Grimy Styles returns to the Flamingo Cantina

We went to Grimy Styles at the Flamenco Cantina last night on 6th Street.  The show was insane.  It was a packed house for was their first gig there in a while.  I had never seen them or heard of them before last night.  I was told that they were one of Russ’ favorite bands and his old friends from when he used to do the First Thursdaze gigs down at Ruta Maya.

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Grimy Styles definitely didn’t disappoint. Read the rest of this entry »

The Nymphets

downloadWith a name like this, I thought I was getting into something risque, maybe taboo, or at least something that pushes the envelope. The Nymphets didn’t deliver any of this. In fact, the only thing I can say about The Nymphets is it was a giant tease. Writer/Director Gary Gardner must have wanted to show the audience what the ultimate blue balls looks like for a creeper.

Joe (Kip Pardue) rescue’s two young girls fake ID’s from a bouncer and then invites them back to his apartment. Joe is a fairly successful something year old who indulges the everlasting giggly twins, Brittany (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) & Allyson (Jordan Lane Price), two under age teens looking to get into trouble.

The Nymphets came across as more of a study on what happens when you let two teenage girls run their dirty mouths for an hour and a half. The two girls playfully tease and antagonize Joe, when really all he wants is to get laid by one of them. What makes The Nymphets uncomfortable is how Joe constantly creeps on these two girls that may or may not be able to legally drive. You can never tell if they want to sleep with Joe or just tease him, but either way it’s hard to really care.

I guess I was expecting something that had the ferocity of Funny Games or Cheap Thrills, but instead it played more like Lolita (the Jeremy Irons remake).

Petting Zoo

petting-zoo-sxsw-berlinWell, this film only affirmed for me why living in San Antonio doesn’t seem great. Getting past the city, Petting Zoo had potential and I’d be curious to see what writer/director Micah Magee does next.

Petting Zoo Takes place in the aforementioned city, and centers around a shy teenage high school senior, Layla (Devon Keller). Although I can’t say I remember what it’s like to be a teenage girl, I could never tell if Layla was acting on teenage angst, apathy, or maybe both. When we are introduced to her, she is just about to graduate and ride a scholarship to The University of Texas. When she is forced to with a game changing decision (teen pregnancy), Layla is forced to grow up (sort of) quicker than expected.

Most of the characters seemed wooden to me. I didn’t care or buy into Layla’s world. Part of this was due to the very unnatural dialogue that just didn’t seem to have much flow. To boot, the story didn’t go anywhere until maybe the last 20 minutes. I’m alright with a slow burn, but this just kind of caught a spark and fizzled right away. I think that was intentional because Layla’s ambivalence about things made for an ambivalent response from this viewer.

One particular scene was tough to watch where she has to have an induced labor after discovering her 3 month old baby is a stillborn. Not for the squeamish, so if you don’t like seeing dead fetuses, you might want to cover your eyes.

Petting Zoo wasn’t all bad. There were brief moments when Layla seemed like an actual person and not just flying on autopilot. She snapped out of her daze in one particular scene in time to argue with her and her man friend. The dialogue felt very real and raw, which was not felt in many of the other scenes. There were also some odd choices for edits/cuts, but the acting was fairly solid, throughout, especially by Layla.

Deathgasm will melt your face

deathgasmThis film was so metal, I might have had a Deathgasm after viewing it. This has probably set the bar for films at SXSW this year. I mean it’s about teenagers forming a metal band that happens to play a piece of music, the “dark hymn” that summons the devil and causes the townspeople to turn into demons. It’s a metal themed movie that didn’t disappoint.

I’ve been describing it as Shaun of the Dead meets The Evil Dead I and/or II. A film born out of New Zealand, the genius behind the film, Jason Lei Howden, came on right before the screening and said if we liked it, we should petition online for a sequel because he needs more work. I hope he has already written a script because I’d watch another ninety minutes of gore and mayhem.

I knew I was in love when the main character, Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) daydreams about being a metal guitar player on top of a mountain shooting lasers out of his eyes to remove the clothes of the girl of his dreams, Medina (Kimberley Crossman).

Filled with plenty of gore and some pretty gnarly deaths, one particular scene involved death by sex toys which was maybe the most brilliant scene ever conceived on film. A film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but never loses its eye on the prize, Deathgasm is a must see for everyone ever.

Night Owls

nightowlsI’m not usually into romantic comedy’s, but Night Owls was particularly clever thanks to the chemistry between the two main characters, Kevin (Adam Pally) & Madeline (Rosa Salazar). The story really grabbed my attention for about forty-five minutes. Somehow it just lost its charming momentum and started to feel stale as if the characters were running out witty things to say.

Kevin & Madeline enjoy a one nightstand where Madeline brings Kevin back to what he assumes is her home. He wakes up to find Madeline missing and he quickly discovers that she brought him to his bosses home. Kevin finds Madeline laying unconscious in the bathroom with an empty bottle of Xanax. Kevin has to keep Madeline from falling asleep for the rest of the night so the two are locked in and forced to get to know one another.

Tony Hale (Buster on Arrested Development) makes an unexpected visit, as a podiatrist for about five minutes and that was probably the best part of the flick. Also, Peter Krause has about five minutes of screen time. Man, he’s looking old.

The chemistry between the two main characters was solid and there were some well timed jokes with a splash of slapstick here and there.  I wasn’t able to buy into the budding relationship between the two characters based on the dialogue, but Night Owls was still enjoyable.

 

Assscat and a night with Upright Citizens Brigade

unnamedI felt like doing something a little different during the film portion of the festival on this particular evening. I went to check out UCB’s (Upright Citizens Brigade) Assscat, an improvisational performance at Esther’s Follies. I encountered the kind of crowd filled with drunk bros that muster the courage to try and make their own jokes by blurting them out in hopes of getting recognition from the actual comedians. Not my favorite kind of crowd, but definitely a cool departure from the other things I have done so far.

Matt Besser and Matt Walsh were in attendance as original cast members from the television show, Upright Citizens Brigade.They opened up the show by speaking to a crowd member who happens to be a reality television producer from Singapore and other crowd members that had developed their very own mobile apps. After some interviewing, they were joined on stage by Horatio Sanz, Katie Dippold, Lauren Lapkus, Mary Holland, Shanon O’Neill, and a few other comedians.

The way Assscat works is, someone from the audience yells out a word and a monologist on stage tells a story (usually embarrassing) involving this word. After the short monologue, the rest of the actors on stage play out various improvised skits around said subject.

Most of the time, I was in stitches and appreciated some well deserved fart and boob jokes. I noted that Horatio Sanz kind of seemed shy and hung back a lot during the skits. There was one guy who was jumping in to the limelight left and right. I understand stage etiquette and nobody appreciates a showboat. Either way, it was great to see that the two Matt’s haven’t lost their touch.  

 

 

Breaking a Monster

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I was sold on this documentary when I read that it was about a metal band consisting of three African American 8th graders. Their stardom was born after a youtube video went viral of the three jamming out on the streets of New York. Malcolm Brickhouse (guitars/vocals), Alec Atkins (bass), and Jarad Dawkins (drums/backup vocals) make up this juvenile power trio named, Unlocking the Truth.

Malcolm, the front man, is definitely the most talented in the group. He is definitely a monster on the guitar and with more years, he could be infinitely talented and start burning guitars on stage or playing with his teeth. He is also easily the most difficult and immature of the bunch, but he is outspoken and seems compelled to continue on and make music no matter what anyone thinks. Malcolm also sings (not well), but I was thinking, there are plenty of metal bands without vocals, but this was important to Sony for marketing.

The documentary chronicles the three from their infancy, as a band, (although they are young) all the way up to recording their first music video and recorded single. They struck a record deal with Sony for 1.8 million before they ever had anything recorded. Their manager, Alan Sacks, who brought up The Jonas Brothers and had a part in the creation of a little television show called, Welcome Back Kotter, has more patience than a Buddhist monk (he does meditate in the film). Sacks helped seal the deal with Sony although it seems like he thought these kids would be as focused as the Jonas brothers.

The documentary also explores how difficult and stressful it must be for kids that young to have the responsibility of transforming into a well groomed and marketable band, especially for Sony’s standards. It doesn’t help that the company is run by a bunch of rich white people, who all seem to have an opinion about what’s right for the band.

You can definitely tell from many scenes that the band does not seem to grasp how fortunate and lucky they are to have the music biz cushion and their veteran manager, which makes sense because they are teenagers that want to be able to act as teenagers, rightfully so. They’ll have to grow up pretty quickly if they continue down the path of stardom.

There were some exploitative references coming from the film, especially because they are African Americans that are not fitting the stereotype by not being immersed in the hip-hop community. There are notions that Sony and their manager are just in it for the money (of course they are). I’d like to know how the band does in the future and I hope that their egos can stay in check and they can minimize spoiled behaviors.

 

Unfriended

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I now know what it is like to stare at a teenagers computer screen for an hour and a half. Unfriended was an unlikely pick at SXSW, but it seems like the theme for this year is horror/suspense. Unfriended is probably the best representation of the video chat/web formatted films out there. I had pretty low expectations going in, the trailer made Unfriended look like a shock horror film, but to my surprise it ended up as a supernatural slow burn.

Cyber bullying is explored in Unfriended, when a friend of a teenage group kills herself after an embarrassing video of her goes viral. The film starts off marking the anniversary of her death when the friends decide to get online for a nice unsuspecting video chat. Quickly they realize they are not alone in their video chat, but there is someone who knows their secrets and plans to terrorize them.

