By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The saying goes something along the lines of "no press is bad press," but that maxim is surely put to the test by the cover story in the April edition of D Magazine, "Dallas City Limits." Hey, no reason to argue with someone claiming that Dallas' music scene outranks the much more heralded one in Austin (we've been saying that for years) but the story, in ohsomany ways, is just...inexplicable. For instance -- and mind you, this is just one -- the decision to put Sara Hickman on the cover as, you know, a shining example of why Dallas is better than Austin. No offense against Hickman, but that works only if you fail to take into account the fact that she lives in Austin, and has for several years.
The accompanying spread, featuring write-ups on 30 or so apparently randomly selected bands from the area (as well as such non-musician types as Bill's Records boss Bill Wisener and promoter Angus Wynne), expends thousands of words on, well, nothing in particular. Writers Valerie Douglas and Sherri Daye miss the point so often, you begin to forget what it is, or even if there ever was one. It's a mess of clichés, factual errors, and ridiculous pronouncements, and appears to be, at first glance, culled from one night out in Deep Ellum about four years ago. In the end, what pretends to be a glossy state of the union address only glosses over a vibrant and active local community.
For example, Douglas and Daye speak of a "soon-to-explode hip-hop scene," yet it's represented only in the pages of D by Shabazz 3. And the quotes the duo collected from various bands couldn't be less enlightening if they'd handed out lobotomies beforehand. Of course, when Nixons frontman Zac Maloy says something like, "I may not ever be Bono, but I can use what I have -- and that's music -- to speak to people and touch them," it probably isn't their fault. But even quoting someone named Woolf from Edgewater (it's unclear whom they're referring to, since that's the only name they give), seems pointless, especially when he offers, "Yeah, we're doing really well. Really well." Good for you, buddy.
Elsewhere, backhanded compliments abound; writing about Little Jack Melody, they say, "This is music for Liza Minnelli to fall in love to." (And somewhere, Steve Carter gently weeps.) So do glaring, easily checked, mistakes, among them, using the less common spelling of Wynton Marsalis' first name ("Winton"), and referring to Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell by what we can only assume is his Christian name, Diamond "Dimebag" Darrell. Possibly the biggest gaffe is saying that "I Come From the Water" is the single that broke the Toadies. We're fairly sure anyone with ears, especially around Dallas, knows the correct answer is "Possum Kingdom." Hell, they still play it 10 times a day on KEGL-FM.
And asking KNON-FM DJ Nancy "Shaggy" Moore to compile a historical timeline of Dallas music serves as little more than excuse for Moore to put over the station's various accomplishments. Not only that, it's a farce as far as Dallas' history is concerned. What, no Ronnie Dawson? That's right, but here are a few "events" that did make the cut:
1971: Vince Vance and the Valiants' first gig.
1975: Controversial leaflets on venereal disease and drug abuse distributed at KZEW's "Urban Survival Fair."
1984: Community radio station KNON goes on the air, offering roots music in all genres -- even Vietnamese.
1986: Killbilly discovered by KNON DJ Craig "Niteman" Taylor.
1991: KNON breaks Naughty by Nature's album -- the station is gifted with platinum CDs as a thank you.
1999: Erkyah Badu drops by KNON and contributes the largest donation of the year.
Daye and Douglas, however, do get at least one thing right in their limited overview of Dallas music. When writing about the legendary Cary Pierce, the pair says, "As far as Pierce is concerned, the end of Jackopierce in early 1997 was the best thing that ever happened to him." Yeah, and everyone else.