Odds & Ends

ACL Music Festival, Chaz's Live and Local Show and an interview with David "Fathead" Newman

Have you seen the Austin City Limits Festival lineup? Bam, someone grew up fast. This year's roster includes such beloved indie acts as the Pixies, Wilco, Modest Mouse, Neko Case and My Morning Jacket, along with such marquee names as Pat Green, Dashboard Confessional and Sheryl Crow. The festival is September 17-19 and looks well worth that gnarly three-hour drive. Better find a couch to crash on soon.

How have we gone so many months without mentioning Chaz's Live and Local Show? These gigs at the Curtain Club every Sunday night are definitely a case of truth in advertising: both live and local, with the fair Chaz playing host to a dizzying array of Dallas talent. The show includes interviews and live sets from each act. This Sunday's lineup is especially strong: Goodwin, The Chemistry Set, Delfi and Mur, who recently announced they'll be moving to Los Angeles this fall. Even if you can't hoof it downtown, you can listen online at TexasRadio1.com. Show starts at 7 p.m. And if you happen to lock your keys in the car, ask Chaz to help: He's a whiz!

Hand stamps: See what all the fuss is about when Los Lonely Boys play the Main Street Live free music series at Pegasus Plaza on Wednesday, June 23, along with Monkeyshyne and Damesviolet. [DARYL] plays at Club Clearview on Friday, with Blacktie Dynasty, Bad Machine and Vena Amori. Austin's cowpunk bluegrass band The Weary Boys play Adair's on Thursday.

Five Questions With... Saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman played with Ray Charles' band for 12 years, from 1954-'65 and again from 1970-'71. He got his start in Dallas and acquired his trademark nickname at Lincoln High, when band director J.K. Miller called him a "fathead" after he bungled a note in class. On the phone from his home in New York, Newman remembered the late, great Ray Charles.

How did you meet Ray Charles?

I met Ray Charles in 1951. I was on the road backing blues musician T-Bone Walker, who was from the Dallas area, and when I met Ray he was being featured with Lowell Fulson. We became close right away. He mentioned he was going to be forming his own band, and I told him I'd love to play with him. He moved to Dallas for about two years, and then he moved to California and formed his own band in 1954.

What was he like to play with?

Very talented, focused. If you played Mr. Charles' music right, you could get along just fine. Some people seemed to think he was a taskmaster, but that wasn't the case.

But you just called him Mr. Charles. Is that what you called him then?

Nah, I called him Ray. Actually, I called him Kemo Sabe, because around that time he would mimic the Lone Ranger and Kemo Sabe talking. And he, in turn, started calling me "Brains." It was a way to compliment me, because he didn't like "Fathead."

What kind of things did he teach you?

It was like a course in music appreciation. Ray loved jazz, blues, rock, rhythm and blues, country and western, and classical. I was stuck in the bebop era, and I didn't think there was anything other than bebop, but he taught me differently. What do you think his legacy will be?

His contribution to transcending cultural barriers. He really wanted peace in this world. He wanted people of all cultures to appreciate his music as he appreciated different forms of music. That's what he would want remembered about him.

 
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