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Austin music scene ~1990-1995 (an unscientific survey): 8 1/2 Souvenirs 1 - American Analog Set 1 2 - Bad Livers 1 - Bedhead - Butthole Surfers 1 - Duckhills 1 - Ed Hall 1 - Fuckemos 1 - Furry Things - Gals Panic 1 - Glass Eye 1 - Johnny Goudie 1 - Hamell on Trial 1 - The Horsies - The Impossibles 1 - Daniel Johnston 1 - Motards - Pocket FishRmen 1 - Poi Dog Pondering 1 - Pariah - Pushmonkey 1 2 - The Reivers 1 - Retarted Elf - Scratch Acid (yes, I know -- late 80s...) - Shoulders - Sincola - Sixteen Deluxe 1 - Sons of Hercules 1 - Soulhat 1 - Spoon 1 2 - Starfish 1 - Storyville 1 - Twang-Twang-Shock-a-Boom 1 - Ugly Americans - Wild Seeds 1. Previously: 1 2 3
posted by swift (66 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

In the late 80s I saw the Butthole Surfers at the Metropolitan Opera House. They were preceded by a group of Senegalese drummers and the World Saxophone Quartet. They played Cherub. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. I am a man of simple needs.
posted by googly at 2:40 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Asylum Street Spankers, and The Gourds started only slightly after your time period.
posted by snofoam at 2:41 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

I thought the Surfers and Scratch Acid were Chicago bands, on the Touch and Go label. Or are they here because they played Austin a lot?
posted by shmegegge at 2:41 PM on December 3, 2008

I think the Surfers were technically a San Antonio band, but they caused an inordinate amount of damage in Austin.
posted by swift at 2:46 PM on December 3, 2008

Twang-Twang-Shock-a-Boom is one of my favorite bands of all time.
posted by Faux Real at 2:47 PM on December 3, 2008

Oh my freaking god. My ears and my unwavering sense of nostalgia for my college years thank you.
posted by shiu mai baby at 2:51 PM on December 3, 2008

I kiss kiss kiss you. These make me so happy and so old. I lived with a Sincola-er and had a girlfriend who lived on a farm in East Austin with a bunch of Horsies and Poi-doggies. I still love and go see Poi Dog in Chicago once or twice a year.

Liberty Lunch and Chances were the very best places to see live music in the world, terrible acoustics aside. I 'd only add Two Nice Girls and Girls in the Nose or pretty much anything by Gretchen Phillips to my personal live music constellation at that time.
posted by pomegranate at 2:56 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

What no Muleskinners?
posted by Oat at 3:00 PM on December 3, 2008

Fantastic post! I sing that Horsies song to myself every time I hear about Chomsky. And American Analog Set, along with the Golden Arm Trio, was my first ever show in Austin.

This is before the era that this post covers, but we can't forget the Big Boys.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 3:01 PM on December 3, 2008

I'm no expert on Austin music but I thought Timbuk3 would get a mention.
posted by surplus at 3:03 PM on December 3, 2008

holy CRAP - Pocket FishRmen?!? Killer post
posted by porn in the woods at 3:04 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

During this same period I was also a big fan of Little Sister, which was fronted by Patrice Pike. They were Dallas-based but played a lot all over the state, and especially in Austin. Little Sister eventually morphed into Sister 7, and I think Patrice was a contender on that rock star reality show with Dave Navarro, but I will always love her, and them, for their awesome brand of bluesy hippie funk rock. She was amazing. Here are a few Sister 7 tracks I dug up on the Tubes of You.

I keep hoping to stumble across a copy of Little Sister's eponymous release, which was on some indie label, but 16 years later I still got nothin'.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:16 PM on December 3, 2008

Whoa, for a moment, i thought that was my old client list!

