Other Good Things from the 80's.....

Ally Sheedy

Riding in little Japanese trucks with friends. (Remember how those door handles felt?)

Videos where they made the singer act out a part like he was in a made for TV movie

Made For TV movies (The Michael Landon Story being my favorite)

Girls who dressed up like Madonna

Girls who dressed up like Prince

Casey Kasem top 40 long distance dedications

Were Bernie Kosar and the singer of The Tubes the same guy?


I meant this one:

MP3: Summer


Billy White, Billy White, Billy White

Many of my friends probably don't know that I was a metal head when I was growing up. I wasn't totally insane but I was pretty immersed in it. I don't quite remember how way leads onto way but I was in a heavy metal band called First Strike in 8th grade. We actually had a few gigs. My first gig was at the Ritz theater on 6th street when I was 14. Not bad, really. I wish I had video to show you but our tempermental drummer tore up the tape from a show because he thought it wasn't up to snuff. Already I was surrounded by people with impossibly high standards! Anyway, the thing that I really got out of the whole experience was my exposure to Watchtower. This band was from Austin, but to me, they were world class. Their musicianship and musicality were so far beyond me. I was both humbled and inspired to a very deep psychological level. I would go see their shows (sometimes taking friends), listen, go home, and attempt to learn the King Crimson - level difficulty music.
A few months later I started working at Sonic on Stassney Lane and was mildly shocked to realize that the bass player of Watchtower, Doug Keyser, worked as a cook in the back (I was a fountain). I probably waited one shift to tell him that I was a huge fan of their music, and a fellow bass player. Doug was very friendly and kind and let me start hanging out with him. He would let me come over and listen to the Jeff Berlin- Allan Holdsworth records that influenced him and Eddie Van Halen so much. He also suprised me by preaching a kind of straight-edge no drinking and drugs philosophy. Plus, they (Watchtower), were anti-communist Libertarians. During the 80's in Austin this was a little reactionary. In any case, these guys, Doug, drummer Rick Colaluca, singer Jason McMaster (Nom de plume anyone?) and guitarist Billy White really expanded my vistas. For instance, both Doug and Billy claimed to not really like heavy metal at all! Doug was into Thomas Dolby. One time during the 1986 World Series I watched them goof around playing "The Reflex" instead of practicing.
But, if Doug was the minister of propaganda, then Billy was the mystic. He was so quiet, indidualistic, and musically powerful. He had the raw solo star power of Eddie, the glue-like workmanship of Alex Lifeson and the technical ability (usually kept under wraps) of Fripp.
And he was cool. You could tell that everybody in the band, all very accomplished, were in love and a little bit afraid of him. He was their John. He didn't stick around that long either. I got to roadie for them a few times with Billy, but he left, having other paths, so to speak. When you are 19, in Austin, and very talented, you probably feel claustraphobic with all that big hair and the emmergence of Poison and Whitesnake. That is my street poet take on it, anyway.
Later on I got to play with Billy in New York with Pam Miller. As before, his influence on me was way deeper than just music. Billy says that New York is the beautiful lotus flower that grows in the dirty pond. That's the best definition I've heard.

The History Of Watchtower

Watchtower (with Billy's replacement playing the parts that he wrote)
MP3:The Eldritch

Pam, Billy, Jeff, JJ Johnson
MP3: Tuesday Afternoon


Mozart Defeats Dylan!

Yes it's true folks!.
Alex Ross, of the New Yorker, has proven definitively that Mozart is more popular than Bob Dyan.
And New Kids On The Block!

Blog: The Rest Is Noise

So Alex, what is the one true....

Austin album?
You have to pick 1, OK?
The one that would go to the desert island with you. The one that you are most comfortable picking as the best ever. Or at least, the most least uncomfortable.
One of those records where there are no throw away tracks. A record that you can look back in awe ten years later and say "Damn, what a great fuckin' record?"


Does This Ever Happen To You?

I frequently think I am listening to Walter Salas-Humara.
Even when I'm not really.
It just happened again as I listened to that Lil' Captain Travis song. His voice is the ultimate everyman's voice. I'm sure you here it 7 times a day on KGSR, even if it is not "technically" Walter's voice.
For those of you who don't know, our good friend K-Rock plays drums with The Silos. At one point that would have been a little like taking the drum throne in Spinal Tap. But, Konrad has been singing, writing, and playing for over five years now! Great band. More Austin than most Austin bands. And obviously there was some sort of South Korean cloning thing going on with the singer of Lil' Captain Travis.

MP3: When The Phone Rings

I loved that Grand Champeen song. The guitar playing reminded me of Whit.
Of, course, another Konrad connection.
Maybe Glycerin could post something recorded in Austin with both Konrad and me on it?


When it comes to the law, I wouldn't think him a purist

Interesting that you like TOD because they don't sound like Austin. I'm a fan of theirs too (particularly their Source Tags and Codes record), but my favorite Austin bands are Spoon, Cotton Mather, Lil Cap'n Travis, Grand Champeen, and Twang Twang Shock-A-Boom. LCT and GC sound like Austin, but in the best possible way; I don't think the others do.

Spoon are the masters of rocking in a minimalist way. They strip down their songs well beyond what most bands would be comfortable with, which makes the little production and arrangement touches much more powerful. There's all kinds of space in their music. For example, The Beast and Dragon Adored -- it builds off that Bonham-style drumming beautifully.

Cotton Mather produced some of the catchiest, rockingest pop music of the '90s. These are pop songs on a par with The Beatles, The Kinks, etc. 1997's Kon-tiki remains their high water mark, but this one (the only MP3 of theirs at hand) is a re-recording of one of their earlier, Squeeze-ier songs.

Grand Champeen rock out in a ferocious Replacements/early Soul-Asylum kind of way, with some of the poppiness of Sloan occasionally leavening things. Lil Cap'n Travis take folks like the Flying Burrito Brothers and late '60s Stones as a launching point, creating psychedelicized country rock music with Bacharach/Spector touches. Only in Austin.

And Twang-Twang Shock-a-Boom -- well, it will take someone more eloquent than me to find les bon mots required to elucidate their manifold charms. Great bass playing, though.

Fill yer boots, folks!

MP3: Spoon -- The Beast And Dragon, Adored.
MP3: Cotton Mather -- Lost My Motto
MP3: Grand Champeen -- That's Never Why
MP3: Lil Cap'n Travis -- Natural Fool
MP3: Twang Twang Shock-A-Boom -- It's No Secret