The Power of 12

Arthur Yoria and Matt Maloney launch a new local label with a roster of one

In it, Houston spends two paragraphs talking about his taste in clothes, women and philosophy before he comes to brass tacks. He purports to want to start a band, but warns potential bandmates, "I don't have any particular talents, I will just sing, but I need to join a band in order to complete my elite and unique image. I would like to join a band that dresses fashionably and plays music that is highly impressive to the individuals in my fashion demographic."

Yoria has already seen it. "That guy nailed it," he says. "I get so into the business side of it that I don't have time to worry about stuff like that. I don't care who comes to my shows, I don't care who buys my CDs. The thing with that scene is that they're even picky about who listens to them. They're terrified that these people might start coming to their shows and they'll have guilt by association."

Yoria and Maloney have no such concerns. At 12 Records, it's the more the merrier -- even if you don't like Perrier.

A Song For…the Elderly

J.T. Van Zandt, the oldest son of Townes Van Zandt, recently accompanied Austin City Limits founder Bill Arhos to the Austin nursing home where Arhos's mother lives. "After visiting with some of these old people for a while, I thought they would stay totally catatonic," Van Zandt remembers. "But then Bill mentioned that I had a guitar in the car, and they just came to life." Van Zandt was moved by the experience, and he promised he'd be back. When he returned, he brought Will Sexton and Santiago Jimenez Jr. with him. These gigs have quickly evolved into a big idea that's getting bigger every day. Van Zandt is starting a nonprofit called A Song For… to organize musicians to play at nursing homes across the state. "'A Song For' was Townes's most depressing song, probably the most depressing song ever put out," Van Zandt says. "I wanted to take that beautiful title and turn it into something positive."

Many musicians have been informally gigging at nursing homes for years, but Van Zandt wants to organize the process. "I'd like to start with 16 homes, selected by need, and hit 'em four times a year. That would be basically a show a week. If that works, I could have an office full of organizers. I'm still on a volunteer basis, but I'm gonna hit up everybody from the adult diaper companies to the denture companies and tell them that they've been making money off these people for a long time and they need to sponsor an individual show. That way, the musician would get a per diem to cover expenses and a modest gig fee, unless they insist on volunteering."

But what musicians would really get out of A Song For… can't be quantified on a bottom line. Van Zandt says that it's a chance to play music in its purest, most noncommercial form, "the same as it is in Mexico or Africa." Then he boils the idea down to its essence. "I hope it will rejuvenate the music in our society and the nerve endings of our old people, and educate our youth on the power of music and the importance of our elderly. Kills a bunch of birds with one stone."

If you're interested in helping out, contact Van Zandt at

Scuttlebutt Caboose

The best-band-we've-seen-in-a-while award goes to Chango Jackson, the local rock en español act formerly known as Moscas. CJ put on a brilliant if brief set at the recent Sayonara Bash. Moscas was once described in these pages as "a Hispanic Meat Puppets," but that was a long time ago, and Racket would liken the band's latest incarnation to a ska-tinged Trail of Dead. The Earthwire set was 15 minutes of pure adrenaline, and a video of their performance at the recent South By Due East fest shows that it was no fluke. SXDE was in late March, when war jitters gripped the nation. The members of Chango Jackson took the stage in matching white chemical suits and gas masks, except for singer-bassist Tino Ortega, who wore enormous Trevor Horn from the Buggles specs…Local psychedelic indie rockers *mytwilightpilot* signed with New York-based Feel Records early this month. Feel is run by former Houstonian and current recording artist Brady Brock.

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