Winner's circle

All the bands that fit,and one that quit

Local Musician of the Year: Andy Timmons
With 25 percent more votes than Rhett Miller, three-time winner Timmons should probably watch out for Miller, third-place Casey Hess (Doosu), and Earl Harvin--and any other aspirants to this award--in combination with a darkened alley and several sacks of doorknobs.

Songwriter(s): Todd Lewis
Nude Mayonnaise Wrestling Face-Off, This Category, would have to be between Lewis and No. 2 Miller, separated by less than a dozen votes. The idea of the fracas being joined by third-placer Donny Ray Ford (with about half of Miller's votes) would be metaphorically correct but no less easy on the imagination.

Album Producer: Chad Lovell
The fact that this category also included a vote for a club (Trees, no doubt cast by the same citizen fond of nominating "Joe Momma" for various slots) does nothing to lessen the fact that Course of Empire's Chad Lovell gathered almost twice the votes of runner-up David Castell. The follow-up field--Carl Finch, Sam McCall, Patrick Keel, and Keith Rust--all got almost as many votes as Castell, a surprising show of attention that bespeaks either an informed electorate or a lot of guessing. See next week's section for descriptions of nominees.

Live Music Venue: Trees
Over 450 voters thought the club Dallas' premier live music venue, more than twice those who voted for Deep Ellum Live or fellow travelers Sons of Hermann Hall and Club Dada. Naomi's claimed fourth with 79 votes.

Radio Program That Features Local Music: "the Adventure Club," KDGE 94.5 FM
Crying in the wake of the "Adventure Club" are "Texas Tapes" (KTXQ 102.1 FM) and "the Local Show" (KEGL 97.1 FM), each separated by less than two dozen votes. Although KNON 89.3 FM was nominated the most times (four different shows), even their cumulative total placed them in fourth. See next week's section for a description of the nominated shows.

Local Record Label: One Ton Records
Given the success of Slow Roosevelt, are One Ton and Co. local sleepers or balloting masters worthy of our proud Texas tradition? Only time--two or three more polls--will tell. Crystal Clear and Last Beat nipped at their heels from 50 ballots back, and Irv Karwellis' Idol Records captured fourth purely on the basis of love (his) and trust (ours).

The little club that could
For years now, Dallas--despite its flourishing music scene--has been missing a venue for truly underground music. Most clubs cater primarily to established names and cookie-cutter local bands imitating the trend of the moment. Experimental, avant-garde, or plainly different bands are as welcome as stale beer.

No wonder, then, that many Dallasites will drive 40 miles north to Denton to get an earful of experimental, Kraut, cosmic, psychedelic, or whatever they like to call their rock. The place is the Argo, for almost two years the mecca of North Texas' independent music. Acoustically excellent and located two blocks from the University of North Texas, the Argo has become a music haven for locals and farther-flung lovers of adventurous music alike.

Wanz Dover--the club's booking agent and member of Mazinga Phaser--answers with an emphatic "no" when asked if something like the Argo could exist in Dallas. "It mostly has to do with the fact that this is a college town, and there are a lot of musicians here," he says. "I don't think there's enough people in Dallas to support a club like the Argo. You have clubs in Dallas that [aren't] interested in good music, just who draws a lot of people. We ask bands who they want to play with. We only book creative music that supports the scene: One day punk rock, the next psychedelic, and the next day the Earl Harvin Trio. No venue in Dallas would have all these formats.

"We manage to get touring bands that would normally skip Dallas or Texas altogether. A lot of them may make no money at all, but they get treated with respect, so they keep coming back."

The Argo's eclecticism often fails to fill registers. The vast majority of patrons are students; most local shows are free. Often the donation jar is half-empty and beer sales slow, but owners Rob Peters and Chris Bryan are happy as long as the rent gets paid and employees get their meager wages. Dover works for free: Having a channel for local and national talent is as important as playing music. "Almost all Denton bands play for free," he says. "Dallas bands, we'll pay for their gas and that's it. Mazinga gets paid pretty well in Dallas and Austin, but will play for free in Denton. If we don't do it, we don't have a place, period."

National bands get paid out of the limited proceeds from local shows and beer sales. Many times the club ends up in the red. "All-ages punk shows do really well," Dover says. "We had Propagandi, and 400 kids showed up at $7 a ticket! On the other hand, we had Wayne Horvitz [from John Zorn's Naked City] and we only had seven people. But at least people have a place to play." So far, bands like Cibo Matto, Godhead Silo, Railroad Jerk, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Peter Jeffries, and other lesser-known, worthwhile names have appeared at the club. In March, John Cale was scheduled, but pulled out at the last minute. "It's a shame that most people in the industry don't care about the music and only care about the money," Dover says.

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