By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Generally speaking, it's a bad idea to have "motherfucker" tattooed on the side of your neck. Don't even think we have to get the churchgoers out there to back us up on this one. Tattoo? No problem. On your neck? Kinda sketchy. "Motherfucker?" All signs point to no. But that's just what Pimpadelic front messiah Easy Jesus did when the band signed with Tommy Boy Records a couple of years ago, the result of a promise he made to pretty much anyone who would listen. Said he would get the tat in question if and when the group signed a recording contract. (For a look at what we mean, dig up a copy of last year's Dallas ObserverMusic Awards issue, where you get a gander of E.J.'s neck work while he demurely sips a bottle of codeine cough syrup.)
Even giving the idea more merit than it's worth, it looks like Easy Jesus may have jumped the gun a bit when he decided to get inked up after signing on the dotted line. Seems after a stint on the label that produced only a remastered and repackaged version of the band's Southern Devils in 2000, Pimpadelic is no longer a Tommy Boy Records recording artist. From the looks of it, it's a you're-fired-no-screw-you-I-quit situation, though it's unclear who decided to walk out first. (And no one in the Tommy Boy or Pimpadelic camp has been willing or able to clear it up at all.) Word is that Pimpadelic was upset with Tommy Boy for failing to get a new record on the shelves during their time on the label, and they weren't happy with how Tommy Boy handled the national reissue of Southern Devils either. Tommy Boy, on the other hand, never seemed terribly happy that Pimpadelic's success in Dallas, as well as its somewhat inexplicable regional popularity, didn't translate into radio hits and easy cash. Probably their own fault; after all, Tommy Boy fronted the cash for a video for Southern Devils' first single that was suitable only for the Adam and Eve network, not MTV, where the money is.
Pimpadelic is taking the setback in stride, continuing ahead with plans for a new record and, apparently, in talks with a few labels to release it. So maybe Easy Jesus doesn't need to look into tattoo-removal surgery just yet. Yeah, like he ever would anyway...
After a bout with bad contractors, remodeling work on Matt Pence and Matt Barnhart's studio in Argyle, The Echo Lab, has finally begun. If all had gone according to plan, the updated studio would already be up and running; instead, it looks like it will be another six weeks until The Echo Lab is a fully functioning battle station again. In the meantime, Pence and Barnhart have been working in various other locales, including Casey Diiorio's studio and, recently, the vacated Dan's Bar, where Pence recorded Arkansas blues great CeDell Davis, who was working on an upcoming disc for Joe Cripps and Barrett Martin's new label, Fast Horse Recordings. In case you haven't heard, Davis' backing band for the recording included former Brave Combo percussionist Cripps and erstwhile Screaming Trees drummer Martin, as well as keys player Alex Veley, guitarist Thomas Jones, The Minus 5's Scott McCaughey and, oh yeah, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, manning the bass for the sessions. Look for the results later this year. If you didn't get your copy of Murmur signed while Buck was in Denton, well, better luck next time...
Dragon Street Records is set to release The Guys of the Big "D" Jamboree, a follow-up to last year's The Gals of the Big "D" Jamboree, and the third in Dragon Street boss David Dennard's series of releases spotlighting the heroes of the late, great Jamboree. The disc combines live and studio recordings from a handful of never-weres who were should've-beens. Of course, not included in that number is a pair of early, unreleased cuts by the legendary Lefty Frizzell, the voice of such honky-tonk staples as "If You've Got the Money (I've Got the Time)." (Get with the program, people.) The disc also features tracks by Rile Crabtree, Jimmy Fields, Leroy Jenkins, Orville Couch and plenty of other people you've never heard (or even heard of), but you really should. Don't miss the opportunity. And while you're at it, pick up the Gals disc, too. Just as good...
Cover charges may apply: Halls of the Machine, featuring former members of Course of Empire, performs February 1 at the Gypsy Tea Room, followed by Eleven Hundred Springs the next night; Valve, Endochine and The Happiness Factor play Trees on February 1, Bowling for Soup and OHNO are there the following night, and Eyes Adrift (Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, The Meat Puppets' Curt Kirkwood and Sublime's Bud Gaugh) perform February 5; The Red Jacket celebrates six years in business on January 31, with Kelly Reverb, Rob Vaughan, Paul Paredes, Luke Sardello, DJ Merritt and Eddie Black on the turntables; Erykah Badu makes a rare local appearance February 2 at the Canyon Club; Vena Cava and Seymoure play the Liquid Lounge on January 31; Red Animal War opens for The Suicide Machines on February 1 at Galaxy Club; Failure Plus opens for Mates of State at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on January 31, kicking off a full week of shows at RGRS, including The Blue Flames, Shadow Reichenstein and Supersport on February 1, The Signals, Chop-Sakis and Dead Sexy on February 2, Milemarker and Raised by Tigers on February 5 and Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Sons of Sound on February 6. And Mr. Peppermint himself, Jerry Haynes, turns 74 at Club Dada on January 31, with a show including Reverend Horton Heat, The Young Millionaires, Swingset and Reverend Bob.