Prior to watching Unfriended, the exec. Producer came out and talked about how the film the audience was about to screen may or may not be anything like the final film that hits the theater in the following months. That was a first for me and I didn’t understand why he mentioned this until after the film. So basically each take was the length of the film without any cuts because of the fact that the characters are basically on screen the whole time so it plays out kind of like a play. This also explained why there were some odd lulls in conversation, for example there are multiple scenes where the lead characters are talking to one another in a private message with the other friends hanging out in the background. So the filmmaker wanted the attention to be drawn to the private conversation which required the other background characters to be quiet. This kind of had an unnatural feel to it, but it only periodically occurred. Overall Unfriended was a pretty solid pick for SXSW.

The Final Girls world premiere at SXSW 2015!!

photoKicking off the festival this year on Friday the 13th no less with a high energy horror/slasher comedy, The Final Girls. The crowd was rowdy and it made this a memorable experience indeed. This film will definitely score points with slasher film aficionados and horror fans alike, but don’t expect the tautness of Cabin in the Woods, another film striving to hit meta status in poking fun at the horror formula. The Final Girls is one part, an homage to 80’s slashers and one part a story of coping with loss. Sometimes it struggles by trying to commit to both themes in 90 or so minutes.

Max (Taissa Farmiga, notably from American Horror Story) is a bashful teenager who is in the midst of dealing with her mothers untimely death from three years prior. Her mother, (Malin Ackerman) is best known for cheesy slasher films in the 80’s entitled “Camp Bloodbath” (basically Jason films). Max’s best bud, Gertie (Alia Shawkat) has a relentless stepbrother, Duncan (Thomas Middleditch from Silicon Valley) who desperately wants Max to attend the anniversary screening of Bloodbath that he and other fanatics are attending. Reluctantly Max does attend the screening and after a freak fire breaks out in the theater, Max and her friends are supernaturally transported into the film, Bloodbath. Max has a chance to reconnect with her mom, sort of, and The Final Girls tries its best to set the rules of the this world.

Sometimes the pacing is off of the film and it feels like there is too much space for improvised lines that could have been cut a little earlier. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some really fantastic and hilarious moments in the film. There is one particular scene that gave me a newfound appreciation for the beauty of slowmo, even if it was intended to demonstrate its overuse. The scoring is pretty cool and there is some pretty sexy dancing that is the detonator for the killer to appear.

The Final girls is a notable attempt by director Todd Strauss-Schulson and although it might not be an instant classic, it definitely is worth checking out.

Sundaze Conversations #12: Topaz McGarrigle

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Get to know Topaz McGarrigle with us. Topaz is my favorite sax player in town. There are so many phenomenal players here, so that statement has merit. We became friends long ago. I have followed all of his projects. I just like the guy. He has been a featured interviewee one more time than Toni Price. If you know me, you know that is special. The Daze sign now resides just above the back door of his club, Sahara Lounge. This guy has done much for me over the years. Here is a fond memory and example of that:
“Hey man, would you put together a backup band for a dream gig for me?” “Sure,” he replied.
The respect that exists between us is very cool. His new project, Golden Dawn Arkestra, is one of my favorite gigs.  Be sure to check this show out.  For years, I have been referring to Topaz as Carlito.  My name hasn’t caught on yet.  However, I’ll keep calling him that.  Thanks Topaz for the conversation. Our team this time was Belinda, Rockslide aka Grubbs and me. (Transcribed by CC Bonney.) Thank you for reading…

AustinDaze: Does owning a venue change how you play or think about music?

Topaz: No. Not really. Having the Sahara has been a blessing. We started our new project here, so its been a blessing to have a platform where I can do whatever I want.   Read the rest of this entry »

Sundaze Conversation #2: with Alex Marrero **UPDATED**

Get to know Alex Marrero with us. Alex is currently exploding all over the national music scene as the front man for BrownSabbath. We sat down with my old friend for a few words at 7 flags Coffee.. The team this time was John Grubbs , Caity Shaffer and I. Thank you to Alex and my team for helping me continue to do this. Here is #2: UPDATED WITH NEW QUESTIONS AND PHENOMENAL ANSWERS.  WE TOOK A NEW PHOTO AT JO’S.**
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**Daze: Since we talked last I think you’ve had a chance to hear what Ozzy has to say and I’m not sure, but I think you met him. I just want to know what your reaction to this info was?
Alex: Well, it was through our friend Eddie Torres who gave us a copy Read the rest of this entry »

Sundaze Conversations #1: Barfield- The Tyrant of Texas Funk *UPDATED*

Get to know Barfield with us. We sat down with The Tyrant after Sinners Brunch at Jo’s. The team this time was John Grubbs , Caity Shaffer and I. We had a good time. Make sure you see the Barfield show live. Trust me, you will be entertained! **This interview was updated by Russ Hartman and Greg Etter.  There’s lessons to be found if you’re paying attention.**IMG_0396

**AustinDaze: How do you stay healthy on the road?

I stay healthy on the road by drinking lots of coffee in the morning and salty snacks after the show.

AustinDaze: What do you think about SXSW?

 SXSW has become harder to navigate after Austin’s growth but I still enjoy playing a couple of events and catching up with friends. It’s also a great time to hear a variety of good music. **

Daze: When and how did you know that you’d be a channel for funky soul music?  Tell me a story of how it all started?

Barfield: It kind of morphed over years.  I started out in a garage band when I was in junior high school.  I came from the school of thought of how the classic 60’s guys like Mick Jagger and James Brown fronted those kind of bands.  Then I grew to love country music too, so I sang in some country bands, country rock bands.

I was born in Houston and was around a lot of that kind of music–high school soul, funk. It was all mixed, everything was kind of no holds barred.  It was like you can like anything.  So my dad didn’t play an instrument, but he liked whatever he liked.  He might like a rock song, and he might like some classic jazz song or something.  I grew up with that, but I think as time went on…

I was playing in Wisconsin with a little band when I broke off on my own, doing more R&B and blues and soul, and a little bit of funk with my other stuff. This guy billed me as Mike Barfield and said, “Hey, I hope you don’t mind, but I called you “The Tyrant of Texas Funk.”  I said,  “No.  That sounds good.”

When I came back here, that’s been ten years ago I guess, I told Steve about it.  That’s how I became billed as that.  I gradually started doing more and more of it, and met Johnny Moeller, the guitar player and Mike Flannigan, who plays organ upstairs.  Mike was originally in the band with me too, and when I was doing the funk thing we wrote songs together.  It just kind of came that way–we didn’t really consciously plan it as such.  We got into R&B and soul, then gradually started to morph it into the funk thing.  I think with me it’s like if I had horns and all, all the time, you’d watch it and someone with my persona would get lumped into Blues Brother things.  What we do, it’s not really pure funk and soul, it’s more of a garage approach, a small combo. I love all that stuff.  The fun of it is just doing it I guess.  Just being able to live life and enjoy it as much as you can.

Daze: You’ve always had a great band.  How did you meet all those people?

Barfield:   When I first moved back in here, in 2000, I was still playing with the Hollisters, and I was on Hightone.  We had a record, and the guitar player moved to Seattle. I had to grab somebody, and I grabbed Chris Miller.  He left the Marcia Ball band and came with me.  Chris’s kind of open, in the genre sense, and came up liking the same things even though he was from Portland, and I’m from Texas.  We did that for a couple years and I started wanting to make a record on my own.  I made a record called Living Stereo with Fort Horton Studios, and it had some covers on it, some country songs I wrote, and soul, R&B, a couple blues tunes.  That was kind of my stepping out thing.  I did a soul tune by a friend of mine and Chris and Dave Miller were on that.

I was playing one night with Chris Miller doing a little thing I don’t normally do, playing an acoustic gig at Flipnotics.  And Chris said, “Oh, Johnny Moeller is here, “ and was talking about Johnny’s guitar playing.  So, I went out to the Poodle Dog Lounge where Johnny happened to be playing and Lazy Lester came out.  That was the first time I met Johnny and his brother Jay, and Mike Flannigan. I started hiring Johnny a couple times, and we just got to know each other. I never believed that much in cornball destiny things; but, in some ways, you wonder why you connect with certain people or not.  It’s just happenstance. I don’t know, but as soon as I saw him play, I just knew I’d be playing with him, or I wanted to.

I met Nick Curran years ago too when he first moved to town; that’s how I met Damien.  Nick and Damien were playing together, and Damien goes “hey man, I’d like playing with you, give me a call.”  And, I called him.  I was a big champion of Nick and Gary Clark Jr.  I did a show opening up for Southern Culture on the Skids one time.  It was just me, Gary Clark, Jr., and Jay Moeller; we all set up in the front–the drums, and then Gary, and then me.  We had no bass player; I just played maracas and sang.  We did the opening show and called ourselves The Solution.  I’m proud of those moments.

It’s all kind of a good friendly big camaraderie here and that’s what I like–a lot of that kind of intermingling from people that play in different groups.

They (the band) are all inspiring to me.  They are younger than me, and you naturally feed off that energy.  I’m always looking for somebody that wants to have fun on stage too.  That wants to be original.  That is my thing as the band leader or front man- to have that freedom where you know that the guys you’re working with are all good at what they do.  You don’t want to press on anybody too much like, “I want you to it play exactly this way,” which would be more of the James Brown approach probably.  He was more of an architect in his way.  My blueprint is different. I have to let somebody do their thing and thereby get even more out of it, I think.  They enjoy it more ’cause everybody can take a little advice or something, but nobody wants to be told to play just “that.” They might take it for a while, but it’s more enjoyable to have freedom in music.  I call it just playing from the gut.  It’s strictly from your soul and from your insides.  Why would you want to hold that back in anybody?

Daze: You don’t hold back much.

