The King's man

"Jr. Boy" Jones played with them all--now, he plays for himself

"Earl and I had a long talk about things, and we talked about how I was growing, and he only encourages that," Clardy says. "He always had. I said I was interested in moving along and doing my own things, and I wanted to wrap things up with rubberbullet before I did that. Rubberbullet kind of is in effect about five to six months out of the year, which is fine because we're all busy and doing our own stuff. But I started out on rubberbullet really involved in it, and I got to be where I needed to be involved in it again or put it down for good."

Rubberbullet leaves behind one EP, one full-length disc, and a couple of seven-inch singles--a rather small legacy when you consider the promise and personnel this band had from the get-go. Early on, rubberbullet--which, at the beginning, also featured Aaron Berlin and Richard Paul--was like Courtney Love fronting Ornette Coleman's punk-rock band; they made a beautiful noise. But relationships fall apart when husbands and wives see each other only a few months out of the year, and the end was inevitable. Hell, most people probably thought the band had broken up two years ago.

But Clardy is wasting no time, if only because she's had plenty: She's now playing bass and singing in a yet-to-be-named band that features former tomorrowperson Ben Burt, Ian Persons (ex of Record Player), and Doherty. But they will lay low for a while longer: Clardy says the band will likely not even perform until the end of the year or the beginning of 1999.

"We all have input on the songwriting, and we enjoy it as a place to have fun after so many serious relationships," she says, laughing. "I personally don't know if I could try to repeat rubberbullet, because it was its own thing. This new thing, I don't know really, it's definitely a rock band, and I don't think I would have titled rubberbullet a rock band. It's a little harder around the edges, but it's probably just a little more...it seems to be going in a more straightforward approach to songwriting. But it's so young. I feel really good with wherever I'm going. It's exciting not to know."

Scene, heard
Well, it seems as though the Old 97's will not be joining Billy Bragg on his forthcoming tour supporting the brand-new Mermaid Avenue (reviewed in Out There, page 77). As reported here a couple of weeks ago, the 97's were contenders to replace Wilco--who are scheduled to be in the studio this summer recording their third album--as Bragg's bandmates on the tour; but at the last minute, Bragg decided to put together his own band and not use his labelmates after all. The reasons for the decision are not clear; all Elektra publicist Brian Gross will say is that "it just didn't work out," insisting Bragg just wanted to use his own players and that it wasn't a battle of bruised egos. "It was nothing personal," Gross says. Still, you have to wonder why in the hell Wilco isn't touring behind a record it wrote and played on; can't they wait just a few weeks longer before they go into the studio? It all seems a little ridiculous, but who cares: The tour isn't even scheduled to come to town at this point anyway.

Send Street Beat tips, gripes, and other nonsense to rwilonsky@dallasobserver.com.

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