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a u s t
i n c h r o n
i c
l e
. c om
JULY 25, 2014
T H E A U S T I N C H R O N I C L E
41
Monochromatic muscle man
Glenn Danzig
,
whose musical persona intersects metal and
creep-show culture, headlines
Phil Anselmo
’s
Housecore Horror Film Festival
, Oct. 23-26
at
Emo’s
.
Danzig
/
Samhain
, along with doom
experts
Neurosis
, and Polish rippers
Decapitated
top the second wave of acts
added to previous confirmations that include
Satyricon
,
Portal
,
Eyehategod
, and
Lamb of
God
frontman
Randy Blythe
.
In just six days, a live version of
Shakey
Graves
’ “Dearly Departed” garnered over
90,000 spins on
Spotify
. The track, taped
during
South by Southwest
with collaborator
Esmé Patterson
, gives us a first glimpse at
the material on the native Austinite’s sopho-
more LP,
And the War Came
, which arrives Oct.
7 on
Dualtone
. Another commercially antici-
pated local release, the debut EP from
Aaron
Behrens & the Midnight Stroll
, drops Sept.
16 on the
Ghostland Observatory
singer’s
own
imprint,
Skeleton Farm Records
.
42
there goes the neighborhood
64
music listings
@Playback _ Aust in
Cherubs Flit Back
“Short-lived, but influential.” Consider it a
tired acknowledgment of unexplored poten-
tial from bands that developed quickly but
burnt out too soon. That’s the storyline of
Cherubs
, a brilliantly abrasive Austin noise
rock trio who formed in 1992 and disband-
ed two years later with the release of their
defining work,
Heroin Man
.
Guitarist/vocalist
Kevin Whitley
turns to
drummer
Brent Prager
.
“We were in Eugene, Oregon, when I said
to you guys, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’”
recalls Whitley. “Then we drove down the
101 like zombies to San Diego where
you and
Owen
[
McMahon
,
bassist] had a massive brawl
in front of the Casbah
after playing.”
“I remember a wrist
and a sidewalk and a
pin-down,” says Prager.
Today, these
Cherubs, both family
men with respectable
jobs who haven’t played
in steady bands since
1994, have assembled on
the patio of
Quickie Pickie
to discuss their resurrection
with McMahon. The trio enters the
studio next week with producer
Mike
McCarthy
to record a new album, set for
release this winter on vinyl boutique Brutal
Panda Records out of Philadelphia, also
home to Austin prog wilding
Boyfrndz
.
“Kevin and I had been having this conver-
sation for at least a decade: ‘Should we?’
‘No way.’ ‘Should we?’ ‘No fuckin’ way!’
‘Should we?’ ‘Hell no!’” laughs Prager.
“Cherubs is ugly noise music and, as an
adult, it kinda doesn’t make sense to do
that,” adds Whitley, who “somewhat against
his will” turned 50 last year.
Actually, it kinda does make sense: All
three live in Austin, their musical chemistry
has improved due to less whiskey consump-
tion, and, most importantly, they want to
tour Europe, something Cherubs never
accomplished on their initial run.
Before any dates are announced, local or
abroad, the band will likely play some
warmup shows under gag names.
“Look for listings that say ‘Popcorn
Sparks’ or ‘the Goodtimes,’” Prager hints.
Testament to the locals’ enduring
appeal, a Cherubs tribute,
Everyone’s
Dead Before They Leave
(see
“Texas Platters,” Feb. 14),
came out last winter featuring
groups from Italy, France,
Croatia, and all over the
States, including Austin’s
Solid Goat
. Credit Detroit
resident
Shawn Grzyb
,
who says the Cherubs were
already broken up by the
time he discovered them in
the mid-Nineties.
“They were this noisy mystery.
The only thing anyone knew about
them is that they were from Texas,” relays
Grzyb. “But I was blown away by their disgust-
ing, brutal tones and how redline they were.”
Whitley understands that Cherubs left a
high bar to meet with any new material.
“I guaran-goddamn-tee you 80 percent of
the people will be ready to go, ‘Ah it’s great
for these old guys to get together and have
their little Dairy Queen coffee moment – but
play
Heroin Man
or get the fuck out of my
face!’ So we’re going into the studio know-
ing that, and the shit’s gotta be good.”
c
u
r
t
i
n
b
y
k
e
v
i
n
Weekender
“Playback” highlights from last weekend:
Thursday: After reciting a Buddhist prayer, Austin folksinger
Gary Graves
issued an oath at
the
Cactus Cafe
. “I promise to be a good person and not reveal any of the secret metaphysi-
cal stuff I see during the Gary Graves show.” Backed by guitarist
Ravner Salinas
, the singer’s
liquid voice vibrated poetic lyrics inspired by muses ranging from painter
Frida Kahlo
to
homewrecker
Amy Fisher
.
