"Songwriter Paul Minor has Major Talent"
TEXAS MUSIC MAGAZINE
Majoring in Paul Minor!
Paul Minor has had a long, interesting
career in the Austin music business -- all the way back to his high
school daze. He also has a Master's degree in conflict resolution --
practical stuff for a bandleader.
For nearly a decade he hosted the Rock and Roll Free for All at the Hole in the Wall, giving space for such bands as Spoon, Fastball, Rilo Kiley, the Scabs and You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead (and countless others). I personally know little of this history -- and only very recently have I focused in on the man some have dubbed the "urban cowboy." I DO remember the buzz over the release of Paul's earlier solo CD, but never actually listened to the songs or even caught a live show. So I come to his new CD, "The Marfa Project," as a newcomer to Minor Productions -- except that my pal Bryce Clifford highly recommends his new roommate and his music.
The other night at the Hole in the Wall began with a hot set from Sheboygan -- which I totally missed in order to hang out with my friend Esther as her brother Josh's band The Afters played at Momo's Club. I HATE to miss Sheboygan sets! But Rusty and Cory hung out all evening, and Cory even got up and sang with Paul and the band -- Jeff Johnston on bass, Gary Newcomb on pedal steel, Austin Jenkins on guitar, and Steve McCarthy on drums. [Mind you, David Beebe (also bongos and harp) and Wayne Duncan split the drumming on the CD, which also featured Adam Bork on keys, Michael Crow on Moog, chimes and trumpet, Chip Dolan on piano, organ and accordian, Matt Hubbard on piano and organ, Mario Matteoli (also at the show) on guitar and mandolin, and Gregory Smelley on bass (along with JJ, who also played saw and chimes).]
I gotta say that my early favorite here is "Windmills," a real folk song about hanging out in the Texas Hill Country ... sampling the grapes at the Luckenbach vineyard, stopping beside an old windmill and took a few pictures ... but this song is really about the joy of togetherness now lost. "Here I Am" sings of a two-lane road that opens up my mind and lightens up my load. Love the keyboards on this one. "Lord Help Me" also reaches back into the depths of the author's soul -- it is an all out moan that comes from Minor's childhood days in inner city Houston. I would love to hear Ben Harper get hold of this one -- with the Blind Boys of Alabama (for example).
The CD opens with "Devil May Care," a song that Fastball ought to record! It could be their biggest hit since "The Way." The bridge is especially memorable -- "I'm just another disappointed soul without a clue." Another favorite is "Afterthought," which opens with that anthemic strum and then the haunting harmonica ... that makes you beg for the lyrics to begin. And so we get, "I lost my mind with my heart's assistance," and "I put you before me as an afterthought." I hear this song live with a big organ solo and maybe even a falsetto vocal -- this is another ditty just waiting to be covered by a major artist. Minor makes it wistful ... but you really want to have this lyric and the melodies burn deep into your DNA.
"Slow Burn" is maybe the most Dwight Yoakam song here, a real honky tonker. And, yes, Bandstanders, you can dance to it. But then, "Lettin Off Steam" is more George Strait -- the boys in the band just lettin' off steam. "Out of My System," cowritten with Matteoli, is the bounciest tune on the record. "Lucy" shows yet another vocal style, closer to Jimmy Buffett (with bongos yet). The final cut, "Live and Breathe," is another traditional ballad, and the more I listen the more I like Minor doing this type of music (kinda like McGuinn with the Byrds singing Dylan). And, as noted, his songwriting provides great opportunities for some of his pals. - Duggan Flanikin
Paul Minor’s Dylanesque folk rock finds cues from the Beatles as well,
forming a poppier, catchy element; his new CD Marfa Project is another
great addition to your Austin collection. - Dante Dominick
"Join Paul Minor as he celebrates the release of his latest album, "Shadow Figure." This all-acoustic project is reminiscent of Dylan, but with an added touch of alternative country. Piano, harmonica, bass, musical saw and fiddle combine to create an eclectic twang. Singer/songwriter Minor pens lyrics that play over and over in your head, long after the music has stopped. His gift for melodies echoes Elvis Costello's, but his Texas voice makes him truly Austin. If you're new to Paul Minor, don't miss this stand-out performance." - Lauren Clonts
AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN - Best Bet 6/19/06
"... It’s a small price to pay to have Sunday night all to yourself – at least until 10pm when the ‘rents come in reeking of booze, weed, and old people sweat. Save yourself the recap by fleeing to the Hole in the Wall for Paul Minor’s new Rock & Roll Free-for-All featuring special guest Bryce Clifford. The Rock & Roll Free-for-All was one of Austin’s favorite mid-Nineties hangouts for scruffy, up-and-coming bands like Spoon, Fastball, Li'l Cap’n Travis and the like. The new version features only one new band per Sunday instead of several, but Minor’s Superego is still awesome, featuring seasoned veterans Landis Armstrong, Kevin Pearson, and Andrew Duplantis. It’s unlikely that the Mick will choose the Hole for his afterparty, but if he does, your parents will probably be asleep by then anyway." - Luvdoc Recommends
"The Rock & Roll Free for All, a longtime Monday-morning bane during the Nineties, has returned Sundays at the Hole in the Wall. Paul Minor and the Superego All-Stars take on house-band chores once again for a revolving cast of bands (Tiny Adventurers, Breathers, Sheboygan this Sunday) and musicians (Miles Zuniga, Matt Hubbard) that more often than not climaxes with a spirited version of Willie Nelson's "Whiskey River." Or it might be the late Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights," which Minor says hit home after he saw Fender sing it from the Hole stage at a Texas Tornadoes SXSW day party. "From that moment it became the Hole in the Wall national anthem for me. It's immortal." 7pm Tuesday on Time Warner Channel 12, Minor's "Made to Be Broken" will be the latest bit of Austin music heard on popular CW private-eye serial Veronica Mars." - Chris Gray
Video of News 8 Interview 7/27/06
Audio Archive of KUT 90.5 performance 6/1906
Audio Archive of KGSR 107.1 performance 7/7/06
Video of News 8 Austin rooftop performance 7/7/06
Video of Capzeyez Ch. 10 performance 7/1/06
"Veteran Austin scenester Minor channels Dylan, The Beatles, Beach
Boys an other touchstones with a gentle vibe and slightly quivering
voice, and then caps it all off with an authentically raw take on the
Leon Payne-penned Hank Williams classic "Lost Highway," complete with
musical saw." - Rob Patterson
TEXAS MUSIC MAGAZINE
"Paul Minor The Austin Music Hall of Fame songwriter displays the range of his voice, moving from high and catchy to soulful and deep, as well as the virtuosity of his songwriting. Spending much of his time helping other bands, Minor's latest album, "Shadow Figure," showcases his own considerable talents. 9 p.m. Sunday, Mississippi Pizza Pub"
"This thing kicks
off with a Dylan-esque song titled “Made To Be Broken” that would score
this cd a good review if I didn’t listen to another track on the disc.