2 things:

1. Scratch Acid ruled. Utterly.
2. There is no second thing.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:16 PM on December 3, 2008

Well, fuck. That first YouTube link should have been this.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:18 PM on December 3, 2008

Also: paging fourcheesemac, paging fourcheesemac...
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:19 PM on December 3, 2008

The Butts and Ed Hall - in one post!

posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:30 PM on December 3, 2008

Vaguely related. After the ass-kicking Scratch Acid reunion tour a while back comes this bit of happiness:

Jesus Lizard reunion tour
posted by lumpenprole at 3:30 PM on December 3, 2008

If you hadn't added Two Nice Girls, I would have, pomegranate. Truly, they were the Beatles of the early 90's Austin-area lesbian folk-music scene.
posted by kyrademon at 3:42 PM on December 3, 2008

The last time I saw the Butthole Surfers, they were on tour with the Flaming Lips and Stone Temple Pilots - who were the opening acts. The show was an outdoor concert, in a grassy field within a horserace track. It made my old punk heart swell with pride to see the frat-rock also-rans STP be the warm-up act. I had as yet never heard of the Flaming Lips before, but they were quite good. STP played a predictable, lack-luster set, and all two hundred shirtless backwards-cap wearing Abercrombanoids frolicked and bumped chests with glee. UNTIL their set finished.

For it was then, not moments after STP had left the stage and the frat boys began to shuffle away, that a very drunk Gibby Haynes stumbled onto the stage brandishing a shotgun, grabbed the mic and bellowed, "Fuck ALL ya'll who left after Stone Temple Pilots!" He then raised the shotgun and begun firing into the crowd - pop! shk-pop! shk-pop! - as two hundred screaming and terrified frat boys scrambled to get away from the giant long-haired Texan with the shotgun on stage.

Everyone else laughed at their terror because, having at least known about the Butts a little, we knew beforehand that Gibby was fond of this trick, and that the shells were blank. They went on to play an amazing set, full of the cartoonish, manic energy those guys were known for. Probably one of the best shows I've ever seen.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:44 PM on December 3, 2008 [3 favorites]

Whoa. You have just recounted pretty much everything I learned as an undergrad.

(But you left out the part about the extreme thrill of moving from a North Texas town whose population was less than that of Jester Center's and suddenly having all this unfamiliar, slightly intimidating culture available -- with beer -- a mere mile away. And the anxieties of drinking in that culture surrounded by people who were So Much Cooler. Except that now, in retrospect, I realize that they weren't. I wish I had known that then, so I could have enjoyed the experience more.)

You also left out Slacker, but since this is a music post, that can be excused.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:47 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ah, the good old days. I saw many of these groups when I lived in Houston in the early 90's and Austin in the mid-90s to mid 00s. Others of note:
El Flaco
Hominy Bob
Drums & Tuba
Ant Man Bee
Hot Buttered Rhythm

I'm sure there are many more that I just can't think of right now...
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:00 PM on December 3, 2008

And the anxieties of drinking in that culture surrounded by people who were So Much Cooler. Except that now, in retrospect, I realize that they weren't. I wish I had known that then, so I could have enjoyed the experience more.


Seriously, how many MeFites went to UT-Austin? I was an English & History major there from 1994-1999...
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:02 PM on December 3, 2008

awwwwwww, it's like I'm 20 again and watching someone break into my co-op to leave us 2 dozen donuts because he had a crush on a girl who lived there. When I go into the kitchen to get chocolate glazed, this post in playing from a one-speakered stereo.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:03 PM on December 3, 2008 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the memories. Fabulous stuff. I left a good part of my youth (and hearing) at places like the Hole in the Wall, Liberty Lunch, Electric Lounge, Cannibal Club and Saxon Pub. I wish there was footage of Hamell on Trial at the Electric Lounge. Great venue and great shows. Also, you forgot my personal faves, Buick Mackane. And here's some Shoulders video.
posted by shecky57 at 4:08 PM on December 3, 2008

This is awesome. I saw a lot of shows with various combinations of these bands. The Motards were one of my favorite bands ever. Thanks for this.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:10 PM on December 3, 2008

Liberty Lunch

That was my favorite music venue of all time. I saw so many great shows there. Many of the bands on this list, Rev. Horton Heat innumerable times, the Descendents reunion tour, I could go on. I miss that place.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:17 PM on December 3, 2008

This was the music of my high school career. I came in here to add Sister 7 / Patrice Pike, but i see that's been done. Good stuff.
posted by youcancallmeal at 4:25 PM on December 3, 2008