Barfield: That’s great because I’m hoping that’s what’s happening. If you’re not feeling as good as you normally are…say you are feeling tired and what not, that will bring you up, make you feel better.  It helps the audience have a good time if you are enjoying playing, and I like whoever plays for me to always feel that.  You have parameters of course on the songs you are doing…

Daze: Do you have a preference between The Continental Club and C-Boys?

Barfield: I like both. I like the small, relaxed hang out at C-Boys with the little deck in the back.  So, that’s nice; it’s a little more intimate.  But, the stage sound on stage at the Continental Club is one of my favorites in town.  I love it, and I’m used to that site.  It’s got the perfect size.  The Continental has probably been my main stay and most favorite club in Austin for years.  I’ve been really lucky because I’ve been working there for a long time. Without that club, I think I would have had a rough time.  Steve Wertheimer is  a great club owner, the guy that owns both C-Boys and Continental Club. He’s been very, very good to musicians.

Daze: When did you decide to drop the guitar and be a front man?

Barfield: I never really was a guitar player anyway, really.  At first I started out as a front man only.  Then, later on when I started playing with this other band, the Hollisters, I had to get a chord book and learn basic acoustic rhythm to do that music; and so I did that for years.  I still enjoy that, still do it sometimes; but, when I’m doing this band, that just has no place at least right now.  There is something freeing about not having that to worry about.  Then, I can dance and I can do whatever I want to do.

Daze: Who taught you how to dance?

Barfield:  Just watching TV.  When I was a kid I used to love all of the dance shows on TV, even local in Houston–that would be the Larry Kane Show where they would just have dancers.  It would be like the old Dick Clark show.  You’d see kids dancing, and the bands would come on and play or they’d be taped and just had the music…and then Soul Train.  I grew up with that, my age group.  To me that was the epitome of free form dancing.  My last years in high school, the white kids wore platform shoes, long hair, and blacks had fros, whites too.  Those were the styles I grew up with in the 70s.  I think it’s timeless–I don’t think it’s ever gone out of fashion.

You can be free and ridiculous; you quit worrying about what people think.  If someone wants to laugh at me, that’s fine too.  I don’t really care.  It’s like I know that I’m going to enjoy my life as much as I can.  You want to make fun of that, that’s fine.  Some people just want to go “look at him” but I think it makes people relax too and they aren’t as inhibited about dancing.  Some people need somebody to be that for them, so that’s what I tell them, “I’ll take care of the embarrassment for you.  You don’t have to worry about it.”

Daze: Is that part of what’s behind lyrics like “Popping the Cooch?”

Barfield: Yeah, subconsciously, I’m sure that is a lot of what it is.  I got that because one of my friends used to talk about this guy he worked with, who would brag, kind of joking around humor like, “This is how you pop that cooch,” and make that sound and do it (clicks his tongue).  It’s nasty, but at the same time it’s harmless fun.  I had a whole group of girls in Lincoln, Wisconsin.  They came out and said, “We’ve got a surprise for you tonight.”  I was like, what is it?  “It’s about music.”   And I thought, are you gonna bring me a record.  So, I get to this show, and all of a sudden they’ve got this look on their face and they pull their shirts off and they all have tank top or a black t-shirt that said “Popping the Cooch” on the shirt.  My point there is that some girls don’t find that offensive.  It’s not my wife’s favorite song that’s for sure.

Daze:  You mentioned James Brown before.  How do you feel about being compared to him?

Barfield: I’m flattered if someone even thinks about comparing me to James Brown.  There are only a few musicians that have been giants, Mount Rushmore type figures in music.  He would be one to me.  He took some musical form like rhythm and blues and soul music, and all of a sudden he accents it another way.  Just by his natural instincts, and lack of formal training, comes up with this thing that nobody has come up with.  He truly is the Godfather of Soul.   He started out more as soul and became funk.   I can’t think of anybody I would say has been more influential.  There’s a movie coming out about him that Mick Jagger produced.

Daze:  Did you ever get to meet James Brown?

Barfield: No.  I saw him once in his later years, but even at that age, he was still very tough.  He was like 70 years old and still doing a couple moves.  Maybe he didn’t sing as good as he used to, but he was great.  The band was machine tight.  I mean, I wish I could have seen him way back.  A lot of my favorite singers are people of that era.  I wish I could have seen Jackie Wilson.  I love him.  He’s a singer, and his vocal range is so different from mine.  I am naturally a baritone, but I kind of have a high end to my voice; so, I have always admired someone who has that higher range.

Daze:  What is your writing process like?

Barfield: When I am writing for this band, or trying to, sometimes I will have an idea on my own; or, other times, Johnny will have an idea about a rhythm or chord progression, and I’ll put lyrics to that.   Sometimes I’ll have both.  “The Struggle” I wrote myself.  “Popping the Cooch, I wrote.  With the Struggle, I originally wanted a song that just stays on the one all the time.  And that’s what that song was.  Some stuff I will start off on the acoustic guitar.  Lately, I am writing a lot with Johnny.  And I used to write a lot with Mike Flannigan too.  I like having a partner in crime.  Sometimes the whole band will get in on it.  Sometimes they just help arrange it.  It just kind of depends.

That’s what’s fun about being in a group.  Feeling like if it is really going good on stage, or if you come up with something good, you almost feel like you are part of a big wheel that’s turning.  You’re making this whole thing go.  At the same time, you’re just a big spoke in it, part of the thing that’s pushing it forward.  When everybody is in that, and the whole band can feel it, there is nothing like that.  I love that feeling.  It is kind of like you are tripping in another way.  You are physically involved, and mentally involved, but it’s relaxed.  It’s just happening.  All those things you’ve worked on before.

But “good’ and “bad’ you know.  Some nights when I feel it’s not as great, that’s when everybody goes, “Man, that sounded so good!”   And you’ll think, “Oh, I thought we were a little bit off.”  It’s a strange thing.  That makes you realize, “I don’t have a whole handle on it either. The people out there; they are the ones making it too.”

Daze:  What’s next for you?

Barfield:  We are trying to get a little EP out.  We’ve got a recording we are waiting on to get mastered.  Hopefully, we’ll make some vinyl.   Some CDs.  Have a release party.  Try to get out more.  I am looking forward to that.  It’s always hard too—the waiting.  I just try not to worry about things like this as much as I used to.  Take it day by day…

Daze:  Do you have a lot of gigs this week?

Barfield: Tuesday night, at the Continental.  Just about every week.

Daze:  Your gig is one that, definitely, everybody in Austin needs to go out and see.  Thank you for doing this.

Barfield:  Ah, you bet.  Thank you, man.

Bill Frisell and the Big Sur Quintet Live at the Texas Union Ballroom 03/08

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This Sunday 3/8, Bill Frisell and The Big Sur Quintet will be playing the Texas Union Ballroom in the legendary Cactus Café starting at 8pm. We have covered some of Bill Frisell’s shows at the Continental Club in the past and it is definitely a gig that you will NOT want to miss! Frisell will share a jazzier take on some Woody Guthrie classics, but the night will not be focused solely on Guthrie’s prolific career. Bill and The Big Sur Quintet will be drawing from on a wide range of musical selections.
Tickets are available at https://cactuscafe.thundertix.com/

Visit Bill Frisell’s Website: http://www.billfrisell.com/

Premiered at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where Frisell has been a guest curator with Jazz At Lincoln’s Center’s Roots of Americana series since September 2013, Guitarist Bill Frisell and the Big Sur Quintet (violinist Jenny Scheinman, violist Eyvind Kang, cellist Hank Roberts and drummer Rudy Royston) will examine the music of one of folk music’s preeminent figures, Woody Guthrie. Best known for the classic “This Land Is Your Land.” Guthrie was at the helm of the folk music revival of the mid-twentieth century and a major influence on Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger, among countless others. Frisell has established himself as one of the great storytellers of jazz guitar with an exceptional ability to convey a range of aesthetics with skill and heart. Drawing inspiration from Guthrie’s music and views on the racial, social, and economic struggles of his time, Frisell will explore the lineage of protest songs, whilst re-imagining familiar melodies through his characteristic adventurous perspective. Whether his multi-faceted music is deeply intimate or epic and orchestral, Bill Frisell and the Big Sur Quintet, provide a wide-ranging repertoire where the musical possibilities are limitless. —

Sundaze Conversations #11: Andrew Trube

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Get to know Andrew Trube with us. Andrew is a killer guitar player and also a good friend. I say that a lot in these intros, I know. Most of my friends are the musicians I go to see. It just happens. One of the coolest lines came out on a Wednesday night long ago, I was talking with this gal and she wanted to know who was there with, I said, “The band, I’m with the band.” I doubt that I’m as cool as that sounded.
Years ago, the Bluefish guys turned me onto the Greyhounds. I have been a fan ever since. I don’t remember why, but many years ago Andrew and I started telling each other to “Be Somebody.” I know it refers to  “The Jerk.” The other day while heading north on 35, I saw that someone is using our line for an ad campaign. Made me laugh out loud when I saw the billboard. Thanks Andrew for the conversation. Our team this time was Belinda, Rockslide aka Grubbs and me (transcribed by CC Bonney). Thank you for reading…

 

AustinDaze:  Tell us how music became a part of your life?

Trube:  Originally, my great grandmother, she taught me piano when I was five.  And it all Read the rest of this entry »

Sundaze Conversations #10: John Nelson

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Get to know John Nelson with us. El John is one of the nicest guys I know. I know that we have crossed paths before because this is Austin and we have been in the same scene for a long time. He ” slaps skins” on Wednesdaze night up at the Gallery. I park my chair right by where he sets up. We have become great friends over the years. El John is a respected figure in the music community. He has played with everybody. Maybe one day I’ll take a good picture of him at the Gallery. Maybe… :-)  I am so fortunate to have these conversations and to have these people as friends. Thanks John for sharing words with me here. Our team this time was Belinda, Rockslide (aka Grubbs) and me (transcribed by CC Bonney). Thank you for reading…

 

AustinDaze: When and why did you start to become a musician and what were the influences that made that happen?

