- I’m back
Sunday, July 31st, 2011
I know what you’re thinking — what happened to my high school football blogging toward the end of the playoffs and in the spring.
Obviously I’m still alive. My fingers still work. And I’m still employeed by this newspaper.
I hate to make excuses, but time spent blogging was curtailed by the birth of my daughter, who came right at the start of the playoffs. I watch my two young kids during the day, and it definitely cuts into my spare time.
But it’s almost football season and it’s time to step it up. If thousands of teenagers can work out in this awful heat, then I can churn out blogs at a steady pace. Like I have the past two years, I am promising at least one every day from Aug. 1 until Aug. 25 — the day of the TRN Kickoff Classic which will feature Holliday at Windthorst.
And while we’re talking about plans, we at the TRN are going to be bringing back some of the new stuff we introduced last year: individual game stats for every player on every team, podcasts and our Parkway Grill weekly video preview.
So keep on keeping tabs on this website for everything high school football in the area. I’ll be waist-deep working on the preview section these next three weeks, but we’ll still provide you with tons of information along the way.Share
- “R.I.P. Richard”
Tuesday, July 26th, 2011
Last Saturday morning, some friends of mine and I got the news that a friend that we’d known since high school had passed away. I met Richard Russell when he was a freshman at Old High and also discovered computers from him, since he was an early advocate, and we kept up way past our college years at MSU.
Since this is a music blog, I want to focus on Richard–who was not only a member of the Old High band–but who also played keyboards for a group that he and I and several other musicians had together for a while in high school. It was a band that we had named after some English punk band. The only other name we were considering was the Atomic Punks (after Van Halen) so I think the name had to have been a pretty good one.
Anywho, the band was composed of Richard on keyboards, myself on bass (a brand new Rickenbacker), Scott Ebner on guitar and vocals, Steve Carter on lead guitar and John Taylor on drums, and sometimes Mark Harlass on drums and still other times Brad Johnson on drums.
We played songs by the Cars, Cheap Trick, Sex Pistols, and Cheech and Chong. It was the kind of set that would still go over today in hipster coffee shops, the kind where beatnik wannabes self-consciously serve bitter espresso. That we were ahead of our time musically, there’s no doubt. Unless you think that music has regressed, and that’s also a possibility.
As I recall, we played several times at the Windmill Gardens, a club on Call Field that used to be a second-rate carpet shop before it became the first-ever Apple store and is now the end part of high-end furniture row near the mall. Just for the record, it was in the parking lot of the old Brickhouse (for any of you unreconstructed Ten Cent Pistol fans).
Back in the day, the Windmill Gardens was completely without cool, and when we played there it was during the winter, and there was no heat… and we were stuck in the corner playing to almost no one except for our friends who had managed to scam their way into the show free of charge. The owner sold some cokes, and we never really got paid.
I think we may have made enough money to order a large Canadian Bacon from Pizza Planet, which back in the day was considered really good stuff.
What I remember most about those nights besides freezing was sitting on a cool old red bar stool playing a way too expensive bass (rather badly I might add) through a cheap rented bass amp that you could barely hear. The good thing was that I was totally doing what I wanted to be doing and that Richard’s keyboard was next to me on stage and from time to time we laughed about how laughable bad (hence good) the whole event was.
The bottom line, I think, is that you’re only young for a while and in the unique position to do lame things that only later you can sit back, reminisce and laugh about. While you will forget some of those events over the years, you always hope that your friends from those days will be around for forever. Who else will you be able to recount all those old war stories to? Who will remind you of the ones you forgot?
When years later, those people are still around, like my friend Scott, that’s an awesome thing. But when they leave too early like Richard did, you can only truly share your memories of them with mutual friends and that’s bittersweet. Trust me, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple of days talking to old friends about memories of Richard, and there are some really good ones.
A lot of people want to forget their past, but that can’t be a good idea. There is a lot of good stuff back there, and to be honest—those memories are all that many of us have left of those lost people that we once spent so many good times with. There are more memories of Richard that I will be talking about with friends, and I really wished he were around to laugh about them with us.
After Richard left Wichita Falls, he settled in Washington State and worked for Microsoft doing computers, which is what he had always loved. I doubt if he played in any more bands, though I don’t know that for sure.
By the way, of the people in that band, Scott still plays music in Austin and recently made it through some pretty frightening major surgery. Steve plays for X, as most people know, and Mark is a family man in the Metroplex and that’s also good.