Jesus Lizard reunion tour

Oh, but there is a third thing. I'll go if they make Austin. I haven't seen 'the two Daves" since they played the Cannibal Club, in probably 1991. Those guys were a hoot, and Sims is an incredibly good bass player. One of the overlooked greats of the instrument, if you ask me. Go ahead-- ask.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:25 PM on December 3, 2008

You forgot Crust.
posted by mds35 at 4:29 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Here's askin', Devil's Rancher. Not that I won't agree with you - that guy's a monster.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 4:31 PM on December 3, 2008

...and thank you for this awesome post.
posted by mds35 at 4:32 PM on December 3, 2008

Reminds of me the serious hangover I nursed on the ride home from SXSW '92.
posted by mds35 at 4:37 PM on December 3, 2008

...on the subject of Texas music, I heard that the Ft. Worth Cats played a reunion at the Hop. Any D/FW Mefites can confirm?
posted by mds35 at 4:39 PM on December 3, 2008

Anybody remember when The Reivers used to be called Zeitgeist?
posted by jonp72 at 4:45 PM on December 3, 2008

Things I miss about Texas besides the food:

Ed Hall
Hash Palace
Pain Teens
Lithium X-Mas
Factory Press
The Banes
Dooms UK
Hominy Bob
Trio of One
Wayward Girl

Slipped Disc Studios/Common Ground/Easy Street Theatre
posted by mds35 at 4:46 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

This makes me very very old.

Take me home to the Armadillo...
posted by Robert Angelo at 4:54 PM on December 3, 2008

Someone needs to do this for Houston now. 30FootFall, Latch Key Kids, The Hates, Manhole, Monster Soup, Blueprint, The Suspects, Los Skarnales, i45, River Fenix/FenixTX, etc. etc. Houston had an awesome music scene in the early-mid 90s.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:58 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Slipped Disc Studios/Common Ground/Easy Street Theatre

indeed, mds5!

Add to the list:
Rubber Bullet
The Texas Instruments
posted by activitystory at 5:05 PM on December 3, 2008

Also forgot Bouffant Jellyfish and Coffee Sergeants.
posted by swift at 5:46 PM on December 3, 2008

Oh how I love seeing Danny Barnes flipping his hair back like a young girl. Those were the days.
posted by smartyboots at 6:20 PM on December 3, 2008

Anybody remember when The Reivers used to be called Zeitgeist?

My band opened for 'em once in '85? '86? or so. I had such a crush on Kim Longacre. She was from San Francisco too! We talked! Wow! (okay, maybe I was tipsy, but she was nice, and Zeitgeist was a better name. One of my best friends recorded and produced their first album)
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:15 PM on December 3, 2008

I attended a Gretchen Phillips gig just a few weeks ago. "Manlove." It was great.

I graduated UT in '87, and my connection to Austin's music scene back then mostly revolved around blues at Antone's, when it was where I ♥ Video is now—back when it was actually a blues bar. The decline of the blues scene here can probably be attributed to the incarceration and death of Cliff Antone. (I recently observed that there is an Antone Dr in the Mueller redevelopment. I love that Austin has named a street after a convicted pot dealer.) But it was a hell of a time and place to be a blues fan. I missed out on the Cobras, but did see just about everybody else.
posted by adamrice at 7:24 PM on December 3, 2008

LeRoi Brothers
Joe Ely
Evan Johns and the H Bombs
Jimmy Dale Gilmore
(Continental Club)

and of course, the Lounge Lizards at the Hole in the Wall
posted by Cletis at 7:35 PM on December 3, 2008

Bedhead, the soundtrack of my (very recent) undergrad years. Got my username from a song of theirs too.
posted by extramundane at 8:49 PM on December 3, 2008

My favorite (though they're from Dallas they played all over Texas): The Toadies. They were awesome live and still are.

I worked with Clark Vogeler at one job and Mark Reznicek another place.

mds35, I totally moshed with you at Slipped Disc.

This is like a freaky college flashback. Anybody remember seeing Teenage Filmstars at SXSW?
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:12 PM on December 3, 2008

ZOMG Jesus Lizard reunion.