El John: Early on, there was music just around when I was growing up, so Read the rest of this entry »

Sundaze Conversations #9: BETO MARTINEZ

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Get to know Beto Martinez with us. I have Known Beto for a long Ole Time. Too long to even pinpoint. I think it was around the early Fantasma daze at the Empanada Parlor or through mutual friends. I got the Grupo Fantasma fever early on and dîd not miss many gigs or parties. Beto alwaze looks cooler on stage than the rest of us. Dark shades while playing are his thing. He shreds through things in many of my favorite acts. The brotherhood that he performs with has helped me make things happen with AUSTIN DAZE so many times by performing. I will add on to this conversation; I want him to tell us the story behind the guitar strap he wears. Thanks Beto for sharing words again. Our team this time was Belinda, Rockslide and me (Transcribed by CC Bonney). Thank you for reading…

 

AustinDaze: One of the coolest things about your life as a musician is that you seem to be in a brotherhood with the people that you play with, meaning that the core members of Grupo have really stuck together and evolved into bands. Can you talk a little bit about this and tell us how you and Greg and Adrian met and why you have always stayed together. Holmes and Speice came later, but they also seem to be in this brotherhood now.

Beto: Yeah, definitely. Greg and I go way back. Greg and I met in 8th grade. And I was just starting to play guitar and it turned out that he had a bass. So it was perfect. So we started jamming. His parents house had a garage with A/C which was rare but really awesome for Laredo because it’s like a hundred thousand degrees all the time. So we were able to sit in the garage and play all the time and they never bothered us for it. We started our first real band there, and moved up with that band. So we definitely are probably as close as any blood brothers might be. We met Adrian actually in Austin, I think. He’s from Laredo as well and we were aware of each other because he was already playing. But it wasn’t until we moved to Austin in ’96 that we actually crossed paths, and his band, The Blue Noise Band, played with our band at the time, which was The Blimp. And we just all became really good friends really quickly, it was a really simple thing…for the love of music and a real stylistic and aesthetic overlap in what we like to do and the type of music we like. We just hit it off. For 15 years now, pretty much since Fantasma started, we’ve been pretty much on the same page. We’ve branched off to do a couple other things here and there, but I think the three of us, especially, you know Adrian’s not with Fantasma any more, but with Brownout, it’s still Adrian Greg and I are the guys that write most of the songs and push a lot of the stuff forward. And 15 years later, I think it’s still going strong. We never had to work at it that hard, we just came together and musically it just worked out.

AustinDaze: I’ve definitely been in the audience and watching you guys for 15 years!!!

Beto: We appreciate that support too, man. You’ve always pushed us whenever you could. It’s great to play for you man, and I’m glad you’ve been able to be there for that. As for John and Lou, we met more recently. I guess we’ve known John for a little while but started playing with him really in 2010. In 2009 he started playing with Brownout, and in 2010 or 2011 he took over the drum chair in Fantasma. Lou’s been in Fantasma for a little longer than that. But those guys, and the other guys we play with as well, the horn section, Josh and Gil and everybody like that, Jose, Kino, we come from a similar place, we just kinda hit it off man, and carry ourselves well with each other. We kinda have a way of getting along where we make fun of each other really hard. And that’s just funny that we do it, but it’s never been awkward or anything. Anyone that’s ended up playing with us, it’s been someone that’s come in and just right away we hit it off. We’re good. It is like a brotherhood.

AustinDaze: In all the different forms that you play in, do they feel different to you? If so, which is the most fun for you to do?

Beto: They do feel different. I think it just depends. I love playing whenever I get a chance to play. Sometimes I have more fun with one than the other. And definitely when you get into a grind and when you are playing a whole lot and touring really hard, you’re doing a similar set every night, it can kind of become a little grind and maybe it’s not as fun. But we’re lucky that we have these multiple bands, so if we’re hitting one really hard, when you get the chance to do the other one, it does feel like this total departure and its like fresh air and suddenly you’re like “Ahh!” And that’s kind of what Money Chicha has become right now, it’s really the only band at this point where we don’t have management or a booking agent or anything like that, it’s just us playing music, whenever we want, whenever we can fit in a gig. It feels like it has the least amount of pressure on it. We just go out there, we play, we have a good time. We don’t worry about how many people showed up, how many people paid, who thought what about it. We just go out there and do it. So I’m having a lot of fun with that right now. But like I said, I love playing with all the bands I play with. I just love being able to make music.

AustinDaze: You’ve been in Austin a long time and seen many things come and go and change. Do you feel that life is easier or harder now on musicians than it was when you started out, and why?

Beto: Yeah, a lot of stuff has changed. A lot of stuff has changed with me personally as well, like I’m married and I have kids and I own a house now. But back when we started playing, we all used to live together in a house on Manor Road, which Brian (Ramos) still lives in. But definitely rent was cheaper, getting around was a lot easier. And it seems like things were just less expensive. It was easier to just kind of be a bohemian musician, spend your days jamming, going and playing a couple of gigs, and get by on very little. I think now, although I don’t live with roommates and I’m not working it in that same way, I could imagine that for someone doing that, it’s probably a little more difficult. The cost of living has definitely gone up here in Austin. And just the logistics of doing anything has changed as well. Like today, when I left my house I didn’t expect intense traffic on Sunday afternoon. But it is what it is, it’s kind of the reality of it now. So I think it has changed a lot. It may be a little more difficult. We’re in a position now where we don’t really play in town that much, so I don’t know that I’m the authority to speak on that. There are a lot of people that are still hustling really hard here in Austin. But it has changed, I can definitely agree with that.

AustinDaze: Tell us about your new studio, and what are you doing there?

Beto: So I’ve lived in Buda now for the past year. And the house that I found there had a little building that we turned into a studio. I call it Lechehouse Studios, which doesn’t really mean anything, it’s just a random word association. I had to come up with a name for my publishing company on the spot awhile back and I knew that name couldn’t possibly be taken. So its kind of a silly name, but it’s called Lechehouse. And I spent the last year putting it together, buying gear, doing work on the room, setting up the room, doing sound treatment, stuff like that. Some of the first recordings I did in there were actually for the Brown Sabbath project.  I recorded some vocals with Alex Marrero, and a bunch of percussion and some guitar stuff there. I was really happy with how that turned out. Lately I’ve been doing mostly small scale stuff like horn sessions, percussion sessions, overdubs, things like that. A couple of months ago, Adrian Quesada brought in Como Las Movies, which was the first full band that I had in there. And I was really happy with how that turned out. And I’m going to have El Tule do a couple tunes in there in November. So it’s coming along. I’m happy with it, but the studio thing is kind of like a crazy black-hole-of-gear obsession. Because once you start you can’t stop, and you are always looking for more stuff and adding more stuff to the studio. So I’m sure it’s going to be an ongoing thing. I’m already looking to how I can expand it. But I’m really enjoying it and its awesome to have a place like that right outside of my back door. I feel really lucky to be able to have that.

AustinDaze: So you’re not going to give up being a musician to run the studio?

Beto: No I definitely love playing live. I think I’ll probably be doing that until I can’t do it anymore. Because there’s just nothing like it. That’s what drew me to music. I wanted to stand in front of a bunch of people and play and make them move and get that reaction out of them. I still love doing that. Really the biggest aspect of my career in music is the live performance. So I think I’ll be doing that for as long as I can. I do love being in the studio and it’s great to have that as well. You know it’s such a competitive environment here in Austin because there are so many amazing multi-million dollar studios, even the small studios are just amazing. So I don’t expect that I’ll be running a super busy commercial facility there at any point. But it’s a nice place to get done little things I want to get done and get to work with other people every now and then. But I will continue to play live as long as I can.

AustinDaze: Tell us why you started to play music, was there any influence from your family to play the guitar?

Beto: There were no musicians in my family, but my mom loved to dance, so we always had music on. I was turned onto music early on. Mostly pop music, whatever was on the radio. I remember getting into rock n’ roll with Quiet Riot, Cum on Feel the Noise, like in ’83, whenever that song came out. That song drove me crazy as a little kid, the drum intro was awesome. After that it was Dire Straits. And then Metallica was the first band that became an obsession for me. And that was really when I thought man, I want to play guitar. Because I wanted to do that, I wanted to have long hair and headbang and rip some solos, you know what I mean? I was kind of a nerdy kid, kind of introverted. So it was also appealing in that sense, that I wanted to be a cool guy that could rock out on the guitar. But I took to it quickly and I loved it right away. I got my first guitar when I was like 12 or 13 and just spent every hour that I could just practicing. And then, like I said earlier, when I met Greg, it just so happened that he had a bass, and I was like, man this is so perfect. So we started practicing together every day, as often as we could. My parents were supportive, in that they were happy that I was doing something I liked, but they definitely did not want me to become a professional musician. That kind of freaked them out. But I still went to college, so they were happy with that. But they told me constantly that it is a hard life as a musician. They were also scared that I would descend into the world of hard drugs and all this stuff. But they’re very supportive now, and they’ve seen the success that we’ve had and they enjoy it. But it really did start with a love of music, a love of rock n’ roll.

AustinDaze: Are there any new recordings coming along from any of the outfits you are involved in? And are they all in your studio, or at other studios?