Sadly though, like Richard, John is no longer with us, nor is Brad, and that hurts. But their stories are also out there, and hopefully they can still bring us some smiles to help abide their loss.Share
- Carter: “a cool dancehall would be nice”
Friday, July 22nd, 2011
“A cool dancehall would be nice…”
I just left The Spot where Chris Roberson and Jac Chalfant were working. Of course, both are the lead vocalists of their respective bands, Dr. Philgood and the Let’s Get It On’s and also Jac Damsel. It’s sort of cool that two singers work together in a pizza parlor where they have live music and a free juke box. When there is an open mic, they both sing and when it’s just the jukebox they are also both singing. The Spot is sort of a musical place.
The Spot will start doing Friday night shows with acoustic bands starting last Friday with Tommy Casillas. There should be bands every Friday and of course next Thursday is open mic night, which means almost anyone might be singing and/or telling some jokes. And then there’s also Jac and Chris who can bring it.
Friday night was the first musical benefit for Jessie Brashear. According to John Lankford, who put the show on with Twicebroken singer Aaron Mullen, there should be another show in several weeks. There will also be an auction with guitars and so forth. So if you haven’t supported the dramatic recovery of a truly good guy from a hemorrhage then you should. By the way, I interviewed Jessie and his wife Kim last week and the story ran Friday. They have an uphill climb but it’s very doable with some more help.
I got to see Michael Christmas of the band White Knuckle learn some Twicebroken songs to play last Friday, and it was pretty admirable for him to do that. While it’s once thing to donate your time to play a show for someone, it’s quite another to dedicate valuable practice time to learn other peoples songs to do them properly. Good for him, Romeo Romero and also John Lankford.
It was so good to see that Jessie was going to get better after hearing such bad news and then seeing him in the CCU of the hospital looking so tepid.
Remember to go see Ali Holder play next Saturday at the Iron Horse Pub opening up for the Blue Light Special guys. It’s her first real show in Wichita Falls in nearly two years and she has an all-new band with some great new material. I know she is stoked to play. The other good news is that her friend Abbey Laine (living in San Antonio) is talking to Hastings about playing a show in the Hard Back Café pretty soon.
Brian Hull will be bringing an interesting duo of musicians to play at the Forum on August 8 or 9 as part of a benefit show for the Humane Society. That should be interesting and will benefit a good cause.
I’ve been hearing Roselawn practicing through the wall with their new drummer and the band sounds like they are ready to rock. That should be a fun show.
Word on the street has it that the polyglot band Slab Rat will be opening up for K.C. and the Sunshine Band at the forthcoming FallsFest rock night. While K.C. and his “funk” band is not very rock, the guys from Slab Rat can bring it when they so choose.
My new favorite band, Virgin Wolves, plays in Denton on July 30, and Blondie plays in Dallas at the Granada Theater on October 1. That could be a very cool show. Roky Erickson (former 13th Floor Elevators) plays the Kessler Theatre in Oak Cliff on Sept 30. Finally, Merle Haggard plays Billy Bob’s Texas on August 13th.
I’ll keep you informed about major shows coming to Wichita Falls. The Pretty Reckless anyone?Share
- Carter: “and the heat goes on (and on and on and on)”
Sunday, July 17th, 2011
“and the heat goes on (and on and on and on)”
I was at the P2 Shantell show Thursday night, and there was a huge crowd, and it was hot, and the sound was good, and did I say that it was really hot out there.
Anywho, James Cook and the Audacity played first, and I don’t think that was scheduled but everyone enjoyed it. I suspect that since bassist Doug Boyd was sitting in with Shantell that was the reason that his band, James Cook and the Audacity, was also playing. It was a good show, and the temp was really hot.
The next night, Friday night, Shantell played at Castaway Cove and they were also supposed to play at Old Town a couple hours later, and the band cancelled the later show out of sheer exhaustion, and I cannot imagine anyone blamed them. Sure, I love outdoor shows as much as anyone, but man you can only spend so much time outdoors in the heat before starting to see stars. And let me tell you, there are plenty of stars to see right about now at anytime in this heat.
Doug Boyd is a really great story. This is a guy that used to play metal in the ‘80s and is now playing music again, after some time away. The next time you see him on stage with whomever he happens to be playing with, say “Dude, I remember you from way back when…”
Word on the street has it that the benefit show for Jessie Brashear is really coming together and that there should be a great crowd. If you want information in detail, or want to know where to get continually updated information, please go to my story about the show in last Friday’s NEXT. http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2011/jul/15/bands-keep-the-beat-for-drummer/ I was told that Jessie is out of CCU and is in a regular hospital room, so that is a good sign. It’s even possible that he might make a short appearance at the benefit, and that would be awesome. Good guy, good cause, so help if you can.
I had the opportunity to talk with Johnny Rogers last week who will be playing Buddy Holly songs at the Wichita Theatre along with Kraig Parker doing Elvis Presley and Al Nelson (who I interviewed last year) performing Roy Orbison tunes. Rogers does love the music of Holly a great deal, and everyone tells me (who has seen him play) that he’s amazing. I suspect this is going to be a great show, so do check it out if you have the chance.
