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Dark Riders

The good, the bad and the ugly rock-star performance contracts

Destiny's Child: The interesting thing about these divas' contract is its restraint. J. Lo demands that all the furniture, walls, drapes and even candy in her dressing room be white. Christina Aguilera insists that jicama be on her vegetable deli tray and that she also be provided with dried cranberries, Flintstones vitamins, Echinacea capsules, four kinds of cheese, Nesquik powder, Original Malt Flavor Carnation Instant Breakfast, a liter of full-fat vanilla soy milk and much, much more. Even with their insistence upon fresh ginger root, which is stressed as "very important," it's clear that Beyoncé and company flunked How to Be a Pain in the Ass 101.

Numbers owner Bruce Godwin has dealt with a lot of pains in the ass over the club's 25 years. One band (he can't remember which) wanted specific pages of certain porno mags. Bloodhound Gang wanted a monkey skeleton -- don't we all? (Godwin said they later told him it was a joke -- they just wanted to see if anybody was dumb enough to go out and get one.) Courtney Love demanded a passport photo photographer. (The unused shots are at www. numbersnightclub.com.) The Butthole Surfers wanted ten new pairs of tube socks -- front man Gibby Lewis explained that they didn't want their feet to stink up the bus and they sure as hell didn't want to do laundry. A few other bands have demanded underwear as well as socks.

As you might expect, the Pogues made even Kenny Rogers look like a lightweight. By Godwin's estimate, the hard-drinking Irish band consumed eight bottles of wine, four quarts of whiskey, six cases of beer, a bottle of gin, another of cognac and assorted vodkas. That was when front man Shane MacGowan got nasty.

"Shane grabs me and says, 'Where is our fucking liquor? If I don't get some more I'll kill you!'" remembers Godwin. Noting that by this point MacGowan could hardly stand, Godwin nonchalantly replied that he must have drunk it already. "He left me alone," Godwin says. "They bought another bottle or two and went on the bus off to another drunken show somewhere down the road in another city…Nothing beats getting threatened with death by a brandy-breathed Shane MacGowan."

According to Godwin, Weezer wins the sensitivity sweepstakes. "Rivers Cuomo wanted a grand piano in a separate rehearsal room by himself where he could 'prepare' in solitude for one hour before the show. This was before one of his nervous breakdowns or whatever. We told them to fuck off. They played anyway. What were they thinking? It's a fucking club, not Jones Hall."

Ministry demanded that there be no Styrofoam cups in the entire building. "We used them anyway," says Godwin. "No band has ever not played because we did not supply them with whatever. We supply reasonable food and beverage. There have been many, many threats, verbal abuse from road managers and an occasional bodily assault on the poor production managers from Clear Channel. But in the end, pizza and beer solves all problems."

Scuttlebutt Caboose

Homegrown blues-rock mama Carolyn Wonderland was starstruck recently for one of the only times in her life when none other than Bob Dylan summoned her for a private audience. Dylan was lunching with Ray Benson during his Austin stop last month when he let it be known that he was a fan. "Bob told Ray to tell me to come to his show," Wonderland relates giddily. "I gave him our new CD and he liked it -- he sure said a lot of nice things. I can't believe it -- I really can't believe it. Touring with Buddy Guy was pretty amazing, touring with Johnny Winter was pretty amazing, but to have someone call you and say 'Bob Dylan wants to meet you' is just too weird. I just know that if I ever get frustrated and think I can't write a song, I'll think to myself, 'Well, Bob Dylan thinks I can write.' "…They're already calling it the Red Rocks of Texas. And while the new 800-acre, 25,000-capacity Two River Canyon amphitheater hasn't even opened yet, it does sound like something special. Sprawled across the Blanco-Burnet county line, about 35 miles west of Austin, the TRC will debut with the 30th anniversary of the Willie Nelson Picnic on July 4 and 5. The Dead have confirmed, and Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Beck and Toby Keith are rumored to be joining them. "This isn't going to be a shed," TRC manager Wilobee Carlantold the Austin American-Statesman. "We've got three waterfalls and a lake." Eventually, the TRC will also have a dance hall, a rodeo arena and an RV park on the rustic site, but for now they just want to get the amphitheater up and running.

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