Superego's second effort, My Bad,finds Free For All impresario Paul Minor making a leap into the treacherous waters infested by local bandleader/songwriters like Alejandro Escovedo and David Garza. Eschewing the high-tech studio and embracing the do-it-yourself world of the latest personal home recording technology, Minor has produced a solid collection of pop and soul numbers that grow on the listener with each spin. The rhythm section of Erik "E-Rock" Conn and Bob Mould sideman Andrew Duplantis lays a fat groove down to anchor the hallucinatory lead guitar of Jon Sanchez and the tasty riffs of saxist Allyson Lipkin on such pop gems as the seventies cop show theme-inspired "Waydown," and the shimmering 4-track landscape of "Lilies of the Field." Guest appearances by colorful character players Earthpig and Spot add an idiosyncratic charm to the mix on lounge-grunge genre twisters like "Beautiful Lie" and the anthemic "Under the Waterfall." With incredible sonic quality for such a low-tech recording siutuation, and a handful of potential hits, this album heralds both the arrival of the era of the self-reliant recording artist and Superego as a new contender in the pop arena."
The writing on the wall -- the bathroom wall, that is, at the Hole in the Wall -- is that Superego would be just super without Paul Minor, the ego. It doesn't help matters any, either, that Minor isn't the greatest singer in the world, a point less evident on the band's second album, "My Bad," than on the first. But "My Bad" proves that Austin's regining Sunday gig band would be nothing without Minor. Not only did the tireless self-promoter's high ambitions pave the way for this second album, released on his shoestring Nickel $ Dime label, they turned it into a first class recording. Minor isn't afraid to try anything with his band, or with his four-track home studio. The results are tracks like "Under the Waterfall" and "Waydown," which are great pop songs to begin with, but were given full experimental treatment, sounding excitingly surreal and artsy here. Even the sickly sweet "Lilies of the Field" comes off sounding like a brilliant, unfinished ELO outtake, thanks to the guitar work of Jon Sanchez. Superego still shines as a garage band, too. "Breeze," one of many tracks featuring saxophonist Allyson Lipkin, recalls early "Stranger"-style Soul Asylum, while "Breeze" and "Nowhere Worse to Go" are simple, smart, heartfelt rockers. Not bad, for an album called "My Bad." *** - Chris Riemenschneider
AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN
"Abducted by Ziggy Stardust, retrofitted with noise-pop silicon brain implants and programmed for weekly detonations of manic musical outbursts. Playing power pop with a sting, this Austin four piece proves that there's more to Texas than cactii and cops."
"This is the album every young band playing in every hole in the wall around the country thinks it has in them. It's full of sloppy pop snot and swagger, and under every reverbing garage guitar there beats the heart of a sweet pop tune. Just call it rock & roll, and excuse the production values, because there werenÕt supposed to be any...and excuse me most of all for turning it up and liking it anyway"
"As emcees of the Hole in the Wall's overwhelmingly popular Rock & Roll Free for All Sunday Night series, Superego often take a back seat to the Sixteen Deluxes and Fastballs of Austin. They're sick of this, says the band's new cd, 'Mellow, Robust, Satisfying.' It's full of pop songs with the prerequisite Replacements swagger. Frontman Paul Minor has wit and charm to burn."
"Superego, the third band on the bill (Starfish, Wookie, Spoon, El Flaco) provided comic relief. The five guys on stage, most members of other bands, played guitar distortion and lyric word-games. Guitarist Jacob Schulze periodically rubbed the speaker side of his little brother's toy raygun against his strings to great effect, later insisting it sounds better on Quaaludes."
"First the Rock & Roll Free for All, and now this: "Unplug this" Mondays. The folks at the Hole must want it quiet after Superego wrecks the place on Sundays."
