By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The last time we were at Dan's Bar in Denton, we were sharing a table and a few beers with Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios owner Josh Baish and his girlfriend, talking about Baish's troubles getting his own bar off the ground. The "Dan" in Dan's Bar, Dan Mojica, had been somewhat of a sounding board for Baish during his well-documented struggle to turn Rubber Gloves from little more than a shell of a building to a full-functioning nightclub. Mojica, though he often spoke of his own problems with the city and its various codes and ordinances, seemed like someone who had it figured out, a man whose club could be counted on for a measure of stability.
Appearances, as they often are, were deceiving. Dan's officially closed its doors for the last time on November 14, the same day Mojica made the final decision to shut down the bar. As it turns out, it wasn't the city of Denton that led to the demise of Dan's Bar; it was its citizens. Seems that not enough people came to Dan's often enough to justify keeping the club open.
Where does that leave Denton? There's Rubber Gloves, Mabel Peabody's (at least on an every-once-in-a-while basis) and, well, that's about it. Dan's was, more or less, a second home to bands such as Slobberbone, Little Grizzly, Centro-matic (especially its South San Gabriel offshoot) and others, one of those places where no matter what night you showed up, you'd get a good show. Does anyone really believe that Inferno--or whatever the club that's apparently moving into the former Rick's Place location off Fry Street is calling itself--will pick up any of the slack? From what we've heard, Inferno will, more than likely, only pick up the worst aspects of Rick's (frat boys living the Miller High Life, sexually harassing anything in a belly shirt) and none of the good ones (the occasional decent bill).
Since Dallas clubs and patrons still aren't as open to bands from the tip of the Golden Triangle as they should be, Denton is now left with--and this is almost embarrassing to say--too many good bands. Sure, Rubber Gloves could probably use the overflow to fill out its schedule, but even the most serious music/beer fans can't make it out every night of the week. Someone needs to step up, and soon. And the city of Denton needs to help them out along the way. Otherwise, the University of North Texas will produce nothing but binge drinkers weaned on the Pearl Jam and Rage Against The Machine discs that are apparently glued into the Cool Beans CD changer. Dan Mojica at least gave it a shot, God bless him...
The next time you see the Baptist Generals, the band will have a pair of new discs (both in the little-seen 3-inch CD format) available for purchase. Up first is The Crave Annex, a 19-minute assortment of home-recorded tunes the group is releasing as part of Absalom Recordings' 3-inch collectors series, a subscription-only shindig that also features the likes of Songs: Ohia, Johnny Dowd, Calexico and Giant Sand's Howe Gelb, among others. You can buy the Generals set--their first collection of new tunes since 1999's Dog EP--at their shows, but if you want any of the others, you have to go to www.absalomrecordings.com and subscribe; at $42, it's a steal. The other Baptist Generals disc ready and waiting for you is Captured Radio Waves + 1 Live Shot, which compiles a handful of songs the group recorded for KTCU-FM, along with--as the title would imply--one live tune. That should be enough music to tide you over until the band releases its first full-length album--as-yet-untitled, or at least, no one has told us what it's called--sometime in February of next year. You can check the Baptist Generals out November 30 at Muddy Waters, with Vena Cava. And you should...
Another group with a new release ready to go is The Ho Chi Men, the three-piece outfit led by Reggie Rueffer (ex of Spot). The 11-track disc, titled Totenlieder, was recorded by Matt Pence at the ever-busy Echo Lab, with additional recording assistance provided by Mike Daane. You can get a taste (and a copy, if you have some extra scratch) on November 29 at Club Dada, when The Ho Chi Men open for the Hosty Duo. A few days later--as long as we're talking 'bout CD release shindigs--Macavity will debut its new EP for Idol Records, Falling Hard in the Key of Life, with a show at Trees on December 1, also featuring performances by The Filthy Reds, Valve and Chomsky. Macavity's six-song joint is worth a listen or three, so pick up a copy. And make your cover charge go a long way by showing up early at Trees for the show, as it's a strong lineup. In other words: Don't miss The Filthy Reds, because those fellas know a thing or two about entertaining. At the very least, their sartorial sense is not to be missed, and neither are the for-the-hell-of-it antics of the somewhat silent fourth member of the band, young, impressionable Mac Wolf...
It seems as though Pleasant Grove will not be releasing its new album, Auscultation of the Heart on Summer Break Records. While we didn't make that up when we mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, it doesn't make it true. The boys are still deciding what to do, but we're sure you can get your hands on a copy fairly soon. Hopefully, we're not wrong about that either.