Beto: So far, nothing new from my studio with these projects. We actually have a new Grupo Fantasma album and this is kind of an interesting thing. We’ve had it done since January 2013, produced by Steve Berlin from Los Lobos. We recorded at Jim Eno’s Studio, Public Hi Fi, and it was supposed to come out then. We had a record label at that point, Nat Geo Records, and they suddenly decided to shut down the label, which caught us off guard. So we scrambled to find a partner to help us put it out. But that didn’t materialize in the timeframe we were looking for. So we’ve actually been sitting on the record because we want to do it justice by giving it a proper release.   And we are playing with the idea of crowdfunding , but we just want to do it right if we do end up taking that route. But in the interim, it’s been released in Japan. So that album is out in Japan, not here. But we are really hoping that in 2015 we are going to get it out and we are going to push to do that however we need to do it, we will explore options. It’s kind of a weird world out there for trying to put out records. People are real hesitant to put money into records because they are just not making money off them. But it is a huge promotional tool and for us, we love making albums. The collection of music, I think, is more important than just the one song. So we’ve always put our heart and soul into putting together this whole package. But to answer the question, there is a Fantasma album. We actually just recently completed three more songs for a forthcoming Money Chicha record, which will be 8 or nine songs. No release date for that, but we’ve completed recording, we need to do some mixing. And Brownout has new material. We are planning to get into my studio to start laying down some of those tracks and see where we are going to go with that.   So hopefully 2015 will see a few releases.

AustinDaze: So give us some advice of what you have learned in the music scene over the years for other musicians that are giving the scene a try?

Beto: The biggest advice is just to love what you do and to be the best you can be at it. I don’t think there are any sort of shortcuts to “make it” – and I say that with air quotes– because what does that mean nowadays? I think there’s so many bands right now, the live music market is saturated. Because the tools to make and record music have been made so readily available that everybody is making music in their bedroom, or whatever. You got a lot of people who just make some music and they’re like, “Now we’re a band, let’s go play live.” Which is great, I love that the whole world can make music now. But a lot of those groups should really make sure that they are making the best music they can. They are putting out there the best they can put out there and doing it the best that they can. Don’t half-ass it basically. If you are out there really giving it your all, and doing your best, eventually someone will notice. People will start to notice, these guys are good. You will hit a nerve with somebody and hopefully you start to build an audience. It really depends on what your goal is, if it’s like superstardom or if you just want to make a living off of doing it. Keep at it and do it out for the love. And don’t start out thinking that you are doing it to make a million dollars, because that’s very rare, it almost never happens. But if you are doing it because you love it and you build an audience in the process, it’s perfect.

AustinDaze: Tell us a cool story about your recent tour with Brown Sabbath.

Beto: Cool story? Let’s see. It wasn’t boring. It was definitely fun. We traversed the entire country in three different legs. We are actually taking off on Tuesday for the Southeast leg. There was some interesting stuff that happened. We went to this town, Hayfork, California, it’s up in the mountains. It’s a little weed town, they basically grow weed there, that’s what they do. Now our band can hold their own when it comes to the green stuff, everybody’s kinda proud of that, but we have never been quite as overwhelmed as in Hayfork, California. We showed up, and we had little old ladies at this coffee shop randomly coming up to us and giving us joints. And then once people found out we were with the band, people were like, “Hey let’s smoke.” And they are busting out all this weed. And after we smoke all that, the security guard comes out and said, “Hey, you can’t stand out here…unless you are smoking weed,” and like hands us joints. And it basically got to where we were like, “What the hell is going on here? Stop. It’s enough.” But that was a funny thing that happened, we actually got overwhelmed by weed, in Hayfork, California. But that’s what they do there.

AustinDaze: So tell us the best on the road story from any outfit.

Beto: We’ve been touring for a long time, so there’s a lot of stories out there. One incredible high point was when we got to open up for Prince at the O2 Arena in London. That was Grupo Fantasma. That was really the only time that most of us have been able to play in an arena like that, like a real arena where there’s 20,000 people surrounding you. That was one of those where, as we were about to step out there, we all just kinda looked at each other like, “Holy shit,” this is what we always wanted in our wildest dreams, like when we were kids, one day we’ll be in the arena. And we were like, “Oh shit, we’re at the arena now.” So that was definitely one of those that stays in my mind.

AustinDaze: I know being on the road is grueling. The life of the musician is very hectic. How do you stay healthy on the road?

Beto: You know, it’s difficult. I’m not particularly a health conscious person. I mean I don’t eat fast food, and I try to eat good food whenever I can. It’s difficult on the road. But just making conscious choices like not getting to every gas station and walk around and buying crap just because you don’t know what else to do. So stop doing that. Just drink water all the time, stay hydrated. You know, you are in a club every night. When you show up, regardless of what day it is, it’s somebody’s Friday night. It’s the night they want to go out and party and you gotta bring that energy to them. There’s a lot of drinking going on and stuff like that, so definitely staying hydrated is very important. Drinking tons of water, avoiding fast food, trying to get home cooked meals whenever you can. If you know of people, that’s great. Friends that you remember when you are out on the road that will cook for you, that’s just like invaluable. So really just that, looking for good food, drinking lots of water, and trying to be a little active. Taking walks when you get to the club. Because you’ve been in the van for 15 hours. Get out, go find a park and go for a walk. That’s really some of the easy things to do.

AustinDaze: What two guitar pedals can you not live without?

Beto: Number One: my wah pedal. Because that was one of the first pedals I got. I have a distinct connection to it. I love using the wah, it’s very expressive for me, and I don’t think I could do without it. I’ve had a couple of times where my pedal board didn’t work and it was like a panic, because I need it. I guess the wah, and maybe my delay pedal that I use too which is nice for little touches. But everything else I could lose at one point or another, but I need that wah.

AustinDaze: What music/artist taught you “less is more”? 

Beto: You know Prince actually told me something during a rehearsal when we were trying to figure out what to play on a tune that we were putting together with him for the ALMA Awards. I said, “Maybe I should lay back on this.” And he just looked and me and said, “Yeah, always lay back. It’s funkier.” And I was like, “Yes, sir. Yes, sir, Prince.” So I just always try to keep that in mind because sometimes you can overdo it. Silence is sometimes more valuable than a million notes. It’s definitely funkier.

AustinDaze: Do you have anything you want to talk about?

Beto: Not in particular besides saying thanks for having me, Russ. It means a lot man. Like I said, for 15 years you’ve been coming out to shows. We love the Daze, and I love seeing you out there and all the support you’ve given us. It’s crazy. Time flies.

Most memorable GIGS & NIGHTS I was lucky enough to experience

  • IMG_2381Everybody seems to be coming up with top year-end lists. I’ll jump on board. Here is mine: Most memorable GIGS & NIGHTS I was lucky enough to experience in 2014…( not really in any order other than came to mind. I’m sure I forgot some…)
    -ACL 40th anniversary show and taping at ACL Live at the Moody
    - Jeff Bridges/ North Mississippi Allstars & Robert Randolf/ Shinyribs 2 nights at Old Settlers Music Festival
    - Watching Rick Linklater geek out with Wes Anderson at the Q+A after the premiere of “Grand Budapest Hotel” at the Paramount
    - Gary at Mohawk for ”Chef” premiere
    - Music Awards for Margaret’s last stand at Convention Center
    - Whiskey Sisters at Continental Club then over to Dumpstafunk at Emo’s
    - Trombone Shorty at Emo’s
    - Hardproof and Cilantro Boombox on boat at Cilantro Lime Nights
    - BrownSabbath & GDA at Mohawk
    - George Clinton at Empire Garage
    - Hardproof & Brazilian Girls at Empire Control Room
    - Trube, Farrell & Snizz with many guests after TTB at the Gallery
    - Cilantro Boombox & Money Chicha at Scoot Inn
    - Papa Mali Trio Shows at Sahara Lounge & C-Boys
    - Bill Frissel gigs at C-Boys & Continental Club
    - Ephraim Owens Experience at the Gallery
    - Snizz & Friends at the Gallery
    - Sinner’s Brunch at Jo’s
    - Planet Casper at Continental Club
    - Alejandro Escovedo gigs at The Continental, Moody and Paramount
    - Rebirth Brass Band at ACL Live and Bełmont
    - Stooges Brass Band at Continental Club
    - Brewbirds at StrangeBrew
    - BHANA at Saxon Pub
    - WhiskeySisters at Continental Club
    - Toni Price at Continental Club
    - Ray Benson with Deadeye at Threadgill’s
    - Money Chicha at Texas Film Hall of Fame party and gallery
    - Resentments at The Saxon Pub
    - GDA at Sahara, Continental and Empire
     – Barfield at Continental
    -  Apostles of Manchaca at StrangeBrew
    - Black Red Black at One2One
    - Carnaval at the Palmer
    - Hardproof at the Continental Club
    - HAAM show at The Moody – the last time I saw Mac.
    – Grupo Fantasma at Belmont
    – Brown Sabbath at empire, pajanga fest and belmont with GDA
    – Brazil Indep Day Party at Scoot Inn
    – Lazy Lester at Cbôys

    – SAJB Reunion at Threadgills

    — My head hurts. I am gonna stop. What did I forget? I like music.

Some words with Ian McLagan…

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We shared these words with Mac many years ago. I just reread it and it made me laugh many times. I had to share it. Mac always had time to talk to me when I saw him. He would makè sure I got introduced to everybody backstage. I will miss him. RIP MY FRIEND

 

AUSTIN DAZE: Why did you choose to be in Austin?