Hammell on Trial wasn't very good, EXCEPT for Choochtown, which was freaking amazing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:12 PM on December 3, 2008

Another U.T. mefite.... Yeah, used to see Twang Twang on the West Mall... and always lived within walking distance of Antone's, when it was on Guad & 29th or so. Loved Antone's. Exceptional musicians, good sound system--something sorely lacking in a lot of Austin clubs--and reasonable cover charges. Oh, decent drink prices and people who'd generally act like responsible, considerate adults.

(Would be interesting to see which schools have the most mMefite alums.)
posted by ambient2 at 9:56 PM on December 3, 2008

How about STRETFORD? And how about "No Reply," Carl Normal's free fanzine? And how about the Cavity Club? Sniff, sniff...I miss those days.
posted by buzzbash at 10:22 PM on December 3, 2008

Ok, so they've been around since 1979 and technically they're from Denton, but they play Austin all the time and they are full of win, so I submit for your consideration Brave Combo.

Also, UT Austin grad here (PhD, 2006) as well as my hubby (MLIS, 2001).
posted by DiscourseMarker at 10:30 PM on December 3, 2008

Ahh, crazy crazy Austin music'll have a tentacle around at least one of my legs until the day I die. I graduated from high school in '95 & moved right on down to Austin, by no means too late to catch a coattail's ride through the epicenter of the scene. I'd admired a bunch of the groups since way before I moved there, I roomed with members of several of this post's bands, I played in fiery young combos of my own, I somehow got lucky & collaborated with Daniel Johnston on & off for an interesting amount of time.

A lot of these groups were, unfortunately, a bit washed up & out by the time I met them. Drugs tore that scene apart, as they have done to many a scene before & will do to many a scene in the future. Edgy, subversive music gave way to boring-as-fuck bar rock. Working at the video store to pass the time between nights at the clubs got old after a while for everyone but the most stringent proponent of slackerdom. Hangovers hurt more. A new class moved in, grew up, & washed out only to see a new class move in, grow up, & wash out - then again and over once again.

Great post, though. It's always neat when a trip down memory lane is arranged by someone else.
posted by item at 10:43 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

Good God.

I went to school in San Antonio in the early nineties, then ended up back here in Alabama. A good friend of mine from school ended up in Austin where he learned the ins and outs of every band in the region, it seemed. Over the years, he sent me nearly a dozen compilation tapes. I encountered a few performers I'd heard before, but most of it was entirely new and infinitely educational. Here's a list of all the performers who (I think) haven't been mentioned already.

James McMurtry
Robert Earl Keene
Steve Earle
Dahveed Garza and The Lovebeads (evolved out of Twang Twang Shock-a-Boom)
Michael Fracasso
Alejandro Escovedo
Trish Murphy
Toni Price
Steve James
David Rodriguez
Stephen Doster
Iain Mathews
Roky Erickson
Michelle Solberg
Meredith Louise Miller

Oh, and from Houston, there was David Rice; from Lubbock Terry Allen; and from Dallas (SMU), Jackopierce.

I once went to a lesbian club in Austin to see Dahveed. The following year, he played my school's cafeteria. When he saw the wireless mic, he said he was going to be the first person to sing and order a cheesecake at the same time.

The Duckhills played the same venue. I'd never heard of them before, but after the show bought two of their tapes. I still think "Freaky Transactions" (off the Remembering Spongecake album), though it's not meant to be taken one hundred percent seriously, has something original and useful to say about the notion of the outsider popularized by bands like Pink Floyd and The Violent Femmes. Something I didn't think was possible.

Fabu and Splinter have, apparently, fallen completely off the radar. If anyone can point me towards any of their CDs or, like, their myspace page or whatever, I'd appreciate it.

A few of the bands formed at my school went on to gig for quite a few years afterwards, mostly in the Austin area. One was called Evergreen, became first Lowdown Son, and then Pacifico. Another was Youngin'.

