By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
In Taiwan, perhaps, there is someone sitting in front of a home computer reading Funland's band bio. In Australia, a record fanatic might be searching George Gimarc's Record Collectors home page, scouring the catalogs for some obscure psychedelic 7-inch single from the 1960s. Down the street, some kid might be downloading 20 seconds of Tablet's "Stop Freakin' Out" (which might take five minutes) from his PC.
The Internet--once the domain of researchers and scientists, later a playground for illicit government activity--has become so accessible it would be easier to list the few companies and simple folk who don't have home pages on the World Wide Web. In just a few days, sometimes even a few hours, any schmoe with a home computer, a scanner, and fingers can launch a home page--the Internet's version of a bulletin board and an advertisement, a research device that doubles as promotional tool.
Locally, new home pages--each of which often connects you to many more--are popping up like mad. George Gimarc, the former disc jockey-turned-record label impresario, already is in charge of three: one sells his local CD compilations, including his Tales from the Edge series; another hawks comic books; a third exists for record collectors seeking obscure albums from the '50s and '60s, promo discs, autographed items, and hundreds of other things. (The address for Gimarc's home page is http://www.onramp.net/RecordWeb/.)
But, as the International Underground Music Association home page is proving, the 'Net is a secret savior for unsigned bands to get the word out without ever packing the van. Fans or just the curious can access bands' home pages and check out their schedules, read their bios, find publicity photos, and hear a few seconds of music. Locally, Funland, Bobgoblin, and Tablet have joined the fray; down in Austin, the Bad Livers also have their own page.
"My plan was to get the home page to a point where, through our management, we wouldn't have to send out press packs," says Funland and Tablet bassist Phil Irby. "All we'd have to do is call them up and say. 'Check out our home page.' And we've got the whole connection for mailing lists and E-Mail addresses so they can send us comments--'You suck,' or whatever."
The three bands' home pages--which all link up with each other, and are still "under construction"--contain the same sort of information: song clips, a schedule of upcoming shows, bios, discographies, band photos, and so forth. But they all will bear each band's own stamp; for instance, in keeping with their uniforms-and-post-mod motif, Bobgoblin welcomes 'Net Surfers to "channels of communication with the Liberation Front States Central Command," and provides free software for the downloading. Funland's page steers the kids toward The Hockey Page and Comics N' Stuff. (To access all three bands' home pages, go to http://www.pic.net:80/~bobgobln.)
"It's going to be a way to let people know what's going on with the band because you can't put up posters without them getting ripped down," says Funland's Peter Schmidt. "We get letters all the time, and it's just another form of communication where people can send their requests and stuff. There are so many other possibilities. We're kind of slow-witted so it'll take us a while to grasp the full potential. Right now, it's like a modern flier."
Where once bands released cheap cassettes, selling them at shows for a few bucks, now they preserve their musings forever on CD because they're nearly as cheap to produce, and they make damned fine drink coasters. Among those local artists releasing discs in the coming days are Ugly Mustard, the industriametal band featuring Mike Daane (bass), Kelly Barker (vocals), Eric Trent (guitar-keyboards), and Fred Rush (drums). The 10-song disc is due in stores May 18. Frankly Scarlet has also just released a five-song EP, produced by David Castell (best known for his work with Course of Empire), and The Robbie LeDoux Band has released their Shame EP. Venerable bluesman Bugs Henderson is also in stores with the live That's the Truth, recorded last fall in Colorado and featuring a damned impressive version of "Johnny B. Goode"...
On the singles front, Comet has finally released its two-song vinyl debut on Last Beat Records, a charmingly droning piece of work titled This is Freedom 7 and featuring "Portrait" and "Rocket Flare." The seven-inch comes from sessions recorded with former Mercury Rev member David Baker...
On May 14, Deep Ellum will play host to a "Multi-Cultural Music Fair" (which truly does put the "fair" in music fair) from noon to midnight. The all-day concert, which will be held on Crowdus between Main and Elm, will feature (in order of appearance): Drew Phelps Quartet, Thermus, Code Red, Stranger than Fiction, Babble Zoo, Robert Ealey and Tone Summer, Lone Star Trio, Renya Brothers, Liberty Valance, and Lynus. The event is free...
The Enablers--the local new-wave veteran "supergroup," if that's not too much of an oxymoron, featuring Bart Chaney (ex of Feet First), Neal Caldwell (former NCM frontman), and Chris Dirkx (of Telefones)--will do their post-mod lounge thing every Monday throughout May at the Balcony Club, beginning at 9 p.m.
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