But, how could I stop now? I’m afraid I’m in for the long haul. No
skipping through songs on this one. No sir, I want to hear what he’s
going to do next and that my friend is the mark of a truly great album.
For fans of Dylan, the Beatles and Elvis Costello."
EAR CANDY MAG
"Paul Minor may have booked your band into the Hole in the Wall, ran sound at the show, shared the bill in one of his multiple bands, and even sang at your wedding, but not until this year did he release a solo album. Heís corrected this oversight with the flickering Shadow Figure, a reflective reminder that some things are worth waiting for. Minor leads off his own CD release at 9:30pm, before Summer Wardrobeís autumnal guitar reveries and Chili Cold Bloodís whiskey-craving blues." - Christopher Gray
AUSTIN CHRONICLE - 8/3/06
"Paul Minor spends his working hours perfecting the sound of countless Austin bands. So it's no wonder when he does get around to his own project that it's ripe with balance and sensibility. Shadow Figure is Minor's first recording in three years; its songs, at first pleasant and rolling, become infectious and joyful with a few listens. Cuts like "Raincoat Song" and "Three on a Match" give a sneaking suspicion that George Harrison is his favorite Beatle. Minor proves genius at delicate pop songs. His vocal versatility (high and sweet, gravely soul, and Dylan-wheezy) reestablishes the lead in lead singer, allowing his band to fall perfectly behind the particular path Minor chooses. His influences are often hard to pin, drawing from four decades of pop, with the exception of two very Dylan-sounding tunes. In fact, "My Beautiful Child," with Elana James (formerly of Hot Club of Cowtown and, more recently Dylan's touring band) on fiddle, seems to come straight from the Desire sessions. Recorded by Matt Hubbard (Willie Nelson, Ray Price, The Small Stars), whose piano and melodica play as key a role as Minor's guitar and harmonica, Shadow Figure is a testament that "Self-Released" allows room for the highest quality in production and sound." -- Dante Dominick
AUSTIN MUSIC MAGAZINE - 7/1/06
"Like the melancholy musings of an armchair philosopher who likes to
sleep in, Shadow Figure is a homey, laid-back life lesson that reveals
its wisened charms at a refreshingly unhurried pace. Paul Minor's decades
of musical-man-about-Austindom provide plenty of songwriting grist along
with an acoustic ensemble of backing players like Li'l Cap'n Travis bassist
Jeff Johnston and Damnations drummer Conrad Choucroun. Opening salvo "Made
to be Broken" begins with an acoustic guitar and gradually slides into
congruence as Minor tries on a Dylan-esque intonation over stiff-upper-lip
turns of phrase like "St. Peter's guest list has me minus one." "Every
Star Has a Shadow" and "Three on a Match" tap languid Seventies country-folk,
respectively heightening the bittersweet resignation quotient with harrowing
musical saw accents and delicate, Jerry Garcia-style vocals. By contrast,
Minor's tongue-in-cheek "Tulips Two-Step" almost succeeds at turning one
of the world's oldest ribald puns into something your grandparents could
dance to. The catchiest Shadow Figure of them all has to be "Ordinary Gurls,"
which pitches quirky, pop-flavored woo in the direction of laptop-lugging
ladies of the coffeehouse. As Minor's jaunty version of "Lost Highway"
heads over the horizon, the album's warm hootenanny glow fades just as
gradually as it appeared."
-- Greg Beets * * *
AUSTIN CHRONICLE 6/22/06
"Multi-tasking Musician Releases New Acoustic Album"
"Even if you don't know the name Paul Minor, chances are you know his work - he's left his fingerprints all over Austin music. From booking the Hole in the Wall's legendary Free for All and performing at the Austin Music Awards, along with recording Fastball's live album, producing a Spoon video, providing live sound production for Austin's finest and leading all-star wedding band Alterego at happy nuptials, Paul is the hardest-working man in Austin music and is always on the move.
