Trance-induced state

Austin label showcases some of the best Texas has to offer

Trance retains rights to the material recorded and released specifically for the label for seven years; after that, all rights revert to the bands. And if a band wanted to release a single or an EP (under 25 minutes) on another label, they have the right to do so without Coffey or Stewart's permission.

"One huge independent label signs bands to five-record deals, thinking this band might be approached by a major label," Stewart says. "And that kind of thinking ahead does nothing for the band. All that does is think of careers, and I don't care about that. If they want to leave, there's no grudge--they can.

"Getting bands to sign long contracts to protect yourselves against major-label attacks may be a smart move financially, but that kind of planning ahead is just for players. I'm not a player. I'm not a record-label player. I care about how good the record is and why I'm into the music, and all the other stuff associated with the band's career, I just don't care about."

Of the 116 Dallas-Denton-Fort Worth bands that applied to the annual South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin March 15-19, 21 have been sent acceptance letters. Those who made the final cut of about 500 featured artists are: Baboon, Bedhead, Colin Boyd, Brave Combo, Brutal Juice, Cafe Noir, Cowboys and Indians, Ronnie Dawson, Rachel Goetz and Ghostown, Hagfish, Heads and Dreads, Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks, Mad Flava, Mean Gus, Rubberbullet, Shabazz 3 Shabazz, Tablet, the Toadies, Tripping Daisy, Tex Edwards, and Ray Wylie Hubbard. But this is not necessarily a final list: some of those bands accepted may not be able to attend, and several Dallas artists are on the sub list and could be added when other bands drop out.

The list of Dallas bands tagged to attend SXSW is up from last year's weak total of 11, though seven of this year's bands were on 1994's list (including Heads and Dreads, Bedhead, and Meredith Miller). And last year, Hagfish was among those 60-plus area bands not selected--causing Dragon Street honcho David Dennard to fire off a nasty letter to the governor's office berating "Dimensions of Austin"--and was forced to hold its showcase performance in an Austin record store. This year, with a London Records deal in hand, they're getting an invite to sit at the big kids' table.

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