IAN MCLAGAN: To be honest with you I didn’t choose Austin so much as I was choosing not to be in Los Angeles any longer. My wife and I had been there sixteen years and I was on the road a lot of the time and she was stuck there while I was on the road and she didn’t like it any more than I did, but I was hardly there as much as she was. One day she called me, I was on the road, it was a Sunday, and she said, “I just heard gun shots and I could smell the gun powder.” I said, “That’s no good.” And then the earthquake in ’94 happened and they said that was the big one that we had all been waiting for to relieve the pressure. And the next day they said that wasn’t the big one. And we just said, “That’s it.” We left the next month to come here. And you ask why here? Well it has to be a music town and LA really wasn’t a music town. It’s good for recording but not for live music. There’s no overall friendly music scene. New York: too expensive; music scene, but too expensive, Chicago: too cold, Boston: much too cold, Seattle: music scene but English weather, San Francisco: earthquakes. Nashville? No f**king way. No music scene; no restaurants. Memphis: great city but you know. Miami: no f**king way. No music scene; temperature, all the same. So it was obviously Austin.It had to be Austin. No regrets.

AD: It just grabbed you.

IM: I’ve heard it said more than once: It’s a friendly town.

AD: How did the Bump Band come together?

IM: Well I had a BUMP band in LA since about 1980. I made an album called Bump in the Night-it’s from an old college prayer,

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

So that’s the title of the album and I thought, Oh it’s the Bump Band. And Bonnie Raitt came into the studio to check out the studio and we were recording and she liked the band. So she asked if we would play a couple of tracks and if we would record with her and see if she liked us still. She did so we played her album, Green Light. And then we went on the road with her as Bonnie Raitt and the Bump Band. So I just kept the name. Those were different players: Ricky Fataar who is playing drums with her now and Ray Ohara, a Japanese bass player. When I moved here I toured with Bonnie in Japan and we came and rehearsed here and then went off to Japan. And Don Harvey was his drummer-he had the Austin Rehearsal Complex (ARC) then. He and Wayne Nagel owned the rehearsal complex. I called Harvey and said, “Do you still play the drums?” And he said, “Yeah.” I said, “You’re my drummer. Now I need a guitarist and a bass player.” So he found me Scrappy. They’ve been with me almost 13 years. And Mark Andes joined three and a half years ago.

AD: What is special about an Austin audience?

IM: Well the thing about an Austin audience is that they come out to see you. I’ve had residencies in LA. I played Monday night at the Mint for ages and we got a decent crowd, but here it just clicked. People come out and they tell their friends. People support the music. People seem to really appreciate it. There are so many different kinds of music here. In LA, they have a band because they are trying to get a record deal. I’m not trying to get a record deal-not that I would get one even if I tried. It’s not important-the thing is to play. Everybody in LA it seems is a recording musician who has a band because it’s something to do with his evenings. But you can’t get people to come out.

AD: What are your thoughts when you hear Austin is the “Live Music Capital of the World”?

IM: I laugh. I call it the “Live Music Capital of Starving Musicians of the World.” The great thing is it’s true there are a lot of great musicians here but the musicians kind of figure they are going to just make music. Like, also, “keep Austin weird.” Leave it alone. You don’t have to keep it weird or make it weird-it has its own qualities. The variety is what makes it. I noticed that when I first moved here. You’d find a car body shop next to a church next to a café next to a bar next to a house. There’s no plan, it seems. That’s kind of good in some ways.

When I moved here people were coming here less for awhile there because a lot of the people that were moving into Austin were computer people maybe from Korea, Japan, India-anywhere-and they weren’t particularly music fans. I remember playing with Steven Bruton at Antone’s for awhile and we played to five or six people and they were computer geeks. “What is this?” But I think it’s gotten better. I mean the fact is, I was in Musicmakers ten years ago or so and this guy was talking to the guy across the counter and I said, “Where are you from?” And he said, “Finland.” And I said, “What are you doing here?” And he said, “Antone’s.” And I told Susan Antone that recently, actually just after Clifford Antone died, we were having lunch. It’s a fabulous thing that someone would come from Finland just to be here. They don’t come to Dallas or Waco. They come to Austin. To Antone’s. It’s important.

AD: Tell us your thoughts on SXSW.

IM: I think it’s a great thing but I just think there’s too many bands. Basically, limit it to bands that aren’t signed and let talent surface. Each year it’s more. The best year I had my truck broke down after playing the Lucky Lounge on a Thursday night. I’m outside on this beautiful night and I’m embarrassed. I’m thinking, look at me, and everyone’s walking past. But then I had more conversations that night than I’ve ever had. I saw Ian Hunter. I just stood still and they all came past me and I’m thinking I’m going to break down every year.

AD: You’ve played with everyone. Who has been the most fun?

IM: I won’t play a gig unless it’s going to be fun. I’ve turned down work because I don’t like the music or I don’t like the person. But the most fun at the moment: Patty Griffin. Very much fun.

AD: Who is the most difficult to work with?

IM: Least fun, Lenny Kravitz. I just did two quick shows with him and quit-I just knew I wasn’t going to like it.

AD: What makes a really good show for you?

IM: With my band? I attempt to have a good show every night. I work towards a show the whole day. My first waking thought is, show tonight. It’s like butterflies. I have every intention of making every show as much fun as possible because that’s my chance to have the fun. I don’t play for money. Every night is an attempt to have as much fun as possible.

AD: What advice would you offer a musician just starting out?

IM: Don’t sign anything until you get a lawyer to check it out. Understand your contracts, I never did. At the same time, I probably wouldn’t have made it if I had looked at my contracts. Sometimes it’s good that you don’t know and you get ripped off but you get that kick start. If you’re good, if you’re part of a really good band you’re probably going to get ripped off a bit anyway. Someone’s going to get behind you and think there’s money in this and they will make money and you may not make the money-they will-but you’ll get a kick start. Advice? Make sure it’s fun. Don’t do it for the money. Don’t do anything for the money because you’ll be disappointed, you won’t get the money probably, and you’ll have nothing. The music’s got to be what drives you. I’ve heard guys say, “I started the music because of the girls.” Girls are incidental. I got the girls later. I loved the music.

Sundaze Conversations #8: Matt Hubbard

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Get to know Matt Hubbard with us. Matt really has some cool things to say. I have only recently come to know him. Whîch is weird because I like the guy and also we have been on the scene for much of the same time. I wonder how many times we crossed paths. One thing I have learned from him is that you don’t need to return used ear plugs after a gig… Thanks Matt for sharing words. Our team this time was Alexîs, Rockslide and me (transcribed by Alexis Mathews) Thank you for reading…

 

AustinDaze: How did music become a part of your life? What influenced you? 

Matt Hubbard: Well, my parents had a piano before any furniture. I was born in Ann Arbor in 1970 and my parents were broke students but they bought a piano.  My twin sister and I started plinking on the piano probably around one, or something like that.  We took piano lessons at five.  Never wanting to be a professional musician or anything, I was just having fun with my sister.  We were always in church choirs, and I was in high school and junior high jazz band on trombone, and had a lot of other experiences in school which helped me play music.  I was in tons of bands in high school, then went to Oberlin Conservatory and got a composition and electronic music degree.  The summer after I graduated I attended the P-Funk show at the second Lollapalooza in Detroit, Michigan.  I had this vision of all these golden streaming lights around Austin, Texas, so I moved here.

AustinDaze: WAIT! You had a vision in Detroit, at Lollapalooza, of lights in Austin, during George Clinton? That’s awesome.

MH: Well, I would say he was partly responsible for the vision, but it was about 4AM when we made it back to the campus of Michigan State University where my father was a professor of biomechanical engineering. Dad invented the HANS device that protects auto racers’ necks.  He worked for General Motors before that and developed the crash test dummy head you see all the time. The dummies are on the cover of George Harrison’s last record…it’s his face.

AustinDaze: That’s amazing!

MH: So I can say my father was on the cover of a Beatles record. His face… sorta.

AustinDaze: That is too cool!  So, can we go back to your vision? A vision of Austin, Texas?

MH: Well, I was just looking up in a clearing in the woods, me and some friends, ‘cause Michigan is full of woods so it’s hard not to wonder amongst the trees.  I just looked up and saw North and South America, and sort of a map, and all these golden streaming lights coming around Austin.  I also heard there was a lot of music here…

AustinDaze: I’ve seen you play the organ and trombone. What came first? Ummm….(“He’ll read anything on the teleprompter. ANY THING…”-ANCHORMAN)

MH: Well, obviously piano came first, and then you usually start trombone around sixth grade, because your arms have to reach a certain length to maneuver the slide.  I think most band programs start in fifth or sixth grade. I wanted something that had no keys because I was so angry about having to take piano lessons all the time.  I was pretty good as a kid, and I was fortunate that my piano teacher Deena Agree taught me classical and jazz theory starting in third grade. I still pretty much use that knowledge today. I haven’t really gotten must past that actually.  So trombone was later but I learned how to play harmonica literally around the campfire.  My mom taught me some guitar chords when I was in ninth grade, and I ended up playing bass.  I played bass in several bands, like Paul Nelson and Calvin Russell. So… I play a lot of instruments. I got a theremin in the mail yesterday so we’ll be adding that to Golden Dawn Arkestra right away.

AustinDaze: So do have a favorite band you are playing in right now? 

MH: Not really. Well I play sporadically in 7 Walkers with Bill Kreutzmann, The Dead drummer, George Porter Jr. and Papa Mali. I’ve often played with older guys and you learn from them. We played a gig this past August 1st, a private party in Connecticut and that was a lot of fun. Wally Ingram was on drums as well as Bill. Keller Williams played with us too, as well as Eric McFadden and Colonel Bruce Hampton. I’m also in Greezy Wheels, I just joined that classic Austin Band.  I’ve been playing with the Texas Mavericks along with Speedy Sparks, Alvin Crow, his son Jason Crow, John X Reed, and Hector Molina, all of whom played with Doug Sahm at some point except me.  I recently had the honor of joining Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians at a reunion show in Dallas and look forward to working more with them.  And of course I’m in the Matt Hubbard Trio which plays every Wednesday at the Continental Gallery 8:30-10PM… I brought you a poster!