He clearly cares about Austin's musicians, too. In 2005, Minor and longtime local musician Chris Gates, in partnership with the SIMS Foundation and the Seton Health Network, established the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. HAAM provides health insurance for local musicians, in some cases literally helping to keep Austin music alive. Minor established his own production company, aptly named Minor Productions, and covers every step of the planning from booking bands and venues to handling lighting and sound. And if he needs to, he can strap on a guitar, call up a few friends and play all night. He even has hopes of getting some time to make a documentary about wedding singers. Minor says they are every bit as wacky as the Adam Sandler film would have you believe. He refers to this as "The Burrito Business Model."
"Everything is all wrapped up together, but it's organized." he said. "And it comes out right."
The title of his latest album, Shadow Figure, comes from Minor's concept of himself over the past decade. Despite playing regular gigs, Minor considers himself to be in the shadows: He spends most of his time handling the business and working behind the scenes. Minor was the backbone of local Austin band Superego but remains humble. "There were so many amazing musicians who were part of Superego, it would have been selfish for me to have performed as 'Paul Minor,'" he said. "Superego was a collective." Journalist Kris Pauls referred to them as Minor's own "dysfunctional family of rotating musicians." On Shadow Figure, Minor has separated himself from the Replacements-influenced loud guitars and drums of Superego. In keeping with his psychoanalytic themes, he describes his songwriting process as introspective. The entire album was done without electric guitar and was recorded at pianist Matt Hubbard's home studio.
The album is intentionally organic and sparsely produced, using only acoustic instruments. Even the theremin sounds on "Every Star has a Shadow" are actually bassist Jeff Johnson playing the saw. For acoustic inspiration, Minor turned away from guitar rock and went back to the basics of The Band, early Neil Young and, of course, Bob Dylan. Minor actually maintains a formidable Dylan fan site on his own Web site, www.minorproductions.com. You can also clearly hear an early British Invasion influence, especially on "Raincoat Song" and "The Truth Is."
"Every time you do a project it's a statement about what you want music to sound like," Minor said about his latest album. For Superego fans, the sound of this album will be familiar; after all it's still Paul Minor at the helm. The only issue with this album is that it's short at only 38 minutes. But unlike most vacuous pop records, Minor's album delivers great acoustic pop with a significant Austin roots flavor all the way through. The album closer, a cover of "Lost Highway," is appropriate and delightful, and the humorous "Ordinary Gurls" is a choice track for all who feel lost in this digital age.
As for the future, Minor is putting himself out there for a number of gigs in the upcoming weeks, starting with a live broadcast on KUT 90.5 Wednesday at 2 p.m. He begins a string of CD release events next Monday night at the Cactus Cafe on June 19 with Nashville Skyline." - Justin Patch
DAILY TEXAN 6-12-06
"Paul Minor writes the kind of songs that get stuck in our heads for weeks on end. Thankfully, with songs ranging from the alt-country twang of opener "Made to be Broken," to the Costello-esque "Raincoat Song," or "Ordinary Gurls," a sort of post-modern show-tune, he's eclectic enough to offer plenty of variety to our mental soundtracks. To Minor's gifted songwriting, add some of Austin's most talented players, great production, and a truly classic Texas voice, and youíve got Shadow Figure, Minor's fifth release.
Paul Minor played his first gigs in Austin clubs in 1982 at the age of 16. In his late teens and 20s he toured the country with a variety of bands including The Urge, Roman Candles, The Neptunes, the Wagoneers, and Big Car, intermittently working as doorman at some of Austin's most revered dives. In recent years, Minor has become best known in Austin for his band Superego, and for his work as a supporter of local music, in his roles as producer, promoter, soundman, and spokesman for the SIMS Foundation, providing health care for Austin musicians. His resume is as diverse and impressive as his music, and includes a Master's Degree in Human Services Management from St. Edward's University, album and video production credits for bands like Spoon and Fastball, and the Austin Music Awards Hall of Fame. The length and breadth of Minor's indoctrination into Austin's music scene is reflected in the maturity and diversity of Shadow Figure."
"Last Friday night's show was special, indeed. Mario Matteoli introduced his solo band, playing songs from his debut CD, Hard Luck Hittin'. He'd played an in-store at Waterloo Records earlier in the day, so he already had his band and some of his audience primed. The songs really translate well on our stage, and he could easily be playing on shows with any number of Continental regulars. Paul Minor hasn't been one of our regulars, but he should be playing here more. The songs from his new CD, Shadow Figure, were equally well-received. It's always great to see up & comers like Mario, and Austin music staples like Paul, step out of their comfort zone & try something new... especially when it's this successful. Congratulations to both of you!" - Dianne Scott
"Veteran Austin musician Paul Minor is perhaps best known as the public face of the Hole in the Wall. He's the leader of the club's house band, the Superego All-Stars and the club's production manager. He's also a local concert promoter, soundman and even a wedding singer. Despite all those hats, now Minor is concentrating on a new solo record, Shadow Figure. Itís a set of songs he believes represents both a challenge and a departure.
Minor's been in his share of loud rock and roll bands. But from watching other bands and looking over his favorite Neil Young records he stumbled onto a common thread that challenged him to do something decidedly different - to make a record completely free of electric guitars.
"I'm a sound man and I work with bands in the clubs a lot and I've started to find that I've grown weary of the sound of the electric guitar. I think that it kind of competes with the tone of the vocal and kind of make it hard to understand the lyrics sometimes. It's always my foil when I'm trying to make a band sound good. It's something I wanted to try,î he said.
