By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
In the old days, rock and roll was an alternative to school, the spirit of rebellion and the defiance of convention. That's all well and good for audience members, but what those trying to make a living in the rock world soon found out was that certain "square" guidelines--write things down, make lists, set goals, etc.--make life easier, particularly when you have four minutes to locate a bum power chord before the band goes on. Either that or the mike's bad. Or the outlet. Or something.
Mike Schwedler and Louis Meyers have been involved with the making end of music for quite a while: Meyers as one of the creative forces behind the beginning of South by Southwest, and Schwedler as the drummer for Killbilly and now the manager for the Old 97's. They've started Roadcrew, a class that seeks to teach right off the bat the finer points of being a roadie for a band, helpful hints that previously were the result of trial and error and bitter experience: proper uses for glow-in-the-dark tape, how to clean a guitar, the importance of bringing your own microphones for your act.
The enterprise, which has already held classes in Austin, charges around $75 to $100 for a day of instruction. Based on the idea that a population of uniformly trained stagehands and tech support people can only make life easier for everybody involved, Roadcrew looks not only to educate potential roadies but also to function as a job referral organization.
"Right now," Schwedler had said earlier when first discussing plans for Roadcrew, "even good road people, people who would be teaching our classes, when they get home, sometimes they have no idea when or from where their next gig will be coming. You don't know whether you should scrimp and save because there's nothing coming up for the next six weeks, or whether you'll be working again in two and can treat yourself to a vacation. It's tough."
Roadcrew classes will use repected and experienced industry pros to cover all the nuances of life on the road with a rock band, including pre-tour planning, budgeting, proper loading, routing, operating sound and light systems, and staying healthy in what can often be an unhealthy environment.
JIM SUHLER AND MONKEY BEAT WILL BE OPENING FOR DALLAS-RAISED GUITARIST DENNY FREEMAN, WHO'S HOSTING A RECORD RELEASE PARTY FOR HIS EXCELLENT A TONE FOR MY SINS--ISSUED ON THE DALLAS BLUES SOCIETY LABEL--HALLOWEEN NIGHT AT BLUE CAT BLUES. FREEMAN WAS ONE OF THE MUSICIANS WHO MADE THE GREAT DALLAS-TO-AUSTIN RELOCATION IN THE MID-'60S WITH DOYLE BRAMHALL AND THE VAUGHAN BROTHERS...CH-CH-CH-CHANGES IN THE CAMP OF STRANGER THAN FICTION, WHO HAVE ADDED TAD REES BOWEN ON BASS, REPLACING FORD BRITTAIN. THE BAND IS WORKING ON A NEW ALBUM, VERTIGO, AT FORT WORTH'S FAT CITY STUDIOS--WITH BRITTAIN EXECUTING ENGINEERING DUTIES--AND HAS BEEN PREVIEWING SOME OF ITS NEW MATERIAL AT RECENT GIGS...JEFF LILES WILL BE CHECKING INTO THE FACILITIES AT CRYSTAL CLEAR SOUND TO REHEARSE FOR HIS DECEMBER TOUR OF EUROPE...
EVERYBODY POLKA! KNON (89.3 FM) HAS ADDED A POLKA SLOT ON SUNDAYS FROM 2 P.M. TO 3 P.M., HOSTED BY PATRICK ROZNOVSKY WITH HELP FROM CO-HOST BRYAN CEPAK. THE SHOW WILL FEATURE CZECH, GERMAN, AND POLISH POLKAS, DRAWING MATERIAL FROM NOT ONLY TEXAS BUT ALSO HOTSPOTS LIKE CHICAGO AND MILWAUKEE AND BEYOND, CLEAR BACK TO THE OLD COUNTRIES...THE OLD 97'S HAVE ANNOUNCED THAT THEY'LL BE RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR AT THE BARLEY HOUSE...CONGRATS TO AMY MARTIN ON THE FIRST BIRTHDAY OF HER TUESDAY-NIGHT DRUM CIRCLE AT THE COSMIC CUP; PAST PERFORMANCES HAVE SEEN NUMEROUS GUEST APPEARANCES AND DANCING DEMONSTRATIONS THAT RANGE FROM BELLY TO DERVISH...THE THERAPY SISTERS SCURRY BACK INTO TOWN ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, WHEN THEY PLAY POOR DAVID'S. COME ON OUT AND MEET JANE AIR, THE DYSFUNCTIONAL FOLK GROUP'S NEW INFLATABLE LOVE DRUMMER, AND SEE WHETHER SHE INCORPORATES BOTH GREEK AND ROMAN FEATURES. REMEMBER THE SISTER'S MOTTOo You can't be part of the problem until you're part of the family...
The Church presents a listening party for goth-rock band Ritual's new album on Thursday, October 30. If you are among the first 100 people to purchase an advance ticket to the next night's festivities--to be held in the main room of the Dallas Music Complex, with live appearances by Nocturne and the Necro Tonz (the event will likewise celebrate Are You Dead Yet?, the Tonz's new album)--you will receive Ritual's new album free of charge. The first 1,000 souls who show up Halloween for the big show will likewise get a gratis copy of the new disc. A portion of the proceeds will go to the AIDS Resource Center...
Colin Boyd has been releasing tension and aggression accumulating from the recent theft of his guitar by writing payback haiku instead of indulging in road rage. Although the verses are most piquant--one starts out "There once was a thief from Nantucket"--the guitar is as of yet unreturned...Royal Fingerbowl, a much-better-than-their-stupid-name-might-lead-you-to-believe-type band from New Orleans, will be at Deep Ellum Live on Saturday, November 8, when they open up for G Love and Special Sauce. Check 'em out...Soak will be at Club Clearview on Saturday, November 1, riding high on the heels of the announcement that they've been nominated for a Billboard Music Video Award for "Me Compassionate"...
Fasten up your brass buttons and put your cash on the barrelhead for local Americana/Texas music booking impresario Mike Snyder's annual Gram Parsons Appreciation Night this November 5, the night before Wilco appears at Trees. The event, which falls on what would have been Parson's 51st birthday, will feature the Lucky Pierres, Barry Kooda and Shaggy, Meredith Louise Miller (featuring underappreciated local six-string talent Reid Easterwood), and the Ridge Runners--a bluegrass/Gospel group that features Phillip Prince, formerly of the Mutineers...
When Street Beat wrote about Last Beat Studios and associated enterprises last week ("Working on a building," issue 764) we posited that LB honcho Sean Edwardes was different from many of his contemporaries in that he truly cared about music. What we were thinking about at the time was the wealth of horror stories about bands being sold down the river, screwed out of their due, or made to do something that they did not want to do at all because of corrupt or uncaring counsel. What we were definitely not thinking about was a definition of "contemporary" on local terms. Edwardes was not being compared to local studios or the people who work in them. His praiseworthy attributes are shared to an uncommon degree by most of the people involved with other labels like Crystal Clear, Dragon Street, One Ton, Direct Hit, and Rhythmic Records. To interpret praise of Edwardes as a dig at anybody else is contrary to the intentions of the article, and Street Beat regrets any confusion.
The picture of Green Day's Billie Joe in last week's issue should have been credited to Mike Insuaste; the correct year of Green Day embarking upon Lollapalooza was 1994. The tasty pic of blues guitarist Denny Freeman that ran unacknowledged in issue 757 should have been credited to Patti Mitchell.
Street Beat appreciates your e-mail tips and comments at Matt_Weitz@dallasobserver.com.