Bored with Apathy

Houston's old-school punks reunite to aid a stricken legend

The early-to-mid-1980s were a turbulent time for American punk -- the genre was splitting up into numerous splinter cells like skate-punk, thrash, hardcore and punk-metal, and D.R.I. was at the heart of that flux. Their aptly-titled 1987 album Crossover was among the first punk albums to ladle on metal by the dollop-full.

"That was like, it, man," remembers Chuck Roast, former cohost of the Funhouse show on KPFT (which did so much to infect the suburbs with the punk virus) and now the owner of the northside record shop Vinal Edge. "It was like, 'Oh shit -- punk's goin' kinda metal.' That pissed a lot of us off at the time, 'cause it seemed like a sellout at the time. But in the end, what the fuck did it matter?"

Scuttlebutt Caboose

Devin the Dude's Waitin' to Inhale is due out in March, and yours truly was treated to a sneak preview listening session at Rap-A-Lot last week. It will come as little surprise to longtime Devinheads to hear that the album is great -- it has his usual mix of samples you can't quite place, self-deprecating lyrics, unique turns of phrase and moments of "high" comedy. And yes, Devin still likes to rap about weed, women and bongs. Those of you who are fans of his drawling redneck persona are in for a treat -- that creation of his makes several appearances on the album, but I don't recall any visitations from Zeldar, the pot-smoking alien from Planet Beldar…Saturday night, make sure you head to Rudyard's and party like it's 1999. Jug O'Lightnin', the other lil' ol' band from Texas that held down the Sunday night, wee hours, drink-and-die slot for a few turn-of-the-century years at the venerable British pub, returns for one of their now all-too-rare gigs. Since this gig's on a Saturday, you have no excuses to miss this one. ("I'm saving myself for New Year's Eve" is not acceptable.) Or if 1996 was more your bag, de Schmog is also on the bill. Or hell, maybe you live in the here and now. In that case, Bright Men of Learning is also on there…Speaking of the here and now, if you haven't seen the Dancing Sisters shimmy-shimmy-coco-bop alongside James McMurtry as he unfurls the splendors of his Oklahoma speed freak anthem "Chocktaw Bingo," you just haven't lived. You can remedy that situation Friday night, when McMurtry swings through his early childhood hometown of Houston. And oh yeah, he has a few other songs, too -- "We Can't Make It Here" not least among them. Talk about the here and now, no song ever written has captured the mood and tone of a nation as well as that one…If you've got a mind to travel this holiday season and don't want to go too far, head out to Bastrop this weekend. The picturesque little town in the pines on the outskirts of Austin is hosting "A New Orleans New Year." Downtown merchants will be offering special year-end sales, and Irma "The Soul Queen of New Orleans" Thomas and trumpeter-composer Hannibal Lokumbe will be performing an evening concert. Best of all, that afternoon the Tremč Brass Band and the Black Men of Labor steppers will be leading a second-line parade around the streets of old town Bastrop in the afternoon. (The parade pays tribute to late Bastrop-born barrelhouse pianist The Grey Ghost.) And marching in a New Orleans-style second-line parade is another of those things you really should do before you shuffle off this mortal coil, and unlike those that take place in New Orleans, the chances of this one getting cut short by gunfire are pretty small.

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