Back in the day, and we're talking about maybe five or six years ago, the Good/Bad Art Collective could be counted on for at least one genius music moment every few months. Centro-matic's Will Johnson performing in a bunny suit on a swing. Chomsky playing in a box. E.F.F. doing a set on a trampoline while its drummer circled around it in the back of a pickup. (Those three all happened during the same event, Inflicted Music.) The legendary (and fake) space rock vs. roots rock battle. Plenty of other gambits involving John Freeman and/or Jon "Corn Mo" Cunningham. And, of course, the Rock Lottery, wherein 25 musicians were randomly split into five bands in the morning and came back 12 hours later with a name and three to five songs.
Good/Bad is gone now, but one thing lives on--or rather, has come back to life. On October 4 at Dan's Silverleaf, the occasionally imitated, never duplicated Rock Lottery will make its triumphant return to Denton. Rock Lottery remains our favorite Good/Bad concept, a rare repeatable formula (G/BAC preferred a one-night-only arrangement) that always produced a winner, even if it was just one of the names the performers came up with. We'll never forget the Don't Talk Backs, probably one of the best monikers we've ever come across. (The band that used it was pretty great, too.) The latest will be the fifth installment of the event, and hopefully not the last.
It won't be. Sort of. Former Good/Bad music coordinator Chris Weber (the man who came up with the Rock Lottery idea) is planning a Seattle version for next year. Why Seattle? Because that's where he lives now, working as the program director for Consolidated Works, a 30,000-square-foot art space with a theater, gallery and a music space with a small bar. And where Weber goes, so goes the Rock Lottery. He learned the hard way that he can't really put together a good version of the event from another city. That's why Rock Lottery has been on the shelf since 1999, when he assembled the last Denton-based version from Brooklyn, where he was living at the time.
"For the first three, I lived in Denton, and I was heavily involved in the music community and had seen just about every band that existed in the Golden Triangle during most of the 1990s," Weber says. "I had full confidence that I could choose participants that would work for this event. I organized the fourth event from Brooklyn, and even though I had been gone for less than a year, I found it very difficult organizing it, and I believe that showed in the final outcome."
Weber says that during the past year, the Baptist Generals' Chris Flemmons, a former Rock Lottery participant, slowly talked him into holding the fifth edition in Denton again. About the same time, Weber, former Good/Bad director Martin Iles and G/B member Heather Grace were discussing putting together an archive of the collective's past events. That's when it all came together: Flemmons, Little Grizzly's Colin Carter and J.R. Thomason (all former participants) would choose the musicians, and Weber, Grace and Iles would handle the organization, and all proceeds would benefit the archive project. Which should bring everyone up to speed.
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The bicoastal crew (well, if you consider Lake Ray Roberts a coast, and why wouldn't you?) has rounded up a varied crew of local musicians willing to give it a go, hailing from bands such as Faceless Werewolves, Raised by Tigers, Riverboat Gamblers, Jetscreamer, Record Hop, Ghostcar, Rock Creek Revelaires, Boy Division, History at Our Disposal and Mandarin. Oh, and Intesticle. Can't forget them. The 25 performers will meet at Dan's Silverleaf at 10 a.m., where they'll be parceled out into their ad hoc bands. At 10 p.m., they'll come back with a short set worked up, with only one cover song allowed. It's a simple concept, but it has paid off like a broken slot machine every time we've seen it in practice.
So, you can go to the Radiohead show on October 1 in Houston, and you should, but for true inventiveness, it might make more sense to head to Denton a few days later. Just saying.
Hand stamps: The Burden Brothers perform October 5 at Trees, and the Upsidedowners open for Holly Golightly there on October 8; John Wesley Coleman supports Black Eyed Snakes at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on October 2, and the Deathray Davies play with Brian Jonestown Massacre at the club on October 4; the North Texas New Music Festival happens October 2 through October 4 all over Deep Ellum, including a special performance by Eisley kicking off the shindig at 7:30 p.m. October 2 on the Club Clearview Stage.