And then if you wanna get completely, absurdly obscure... I don't suppose anyone here would remember another San Antonio band called Pennywhistle? I don't think they got very far. Probably broke up after graduation, if not before. But they had a song called "Vanity Lane" that's still stuck in my head fifteen years later. I never owned a copy; would just about kill for one now. And there's even less chance you've heard of Light Baby Strange, Creative Anarchy, or The Surprisingly Delicious Jug Band.

Oh, and regarding Hammel On Trial... if you think Choochtown is his only good album, try Big As Life (particularly "Pep Rally") and Songs For Parents Who Like To Do Drugs (particularly "Pretty Colors.")
posted by Clay201 at 11:01 PM on December 3, 2008

the live music capital of travis county god rest her filthy soul
posted by breakfast_yeti at 12:42 AM on December 4, 2008

Lovely post! Ex-Austin musician (1988-95) here, so this really hits the spot.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:55 AM on December 4, 2008

Iain Mathews

I played bass on that studio album (Pure & Crooked) in '89 or '90 -- I forget the year... Highlight of my "career." Iain's moved on, but he was a really mellow, nice guy. Still see the producer, Mark Hallman, from time to time. He runs a great little studio.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:30 AM on December 4, 2008

Bedhead, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

One of the things I regret the most, music-wise, is that I never got to see them play. Sure, there's always The New Year, but it's not quite the same.
posted by fore at 5:21 AM on December 4, 2008

Holy crap, Clay201, thank you for reminding me about Jackopierce. I had completely forgotten about those guys.

And seriously: if anyone on this thread has access to the self-titled Little Sister album, circa 1993, I will do just about anything to get my hands on a copy.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:21 AM on December 4, 2008

I second Decemberboy, someone do this for Houston. There was a golden age of Houston music and I MISS IT. Give me a few months and I might be able to put a Houston post together.
posted by threeturtles at 7:24 AM on December 4, 2008

Shiu mai baby, is this it?
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:25 AM on December 4, 2008

One of the things I regret the most, music-wise, is that I never got to see them play.

Bedhead was a great show -- one of the few bands that really knew how to be loud by being quiet, if that makes any sense. I dug their beards.
posted by swift at 8:51 AM on December 4, 2008

UT Alum, English and History Major from '92 to '97

i miss Liberty Lunch
i miss seeing the Fuckemos frequently (80 sailors . . .!)

Some of those names made me nostalgic, then I realized that I really fucking hate Austin.
Pity that I still live here.
posted by Seamus at 10:12 AM on December 4, 2008

Unicorn on the cob, I wish it were. I know the LS album I'm thinking of has a track on it called "Everybody Got the Funk," and also a really gorgeous song about a sailor and a dancer. I think it was called "Story," but my memory is kind of fuzzy on that.

Thank you so much for the link, though.
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:44 AM on December 4, 2008

Best Impossibles Song
posted by cyphill at 12:13 PM on December 4, 2008

This post is freaking out the part of me that went to UT for awhile in the nineties. I think I saw Retarted Elf once in Houston.
posted by bluishorange at 1:47 PM on December 4, 2008

Just revelling in more Butthole Surfer memories, I saw that someone mentioned Drain upthread. This was probably one of the better known side projects, but who remembers The Jack Officers, or Beme Seed? Paul Leary is still kicking around, doing all kinds of things, too, apparently.

Beme Seed ... Jesus, what that band did to my brain ...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:25 PM on December 4, 2008

Holy CRAP, how did I miss this thread?

I couldnt find any videos of Euripides Pants or Swine King (Randy "Biscuit" Turner's band.) I couldn't find any decent videos of Brown Whorenet. I can't believe nobody mentioned Cherubs. There were a bunch more, too.

I think I was at shows with most of you, as I resided at Emo's and the Electric Lounge during this entire time period. Holy crap.. good times.

P.S. - Sons of Hercules were most definitely from San Antonio. I saw them nearly take out the ceiling fan at the Hole in the Wall. It was grand.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:53 PM on December 11, 2008

Also, or the rockabilly fans - Flametrick Subs who I think fit into this time period, although they've been active later. They had a regular Saturday gig at the Black Cat (which, BTW - grossest bathrooms ever. THEE WORST.)
posted by louche mustachio at 11:18 PM on December 11, 2008

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