AustinDaze: Cool!  

MH: I’m also in Lechuza with poet and wife Martha Fowler and Mario Matteoli from the Weary Boys and his wife Cayce from The Preservation.  We are finishing up our second record as we speak.  It’s a haunting sound that reminds me of the Velvet Underground and Mazzy Star.  I know I’m in some other bands, I probably forgot…oh, and the Golden Dawn Arkestra, duh!

AustinDaze: Oh yeah! Of course! 

MH: And that’s kind of a bizarre on-the-rise project.

AustinDaze: How did you get involved with the 7 Walkers? 

MH: Austin briefly had a Hard Rock Cafe on 6th street, do y’all remember that?

Austin Daze: I remember hearing of that briefly… 

MH: Yeah, nobody really went in there. It couldn’t compete with the local businesses so it closed.  I was playing there with Jane Bond and we were opening for Jerkuleez which was a short lived instrumental funk project with Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Papa Mali, and Bruce Hughes.  Papa Mali said, hey, I like your sound, let’s work together sometime so I think about a year later I played with him.  He met Bill a short time afterwards at Oregon County Fair, and Bill’s then girlfriend soon to be finance and now wife Amy said, “Hey you need to check out this guy Papa Mali.” So they jammed all night and had a blast and then Bill wanted to form a band and Papa Mali asked me to be a part of it.

AustinDaze: So you have the Matt Hubbard Trio, you have Golden Dawn, what do you like better? Do you like a big group or a small group? 

MH: Well, it’s just like different sports. I went to Interlochen music camp and music school in Northern Michigan. I was playing the end of summer honors concert or something with literally  200 people. I was just playing trombone in this huge orchestra, and I thought I could be playing ”Old Rugged Cross” and no one would know!  I prefer a smaller combo, like basketball where there’s five people on the court at one time.  That’s always fun because with less people there is more room for spontaneous deviations and improvisation.  Golden Dawn Arkestra is a very special project as well with an element of organized chaos. I don’t really have any preference. I still play solo, but I would say my limit is like, 200 people… {laughter}

AustinDaze: {laughs} Okay, so no more than 200 people. 

MH: When I play at the Continental Gallery with Brad Houser and Robb Kidd every week, you know I can pretty much play anything I want and go anywhere and they can follow me.  That’s also true in a band like Golden Dawn because there is basically a framework for a party, and the party can always take different directions, and you have a lot of leeway doing sound effects and jumping around and stuff. So, that’s fascinating. But then I was in a band Fastball, briefly, which has very tight structured pop songs. So you know, every different gig and size of gig has it’s challenges and there’s no one favorite, or least favorite.

AustinDaze: Okay, well speaking of challenges, in Golden Dawn you guys are costumed, so how do you guys play so well with your faces covered by a costume? 

MH: My new one, which I have in the car, is sort of a third-eye weird goggle thing that Echo the dancer made for me.  It doesn’t cover my mouth at all, just my eyes, with these weird sunglasses with a third eye reflective surface…

AustinDaze: So you can’t see? 

MH: I can see, so it doesn’t really effect my playing at all. Robb Kidd, the drummer, has his face completely covered in a sheet, so he looks like a weird wizard or something, but since he’s not singing or anything it’s not a problem. Obviously the horn players have to have their mouths open.  Josh Perdue who plays guitar has sort of a veil on but doesn’t have to use his mouth.

AustinDaze: But when you’re playing in a band with five or 10 people, is it important to see the other players for visual cues as to… 

MH: Well… you’re in sort of this telepathic field, where you don’t have to see necessarily. I mean, blind musicians play like Stevie Wonder who’s show I will be attending in late November!

AustinDaze: Well, give us some advice from what you’ve learned in the music scene over the years, and for other musicians who are giving this a try.

MH: You mean specifically the Austin scene?

AustinDaze: Yes and…..

MH: Or of music in general? Hmm… I guess try to do your own thing and don’t try and be like everyone else, you know what I mean?  There are so many singer/songwriters in town who just strum a guitar and try to be like Townes Van Zandt.  That’s cool but I think trying to be different is probably a good idea. ‘Cause, you know, no one is going to be Willie, no one is going to be Townes Van Zandt, but you can be yourself.  The same is true for a lot of institutionalized jazz players who are so hung up on studying Charlie Parker and Coltrane, which is great, but you also have to be yourself too, not just emulate others.  Having the courage to discover who you are is always a journey in any style of music and the arts.

AustinDaze: Well, I know Willie Nelson is in your family, how does that relationship help you grow as a musician? And what have you learned from that relationship? 

MH: Um, well what I’ve learned from him is a lot. I met him recording his daughter Paula Nelson because I’m also a recording producer and eventually was running his home studio in Luck, TX. We recorded two albums that were up for Country Album of the Year Grammy, “The Rainbow Connection” on Island and “Run that By Me One More Time” a duet record with Ray Price on Lost Highway.  I’ve recorded with him on dozens of album projects, voiceovers, and duets.   Willie’s the real deal, he’s not fake at all. It’s not an act and no one scripts his public statements. He just takes the responsibility of being a star very seriously. He always tells people if you’re a star and in the public you have to be honorable 100 percent of the time.  Always do the right thing, it’s a huge responsibility you know?  Look, most of his friends are dead, but he’s still going strong. Still trying more than anyone at his age.  He’s definitely family-oriented and you know I have a 14-year-old son with his granddaughter Martha.  Willie is definitely a genius and a role model, but also a real person.  There is no BS-ing him, he can read anyone.  He is also very forgiving and wants to have peace in the world.  He’s a great role model of how to handle success, because it drives most people crazy when you’re that level. I mean, look at Michael Jackson, or whoever else you want to look at… Willie went through that insanity and came out the other side stronger. The same challenges would  totally diminish some people.  Willie’s from a poor background and was taken care of by his grandparents.  They lived a hard life in the Depression era, and a hundred dollars is still a lot of money to him. He’s very generous of course, but he doesn’t take anything for granted. I mean I could go on and on about what he’s taught me.  His faith in my abilities has given me confidence, obviously, and I’ve played on so many huge stages, under a lot of pressure.  That’s where I thrive, where I function my best so I never really get stressed out. I’m never afraid on stage, never have been you know. Fear has no part of me as a musician. I know that no matter what I face I can handle it.  That’s a great feeling to bring onto stage and I know it helps other people feel confident on stage as well. It’s a unified organism. Especially in Golden Dawn. And that’s something in Golden Dawn I push.  I keep saying this band has a huge potential.

AustinDaze: And it does!

MH: Yeah, I’ve been in a lot of buzz bands you know, played on Black Joe’s first record, “Bitch I Love You,” that’s me playing piano… I’ve been here for 20 years as of October, I moved here in October of ’94.  I’ve recorded a lot of stuff with Willie Nelson, 7 Walkers, meeting everyone in the world, so, you know, I think Golden Dawn could be a good third act.  Along, with of course, my Matt Hubbard Trio {laughter} every Wednesday at the Continental Gallery!

AustinDaze: John {Branch} was saying that was his favorite gig to play, the Continental Gallery.

MH: Well, it’s great.  Sniz and friends, the guys from the Greyhounds, are on Wednesday’s after me and it’s a huge jam.  Gary Clark Jr. sat in with all of us the other day. Tons of musicians stop in and I’ve played up there in the past with Charlie Sexton and David Garza and like everyone, you know?  So now I’m doing my own thing and about to release my own album.

AustinDaze: When will that come out? 

MH: Well, this year, it better! I recorded it with John Bush who along with Brad Houser play with me in Greezy Wheels.  Brad Houser is in the Matt Hubbard Trio as well and and they’re both from Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. John actually produced my album and played percussion and drums on it as well as Robb Kidd on drums and Brad on bass. They are awesome.

AustinDaze: I think that’s all I had… Is there anything you want to add? 

MH: You know, I wanted to say that one of the hugest influences on me musically is George Porter Jr. the bassist from the Meters and also 7 Walkers.  He’s the total professional, and a role model musically and personally.

It’s a really exciting time in Austin as a musician now. Music and art are sacred to me and I think it can bring world peace.  That’s my main philosophy.

AustinDaze: Well that’s a good note to end on, world peace. 

MH: {laughter} Alright!

Sundaze Conversations #7: Dianne Scott

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Get to know Dianne Scott with us. We sat down with Dianne outside of The Continental Club just before Planet Casper took the stage.  To me and most people I know, Dianne is a part of the club.  Bricks, mortar, Steve and Dianne, etc.  I was excited that she agreed to talk with us. I am friends with Dianne on fb and was inspired to continue the “Fuck cancer” tattoo trend by getting myself branded in support of people battling this disease. Thank you Dianne. Our team this time was Belinda, Rockslide and me (transcribed by CC Bonney). Thank you for reading…

AustinDaze: How did you wind up in Austin?

Dianne: I had been a performer, talent buyer, booking agent, and band manager in Upstate New York. When I moved here in 1987 it was with the express purpose of working for C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield. A radio DJ friend had given me Joe Ely’s first album. I was fascinated by the whole thing, including the photo on the back that was taken at Stubb’s first BBQ joint in Lubbock. Once I found out that Joe, and Stubb, and lots of other Lubbock and other well-known musicians were in Austin, that sealed the deal. I wanted to work for Stubb and meet all of them. And I did. Within a month of moving here I was working for him, and I developed a close relationship with him and many of those musicians. He loved introducing me to people because I got so excited about it! He took me to meet John Lee Hooker, and Bobby “Blue” Bland at Antone’s. Plus, people like Albert King, James Cotton, Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, and Tom T. Hall were regulars at Stubb’s when they were in town. It was intoxicating!

