and a triangle-rack pickguard in 1984. The custom guitar was ripped off with the rest of his band's gear while on tour two years later. When ransom calls to Ely were allegedly traced back to the San Francisco Police Department, he was left without any leads and gave up hope.
Then, out of the blue, a musician named Matt Wright watched an old episode of Austin City Limits and realized that the pool table guitar he'd bought cheap at a pawnshop was Ely's.
"He'd been playing that guitar for 20 years," marvels Ely, "but he knew he had to give it up to ease his conscience. I thought it was incredibly noble."
On March 12, Wright presented Ely with the lost six-string at Slim's in San Francisco, a club within three blocks of where the instrument was stolen 27 years ago. "It felt exactly the same," Ely thought to himself as he played it onstage that night. "And the back is still completely scratched up from my belt buckle."
Ely's good feeling didn't last long. Ten hours after being rejoined with his long lost guitar, his van was again robbed while he was eating at Denny's, this time of three backpacks with laptops, electronics, and personal documents. When he couldn't get help from the Vallejo police, who were too underfunded to investigate the robbery, he got lucky: A broken down trucker found the backpacks still containing passports and documents on the side of the road and sent them to Ely.
"It's all so surreal," chuckles Ely about the recent chain of events. "I can't hardly imagine how it took place the way it did. It makes you have hope for civilization one minute, then it's right back to the other side."
› Which exclusive afterparty did Prince attend after his South by Southwest Saturday night of endless hits at La Zona Rosa? A table for three at the Downtown IHOP. Singer Mlny Parsonz of Southern psych-metal quartet Royal Thunder sighted the "Purple Rain" singer at 5am and made relatively smooth business of interrupting his late-night snack. "'Excuse me, but you're Prince, and I need to shake your hand and tell you how fucking incredible you are.' He was in the middle of drinking his orange juice and started to giggle at me and he spit some of it out, then reached out his hand and smiled," she recounted via email. "Yes, I touched the tiny hand of Prince." Further interactions were handled less gracefully: Prince refused a free CD from Royal Thunder's guitarist and was so creeped out by another fan who was tripping that he bolted before the arrival of his order, which we can only assume was the Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n Fruity pancake platter.
› When international media descends on Austin for SXSW, good ink comes to locals. Not in the Face and Ume made "Best of SXSW" lists for The Village Voice, which wrote of the latter, "Possesses an air of intelligence and depth rare in a genre known primarily for its copious drug use." The Huffington Post called local twosome Black Pistol Fire the "next big thing" and "the most energetic and musically versatile of all the bands playing the festival." Rolling Stone kingpin David Fricke was impressed by True Believers, commenting that the reunited band "played like their original bond had only been frayed and set aside, never broken." Dana Falconberry received upper-class coverage from Mother Jones, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. The latter's Jon Pareles dug the philosophical songwriting of Jess Klein and seemed smitten with My Education, noting they've "made a sacrament of the measured crescendo." Another NYT scribe gave love to young psych-surfers Holy Wave and rap collective League of Extraordinary G'z. Perhaps the most unlikely pairing of media and local music, though, was NPR's All Songs Considered using the Beaumonts' couplet "I like dancing around in my cowboy clothes/I like snortin' cocaine straight up my nose" as intro music for its SXSW preview.
› Gary Clark Jr. played his single "Numb" Wednesday on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, who introduced the local guitarist as winner of "an unprecedented eight Austin Music Awards." Two days later, Wild Child made its national TV debut with a performance of their forthcoming single, "Crazy Bird," on Last Call With Carson Daly.