Of the 43 bands from the Valley that applied for the South by Southwest music conference this year, guess how many were accepted? I'll give you a hint: No, I won't. I'll just tell you. Other than the Refreshments (who are attending under a business arrangement between New Times and the SXSW sponsors), not a one. And to think that last year, we had two groups that made it to Austin. What does it mean? Luck of the draw, or are we to believe that the discerning judges feel Valley talent is anything but talented?
I called SXSW official Leah Wilkes, who had this to say: "When you have almost 3,800 bands apply and you have 450 slots, you're gonna tell hundreds of very good bands no. That's just the way that it goes . . . I know what you're saying, and it's not like we didn't think the bands from Phoenix were any good. We have to cut it down demographically. Going through the selection process, we had like 15 different types of lists sorted different ways: by label, location, genre of music, everything. We tried to represent every city in the United States, but you're definitely going to have more bands from L.A. than you're going to have from Phoenix, because you're going to have 400 bands from Los Angeles apply."
The Los Angeles ratio explanation makes sense, but, then again, of the eight bands selected from the entire state of Arizona, the other seven are from Tucson. Go figure. "We didn't go, 'We're going to take one band from Phoenix and seven bands from Tucson,'" says Wilkes. But still, seven from Tucson? What gives?
"I'm not as tuned in to the Tucson scene as some people are," she tells me, "and I don't want to compare it to the Seattle sound or anything like that, but there's a definite, new kind of thing that's coming out of Tucson. And I'm not saying that Tempe or Phoenix is lacking that in any way, but. . . ."
Today the Valley, Tomorrow Eat World: Don't you love rumors? No, not the Fleetwood Mac album; I mean stuff like this: More than a few people have asked me--as if I actually possess some level of music-business insider knowledge--whether local power-alterna-whatever band Jimmy Eat World had signed with Capitol Records. Inside knowledge I may not have, but a telephone I do, and it led me to J.E.W. member Zak. "Capitol is just helping us, funding us with money to build an independent base," he explains. "They're just giving us money for the necessities of being in a band, if we need money to go out on tour, to rent a van or something. They're pretty much making it so we can concentrate on writing good songs and playing."
But guys who run record companies don't give away money just so they can get into heaven. "They want to pick up our recording rights if we record for them, but we are not obligated to record anything as of yet. I guess it could kind of be called a development deal, but that's not what they wanted to call it. We're not scheduled to do any demo tapes or five-song EPs; if we record something with them--which looks probable--it will be an album."
But if there is no album and, God forbid, Capitol doesn't pick up the band, won't that money have to be paid back? "That's not worked out yet, so we'll just see." And you can see Jimmy Eat World on February 18, opening for Sebadoh at Nile Theater. Sidney, We Hardly Knew Ye: Let's all share a moment of silence--or whatever your personal beliefs dictate--to commemorate the Sweet 16th anniversary of the death of Sid Vicious. Hard to believe that that much time has passed, but on February 2, 1979, the perfect punk rocker went a little too far with the heroin and wound up gobbing on the choir invisible.
Happy birthday to Pauline, loyal Screed fan and a woman I've been close to for many years.
Go See: How does Piata Full of Beans sound? I can't tell you, 'cause I haven't heard it yet, but it hits the streets on Saturday. It is, by the way, the new CD from Spinning Jenny, which will be hosting a release party at Gibson's that very evening. Call 967-1234 for more info.
You don't have to be from Tempe, but it helps. Dead Hot Workshop headlines the second annual Tempe Music Festival at Electric Ballroom on Tuesday, along with Tired Son, One, Flying 99 and White Trash Philosophers. Call 894-0707.
The New Balboa Jazz Trio, featuring bassist Tom Golden, pianist Charles Lewis and the tireless Tony Malaby on tenor sax, kicks off on Saturday at--guess where--Balboa Cafe. Call 966-1300.
For a night of dazzling acoustic wizardry and good guitar playing, as well, drive your car to the Rhythm Room on Monday for Adrian Legg, with opener Joe Myers. Legg is from the Richard Thompson/John Renbourn school, precise and melodic--with enough of each quality to satisfy musicians and normal listeners, too. Call 265-4842.
Don't forget The Cows at Boston's on Saturday, along with Supernova, Son Huevos Borrachos, and Fork. Call 921-7343. It Crawled From the Bins: If you're out there, Timmy Lopez, I have your copy of Here Come the Dukes of Hazzard, and you ain't gettin' it back! I found this gem in some thrift store in Mesa, and Timmy's awkward, childish scrawl IDs it as once belonging to him. But what do I know? Timmy could just as easily have been a 40-year-old convict taking a prison literacy program. Looking at pictures of the bodacious Daisy is certainly incentive enough to make a man want to read about her, too! And that's just what you can do with H.C.T.D.O.H.; not only is it a record (an enjoyable sampling of a typically tense, rollicking Hazzard fun fest), it's also a book! You can read along as Luke and Bo stick it to redneck authority figure Boss Hogg; and Daisy--well, cut-offs-clad Daisy pours the lemonade, God bless her. The fun doesn't stop there; get out the Crayolas and color everybody in! That's what I did, though Timmy had already taken care of Daisy.--