"There's still no better place to spend your Sundays. Sixteen Deluxe is more likely to show up at a Hole in the Wall Free-For-All than some A & R shindig"
"Paul Minor has created his own live compilation every Sunday at the Hole in the Wall. Featuring several local unknown acts with a couple of out of towners or local favorites to round out the Sunday night Free for All bill, Minor has turned what used to be the slowest night of the week into a must-see. Sixteen Deluxe, Starfish, Gomez, Flying Saucers and others have used the forum as a starting off point in a city with far too many bands per capita."
"Superego-Riddled. This one's a rave-up from the MC of the Sunday night Free for All, Paul Minor. It's a pop-encrusted two-chord gem that tends to stick in your mind. Most of Superego's songs start off the same way - a simple two chord vamp and you're thinking to yourself, yeah, yeah, I've heard THIS all before. After a couple of minutes, the simplicity and power gets to you. What's really cool is the way they overlap melodic chord progressions on top of the stagnant root. You guitarists know what I mean"
"The Hole in the Wall's joint venture with Paul Minor, Sunday's Rock & Roll Free for All, seems to indicate that an early-week show can draw large crowds and that quality bands are - at least once in a while - willing to play for little money with hopes that the exposure can lead to better bookings and drawing power later."
" Is there really anything important happening musically here that you can't keep up with by attending the Sunday night Free for All at the Hole in the Wall?"
" Superego's debut cd, the aptly titled Mellow, Robust, Satisfying, hits town with lots of pop and growl...This is Minor's town"
" Free for All may come off as the pack's most cohesive compilation, with producer Mike McCarthy's studio sessions somehow weaving a pop thread that makes El Flaco and Earthpig & Fire appear to belong together, just like the Hole in the Wall gigs of the same name."
"The Rock & Roll Free-For-All compilation, produced by Superego frontman Paul Minor, tops the KVRX radio playlist at #1 this week. KVRX is the student radio station at UT, and a great indicator of popular local music. Funny thing is, the compilation is still not available in the stores. It must be all those copies that Minor is selling out of the back of his pick-up."
Austin Music Network
"The Superego cd is the best I have heard in awhile, especially from
the ones I received at South by Southwest."
"Named after the Sunday night "Free-For-All" at the Hole in the Wall, which these acts have played at least once, this album is made in the right spirit and some of the tracks are first-rate...but you wonder why they didn't just record the thing live at the Hole, where at least they'd get some crowd energy."
"If bands from other genres would cooperate with each other like alternative acts, there'd be less backbiting and more music. Tonight at the Green Onion, Jet Jaguar will open for Austin-based Superego. Christian, from Jet Jaguar, called specifically to extol the virtues of Superego and its leader, Paul Minor. Minor and the members of Superego, who also work with groups ranging from Flying Saucers to the Alejandro Escovedo Orchestra, front the Rock & Roll Free-For-Alls on Sundays at the Hole in the Wall in Austin. More than a few Alamo town bands have been invited to crank it up and pump it out at the Free-For-Alls, thus giving industrious local acts a toehold on a scene that appears to be closed to outsiders. Superego, judging by its 'Mellow, Robust, Satisfying' album on the indie Nickel & Dime label, mixes reverb-driven power chords with pop/rock sensibilities for a sound that's cool, catchy, and quite able to make people jump straight up and down."
San Antonio Express-News
"Like Derek O'Brien at Antone's or Paul Minor at the Hole in the Wall, Jon Blondell has quickly become Cedar Street's in-house legend--both the club's public face and the musician to whom a younger artist or club owner can look for long-term quality, loyalty, and professionalism..."
"Recommended: Anniversary season is upon us once again, and it's 23 years and counting for the Hole in the Wall, which caps off its weekend birthday with a kick-ass Free-For-All featuring Warner Bros. signees Sixteen Deluxe, Wookie, Lyman Hardy's Goin' Along Feelin' Just Fine, and of course your host, Paul Minor and his Superego..."