Paul Minor musician, concert promoter, soundman now has an acoustic album out. By design, Shadow Figure isn't just different in that the musical saw and piano compensate for electric guitars, but also different in that the concept pushed him to write differently; to look for subtlety where volume might have once been.
"I think I've learned to let the song breathe and let the song develop its own pace under its own power without trying to adorn it, boost it, prop it up or try to find an arbitrary groove or riff to keep it moving forward. I've learned to let the song be what it is and just encourage a feeling,î he said.
Over the years, Minor's earned a certain reputation as a hustler - a well-meaning self-promoter. But for Shadow Figure, Minor said he's toning down a bit. He's not necessarily lowering his expectations or working any less, he's just not expecting a huge payoff. Meet the newly patient Paul Minor.
"I think my expectations used to be that there would some kind of momentum or phenomenon generated by all this work and intensity that was invested in a project like this. The current project is one I think will last a lot longer and have more of a sustaining energy, probably because it's a lot more laid back in nature. It's a labor of love..." - Andy Langer
NEWS 8 AUSTIN
PREVIOUS PRESS CLIPPINGS:
"For six years now Paul Minor has been the ringleader of Hole in the Wall's Sunday night Rock 'n' Roll Free-For-All, the Austin music scene's weekly circus of the local stars. The Free-For-All has served as training wheels for a number of now-national acts, including Fastball, the Damnations, TX, and most recently, Goudie. But it's not just the star gazing that makes the FFA the best (free) weekly music event in Austin. Every Sunday, Minor, known as the hardest-working man in local music, books three bands plus his own dysfunctional family of rotating musicians know as the conglomerate group Superego. Sunday night favorites are the illustrious Orange Mothers, the fast and furious Dismukes and sugar rockers The Arthurs. In the 11:00 slot Minor leads Superego, whose extended family of members hail from Fastball, the Meat Puppets, Sexy Finger Champs, Ginger Mackenzie's band, and others too numerous to mention. Minor calls the Free-For-All a "labor of love...It's an extension of the camaraderie that glues Austin's musical community together. Texas Monthly said that," he said. Perhaps the best thing about the Free-For-All, though, is the excitement of taking a toss of the dice when it comes to entertainment. The Austin Chronicle calls the Free-For-All "Austin's most convenient and economical way to sample a selection of up-and-comers." Setting foot inside the Hole in the Wall on a Sunday, one can't be sure if they're going to get a premiere look at the next Fastball, or an impromtu performace from Fastball themselves. Hole in the Wall alums are notorious for showing up unannounced when they get the itch for some laid-back playtime with Minor and the old gang. The no-cover show rocks from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. and usually, but not always, ends in a rag-tag jam of whatever musicians happen to be handy. From 1 to 2, Minor leads the leftovers through a barrage of his never-ending repertoire of covers, ranging from Willie Nelson to the Velvet Underground. Though he says that there is a science to making the lineup, Minor admits that the best moments come from random acts. "You're just throwing elements into a test tube to see what happens," he said. "When you're not expecting it, that's when the magic happens."
"Paul Minor wants to be a uniter, not a divider. In lieu of an actual band, he's turned Superego into a loose assortment of several Free for All-friendly musical factions: the old Superego, Fastball/Young Heart Attack, Kitty Gordon, and old cronies Chepo Peña and Jeff Johnston. Grand Champeen must have been out of town. This revolving-door philosophy worked great as a carnival barker's come-on to the Sunday night carousel that was the Hole in the Wall. Unfortunately, that circus has left town, and as a result Low Overhead resonates more as a memoir of a dying scene than for anything musical. One song, appropriately recorded with members of Fastball, puts it best: "The Cost of a Dream Destroyed." Low Overhead isn't totally barren, however. "Trouble Run" and "Electric Chairmen" work up decent heads of steam, and Minor's lyrics would still place pretty high in the O. Henry pun-off. But where Superego albums were once loaded with cheek and abandon, here there's only resignation and regret. Given the Austin music scene's ongoing facelift, it's certainly understandable, and hopefully Low Overhead is merely a holding pattern until Minor gets his mojo back, because at least he's still out there fighting the good fight. Unlike some people. " (Chris Gray)
Barring a surprise appearance by the trivia-loving Dixie Chicks, the
2003 Austin Music Awards' high point looks to be a salute to the "Hole
in the Wall Gang" headed up by Superego all-star and newly hired SIMS Foundation
Director of Public Relations/Event Coordinator Paul Minor. Minor
says he wants to focus on the Hole's latter years and has assembled a Free-for-All-friendly
house band of drummer Darin Murphy, bassist Andrew Duplantis, guitarist
Scrappy Jud Newcomb, pianist Matt Hubbard, and harp cat Ted Roddy. On hand
for vocal duties will be Jane Bond, Beaver Nelson, Fastball's Miles Zuniga
and Tony Scalzo, and Troy Campbell, until the whole affair climaxes in
a Roddy-led "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights."
"It's kind of like The Last Waltz and The Gong Show in a nice-sized, 20-minute package," grins Minor, who added the tribute will surely find room for deposed Hole mistress Debbie Rombach.
MORE ARTICLE LINKS:
Who Gives A Hoot - Austin Chronicle 3-22-1999
Hoot Night Fever - Austin Chronicle 3-24-2000
Last Temptation of Superego Reviews 3-23-2001
On That Note Reviews Last Temptation (with video clips!)
