Smoke Stacks

Cliff Sarde and Nick Francis piece together a desktop CD and get a major-label deal in the process

The club was recently sold again, and while it's too early to know if it will return to past glories, there's considerable cause for optimism. The new owners, Willa and Corrie Alexander (no relation), seem determined to once again make the Melody a jazz mecca, and hope to bring in local heavyweights like Dave Cook and Dennis Rowland.

The club has been redubbed Club Melody, and the new owners planned to open by February 10, if they could complete the cleanup from the extensive--and expensive--refurbishing effort they've launched.

Willa Alexander says that members of her family owned clubs and restaurants when she was growing up in the Netherlands, and she always wanted to be a part of the business, but when she was a child her mother insisted that she become a nurse. She spent 27 years as an RN, and she and Corrie ran three nursing homes, specializing in Alzheimer patients. Willa says the years of stress brought on by working with such difficult cases prompted her to revisit her youthful aspirations and buy the Melody, a club she'd long patronized. While the club will dabble in Latin music and other genres, jazz is expected to return to the forefront. But Willa's the first to admit that she's learning the ropes as she goes along.

"I'm totally new at this," she says with a laugh. "We don't know anything."

Evening Deee-Lite: Kind, the hot Thursday club night at Pompeii hosted by local group Groove Tribe, has featured some notable national DJs in its first six months. This Thursday, February 11, Kind welcomes Lady Miss Kier of Deee-Lite fame. After hitting her commercial zenith nine years ago with "Groove Is in the Heart," she rode Deee-Lite to rapidly diminishing returns, and now tours the country as a drum 'n' bass DJ. Word is less than glowing about the legitimacy of her skills, but the star-power factor alone should pack Pompeii.

Two nights later (Saturday, February 13), a considerably less renowned--though probably more respected--female DJ will be a guest of the monthly RedMonkey house nights put on by DJ Pete Salaz at Riverbottom Lounge. The visiting DJ, Ellen Ferrato, has been a fixture on the San Francisco house scene for the last five years and built a solid reputation among dance connoisseurs. Call 530-8750 for more info.

Austin Stories: South by Southwest is little more than a month away, and among the nearly 400 acts confirmed thus far are these local acts: The Peacemakers, Gloritone, Grievous Angels, Haggis, Jimmy Eat World. The SXSW music festival runs from March 17 through 21.

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