By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
In the meantime--except for the sabbatical foray into corporate America--Beatles fans need not fear an interruption of their weekly Friday fix: "This thing will go on without [Savage]," Dada owner Doak Boettiger (one of the forces behind the band's formation three years ago) maintains.
That is the one thing that everybody seems to agree on.
A Hard Night's Day's show on January 3 will be Savage's last with the group. Big Chief and the Boogie-Woogie Wig Wam plays the Dark Room January 9.
Death with dignity
Swans, the experimental brainchild of Michael Gira and Jarboe, could suffer from an air of contrivance at times. Nevertheless, the duo were ambient before ambient was cool and samplers back when samplers usually contained chocolate. Their show on January 7 at the Orbit Room will be their farewell. "It gets to a point after which it becomes undignified," Gira--who denies having recently talked with Jim Savage--says. "It's been 15 years, and we've done about all we can do...this last album was one of our best, so why not?"
"Quit while you're ahead" is indeed an under-appreciated dictum in music, and for Gira & Jarboe it's time to move on. "I want to be an impresario," Gira says. In addition to starting up Young God Records, on which their final album, the double-disc Soundtracks for the Blind was released this fall, he's also exploring changes in his stylistic sensibilities, perhaps even mellowing out a bit: "Now I'm more interested in the way the voice and music color the story."
His two current projects are bands: Body Lovers--which he describes as "more ambient and cinematic" than Swans--and Pleasure Seekers, defined by "more acoustic, narrative-type songs." The farewell tour is "one last exoneration, if you will," Gira says. He'll then devote his time to his two bands, the label, new bands, and managing the Swans legacy: a series of reissues on Young God much like what Rhino did for Robyn Hitchcock--old albums sweetened with B-sides, demos, and other alternative cuts probably never heard before. "Many of our fans are young, fortunately," Gira says. "And I want that music to be available to impressionable young listeners."
Code 4's Tim Sanders is placing the industrial group on indefinite hiatus while he and his wife, Jacqueline, pursue another project they call the Terror Couple, a title inspired by the Bauhaus song "Terror Couple Kills Colonel."
"We want to define an avenue for the music we want to pursue," Tim explains. "Beck is the future...what we want to do is take trip-hop and industrial and use it to explore the nature of dreams and fantasies. It was go into therapy or start another band," he jokes. "We want to get back to having fun, but without having anything to do with the Deep Ellum scene."
The Terror Couple will be a "massive sampler campaign," according to Tim. "We have been collecting samples for three months now, and we have thousands of beat loops and organic noises like horses and whales." It's those organic samples--called "squealies" in the trade--that will be the building blocks of Tim and Jacqueline's new music. "We're trying to come up with the scariest fare possible," Tim says, describing the results of those efforts as "Marilyn Manson meets Timbuk 3."
"We've got some squealies that were taken from these bizarre religious rituals in Spain that involve--" he searches for a moment, "--ah, unique methods of sacrificing animals, like throwing a bull off of a third-story roof. We've got squealies made from the sound it makes when it lands, and it's pretty unsettling."
Not exactly your average fare, but Tim and Jacqueline aren't your average bears. "We're like the complete opposite of the soccer mom demographic," he says, rather unnecessarily. "We want to appeal to people with fucked-up childhoods, and our message it that you can control your daydreams. It's not a love song album, but it'll be commercially viable."
The Sanderses see those daydreams as the key to determining personality. "The difference between Mozart and Manson were their fantasies," he explains. "Mozart dreamed of reforming the music of his day; Manson, of starting 'Helter Skelter' [the race war he imagined the Tate-LaBianca murders would trigger]...both Ted Bundy and JFK had childhoods that were fucked-up in remarkably similar ways, but one dreamed of obtaining power through politics and the other, by murdering college girls."
The labor-intensive nature of sampling work dictated that Code 4 be put on hold. "Each song that we're working on takes at least 100 hours," Tim says. "With Code 4's last album, we sold 3,000 copies ourselves, which is damn good, but it was the hardest work of our lives--that's time that could be spent sampling."
In keeping with the closure theme, say goodbye to the Eddy Band. After three years of slogging around the lower Greenville-Deep Ellum circuit, Todd Pfefferle, aka Bob Hate, and company could no longer ignore the fact that they "always made more money when we were playing horrible and tiresome cover gigs," as Todd/Bob said in an e-mail announcing the band's demise...On Thursday, January 2, One Ton Records is hosting a benefit at Trees for Casey Hess, the Caulk frontman laid low by some scary complications following heart surgery. All proceeds will go to the Hess family, and there will be an auction of donated rock art collected by Deep Ellum bands. Slated to play are Course of Empire, the Tomorrow People, Cottonmouth, Texas, and Centromatic ...February 25 has been set as the release date for the new Jupiter Coyote album...
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