"Superego is a Freudian term used to describe the part of the human psyche that controls the spiritual side of human nature. It is also the name of one of AustinÕs best bands. In that respect, itÕs understandable that they would call themselves Superego... On the whole, this album is a must-buy and ten dollars is way beyond reasonable. With its melodic music and realistic lyrics mixed with the sheer talent and rich passion for music exhibited by Superego, 'Mellow Robust Satisfying' is nothing but and so much more."
"Paul Minor's Superego is an apt name. Superego has been playing every Sunday at the Rock & Roll Free-For-All at the Hole in the Wall for over a year now and it shows. They have that repetitive, but powerful song writing technique that slowly grips and lulls you into a state of hypnosis. It's not ethereal or new age, it's the chord progressions that increase in power and intensity with repetition. These are hook filled pop gems not too far removed from some of the 70's pop hooks from the like of Big Star or the Pictures. Minor's choice of lyrics are simplistic, but not overdone. His ability to keep the chords moving without losing the listener with unnecessary junk keeps these songs from turning into the dreck of 70's fusion. In other words, this guy can write."
"One person feeling a little less than pleased right now is Superego guitarist Jacob Schulze, who last Sunday played his last show prior to taking the roadie position with 16D. (Andrew Duplantis returned to the Superego fold that week after parting amicably with Bob Mould.) Super-man Paul Minor says that while trading insults from the stage with an audience member named Nora, Schulze informed the Californicate that her kind was doing nothing but "raising our rents and clogging up Mopac," to which she replied with a threat to "break his nose" after the show if he continued. He did, and she did. Minor notes, "He was wearing glasses!"
"Bob MouldÕs sideman on the tour, Andrew Duplantis, will be onstage Sunday at the second anniversary of the Free-For-All at the Hole in the Wall. Duplantis, who will be celebrating his own 25th birthday, joins frontman Paul Minor (whoÕs celebrating his 30th), drummer Kevin Pearson, and guitarists Jon Sanchez and Jacob Schulze (whoÕs celebrating finally getting his car out of my yard)."
"Free-For-All disc: A compilation of artists who have played at Austin's Hole in the Wall at one time. The Hole has historically been supportive of new bands and a place where touring bands often drop by to check out the local talent. Scenester Paul Minor deserves credit for rounding up cool bands for the comp and Mike McCarthy's production is excellent...Probably of more interest to bands than the general public but then everyone in this town is in a band."
Pop Culture Press
"Confidential to the creators of The Stalker, the anti-Urge Overkill zine, whose operations are now based outta Austin: Paul Minor used to be in a band called the Urge, so you should harass him, too."
"A whiskey-drenched, pill-addled lead guitarist plays for his life to pay off $300 used car purchased from the megalomaniac singerÕs dead grandpa. Sundays at 10, starring Jonny Flambeaux, Lightning Rod, Droobie, and Goatee Boy..."
Austin MusicianÕs Register
"Superego canÕt really want to follow FastballÕs set. But they do--and without the aid of any songs, too. One more drink and IÕll go home. Paul Minor and Jon Sanchez keep at at though, grinding on their guitars, waiting for a few songs to show up. Finally they do, in the guise of Big Star, and Alejandr-er, IggyÕs "I Wanna be Your Dog." But itÕs too late, the place is already raging hard. So was my head the next morning. It was a night when everything went wrong, and it wasn't half bad."
"A couple of e-mails came in asserting that Superego guitarist Jacob Schulze's nose was not actually broken by the audience member who slugged him at the Free-For-All, as stated here last week. One writer explained, 'I'm pretty sure that if Nora had wanted to break his nose, she would have done so. Sure was a nice solid punch, though.'"
"Some bands make movie soundtracks, others are destined to go straight
to video. Paul Minor reports that several Superego tracks are on the soundtrack
to the upcoming
"Bob Mould states, 'I wanted people to see how I write songs, how I hear things in my head. Now playing it has been an odd thing. (Superego's) Andrew Duplantis was out playing bass with me, and musically, that was really neat. But we're not working together anymore in the duo setting. That was another thing, just something that I tried that I thought might be interesting. And it was, but maybe it wasn't appropriate for where I'm at right now...' Preceding Mould will be short sets by Matt Hammond, Jacob Schulze, and even Mould's erstwhile partner, Andrew Duplantis. ('An amazing player,' Mould says. 'God, if I was going to put a band together or do something more full, Andrew would be an incredible asset.')"