Hole in the Wall Tribute at Austin Music Awards
Free For All 3rd Anniversary - Austin Chronicle 9-18-1997
On That Note Reviews Superego and Hoot Night Fever
Superego Interview on Alt-Country Netherlands
Superego City Search Listing
Free For All Wins Best of Austin 1996
"It is mildly ironic that a site such as ours when reviewing this record dispenses with the more overt alt-country songs (ëMade to be Brokení with its country rock leaning and a forgettable cover of ëLost Highwayí) in favour of embracing the MOR elements. These are piano driven songs, hardly original, not breaking barriers but done with an engaging aplomb. There is a run of three songs that are infectious in a closing time sentimental ballad kind of a way, the pick being ëEvery Star Has a Shadowí. When things are intimate he draws you in, gets up close and personal you listen, are engaged - but when you contrast that to the brash pop of ëOrdinary Gurlsí (not even close to Big Star) it sounds simplistic and a little trite. ëMy Beautiful Childí is different altogether: his voice reaches out to you and the piano dispenses melancholy and hope in equal measure. This works best in the shadows, in the margins - when he struts and frets his allotted hour in the full naked glare of the spotlight the brightness robs him of the intimacy that he does so well." -- David Cowling
"Album number four from this revered Austin group, and the pop just
keeps on coming. Led by Paul Minor, long a fixture on the Texas rock scene
(anyone remember the Urge? Roman Candles?) and host of the legendary Rock
& Roll Free-For-All parties down at the now sadly defunct Hole in the
Wall, Superego traverses a wide range of pop and rock styles on Low Overhead,
from the guitar-driven muscle of "Nothing Surprises Me" to the meditative
roots rock of "Red River" to the retro soul/pop of "Merry-go-round." Minor
handles (almost) all of the songwriting duties, while plenty of friends
help out on instrumentation, including guest appearances by members of
Fastball, Sexy Finger Champs, and others. The production's a bit thin (hey
it's a labor of love), but this is good-timing rock & roll with its
heart in the right place.
POP CULTURE PRESS
"Many in the music community say the Austin Music Network is growing into the economic and cultural asset that organizers envisioned when the first dark, grainy music videos began airing in 1994. "I do think people watch it. People who are...not interested in the latest sitcom or reality program end up watching the music network just because it is different, " says Paul Minor, who leads the band Superego and advocates for local musicians." The Austin Music Network should never try to compete with MTV or VH1 or any of those high-gloss corporate entities. It hink they should just do what they're meant to do, which is promote Austin music."
"Paul Minor should break his guest list streak and pay to get in to see Aime Mann at La Zona Rosa Jan. 25. Even though she didn't legally have to do so, Sean Penn's sister-in-law paid Austin-based Minor $1000 for permission to use his band Superego's monicker as the name for her new label."
"Debbie Rombach will be behind the bar and Paul Minor will lead the Rock and Roll Free For All on Sunday, but no, the hole hasn't reopened. The no cover weekly gig has moved over to Beerland."
"The only error of the evening was in Schneider's failure to tell the audience to stick around for Superego, in the 10:30 slot. Superego, headed by singer/guitarist/songwriter Paul Minor, is a local Austin band with a unique knack for the power pop song. Various influences are evident, including bossa nova, country, rock, Cajun, and everything pop from the '60s - the '90s. This night, Superego was a little light on personnel with second guitarist, Jon Sanchez, taking a break from the group, and drummer, Kevin Pearson, MIA due to illness. Never mind, Andrew Duplantis, of the Meatpuppets on keyboards and Chepo Pena, of several Austin bands, including the Sexy Finger Champs, was all that was needed. Minor is the ultimate showman and delivered a performance that was more subdued and quiet than his typical Sunday Night Gig at Hole in the Wall. But without percussion, the audience was able to glean the sensitivity of Minor's lyrics, his use of irony and a clever turn of phrase. From the current Oh Yes My Friend, Minor played "Eastern Bloc" ("Don't want to put the war machine in hock, I just want to shut you down in the Eastern Bloc"), "Another Weak Attempt" ("Another weak attempt at bouncing back from experience I lack"), and Lagniappe, a song about a strange, Cajun word that means gift. From past projects, Minor played "Smokey" (a simple, autobiographical sketch that deals with complex issues such as racism, gun control, religion, and relationships), "It Scares Me" and "Breeze." Influenced by a recent KISS show in San Antonio, Minor opened both sets with "Beth" in homage to the Knights in Satan's Service.
The name Superego is itself ironic with the Freudian reference lost on most (that part of the psyche responsible for conscience and guilt), and many have naively ascribed a literal, uninformed context of conceit to the group. Nothing could be further from reality, as Minor's songs triumphantly deal with issues of low self esteem, lack of confidence, disappointment, and rejection. Minor blends styles and influences so seamlessly, creating his own fresh, special, pleasant genre. Oh Yes My Friend is flawlessly produced and includes contributions from many of Austin's musical elite including members of Fastball, Cotton Mather, Dismukes, MeatpuppetsÉyou name it, they're here and they're good. So what that Minor had to play maracas and guitar at the same time and sing with his guitar pic hanging out of the side of his mouth. So what that when they got to the part in "Tighten Up" (the Archie Bell and the Drells song) when Minor beckoned to "Tighten Up" on the drums, and we sat in silence for four measures. Anytime you can see Superego is a good time. For the hundred or so folks that left after the Lonelyland set, all I can say is that you missed a rare chance to catch one of Austin's most talented songwriters deliver his craft in a most sincere, personal manner.
