The judge with Girl in a Coma's Jenn, Phanie, and Nina (photo by Faith Radle)
In an unexpected turn of events, County Judge (and former Mayor) Nelson W. Wolff became the fourth member or Girl in a Coma, it was announced today.
"He kept buggin' us, that he had some songs, and that he could sing harmonies with Nina," said bassist Jenn Alva. "His audition was disappointing, to say the least. Then, he showed us his tattoos, and that did it."
OK, OK, I'm kidding, of course. GIAC is still a trio and Judge Wolff doesn't have "learn the lyrics to 'Clumsy Sky'" on his list of priorities. But the tattoo encounter was real. It took place shortly after the State of the County speech given by the judge at noon on May 24 at the Omni Hotel. He finished his speech by introducing surprise guests GIAC, and afterwards Wolff and the girls took a million photos with the (mostly) corporate (and well-fed) guests who filled the hotel's main ballroom.
But this was no conventional State of the County speech. Wolff hates the fact that San Antonio, when it comes to major and not-so-major tours, is systematically skipped over in favor of Austin, and has some ideas to change that. He reopened the discussion that I tried to address in my 2011 Current cover story, and these are some of the music-related ideas he presented on his speech:
"• We have talent and we have several venues to showcase it: The Alamodome, The AT&T Center, the coliseum, and several theaters.
• Yet we are on the losing end to Austin when it comes to attracting touring acts and festivals – witness Paul McCartney’s sold-out show in Austin this week while he skipped San Antonio. When I was mayor he helped open the Alamodome 20 years ago.
• We do not have any outside music festivals that rival Austin City Limits Music Festival. Over two weekends in October in Zilker Park, a city-owned park in Austin, more than 150 acts will play rock, country, folk, indie and electronic music on 8 stages. Over 225,000 people will attend each weekend.
• We need to get in the music game and stay in the game.
• Three things we must do:
- Better relations with promoters,
- Create major outside musical festivals,
- Tune into the evolution of indie bands.
• I want to see Bexar County make its mark in the new sounds of music.
• Our best opportunity to rival Austin would be to stage a major musical festival featuring the new sounds of music along the Mission Reach of the San Antonio River. It could stretch from Roosevelt Park to Mission County Park, some 2 ½ miles of cool, green space on the river’s edge. We are working with the San Antonio River Authority to create a great music festival along the river.
• We need to work on our connections to promoters and provide promoter-friendly venues. Blain Tucker [manager for Gary Clark Jr.] is working with Charles Attal with C-3 promoters based in Austin to bring more independent bands to San Antonio. C-3 puts on the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago as well as Austin City Limits. I will be supporting his efforts."
Asking Austin to help us is like asking the wolf for ideas on how to better take care of granma. After all, the stupid "radius clause" (perpetuated by powerful Austin promoters) is one of the reasons we don't have more bands playing here. But there is hope. Both Tucker and Faith Radle (GIAC's manager) think it's just a matter of communicating and that the damn clause can be avoided or negotiated smartly.
So after the speech, after the music, and after all the guests were gone, the Current stayed at the ballroom for an improvised all-star round-table discussion: Judge Wolff and son/promoter Matthew, Tucker, Radle, Puro Pinche's Stephanie Guerra and Girl in a Coma (Nina, Phanie, Jenn).
Stay tuned, because I will be posting the whole discussion over the weekend.