"So what about the plight of original-material rock & roll bands? Generally, say the booking agents, rock acts fare better in the college environment than the corporate and private scenes. So much so, in fact, that these musicians have always been an integral component of the party circuit by moonlighting in cover bands. Of late, Paul Minor has become a prime example of an artist comfortable riding the fence, as the leader of his own Superego and as part of the Argyles -- one of the wedding circuit's most successful cover outfits. Minor says his share of Argyles' money goes directly into financing the Superego, which, thanks to the subsidy, can afford to play the Rock & Roll Free-for-All at Hole in the Wall for the exposure and produce both a quality website and CD. 'By playing in a cover band, I can afford a lot of things I couldn't before," says Minor, who admits the Argyles money makes it less imperative that he book $50 gigs in Houston. 'But when I'm playing out of town with the Argyles, I always carry a few Superego discs with me. Since the shows are usually over early, I can go out into a new city and try and get Superego gigs in person. I've got to always think about the Superego, because I realize that the money and comfort level from the Argyles can make for one of those velvet ruts, where it becomes all you're doing creatively...The money's good, " says Minor, "but by the time you've loaded equipment, driven across the state, played and slept off the trip well enough to get back into real life, it can work out to as little as $10-12 an hour.' "
"Javelin Boot always intended on becoming an original music band. It wasn't until 1985, however, that the real splitting of the single Boot atom came along with two conscious decisions they'd made. The first was to make the jump from parties (as Javelin Boot the originals band) to club gigs. The second was to graduate (as Javelin Boot the cover band) from their friends' backyards to well-paying frat party gigs. One big step in this progression came when they met Paul Minor, then in the Urge, whose introduction to the Boot came in the form of an impressed "Wow! You guys play the Plimsouls!" Minor managed to convince Tom Bowie at the Texas Union that for much less than he was paying a certain hot cover band, he could get both the Urge and the Boot -- and an equal-sized crowd as well. The band that Minor scuttled with this suggestion, by the way, was the Argyles, whose ranks he joined full-time earlier this year."
"Ironically, in a town renowned for its support of original artistry,
some musicians have been paying their bills by forming Neil Diamond or
Jimmy Buffet cover bands or working up Beatles tunes to play at deb parties.
Even Superego frontman Paul Minor, organizer of the Hole in the Wall's
weekly Rock 'n' Roll Free-for-All, a cutting edge showcase of new, original
talent in town, makes most of his money in a longtime cover band called
the Argyles. The group plays everything from "Pretty Woman" to "Girl Ipanema'
at everywhere from country clubs to Christmas parties for the president
of the State Bar of Texas. "I make more money (in the Argyles) than I do
at my fulltime state job," said Minor, who works 40 hours a week at the
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He said that all this
side activity is just part of the dues you have to pay for the privilege
of playing original music in Austin.
"Anybody who doesn't have a fulltime job shouldn't be in a band," he continued."
From "Is the Boom a Bust for Austin's Local Music Scene?"
Austin American-Statesman 10-17-96
"Paul Minor's Rock & Roll Free-for-All at the Hole in the Wall We at the Chronicle confess to having a special affection for 30-year-old Austin native Paul Minor. At the age of 16, Minor presented himself to us as a music intern and -- since we probably earned the equivalent of his weekly allowance back then -- we worked his willing little butt to the bone. What he learned was that he did not want be a journalist, and he has amply proved his mettle as a musician in the ensuing years. So here's to the Free-for-All, to Paul Minor, to the beloved Hole in the Wall, and to all the musicians who have performed those Sunday nights. Traditions, after all, must be kept up."
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