Sunday Night Rock 'n' Roll Free For All is a gem of Austin music.
For 6 1/2 years, Paul Minor has turned this local music showcase
into a star studded weekly event. On any given Sunday, one can find established
local artists, new bands playing their first gigs, jam sessions with interesting
collaborations and even celebrities and rock stars. The Austin band Fastball
got their start playing Free For All gigs. The FFA has also hosted the
likes of Don Henley, Mojo Nixon, Quentin Tarrantino and Dennis Quaid. You
never know what might happen down at the Hole. But alas, Minor must move
on to bigger and better things, so the FFA responsibilities now fall to
Telray to continue the fabulous tradition of great entertainment. The following
are scenes from the last Free
For All in which his band Superego performed original music with Minor as host. Also performing were Household Names and The Stingers. You can still catch a Superego show around town, but it won't be the same at the FFA without their diverse brand of pop/rock every week. See photos at:
-ON THAT NOTE
"Superego's Paul Minor has been holding court at the Hole in the Wall, one of Austin's last bastions of local live music, every Sunday night since 1994. The Rock & Roll Free-for-All, as the hootenanny is aptly named, is a revolving door cross between the Band's Last Waltz and the Gong Show, with Superego serving as the house band. For many acts, performing there has become a rite of passage, and some, like Spoon, the Damnations TX, and Fastball have graduated to the major leagues. Superego's third release, Oh Yes My Friend, is as sprawling as the all encompassing Free-for-All, a patchwork quilt stitched together with the help of some of the musicians (from Fastball, Sixteen Deluxe, and the Meat Puppets) who've shared the Hole in the Wall's stage. Minor is seemingly influenced by everything: There's the bossa nova-esque opener "Misery Date", the candy-metal double entendres of "Tulips," the lilting barroom country of "Lagniappe" and the loose-limbed take on soul legend Archie Bell's "Tighten Up." Despite the stylistic hopscotch, Oh Yes My Friend is a surprisingly focused collection of Minor's pop-inflected songs and an extension of the camaraderie that glues Austin's musical community together--well, at least at the Rock & Roll Free-for-All on Sunday night."
- TEXAS MONTHLY 11/99
"Hit the "play" button and listen to Superego's Oh Yes My Friend. What do you hear? ...Pop? Yeah, that's it. It's pop. Good pop... To be more exact, perhaps British pop? Perfect. Nailed it. Superego has the Britpop sound. Hold on one second. Go to the second track. Now what do you hear? Something pretty different than the first, we reckon. Now it sounds like a dose of catchy, all-American pop. Now hit that button again. Get the point? That's the essence of Superego, a great-sounding band based out of Austin, Texas; a place where local music defies the drawly, chord-twangin' stereotype of Southern rock. Right where Superego belongs. These guys can put it all together, shake it up, and give their swaggery Texas pop a brand new spice. Superego is fronted by local Austin legend Paul Minor who has been called "the hardest working showman since James Brown (without the prison record)." The band itself has built their reputation on great music and regular live gigs at Austin's stalwart club, The Hole in the Wall. Since 1994, any good Texan could venture over on a Sunday night and hear Superego crank out songs that range in sound from Tom Petty to British Import to even the Cars. What a mix, and only in the place where they think they do it bigger and better ... Texas. . ."
"Strummy, chummy, and witty. Ironic and folky alt-rock featuring guest performances by members of Fastball, Sixteen Deluxe, Cotton Mather and others. If you like: Fastball, King Missile, Crash Test Dummies, you'll like Superego..."
"This Austin, Texas band plays guitar based pop/rock that defies easy categorization. Songwriter Paul Minor seems to have a bottomless well of hooks, both melodic and lyrical, and draws from sources like the British Invasion, Pre-Punk, Soul, folk country, Bubblegum Pop, and the list goes on. The band holds down a steady Sunday night gig at an Austin club where all of these elements probably started to come together and coalesce into a unique, unified sound. The production is dense and lush with beautiful harmonies and excellent guitar and organ playing, and the band is assisted by members of the Meat Puppets, Fastball, Cotton Mather, and other Austin luminaries --Tom H. ...Similar artists; Posies, Fastball..."
- LISTEN.COM Pick 12/99
"Superego: Wisps of Seventies backseat Chevy sex blowing across the plains of loose-fingered guitar solos. Straight-ahead, solid songwriting, very Texas. Serving you the Frampton school of rock, rich with hums and hooks. The lord of free-for-all mayhem, Paul Minor, and his clan tried to warn you, "Oh yes my friend!" -- Ray Grant
- SALT FOR SLUGS, Dec. 99.
"Every Sunday night Paul Minor and his band of ringers hone their FM-inspired power rock just a little more. Currently on their third LP, these Hole in the Wall linchpins offer weekly rock & roll history lessons, mixing their own meaty originals around a wide array of covers.Oh Yes My Friend."
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"As always, Superego hosts the Rock & Roll Free For All, a weekly no-cover showcase of local talent that's become Austin's most convenient and economical way to sample a selection of up-and-comers...There's rarely anything better than Superego at the Free For All..."
