The last roundup

Soul Food Cafe throws in the towel

The showcase, which will be broadcast as part of KEGL 97.1 FM's "The Local Show" on Sundays at 10 p.m., is one of only two planned for the group this summer.

Scene, heard
From the land of alligators, handguns, and giant insects comes news that a Florida state senator has freaked out at the filth and degradation that fairly oozes out of the music of shocker-provocateur-menace to society Robert Earl Keen. According to an April 25 issue of The Gavin Report, state Senator John Grant--already in a lather over Tampa radio station WMNF's coverage of gay Olympic gold medal winner and anarchist firebrand Greg Louganis' address to the University of South Florida--wigged out completely when he heard the lyrics to "Undone." A tale of a man's personality coming apart under the strain of poverty-level living, "Undone"--off of Picnic, Keen's latest--features civilization-toppling references to "back-seat" sex and bad words such as "bastard." Grant has diverted over $100,000 in previously awarded state funding from the station, no doubt saving the state of Florida from a reputation as a vicious backwater full of lawless, amoral crazy people...Keen has vowed to help the station continue its evil work, making a personal donation and appearing in Tampa to help raise money...

When Warner Brothers swallowed up Rick Rubin's American Recordings, it put the fate of many of American's acts in an uncomfortable limbo that most musicians know all too well. Fortunately, Dallas' Mark Griffin, aka MC 900 ft Jesus, is unfazed. "It's all very up-in-the-air," Griffin says of his position. "At least as far as my part goes. [Rick] Rubin is still renegotiating his deal with Warner Brothers, and I guess he's laid off just about all of his people, and I'm halfway through an album, but my contract carries me through all the stuff that goes with that--touring, a few videos, the whole deal. My deal's been pretty cushy, but the label was never much on promotion for people at my level."

Griffin--who thinks that his work-in-progress may be released by year-end, but makes no promises--likens his position to somebody "off in the corner" of a room, someone who might never notice that their room has changed from one in a five-room bungalow to part of a 60,000 square foot mansion. "It's weird when the whole thing switches over," Griffin says, "but us peons don't get that much attention anyway; when something finally happens, I'll be the last to find out."

Mike Swedler has just returned from Tornillo, Texas, where the American Fuse--following in the footsteps of another one of his acts, the Old 97's--is wrapping up their full-length debut album, produced by Taz Bentley, originally of the Rev. Horton Heat and currently pounding skins for Tenderloin. Swedler says to look for release sometime in mid-summer...Since we opened this Street Beat with an artistic endeavor, it's only appropriate to mention Club Clearview's collection of band art, displayed in the main room, over the bar. The ongoing collection draws mostly from the local talent pool, although national bands like Gene Loves Jezebel are also represented. Although there are some cheaters, paintings are officially limited in execution to the Digital Application Process--fingerpainting to those analog holdouts amongst you. Many works feature the band name--it seems you have to have an ego to play in front of people--and range in technique from the neo-primitive drunker 'n shit school to more thoughtful, controlled efforts like Birch County's implied theology and the serenely sublime octopus that graces Buck Jones' contribution.

A tip of the Street Beat bowler to Phil "Am I Dead Yet?" Anselmo and the rest of the gentlemen in Pantera for showing up at the Motsrhead cover night benefit for KNON at Fort Worth's Tattoo Bar. "It's not often that you find guys who have all the money, the fame, and the record contracts, and all that stuff that still bother to do local stuff like this," says event organizer Dave Chaos of KNON 89.3 FM...

In a bit of a turnaround from its usual Kerrville-friendly fare, Poor David's will host longtime Ramones drummer Marky Ramone and the Intruders June 8; the Big Gundown, profiled last week in this space, will open...Patrick Keel's advanced business of music class at Collin County Community College has finished Son of Eat Yer Vegetables and will have a release party to commemorate same on Friday, May 30, at the Lone Star Country Club. Festivities start at 4 p.m.

If it's all the same to you, we'd really prefer not to go where the Iron Crosses grow. We'd rather stay here where it's all warm and snuggly at Matt_Weitz@dallasobserver.com.

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