Playback: Phil Anselmo's Housecore Horror
Phil Anselmo returns with Housecore Horror, Marc and Elijah Ford jam family style, and Keith Ferguson gets his inked in new book
Prepare for screaming, terror, and violence at the Housecore Horror Film Fest – and we're not talking about movie screenings. Metal impresario Phil Anselmo and local partner-in-true-crime Corey Mitchell reinforce their second annual fright flick weekend Friday through Sunday at Emo's and Midway Field House (formerly Antone's) with 30 extreme acts. A resurrected Gwar stars alongside Danzig and his post-Misfits death rockers Samhain, Bay Area sun blotters Neurosis, NOLA slowcore vets Eyehategod, British grind kings Napalm Death, Polish death merchants Decapitated, and Alselmo's long-shelved Superjoint (sans Ritual).
Austin Chronicle: The festival's tailored to those who love metal and horror movies. Where do the two cross over?
Phil Anselmo: I don't even think there'd be death metal if it weren't for the classic possession movies like The Exorcist or Evil Dead. I think the guttural sounds of the demons inspired death metal vocals big time. Horror flicks also have religious overtones – Rosemary's Baby – and bands have always exploited that symbolism in their content. Just look at black metal.
AC: Who's a band the average fan might not know, but that you're pumped to see at HHFF?
PA: I'm going with Portal from Australia. They're the greatest death metal band right now, and that's saying a lot.
AC: Glenn Danzig shares your love for horror movies. What's your relationship with him like?
PA: I grew up a huge Misfits fan and also when Pantera was just dippin' our toes into mainstream waters, Danzig had already had a successful solo career. The first time we met, I was in Los Angeles and Pantera was opening for S.O.D. That was a hell of a show. Glenn was in the audience and on my way backstage we made eye contact. I thought, "This guy has no idea who I am," but he walked right up to me and shook my hand and smiled. ... He gave me props right off the bat because I was always wearing Misfits shirts. Being the aggressive type of frontman I am, Glenn has always been a huge influence.
AC: Last year HHFF had Down and Phil Anselmo & the Illegals. Was Superjoint this year simply something different?
PA: According to Corey Mitchell, there was a poll taken of what reunion the audience wanted the most – excluding Pantera because we know the problems there – and Superjoint got voted in. It wasn't something I'd even considered. We put our heads down, thought about it, and I always want to give the people what they want. Jimmy Bower and I got together and started jamming and it felt really good so we said, "Lets just go kick fuckin' ass on a one-off show. No harm, no foul."
AC: So there'll be no follow-up tour?
PA: Nah, not right now, Jack. I'm booked. All of a sudden, there's offers coming in, but I'm not taking any of that shit seriously.
AC: Who's rounding out the lineup?
PA: We'll leave that element a surprise because we do have some tricks up our sleeve.
Family Style With the Fords
In one of Elijah Ford's earliest memories, he's in his mother's arms, wearing shotgun headphones, watching his dad play guitar onstage through a haze of pot smoke. His pops, Marc Ford, accounted for the better half of the Black Crowes' celebrated guitar duality. That contributed to Ford Sr. missing swathes of his offspring's early years.
"Now we're making it up double time," he conceded at the Sahara Lounge last month during a warm-up gig for a tour that unites the father and son.
Elijah's considerable axe skills aren't hand-me-downs from Marc – though they share a hereditary trait for throwing one shoulder back and leaning during solos. Marc only remembers scribbling down three chords on his way out the door and coming back from tour to find Elijah playing Clapton songs.
"I didn't grow up wanting to be a musician," says the younger musician, who was raised in Orange County and relocated to Austin in 2009 while playing bass with Ryan Bingham. "But when I hit puberty, I realized how much power music had."
Marc Ford needed time to rediscover the power of music himself. After more than two decades of freelance fretwork for everyone from Ben Harper to Booker T. Jones, he gave up touring in 2010.
"I quit because I had to get things right at home and stop making poor decisions. I had a little girl, moved to the beach, and just laid around figuring out who I was if I didn't play music," he says. "I found out I'm miserable."
He bounced back this year with Holy Ghost, a gracefully contemplative singer-songwriter LP. Elijah's next step forward isn't far behind. He recently tracked his sophomore album at Arlyn Studios.
For six weeks now, the Fords have shared stages on a national trek that touches down Friday at Threadgill's headquarters where Elijah Ford & the Bloom play at 9pm, then stick around to back up Marc at 10pm. Quality time.
"It's something we've both been waiting for our entire lives," says Elijah. "To find a deep connection with each other through music."
Keith Ferguson Gets Booked
Part biography, part photo exhibit, part instructional bass manual, Detlef Schmidt's new study of infamous four-stringer Keith Ferguson shines a light on one of the coolest musicians to ever walk Austin's streets.
"When people talk about electric blues bassists, Keith Ferguson is always among the first three they name," justifies the author, a German bass collector who spent three years assembling Keith Ferguson: Texas Blues Bass.
Schmidt's super-sized, 320-page paperback, which includes hundreds of previously unpublished photos and letters by the sharply dressed tattooed lefty known for his overdriven low-end attack in the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Tailgators, is exhaustingly sourced. Included are stories from day-oners like Keith's mother (currently 94) and initial bass teacher Armando Compean to Texas legends like Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons, and Jimmie Vaughan.
"What really touched me was how loyal Keith's friends are 17 years after his death," says Schmidt. "A lot of people cried while I interviewed them."
Schmidt will be at Antone's Record Shop on Sunday for a booksigning, 2-5pm, while Tom's Tabooley, next door, runs an exhibit of Ferguson's favorite single-coil Fender P-Basses. At 7pm, C-Boy's Heart & Soul on South Congress hosts a tribute featuring members of the Storm, T-Birds, Tailgators, LeRoi Brothers, and more.
South by Southwest Music disclosed a first round of acts showcasing March 17-22, 2015. The 171-name batch drops copious international performers including Courtney Barnett (Australia), James Bay (UK), Bomba Estéreo (Colombia), and Bonaparte (Germany). Noteworthy homeland acts include Scott Weiland, Thee Oh Sees, and Black Milk. Also on the docket, an ample selection of locals with Octopus Project, Ume, and the great Warm Soda.
The Triple Crown will not relocate as previously planned. The San Marcos venue was expected to be displaced by development, but that deal fell through. With the Crown's location secured, owners now plan to upgrade the glorious dive's interior, sound system, and stage.
The Austin Record Convention, which usually hosts its fall iteration this week, is canceled due to venue complications. 2014 will be the first time in over 35 years the swap meet didn't take place. ARC returns Downtown to the Palmer Events Center in May.
Texas accordion staple Ponty Bone, a cornerstone in Joe Ely's late-Seventies band and leader of the world famous Squeezetones, celebrates 75 orbits around the sun with a free birthday show at Gruene Hall on Sunday where he'll be joined by a slew of surprise guests.