- NEWS 8 AUSTIN
"This week it's Superego's turn. The Austin-based band is led by Paul Minor, a singer, songwriter and guitarist who knows his way around hooks and rock. Superego is celebrating the release of Oh Yes My Friend, a cool, hip collection of tunes that finds Minor working with a crew of experienced players to creat catchy, compelling power-pop/rock..."
- SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS
"It's hard to note what's more impressive; the way Superego's Paul Minor incorporates several styles of music into the distinctive pop sound you find on Oh Yes My Friend, or his facility with words and music. Elements of country ("Lagniappe"), lounge ("Misery Date"), soul (a cover of Archie Bell's "Tighten Up") and hard rock ("Nothing in Return"), pop up, but never as gimmicks. Minor smoothly blends them into his power pop -- like chocolate chips in cookie dough -- with his reedy, melodic vocals adding that perfect dash of cinnamon. Though ranging in multiple directions throughout the genre map, his songs command attention. They are unfailingly catchy; his wordsmith-ery, smooth and confident -- check out "Toss of the Dice, " "Black Lung" and the especially strong "Another Weak Attempt," a hit single waiting to happen. Minor's self-production is a bit thin, most likely a result of budgetary constraints, but it doesn't much matter in the face of the talent on display here." -- Michael Toland
- AMPLIFIER MAGAZINE 12/99
"Besides offering incontrovertible proof that nice guys rock, Superego deserves your respect for the often thankless, but just as often glorious, task of closing Hole in the Wall's Sunday Rock & Roll Free for All going on five years now. It's not easy reinventing yourself week in-week out, but the reason Paul Minor, Jon Sanchez, Andrew Duplantis, and Erik Conn pull it off is because whatever else they've got going on, they can just cut loose here for a couple of hours. It may only be rock & roll, but most Sunday nights it sounds close enough to heaven to at least sneak in the back gate."
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"...It was up to Superego to close out the weekend, and they delivered, even though "Two Tickets to Paradise" was as close as they ever came to a trucking song. Nevertheless, they evoked past Hoot Night honorees Tom Petty and Neil Young on the new "Another Weak Attempt" and "Nothing in Return," and had the whole joint rockin' with choice selections from their bottomless grab bag of covers, this time the Who's "The Kids Are Alright" and the Replacements' "Can't Hardly Wait" (sadly, there was no "Convoy"). When the lights came up, Superego launched into Roky Erickson's "You're Gonna Miss Me," and another year passed into the books. Erickson's jagged sentiments don't even begin to cover the void that would exist should the Hole ever get filled in, so here's to at least 26 more years of truckin' for Texas' rowdiest, raunchiest historical site."
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"The Ego has landed with its third album, sporting a guest list and band roster of almost equal length. With members of Morningwood, Sixteen Deluxe, Cotton Mather, Fastball, David Garza's band, the Meat Puppets, the Argyles, and the mighty Dismukes on hand, it's no wonder head Egomaniac Paul Minor calls Oh Yes My Friend "a third Free for All compilation masquerading as a third Superego album." Such a round-robin personnel policy would cause most groups to lose focus, but here it only cements Superego's reputation as one of the Capitol City's most chameleonlike bands. The gentle bossa nova of opener "Misery Dance" bleeds into the cheeky double-entendres and Thin Lizzy-ish wattage of "Tulips" and shaggy Southern country/rock of "Lagniappe" with no real loss of continuity and a pervasive anything-goes sense of adventure. And there's more - the swirling Procol Harum organ of "Nothing in Return," the wistful power-pop of "Another Weak Attempt," and the snappy near-punk sounds of "D is for Dismukes" are three additional high points. The only better way to recreate a Sunday night at the Hole would be to put the "Checkpoint Bubba" sign on the cover."
- POP CULTURE PRESS
"Just call Paul Minor the James Brown of Austin, because he's definitely the hardest-working man in show business around these parts. Between fronting country-club superstars the Argyles and booking Hole in the Wall's upcoming Free for All Music Festival, he has just put the wraps on Superego's third CD, an all-star affair called Oh Yes My Friend. Here he's joined by his friends in Lil' Cap'n Travis, who only get sweeter with time, and the brash young Grand Champeen, who went toe-to-toe with the Damnations back in May, for a plum local tripleheader you just can't buy on eBay."
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"With Paul Minor in the house booking the bands, you can count on a higher standard of live music being offered..."
AUSTIN MUSIC NETWORK
"The Hole in the Wall's Rock and Roll Free For All features some of the most promising new acts in town..."
- IKEA SPACE
"HOOT NITE FEVER: Freddie's dead -- R.I.P. Curtis -- but the Seventies live on. Optimizing the recent acquisition of their coruscating disco ball, the Hole in the Wall/Free For All honcho Paul Minor honors the Me Decade and its super-chic, four-on-the-floor fashion. Among the all-star lineup of local talent revisiting early childhood memories will be members of Goudie, Spoon, the Wannabes, Lil' Cap'n Travis, the El Orbits, Grand Champeen, the American People, Trish & Darin Murphy, Golden Arm Trio, Pocket FishRmen, Brit guests Departure Lounge, and your Studio 54 hosts, Superego. Wide collars, coke spoons, and pet rocks a must. "
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"The Hole's regular Sunday night Free For All host Paul Minor recruited some of Austin's best indie-rockers and punks to revisit the era everyone tried to forget: Disco. Seeing host Minor in bell bottoms should be the only downside to this delicious romp, geaturing a flurry of Austin club regulars doing covers from the Disco era. Expect less kitsch though, and more serious musicianship than your normal '70s-retro show..."
- AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
"For album #3, Superego mastermind Paul Minor collected some of Austin's top rock talent - members of Fastball, Cotton Mather, Meat Puppets, Sixteen Deluxe are among the players here - to create some eclectic rock that suggests Elliot Smith playing distortion-free Sparklehorse. Okay, forget the comparison, this is some pretty cool stuff, including a fun cover of "The Tighten Up."
- MILES OF MUSIC
"I like it more and more...very good moments, original songwriting. It's a great record. I enjoyed it very much, because of the original sound. Minor, like Beck, is capable to use influences of the past to create something new. Although Beck goes a bit further, Minor creates his own cosmic popsound, which is cool. Whether its a rocking guitar, a little hammond organ, some bleebs or chorus, Minor uses all the ingredients for his strong, tasty soup. Bon apetit!"
- ALT COUNTRY NETHERLANDS
"This isn't just any Austin band. You've heard it before, but you haven't
heard it quite like this. From the easy opener "Misery Date" to the 90s
version of the oft-covered 60s tune "Tighten-Up" that closes the album,
Yes My Friend is an effortless blend of something old and something
- INSITE AUSTIN
"One of the growing ranks of Austin bands simply too good to share with the rest of America. "
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"Superego's third CD Oh Yes My Friend is the group's most ambitious, with a long list of guest players and an all-out radio-friendly quality."
- AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
"The Hole in the Wall could not be more aptly named. Residing on the Drag, this long time joint has been serving food, booze and music for an eternity. On any given afternoon you can drop in for a bite, hang around talking of baseball and beer, and finally find yourself trapped with 100 or so other regulars witnessing some of the craziest live music this town has to offer, and at bargain prices. The Hole is rightly famous for its devotion to regular musicians- people who often play nowhere but the Hole and appear happy about it. The Paul Minor-led Sunday night Free For Alls have been cruising on now for decades and combine debauched Sunday night revelry with a hodgepodge of rotating bands and personalities for the affordable price of Free. It's one of the few places left in Austin that you may one day feel proud to brag about, if you don't already."
- DRY HEAVE MAGAZINE August 1999.
"Paul Minor is the James Brown of Austin. The Mack. Nobody works it like the Hole in the Wall's Free For All man, the hardest working guy in the local showbiz industry. Pick up the Superego's third full-length, Oh Yes My Friend, and you can feel Minor's sweat; he wrote all the songs -- sang and played guitar on them -- assembled some of Austin's best barroom pros (Fastball's Tony Scalzo, Sixteen Deluxe's Frenchy Smith, Drums & Tuba's Tony Nozero) to augment a group that already features some of this town's best barroom pros (Andrew Duplantis, Jon Sanchez, Chepo Pena), and put it out himself. The songs? Not bad in a mid-tempo Fastball sort of way, particularly the lead-off "Misery Date" and its follow-up "Another Weak Attempt." "Lagniappe," as ridiculous a word as that is, works if only because you never heard, nor ever will ever again hear, it in a song. "Toss of the Dice" could almost be an XTC song, while home demo "Eastern Bloc" is one of the best songs on what is easily Superego's best effort to date. Playing, fine; production, good. The problem? A common one: Minor's no singer. The lack of conviction with which Minor delivers his own lyrics -- his singing is perhaps best described as lackadaisical -- undercuts whatever promise his songwriting holds. All right, so Paul Minor's not Austin's version of James Brown. Shall we try for Maceo Parker? He can't sing either. "
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"Great pop songs...a first-class recording...Minor isn't afraid to try anything with his band, or his four-track home-studio...simple, smart, heartfelt rockers."
- AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
"Superego is a tight outfit equally capable of sprawling shoegazer epics and raucous, balls-to-the-wall Stooges covers. If they're not running through "It Scares Me," a racing dance-pop ditty that hangs beat for beat with Low Life-era New Order, it may be because Fastball's Miles Zuniga, ubiquitous axeman Jacob Schulze, Deep Sombreros saxwoman Allyson Lipkin, or all three, have joined the band to whip up a few old Stones tunes or try and fake their way through "L.A. Woman." Week in, week out, anything can happen at the Free for All. And with the cast of characters that assembles on Sunday nights, it usually does."
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE
Sterling Morrison would be proud that Velvet Underground standards "Rock and Roll" and "Sweet Jane" remain perennial favorites at the Hole in the Wall's Rock & Roll Free For All...
- AUSTIN CHRONICLE
"Not content to mine one idea and a couple of riffs, superego kicks out catchy, jangling music marked by fuzzy guitar, driving rhythm and (mostly) intelligent words"
- SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS
"Austin's favorite lo-fi pop/rock band, with the coolest free weekly gig in the universe..."
What began in 1994 as an impromptu jam became a weekly blast of bone-rattling
rock and punk debauchery. Drawing from the musical arsenal of Austin's
top alt bands, the jam eventually crystallized into Superego--Austin's
favorite lo-fi pop/rock band. Their newest indie album, "My Bad--More Easygoing
Favorites from Superego," is set for release Friday, February 13. Minor
is joined by guitar sorcerer Jon Sanchez, the taut rhythm section of Erik
"Boom-Boom" Conn on drums and Andrew Duplantis on space bass, with Allyson
Lipkin adding scorching sax appeal.
Showcase: Thursday, March 19, Bates Motel, 9 pm.
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