By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
"They knew we weren't going to move any closer to what they wanted. We want radio success also. We just want to do it by writing good songs, and not by writing cookie-cutter, generic material. The stuff we gave them, we think is some of the best stuff we've written. We think it has radio potential, because we think it's good. But it's not cookie-cutter, generic Big K Cola to Pearl Jam's Coke."
Unfortunately for Baboon, a major label isn't likely to be any more willing to accept the band as is than Wind-Up. With major labels comes major meddling, as business school graduates try to give bands pointers on how to write radio hits and move product. Rudnicki and the band are well aware of this, but they want to tarnish themselves with the music business' brass ring anyway. Baboon has put too much time and effort into being musicians to rely on Friday night gigs at Trees to cover the rent. Besides, the band figures if it's going to get screwed anyway, it would rather have it be by a better--or at least richer--class of people. But if the major-label money doesn't come through soon, Baboon may be on the backstretch of its existence.
"I'm optimistic about it to a degree, but it's just kind of 50-50, because I don't have any idea how much interest there is at this point," Rudnicki says. "In a way, it's kind of moving towards as if the band won't be the priority if it doesn't get on a major label. Hopefully, it will still stay around. I think it will, especially if everyone is in the area. It's pretty much been the priority for the last few years, 'cause we've been touring and that kind of stuff. But you can't really do that if it's not going to pay the bills.
"Either we're going to do it purely for fun, or it's going to pay the bills for us, and either way is fine with me. I'd love for us to keep going and move to another level, because I think we have a good thing going. I think we have a good group of guys; they're all my best friends. At the same time, it's not the end of the world if we don't become rock stars. I got a taste of the whole touring, rock life...We'll just kind of do it for fun, purely for fun. Which is maybe the way it should be anyway."
Baboon plays a free show at Trees on October 30. Legendary Crystal Chandelier opens.
When I'm forty-four
Musicians don't retire, they just take lower-profile gigs. Sometimes the gigs are so modest, they can't be heard unless you have an ear pressed against the door of a bedroom or garage. Such is the case with Beatles in a Blender, the latest project by Steve Dirkx, former member of the Telefones.
The Telefones were one of the best new wave bands to come out of Dallas in the late '70s and early '80s, playing the Hot Klub, D.J.'s, and Magnolia's along with bands like N.C.M., the Doo, Quad Pi, the Ejectors, and the Devices. Dirkx and his brothers Chris and Jerry wrote deceptively catchy and funny songs, sounding like a Texas-bred version of the Stranglers or the Buzzcocks. But those days are long gone, and Dirkx has traded in his bass guitar for a steady job at the Irving Community Television network. It's hard to raise four kids on a struggling musician's salary, and beer tickets don't put food on the table.
Though Dirkx, 44, has put his career as a musician on the shelf, he hasn't been able to throw it away completely. Every few years, he and his brothers get together for a Telefones reunion, and earlier this decade, Dirkx played in Whiteman, a new wave-funk band that also featured Neil Caldwell (ex-N.C.M.) and Bart Chaney (ex-Feet First). While he probably won't be in a full-time band ever again, Dirkx can't seem to shake the bug he caught when he first stepped on a stage almost two decades ago.
"I don't really have time or energy to be in a band, but I piddle with stuff," Dirkx says, as one of his daughters squeals in the background. "Like that tape I sent in. Kind of a 'hermit musician' kind of thing."
The tape he refers to is a limited-edition recording (you'd probably have to know him to get one) of eight songs created almost exclusively from Beatles samples. The songs--with titles such as "Ringo is God is Acid," "CumonCumon," and "Acid is Groovy, Kill the Pigs, Etc."--are somewhere between parody and praise, patchwork quilts created by a life-long Beatles fan with a sharp wit and a new plaything.
"Actually, I did something similar like 10 years ago, but I only had a cheap little Casio keyboard," Dirkx explains. "It wasn't until just recently--the past year or so--the prices of sampling machines came down to where I could afford to do one with decent fidelity. When I got my new toy, it just kind of inspired me. I did five or six of 'em over the course of a couple of weeks after I got home from work late at night. I work till 11, get home around 12, and that's the only time I have to do something creative. So, I'd stay up late and do the mad scientist thing with my sampler."