There have been some recent personnel changes lately in area bands. White Knuckle would appear to have settled on guitarist Joey Kittrell switching to bass (his original instrument) and singer Markus Wise adding guitar so that they have become a four piece. I’ve heard a short jam and it sounded good. Ricci Amador is now playing drums with Blue Light Special and they sound like they were made for one another. Their show is set for July 30 with Ali Holder playing.
Holder and her band the Broken Hearted will also be playing with a fiddle and upright bassist in Denton on the 27th from 7 to 9 p.m. with Richie Bates (formerly of Wichita Falls), and I suspect that particular show may be one of the best of the tour. That show will be at Banter. Check out Ali’s reverbnation.com page for more info and to listen to some of her songs.Share
- Carter: “Theatres, recoveries and live music”
Sunday, July 10th, 2011
“Theatres, Recoveries and Live Music”
It’s not been an all-positive summer so far as far as health goes. One the good side, I spoke with a friend of mine at Charley’s Guitar Shop in Dallas and he told me that Brian Harris’s surgery last Tuesday went very well, and that he’s doing good. The thought is that he’s not supposed to be playing guitar very soon, or working at the shop either, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be sneaking in some playing and some appearances. Musicians are like actors, they can’t stay away from audiences or at least footlights and stages.
On the less good side, long-time area drummer Jessie Brashear had a blood clot removed from his head earlier this week after experiencing an extreme headache while playing on stage. I spoke with him at the 11the Street campus hospital the other day, and while he was on pain medicine, he is handling things pretty well. He sounded upbeat and said that his doctor thought that his drumming would be great rehab. I just hope that he continues to get better and continues to be upbeat. He told me that musicians are coming from out of the woodwork to come see him, and that’s really deserved. Jessie is a totally good guy and we all wish him the best.
By the way, there will be a benefit show on July 22 at the Iron Horse Pub starting at 7 p.m. or so and will feature a number of area bands playing. I spoke with a couple guys from The Disco Rico tonight (after the band’s Castaway Cove) show and they were preparing for their show at Old Town. A lot of playing in this heat but they are really looking forward to playing the benefit. I will chat with singer Aaron Mullin from Twicebroken and Louis Lewis drummer John Lankford (both guys are helping to put on the show) and there will be a story in next week’s NEXT. I also hope to be able to chat with Jessie’s wife and his sister for another story and that will be awesome.
I am sitting at the Wichita Theatre for the first night showing of Hairspray, and they tell me it’s their largest opening attendance ever. It beats the record that “Grease” set a couple of years ago. The production sounds and looks really good. I can’t wait to see the whole show.
I also got to check out the Harry Potter evening tonight at the Kemp Center for the Arts, and it turned out really well. I really liked the costumes and how so many of the key characters were imaginatively represented so well. I plan on watching Part 1 of the last two movies next Thursday and then watching the Potter finale Thursday night right around midnight to perhaps have the best movie experience of the summer.
There are some pretty amazing music shows in the works for Wichita Falls, which I cannot divulge at this time for fear of jinxing them and also getting in trouble with the people who let me know about them. Needless to say, keep your eyes and ears open and you will likely be rewarded.
Oh, and by the way, I am still in the antechamber of the Wichita Theatre sitting against the wall surrounded by people in ‘50s white suits and ball dresses all carrying candles, preparing to walk down the aisles…. It’s a very effective number. So, check it out because not all of the good music is in clubs. Some of it’s in theatres this summer.Share
- Carter: “The Good News Is”
Sunday, July 3rd, 2011
“The Good News is”
Whilst in Dallas yesterday, I had the good fortune to be able to chat with one Brian Harris, perhaps the best rock guitarist who comes regularly to the Fallz to play—and clearly one of the nicer musicians anywhere.
The good news is that there’s a strong chance Queen for a Day may reform to play a show or two, and if that is the case, then it would appear that the Queen cover band extraordinaire will play the area. I think that’s really good news for people who miss these guys play, and do the occasional Zeppelin cover—if you know what I mean.
But there’s also bad news ,and that is that Harris will be undergoing a medical procedure that is no walk in the park. Fans and just people who appreciate really nice people should be thinking about him this week. I know a lot of people in a lot of places who are hoping for the best!
A couple weeks ago, one of the guitarists for White Knuckle suggested that I check out a Denton band that originally started out of Bowie, and one of the vocalists was the former singer for Memphis Mayfire—a great all-ages band that made more than several performances in the area.
