Pill poppin'

Though many were surprised by the unexpected break-up of Tablet last week--including some band members--it did not come as a surprise to Tablet frontman Steven Holt. "It was something I'd been thinking about for a long time," Holt says. "It wasn't an emotional, sudden decision."

Holt, who formed the band back in 1993 with guitarist Paul Williams, said he had reached a creative impasse with Tablet, and thus decided to pull the plug. He refused to cite specifics about what he'll do next, but said he's definitely staying in music, and that he's considering projects with both local and national musicians. Two people Holt said he's likely to continue working with include Williams and Tablet manager Shaun Edwards.

Even Edwards--head of Last Beat Studios, where Tablet kept a rehearsal space--was taken by surprise by the announcement. "The rest of the band was here, and Steven just came in and said 'this is it,'" Edwards recalls. "It took all of us a bit unawares, but I think he just has other plans, other things he wants to do that Tablet's just not appropriate for."

Contrary to some reports, Tablet was never dropped from Mercury Records, with whom they produced their debut Pinned. Rather, the band negotiated release from its contract because of disputes over marketing. Holt says his next project will be more electronically influenced, and there's no word yet on what the rest of the band will do.

He's b-a-a-ack
One-man band extraordinaire Homer Henderson is back from a year's sabbatical in Austin, playing backup for various and sundry bands. Henderson recently played a couple of highly atmospheric gigs at the fabled Sportatorium, in between wrestling matches, before "the promoters had a falling out and screwed it up," in his words. Henderson--who seemed pretty sick and tired of being sick and tired before his capitol city relocation--is back living in Dallas with a new attitude and "getting some good paying gigs." He also has a new album out, Live From the City of Hate (Dallas' old, post-Kennedy nickname), so fans will at long last have CD renditions of Homeric classics like "Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine" and "Picking Up Beer Cans by the Side of the Highway," along with other "Satanic rock" staples. Catch him at Naomi's this Saturday, March 15...

In like a lion
Speaking of Naomi's, the beloved Deep Ellum honky-tonk was burglarized and vandalized--after a fashion--after closing time on Saturday night, March 1. "We finally got it figured out," explained owner-operator Carrol Collyer. "About the only time this place gets cleaned up is when it floods or we get broken into."

Collyer went on to explain that he'd refused to serve beer to a gang member, then threw the gent out when he protested. The aggrieved party returned after closing, kicked the bottom of one of the club's doors in, and proceeded to give the joint one of the most ambivalent trashings on record. "He turned all our booths upside-down," Collyer reports, "but real neatly. He took stuff off the walls and gently laid them on the floor. He found a briefcase behind the bar and took the money out of it, but he just threw it around the place--he didn't take any of it. He found a pistol and took it and was shootin' it off in front of the police substation [just down the street], and that's when they got him. He even left his detox slip--with his name on it--on a pool table, so we'd know who'd done it." The perpetrator--thoughtful if not necessarily smart--was later found to be an illegal alien and will be deported.

The play's the thing
The cheeky monkeys at the Vas Deferens Organization have been busy as of late; Dragline is currently working on the follow-up to their 1995 debut, As My Mind Drifts Off, at VDO's studio, and all concerned are awaiting 300 copies of the album's first three-inch single CDR "Forget You" from the manufacturer, to be released ASAP. An advance listen reveals a very mid-'60s West Coast psych sound, a la Quicksilver Messenger Service...well-named Swedish-San Franciscan label Eerie Material has announced that they will soon re-release both VDO4 (the controversial "biohazard" packaging) and VDO5 (the album pulled by VDO because of substandard manufacturing)...Primitive Echo has changed their name to Carnival, and as such is readying their double CD for imminent release...the VDO's Matt Castille describes the effort as "120 minutes of dark, angular, progressive rock." comatheatre member Amy Seltzer guests on vocals...

Prominent indie-weirdo label Or Records will soon release a vinyl-only, three-album box set featuring the upcoming Saturation (aka VDO6), Mazinga Phaser's already-extant Cruising the Neon Glories of the New American Night, and another platter by Or's own Many Bright Things; the triad will be grooved into marbleized vinyl, and interested parties may wish to contact Or at 5335 N. Teacoma #3, Indianapolis, IN, 46220...Another close encounter of the VDO-Mazinga kind finds Castille and partner Eric Lumbleau, Mazingas Wanz Dover and Katia ("My Enchantress"), and Doug Ferguson of Fort Worth's Ohm collaborating on a project to be called Amiro Ray...

Scene, heard
The Calways have emerged from a period of stasis a new--and bigger--band. Although leader Todd Deatherage once credited duct tape as "the fourth member of the band," the handyman's friend has been moved back to position six as the group brings on new drummer Kyle Goolsby, a friend of bassist Todd Pertll from UTA, who replaces the departing Jesse Hall. Experimental BBQ's Mike Smith will handle piano and organ chores, while guitarist Marc Daigle--recently relocated from Baton Rouge--will assist Deatherage with guitar duties.

"We've wanted to do this for a long time," Deatherage says, admitting some frustration with the trio format, wherein people look either for the Stray Cats or ZZ Top (see Strap). "So we finally decided to add the people we wanted...the band is reforming more along country-rock lines, no question of that." Daigle's enlistment, however, was pure serendipity. "Marc just showed up to jam while we were trying Mike out," Deatherage explains. "He was so great, he got in the band." Catch the new, revitalized group at the Galaxy Club March 22, when they open for buzzy band Tomorrowpeople, who have been getting quite a bit of attention lately; their first album The Golden Sounds of the Tomorrowpeople will come out April 8...Lyric Stage presents "Dallas Divas!"--an evening of female voice featuring local talent such as Yolanda Williams and Leslie Alexander, at the Irving Arts Center on March 21...

The tribute album honoring the late Rockadelic Records helmsman Mark Migliore draws near to completion and release, slightly behind Jaloppy's Owner's Manual, which is out now...Moon Festival's new album, Sugar Pill, is also out now, and Mess--no doubt happy to hear that "Marsha Brady" off their Pretty Ugly debut is the third-most requested song at Los Angeles' KROQ--sets off again to prove that their successful East Coast tour of last month wasn't just a fluke; they'll be out until April 6...

--Matt Weitz

Richard Baimbridge did most of the reporting on the Tablet story and is pretty sure Benji Bollox won't be in any of Steven Holt's new efforts; you may e-mail any music scene tips, tizzies, or tintinnabulations to him or Street Beat at [email protected]. Yowzah!

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Matt Weitz