If you have Mike Graff (pictured) or James Halls equipment, give it back.
If you have Mike Graff (pictured) or James Halls equipment, give it back.
Mike Graff

Scene, Heard

In case you haven't heard, and unless you hang out on The Toadies' Web site (www.thetoadies.com) you probably haven't, Interscope Records has finally set a release date for Hell Below, Stars Above, the band's second album for the label and first since 1994's Rubberneck. (Yes, yes--it's been a while; no need to drive the point home...anymore than we already have.) February 13 is the big day, though immediately after relaying the news, guitarist Clark Vogeler added, "But that will probably change five times before it comes out." While Vogeler is right to be skeptical--it'd be a bigger surprise if the date didn't change in the four months between now and then--getting the official word from Interscope can't be taken as anything but a good sign. (Even we momentarily lit up at the news, and by all accounts we're as cynical as Dennis Miller in an election year.) The other good news? Tentative plans call for the first single from Hell Below, Stars Above to be shipped to radio stations next month, though neither the band nor the label is sure which song will be chosen. So, to recap, only four more months before we can start bitching about how long it's taking them to deliver album No. 3. Kidding...

Each morning, when we're out on our morning run, the only thing more dismaying than the amount of potholes and general disrepair on every single street (Third World countries have better roads than this potential Summer Olympics host city) is the mounting piles of blue-green safety glass, the shiny, jagged remainders of smashed car windows. Seriously, there's more glass on some streets than asphalt. And where there's glass, there's theft: Just this week alone, we got an e-mail from [DARYL] guitarist-keyboard player David Wilson, complaining about someone breaking his passenger-side window and making off with his car stereo amplifier (almost exactly a year after a bandit absconded with the actual car stereo), which was quickly followed by a dozen or so e-mails reporting singer-songwriter James Hall's "welcome" to Dallas. Hall, whose band includes former Course of Empire guitarist Mike Graff and drummer Michael Jerome, had parked his band's van and trailer on a side street between Swiss and Gaston late October 28, which is where it was when someone busted in and stole all of the musical equipment it contained. Not only was the equipment worth a pretty good chunk of change, several items--such as a guitar Graff inherited from his late father--were worth more than that in sentimental value. Here comes the Unsolved Mysteries/America's Most Wanted part: If you know where the stolen items can be found, call Jeff Liles at (214) 370-5190 or Perla Doherty at (214) 668-0247. The purloined equipment includes: a black Epiphone Sheraton hollow-body electric guitar with gold hardware; a 1964 Brown Guild StarFire guitar with white epoxy on back of the neck and a St. Mary's sticker on the bridge; a 1971 Sunburst Fender Jazz Bass with a skull-and-crossbones sticker on the headstock; a sunburst Gibson hollow-body electric guitar, with a '60s vibrato tailpiece, and locking replacement tuners; a white (with tortoise-shell pick guard) Telecaster copy with a Stratocaster copy neck; a Benge silver-plated trumpet with case; a gray toolbox with assorted cords and tuners; a Case guitar rack; and the spare tire for the trailer. (Dude, the spare tire? That's harsh.) The Hall robbery comes a few weeks after Dread Zeppelin lost most of its gear when its van was the victim of a B&E near Club Dada. As Liles says, "This is, needless to say, a disturbing trend." No joke...

Denton-based She's Gone Records has just issued a new seven-inch single by Austin's The Wontons (ours came on purty--and translucent--cherry vinyl), featuring the band's own "Snake Eyes" on Side A, and their take on Jonathan Richman's "Vampire Girl" on Side B. Get 'em while they last: Only 500 were pressed. After a two-week East Coast jaunt, the band will be in the area on November 17, performing in-store at Arlington's Laser Trax Records (head to www.lasertrax.com), and later at a house party in Denton with The Reds, The Wallys, and Just One Left. E-mail shesgoner@yahoo.com for more info. Next up for She's Gone is the first full-length from Fred Savage Fanclub, a solo joint by Lucy Loves Schroeder's Sara Radle, which should be out in mid-December. More than likely, it's a solo deal because everyone dropped out of the fanclub after Savage starred in the failed NBC sitcom Working, which wasn't really...

While the weather doesn't really reflect it--and in Texas it rarely, if ever, does--Christmas has come early this year. Not really, but we needed some sort of segue to announce that Idol Records' long-planned Xmas comp is now in stores, just in time for, um, Thanksgiving. (Look for a review next week.) The disc features most of the area's best, including Centro-matic, [DARYL], The Falcon Project, Pleasant Grove, The Adventures of Jet, and Pinkston. Haven't really listened to much of it yet, but from what we've heard so far, our favorite has to be Chomsky's version of Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time is Here," which should be familiar to anyone who's seen A Charlie Brown Christmas. If you haven't heard the original, go pick up a copy now, and hope your cold, black soul will one day be redeemed...

Sneaking into stores just a shade after The Toadies' new album will be The Old 97's third set for Elektra Records, tentatively titled Satellite Rides. The disc, which was recorded by Wally Gagel at Pedernales Studio in Austin, should see the fluorescent light of a record store in March of next year. And if Gagel's name sounds familiar, it should, at least if you're a 97's fan; he produced 1997's Too Far to Care...

If it's November, it must mean it's time for the North Texas New Music Festival. Since there are too many to list here, we won't tell you who's playing where on November 10 and 11 (check the club listings, or head to www.newmusicfestival.com), but we will mention that a number of labels will be sending reps to check out the action. The only problem? One of those labels, Columbia Records, has a talent scout who's been located in Dallas for a decade or so and hasn't signed any local acts. Not one. While we'd be thrilled if someone proved us wrong, don't expect any deals to be brokered during this weekend's shindig either, even though there are a ton of groups who deserve hefty advances and plentiful studio time. What can we say? The music industry will always manage to defy physics by sucking and blowing at the same time...

The Earl Harvin Trio gig at the Gypsy Tea Room on November 9 will be a CD release party for another live set by the band, Official Bootleg #1, following last year's stellar At the Gypsy Tea Room. The show will be the last of the year for the band, which has become a favorite of tape-trading jam-band followers for some reason. Other than the fact that they're, you know, good and stuff. See you guys in a couple of weeks.


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