Well, it turned out that the band was in Denton last night and I had the opportunity to meet them—really swell guys—and then listen to them play at a bar called Haileys. The club is pretty much a warehouse with a bar, a big sound booth and a lot of area to hang out, sit down and listen to people rock the place.
After the first band played—I think they were called Nerd Face—or something, the Virgin Wolves got ready to play and I think it was safe to say that everyone was kind of there to see them. There was a noticeable electricity in the air as they were doing their on-the-fly sound check… and then the band pretty much hit.
I had seen of their videos on a smart phone and was suitably impressed, but it didn’t really prepare me for the onslaught that is their live band. I told them later they were a cross between an English trio called Gin Palace and the early Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In other words, they have a great female singer who is all over the stage and knows how to demand your attention, a slamming drummer and some very hard core guitar playing and bass. They call themselves doom blues, which I think is a funny name, but they are really the electric dark parts of blues cranked into overdrive, and I liked them—a lot.
Look out for a feature on the band, some great pictures and the fact that they will be playing again soon before the month is over (in Denton) launching a two-week nationwide tour that hopefully will gain them a ton of fans. I think with the proper exposure these guys are going places. We shall see.
Last Thursday’s open mic at the Spot was good fun, and it gave me the opportunity to listen to Chelsea Reeves play, and I think she did a great job. Word on the street has it that her brother Random may play with her at some point, and I think that brings together two talented musicians that should not be overlooked.Share
- Carter: “A Week of Music”
Friday, July 1st, 2011
“A Week in Live Music”
What a week for live music. Wednesday night, Steven Adler and Chip Z’Nuff came to the Iron Horse Pub with Adler’s band Adler’s Appetite (his former band’s first CD title was “Appetite for Destruction”) and everyone I know who attended had nothing but positive things to say about the event. From what I understand they played the former Guns ‘N Roses songs almost perfectly (with especially good vocals) and they did several tunes of their own and really rocked the joint. (thanks to my friend, Angela Carter, for the photo!)
The next night (Thursday), one of my favorite Texas roots rockers (from somewhere between Lubbock and Amarillo) came to the Kemp Center for the Arts to play with a full band, two guys from his recording band and guitarist David Grissom—who is pretty much awesome. Grissom looked almost emotionless on stage playing, but he was playing nothing but great stuff. I especially liked it when he did some Buck Owens-like guitar work. It was a great set and the older crowd really seemed to be into it.
And the older crowd thing was what I was a little surprised about. When Joe Ely first made a dent as a solo performer, it was right around the time of the punk/new wave thing in the ‘70s. Part of that came from Nick Lowe’s revival band Rockpile, and part of it was because the whole rockabilly thing was blowing up (because of the new wave thing—remember the original Stray Cats before they were neutered on their first American release?) Anywho, Ely hit about that same time as a solo artist and he was very much accepted as part of the whole scene—not just in that scene—but they were part of his fan base.
Unfortunately, while there were a few Wichitans who came as a result of that connection (I can think of one person for sure), there were no younger people at the show (that I could see), and that makes no sense to me. Ely is still playing seriously fresh music, and while it may not have that same sort of loose electric intensity, it still is within the spirit of those times (which was reviving the original spirit of the late ‘50s rockabilly and the like). For all of the people who appreciate new music, or music with a soul, I didn’t see any of those younger listeners in attendance. Would they have been there had Nick Lowe played? Doubtful. But I am sure when Ely played the Granada in Dallas the next night, the ages would have been more evenly distributed.
The point I am trying to make here is that there is some really great music out there, and it’s cool to go to the Kemp or Memorial Auditorium to see a show. Because, the music can be pretty fresh there as well (it doesn’t just have to be a club). Remember, it was at the Memorial Auditorium that the Clash played one of their last shows. And it was Ely who was responsible for them coming here to play that show. Just saying.
Okay, Ely didn’t jump on my table at this show like he did in the mid ‘80s at the old Shakey’s Pizza Parlor (now a church) behind the old Treasure City (now a building supply store) off Southwest Parkway and Jacksboro Highway.
Friday night was Slab Rat, a band which has also been gone by the name Lump Chop and one or two other colorful names. The group played Backdoor to a good crowd, and I got to watch the first set. It could have conceivably been their last show, and that’s a shame. But there’s always reunions, and I got to see some people I haven’t seen in a while there, and that’s always a fun thing.
Don Cowan’s choir played Saturday night at Memorial Auditorium and that should be pretty awesome. I think they’re playing Bass Hall in Fort Worth on July 9 or so,
So no complaints (this week, al least) about nothing to do. If you missed out, sorry. By the way, Danny Ahern was behind the Adler and Ely show and should be commended for that. He probably didn’t make a bunch of money with those, but he did land us on the musical map a bit and that might help us in the future.Share