AustinDaze: Can you tell us the story about how you came to have one of the coolest jobs in Austin? Because not everybody gets to say they work at the coolest club in the world.

Dianne: Well, I was actually a booking agent here in town and a lot of the acts that I booked played here at the Continental Club. So I got to know Steve on a professional basis. And I knew that of all the club owners I had done business with, he was the one with the most fairness, and the most integrity. So this kind of became my home club where I hung out when I wasn’t working. And on the 5th anniversary of Steve having the club, at that time his current wife, Gabby, was the bar manager. And she called me that afternoon and asked me if I was coming to the club that night for New Year’s Eve. And I said, “Yes.” And she said, “Do you want to make some money while you’re here?” And I stopped for a second and said, “Doing what?” And she said, “Working the front door.” And then she started crying and she said, “It’s our 5th anniversary and we don’t have anybody to work the front door.” Ha ha ha. So I said, “Sure, I’ll do it.” And I worked the front door, then I moved to the back, and I’ve been at the back ever since. And that was 21 ½ years ago. Ha ha ha.

AustinDaze: Over the years, you’ve gotten to be around and met some really interesting people. What are some of your best stories you have?

Dianne: There is more than a handful, but the ones that come immediately to mind are the first year that we held our Wanda Jackson’s Birthday Bash. It was so spectacular because our dear friend, Rosie Flores, had just gotten Wanda out of retirement. And when she recorded her Rockabilly Filly album, she called on Wanda to come and do songs with her. So that South by Southwest, they ended up performing here together. And the following Fall, we had our very first Wanda Jackson Birthday Bash. And now we still have them every year. And then there was the time, also during South by Southwest, the back door opened up, and I looked and I immediately recognized the gentleman sticking his head in, and he said, “Um, I’m going to be playing here later, would it be okay if I came in and used your bathroom?” And I said, “Absolutely, Mr. Kristofferson, you are welcome to.” And meeting Robert Plant was wonderful, but having him come in the back door and say, “Hi Dianne, how are you today?” is the best. Hearing Robert Plant say your name is absolutely tremendous. And then there was meeting Dwight Yoakum. And there was having Buck Owens be here for his birthday bash one year. And seeing him with tears coming out his eyes while The Derailers were playing one of his songs. And hearing him duet with Kelly Willis. And having James Burton here. Having all these legends that I grew up loving, like Archie Bell and Roy Head, and Barbara Lynn and Barbara Mason, and all of these people, its just amazing that I now, in my 60’s, am meeting some of my heroes and actually getting to be friendly with them. Like Tony Joe White. He was just here. And I just ended up telling him that I’ve been telling everyone that he’s my boyfriend. And he said, “All right!” And that was pretty good by me. And there’s plenty more where that came from.

AustinDaze: Are you involved in booking these people?

Dianne: No, I don’t have anything to do with the booking at all, that is Steve’s and Celeste’s territory, not mine. What I do is the promotions and publicity after they’ve been booked. I write the Continental Confidential, which is our weekly newsletter. And I also do all of the PR. I do the press releases and I maintain the websites for C-Boys and The Continental Club and The Gallery. And I do all the social media sites, and I stay pretty active on all of those.

AustinDaze: So you’ve been around and seen Austin change so much. How do you see the changes affecting musicians in town?

Dianne: I think the affordability here is certainly an aspect of what made Austin so popular as a place for musicians to come and live and actually thrive with their art. Because first of all, there was no money to fight over here. So it became a very inclusive music scene, because there was no point in arguing over the $10 you were going to get paid at the end of the night. So everybody would show up at everybody else’s gigs and they were all very supportive of each other. And I see that fractured somewhat now, it’s not quite the same as it was. But then you let a musician get in trouble, and who’s there to help them? Every other musician in town. So there’s still a lot of that old ethic that still remains. But that’s the biggest change that I see is that the affordability has made it so difficult for musicians to continue to live here. The money still isn’t in Austin, the business still isn’t in Austin, it’s the creative process that’s here in Austin. So if they can’t be here, there goes the process.

AustinDaze: Well said. How do you feel when you think about our Austin music scene going global? For instance, Gary Clark Jr.

Dianne: Well of course, I’m especially proud of Gary. He’s a friend, and I’ve been watching him play at The Continental Club since he was 18 years old. So I almost have a vested interest in him doing well. And I love seeing our musicians getting the recognition they deserve. However, I know that it’s a double-edged sword. That along with it goes the accusations of selling out. And then you also have musicians who have lived in this Velvet Rut that is Austin, and now they’re having to face the cold hard truth of the real world. And they’re not being always told how wonderful they are. Sometimes they are being told they are a second rate somebody else, or they are not who they think they are. There is criticism now that was not so prevalent when they were in this Velvet Rut, as I call it.

AustinDaze: The musicians that move away seem to always come back.

Dianne: It’s true. Christopher Cross has been gone for 30 years and he is back. There are several musicians…

AustinDaze: Gary’s  coming back.

Dianne: Gary actually moved to New York because of his girlfriend, and he has never completely left Austin. As long as his parents and his sisters are here, he’ll always be back in Austin. Always. In fact, his father’s family grew up in the neighborhood right across the street, this was their home area.

AustinDaze: So your post about your cancer tattoo inspired me to get branded for all the people in my life that have been stricken with this disease. Have you influenced more people to get that tattoo other than me?

Dianne: There are actually several of us who have gotten it, and several more that say that they are going to get it. The actual “Fuck cancer” stamp was created when we did a benefit for Michael McCanless, who was known as “Fiddleboy,” and he was the fiddle player for Hank Williams III. When he was stricken with cancer, he ended up going on Hank III’s message board, and every day everybody would go on there and tell how they were going to fuck cancer that day. Sometimes it was, “Up the ass with a nail-studded telephone pole,” and sometimes it was something else. And so that kind of became the start of the “Fuck cancer” movement. So we had the stamp and it just got to the point where I started thinking, and one of our other doormen started thinking, you know, too bad that washes off, I guess it doesn’t have to. So we went next door and got our tattoos. The only difference between mine and some others is that I refuse to capitalize the “c” in cancer. I will never capitalize the “c” because I feel that words have power, and that particular word already has more power than it deserves. And so to take away some of its power I use a “smaaaall c” instead of a capitalized “c”. So Nick Curran when he got his tattoo done, followed suit, and there is another person who has done the same. But I highly encourage that.

AustinDaze: Is there anything else you want to add?

Dianne: Thank you Russ for keeping us in the news. It’s a wonderful thing that you do, it is much appreciated.

AustinDaze: Are there any other stories I should ask you about? Anything else you want to tell me?

Dianne: Boy, there are a lot of them I’d like to tell you, but I can’t. Ha ha ha.

AustinDaze: What do you think about the Continental Club expanding? It started with one club, and now there are three. What do you think of the expansion?

Dianne: I think that Steve is very, very good at what he does. What he has done is create a niche for all of his passions. This is his roots rock club, the Gallery is his jazz club, and C-Boys is his soul and funk club. He has managed to find a different place to suit all of his musical tastes, and fit more bands in! Because now in fact, C-Boys, you know it started out that we were only going to do music on Friday and Saturday night. Of course now its most Sundays, its Tuesdays, it’s Wednesdays, its Thursdays, its Fridays, its Saturdays. 8 ½ Souvenirs is even back for Tuesday Happy Hours. We also have Jitterbug Vipers doing a Friday Happy Hour residency. We’ve got all these different things going on. Sunday is devoid of residencies because that’s where we can do benefits and road shows that are looking for just a quick gig some place in town. We can put them over there on a Sunday night. So yeah, its shaping up very well.

AustinDaze: The TuesdaZe and WednesdaZe shows I’ve seen up in The Gallery are AlwaZe amazing!

Dianne: The Continental Club Gallery is an amazing space to begin with, there is something about that particular space.

AustinDaze: The acoustics are really good.

Dianne: Yes, exceptional acoustics considering there are so many windows, and all of that, and the high ceiling. But it has a really good sound to it. It is the perfect space especially for acoustic shows. And then there’s the Quarterly Tertulias every three months. It is a mixture of artists who are writers, poets, and musicians. They are given a theme for that particular presentation. And many of the musicians write to that theme, and then the writers write to that theme as well. We’ve had some comedy skits, and there have been what you could almost call some one-act plays, as well as the original songs. It is an amazing experience.

AustinDaze: All Steve has to do is open a coffee shop, and I wouldn’t go anywhere else!

Dianne: I know. I have suggested that we get Jo’s coffee to expand their kitchen to our Gallery. That hasn’t happened yet. But hopefully, eventually that’s gonna happen. Actually, I see the Gallery as a space very much akin to what Chicago House used to be. Chicago House during the 80’s and 90’s, downtown at 607 Trinity, was a music and art space. Music was divided into shows and open mic nights. Jimmie LaFave hosted the Wednesday open mic for ages. There was always art on the walls for sale, there were books in a bookshelf for sale. They served coffee and snack-type foods. And there were one-act plays, and poetry readings. And all of those things I see happening compatibly in the Gallery. But we haven’t moved quite in that direction yet. But it’s getting there. If Steve agrees to it.

AustinDaze: I’ve been at the Gallery just about every Wednesday. It’s so good, they always carry me upstairs.

Dianne: Well, I wish we had an elevator.

AustinDaze: Me too!

Dianne: Maybe somebody would donate us one of those ones that go on the stairway, and it could go up on the fire escape?

AustinDaze: Yeah, like at C-Boys. Well, thank you Dianne.

Dianne: Thank you.IMG_4165