Friday: “Some of you know what you’ve stepped into, others, well ...,” shrugged
Chasca
’s flute-
playing frontman
J.T. Martin
, who resembled a composite of
Blue Man Group
,
King Diamond
, a
World War I GI, and a 19th century cross-dresser. The glammy San Marcos quintet’s low-budget
arena rock brought a
Mohawk
crowd to its knees with a call-and-response chant of “Dick Tease.”
Saturday: Any one of the
LNS Crew
’s charismatically blunted core MCs –
Kydd Jones
,
Cory Kendrix
, or
Tank Washington
– would’ve been a suitable solo pick for the
Chronicle
’s
annual hip-hop Cookout at
Scoot Inn
, but their powers combined made for a show-stopping
sunset performance, which peaked with Jones starting a one-man mosh pit.
Sunday: Delivering a highlight of
Austin City Limits
’ 40th season,
Nick Cave
catwalked
amongst groping hands as his
Bad Seeds
pumped out hip-shaker “Red Right Hand” and
the profanity-laced “Stagger Lee,” which earned a standing ovation (full review at Earache!
austinchronicle.com/music
).
Johnny Winter 1944-2014
Less than two weeks after a
Chronicle
feature on
Johnny Winter
(that’s “Down & Dirty,” July 4), the grim
reaper came knockin’. The blues virtuoso was found in his
Switzerland hotel room on July 16, the cause of death still
unknown. The tattooed albino, who used a thumb pick to
generate speed on his
Gibson Firebird
six-string, logged
serious stage time in Austin just before going national.
“Winter’s trio was the tightest blues band in town,
head and shoulders above the rest,” remembers
Don
Hyde
, co-owner of pioneering psychedelic venue the
Vulcan Gas Company
, where he estimates Winter,
Tommy Shannon
, and
Uncle John Turner
played every other week for about a year in 1968.
“We’d either charge 50 or 75 cents, and Johnny was good for about a hundred people. After
Look
magazine wrote about him, he could play at the Austin Auditorium to 5,000 people and
every one of them would claim they’d been seeing him at the Vulcan.”
The Vulcan wasn’t Winter’s biggest stage, but it was there on a vacant Sunday that the trio
recorded
The Progressive Blues Experiment
for Austin’s
Sonobeat Records
(revisit “Sonobeat
Records,” Feb. 7) and within those walls
Muddy Waters
first heard Winter play. The elder
blues statesman was so baffled, according to Hyde, that he placed a call to
King Curtis
, held
the phone toward the stage, and exclaimed, “He’s white. He’s really white!” Winter ultimately
produced three Grammy-winning albums for Waters, including the unbeatable
Hard Again
.
Local bassist
Mark Epstein
, who backed Winter throughout the Nineties, describes the gui-
tarist as a musical cliff-jumper: “There was no net. He’d just go for it all the time without hesi-
tation. Playing with him taught me fearlessness.”
Winter’s status prevails beyond his last breath. Upcoming LP
Step Back
, include collabora-
tions with
Billy Gibbons
,
Eric Clapton
, and
Dr. John
, arrives Sept. 2.
Half Notes
Trumpeter
Jeff Lofton
leads his quartet
through the tunes of
Henry Mancini
before a screening of
The Pink Panther
on
Wednesday outside the
Long Center
.
“Although Henry Mancini is most known as
a film composer, his influence on jazz
music is great,” acknowledges Lofton. “He
wrote many standards, such as ‘Moon
River’ and ‘Days of Wine and Roses.’”
Recall the outrage at SXSW 2013 when
Hoeks Death Metal Pizza
’s third annual
minifest was shut down for operating with-
out a special event permit. Here’s the
comeback. The evil pizza parlor teams up
with Sixth Street’s other heavy metal pillar,
Dirty Dog Bar
, for Hoeks Metal Fest 3.5, a
four-day review of blistering Texas metal
beginning tonight, Thursday, headlined by
bearded blackened thrash warlords
Widower
;
Brink of Disaster
Friday;
Beyond Gods and Empires
Saturday; and
Bury the Rod
on Sunday. $5 per day.
blues brothers: (l-r) John belushi, muddy
Waters, Johnny Winter, and dan Aykroyd
back in the nineties, even
noiseniks like the cherubs
had a promotional 8x10.