Stop two. 2104 S. Pleasant Valley #104. Thursday Nov. 19th 2020. Used to be called the Carriage House Apts. when I lived here from September 1981 to June 1982, but now it’s part of the vast complex known as the Metropolis Apts. The complex is now security gated (it wasn’t when I lived there) so I couldn’t get in, but the building in the photo behind me is where we wwere. I can’t even remember exactly how I met James Canchola, my roommate at this spot, but he was a cool dude, a pretty good guitar player, and the man who introduced me to proper Mexican food (or at least proper Tex-Mex) by taking me to have lunch at Jorge’s Uptown Enchilada Bar several times. I had never tasted carne guisada or had a chalupa or a margarita before! Upstate New York boy and alla that. He was a bit of a stoner though (pot kettle black) and he was supposed to have the apartment ready for us in August, but failed, so when I got there in mid-August, we ended up staying for 2 or 3 weeks at his cousin(?) Roger’s house out by Oak Hill/Sunset Valley, which may as well have been the moon, as neither of us had a car and that was super remote from Austin proper back in those days. That spot should actually count as one of my Austin domiciles, but I asked James where it was exactly and I don’t think he remembers either. I’m pretty sure we got to go downtown at least once, and I think that was when I saw Steppenwolf. Born to be wild, baby!
Other things I remember from staying way out in the Riverside area student ghetto: riding the UT shuttle all the time; regularly going to Whip In #2 for cold Ringnes beer and whippets; and the fact that James played only two records from my collection – he played “Best-Dressed Chicken in Town” by Dr. Alimantado CONSTANTLY, and also played my Virgin Front Line reggae sampler pretty regularly. I have both of those records pretty well memorized to this day.
Hardest bike trip yet, that blistering Oltorf hill by 888…damn! I’m riding Wendy’s bike for this, a lovely Marin mountain-type bike, and so far it has been performing admirably. I can’t say the same for my aging physique. At least I’m finally learning how to work the gears on it properly.
b) have another creative project to work on during the pandemic and
c) wax nostalgic about the ridiculously long time I have lived in Austin
– – – ride my bike from my current abode in South Austin to all of the 17 different places I have lived in the ATX. I’ll post a few of them every now and then as I get inspired. I really don’t ever take selfies, but I decided to do one after I reached each destination.
Stop One. Jester East dormitory. Monday 10/19/2020. Now that I think about it, almost exactly a year after we (my education) were out recording at Sonic Ranch. I have a lot of very vivid memories of Jester East, definitely the poor red-headed stepchild of Jester West. HAS ITS OWN ZIP CODE! Etc. Our room looked right out over the athlete’s cafeteria, which smelled like it had much better food than ours, and there were many rumors of the fantastic all you can eat steak and shrimp dinners they had in there…
Of course they wouldn’t let me in there anywhere near rm. 316, the abode of myself and Jim Sweeney for the 1980-81 school year. Unsurprisingly. So I had to settle for this pic right outside the entrance to East. So many memories there. Ask me about the bedbugs and the closet pot farm.
Bike did pretty well. Out of shape me had to walk up a few hills on the way back.
We have a previously unreleased track on the brand spankin’ new (blue circle) CD compilation from the fine folks at Dub Ditch Picnic Records. It’s our version of Deathtrap by Hawkwind, from the classic Calvert era. This is an early live recording done at one of Clay Brown’s (Puffy Brutha Man, Bug Wonders, etc) End of School Band-O-Rama shows, this one at Club Saigon, the short lived quasi-successor to Dong Huong, in summer 1989. It’s pretty stonking, which is why we picked it. A bunch of the comp is ST 37 related material – lots of old friends going back to a Vast Majority track that was recorded in 1979! You can pm us for a copy or buy it on Bandcamp here: https://dubditchpicnic.bandcamp.com/album/blue-circle
Looks pretty cool too:
Hope all you guys out there are staying safe, living through this unprecedented event. We’ll have another new track (and it’s also a cover tune) on the forthcoming Really Red tribute record Teaching You the Fear Again. Our track is about the late Walter Wolff, and it’s called Pigboy. Joel did a great video for it that features lip=syncing for the first time ever in an ST 37 video! Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcwEEgGm5jk
We’ve been working whenever we can stay safe and distanced in the studio and at home on tracks for the Ballard record and for our new single, which we hope to finish on Thursday. It’s called Over and Over Again and it’s about repetition, repetition, repetition. We’re gonna try to have a socially distanced outdoor rehearsal on July 25th out in Cedar Creek. Should be interesting. We’ll keep you posted.
Your bass player reporting here; since Wendy and I were exposed to a coupla Swallow the Rat (great band, you should check them out) members who tested positive upon their return to NZ last week, we have been in more or less total isolation this week and will be til late next week. We are both fine – no symptoms. Of course the AMT tour has been cancelled along with everything else. We hope to be able to do it in Feb.-Mar. 2021. I have been far from bored; in fact, I realized today that I have been concurrently working on six different musical projects! To wit:
Of course, work continues on the new ST 37 album “Ballardesque”: a) Joel is working on getting the multitrack masters from our pal and engineer Evan Kleinecke so we can continue doing overdubs in isolation b) I have been steadily working on writing and demoing bass parts for the Volodymyr Bilyk penned string parts that James Alexander played and Chico Jones recorded for us for the “Love: A Printout for Claire Churchill” piece c) I have been working in collaboration with Volodymyr to finish the lyrics for “Concentration City” d) I am rereading “Crash” and have picked out a piece to read as part of the backing track Matt Turner and I are working on for his contribution to the record, our version of the Quttinirpaaq piece “Black Moses” that is now called “Crash!” after the BBC/Ballard television film that stars JG and Gabrielle Drake, Nick’s sister (it is so great, you really need to see it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cqn6zA1sMg).
Sound Mass 2019 nears completion – after extensive listening, rating, annotating and ranking by both My Education and Theta Naught, the music we recorded during SXSW 2019 has been edited and mixed. Ryan Stanfield and Hyrum Summerhays in SLC have really taken the lead on this one.
Vast Majority 2015 is in the works – the three shows and several rehearsals that the reformed new version of VM did in January and February of 2015 to promote the Rave Up Records Italian vinyl release of the VM ouevre have been ransacked to produce a refreshingly short record of our own. It’ll be great, trust me. Slower but better. Who wants to release physical copies for us? Perfect LP length – it’ll be about 33 minutes long – like a Ramones album!
Work continues apace on the My Education record we began at Sonic Ranch in October of 2019. We just recorded some amazing wordless vocals by Amanda Hickey, an absolutely phenomenal singer, and I’ve been working on my bass parts for some overdub ideas.
Now that Chris Jacques has recovered from his surgery, the (blue circle) compilation on Dub Ditch Picnic is back on the front burner. We are working on the track listings, artwork, credits and sequencing now.
Got a new keyboard and a new chorus pedal and Wendy and I are working towards recording a new Marimba Fury piece centered around a two keyboard drone in G.
This is a profoundly weird and tough time. I am so glad to have all this exciting stuff to work on. I am a very lucky man. Oh, and the Coz the Shroom LP that Matt and I co-released is out. You should really hear it. Shoot us an email if you’d like one.