Boneyard Media

Archive for March, 2007

Adams Extract Building, Austin, TX (1955-2002)
Vic’s Restaurant, Austin, TX (1957-2002?)

Saturday, March 10th, 2007


I’ve never had a good picture-taking habit, but I’m trying to change that. I deeply regret not having taken snapshots of certain buildings I always took for granted while they were still standing but have since been torn down. Like the Adam’s Extract building in the middle of a field on South I-35 on the way to Buda. I always imagined that everyone who worked there looked like vintage Betty Crockers. The odd thing about the great building’s demolition is that nothing has replaced it for a number of years now. I know that one should celebrate open spaces, but I can’t do it in this case.

Vic’s Restaurant in Oak Hill is another. It stood all by its tiny lonesome in the middle of a large plot of land since the late fifties. It was really nothing special food-wise (although you could get really full) and it had deer heads mounted on the wall. And here’s something – one day a week the entire staff would dress like Star Trek characters.  Several years ago Vic’s, with no warning, was transported off the face of this planet. And that large lot it occupied for decades is still there – mysteriously vacant, I’m estimating, for at least five years.

(Here’s a pre-demolition 2001 article about Adams Extract from the Austin Chronicle. The company moved to San Antonio the following year.)

[Update: See a gorgeous nighttime photo of the Adams Extract Building.]

Song ID: Terry Jacks – “Put the Bone In” (1974)

Thursday, March 8th, 2007


The most scorned radio hits of the mid-seventies tend to bring back some of my happiest childhood memories of kite flying, splashing around in wading pools, and frisbee in the park. Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun” is one of those. But here’s the curious B-side in case you missed it back then. A potential “Boneyard Media” theme song? Thanks(?) to Janet for bringing this back to memory.

Terry Jacks – “Put the Bone In”

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David Leaf, The Beach Boys and the California Myth (1978)

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007


David Leaf, now a successful TV writer, producer, and film director, is the senior caretaker of the Beach Boy narrative, and his The Beach Boys and the California Myth (1978) was the first substantial book about the group. It’s well worth digging up (a must if you’re a Brian Wilson cultist) but you might have to get it from your library since it’s never in print and goes for spirit-crushing prices on eBay. Or look in used bookstores for the potentially less expensive second edition (and, to date, latest), which came out in 1985 and is jam packed with essential “codettas” by the author. Simply called The Beach Boys (pictured above), you might mistake it for a coffee table fluff job, with its 80’s flamingo dust sleeve and thin, longish size, but don’t be tricked. Grab it if you see it (I found mine that way for $9.98, but that was around ten years ago).

Leaf admits to having found the inspiration to tackle his subject after reading Tom Nolan and David Felton’s seminal two-part 1971 article on the Beach Boys in Rolling Stone. By the mid-seventies, Leaf had packed his bags and moved from the East coast to the West and lost himself in his passion – the music of Brian Wilson – and churned out one of the finest bits of “advocacy journalism” (Leaf himself refers to it as this) one is likely to read in the discombobulated realm of pop music literature. “This book is written for one man, Brian Wilson,” Leaf writes in his intro, and so unwavering is he in spelling out the painful details of what he considers to be “ultimately a tragic story,” that anyone who reads his book from cover to cover will realize that he ought to have just called it “Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys Myth.”

Indeed, the overarching theme here is that Wilson’s loyalty to his family and the Beach Boys franchise – both of whom clearly feared any deviation from the successful hitmaking formula Wilson had mastered from ’61 to ’66 as a dangerous financial risk – was killing him artistically. There lay the blame for the collapse of Smile and God knows what else Wilson may have had brewing. Leaf never loses sight of just how insurmountable this great obstacle in Brian’s artistic life seemed, but he also never refrains from making clear his view that “an artist must put aside obligations to family and friends; he must put his art and himself first.” (Even Eugene Landy, the now discredited therapist, is treated with suspicion by a tuned-in Leaf circa ’85 for offering Wilson precious little in the way of artistic freedom.) This angle of Leaf’s, in fact – of the artist/idealist manacled to family expectations and commerce – is certainly as quintessentially American and epic (and at least twice as tragic) as the “California myth” we’re all too familiar with.

There are three other glorious aspects worth mentioning about the ’85 edition of this book: 1) We get to read about the after effects of its publication, most notably the fact that it earned Leaf Wilson’s trust to the extent that he was admitted into the master’s inner sanctum and that it provoked the apparently ever-smoldering anger of the misnamed dullard we know as Mike Love; 2) we are assured that Leaf is such a true believer in Brian Wilson’s musical gifts that he was able to write, even in the retrospectively cloudy days of “Getcha Back,” that “I’m part of a small cult that has complete faith that the creative resurrection of Brian is imminent”; and 3) we are now able to read it with the glad knowledge that Leaf, who believed then that “a collection of [Smile‘s] still-unreleased fragments pieced together with the music that has come out would make for an unparalleled collection of pop music experimentation,” has not only seen its improbable release, but he also ended up making the documentary.

The Beatles – “The Beatles’ Movie Medley” (1982)

Friday, March 2nd, 2007

OK, one last medley for the road. This Beatleflick tribute single (devoid of any sort of musical nod to Yellow Submarine) was a disjointed Frankenstein pastiche, but it did quite nicely, hitting #12 in ’82.

Top Secret medley (1984)

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

posted by Stanislav
The time machine now takes us back to the mid-80s, when the movie Top Secret was considered the greatest movie of all time (at least for me and my friends). This was a silly parody of several different movies (much like Scary Movie is today) set in East Germany about a US rock singer stopping the East German government from taking over West Germany. Or something like that. Kim’s Beach Boys medley reminded me of the opening sequence of this movie and I was (un)lucky enough to find that scene on the Internet. Now we can continue to celebrate the (luckily) faded medleymania. If you ask me, modern day mashups are much better, but this is all about “nostalgia,” not quality.

Top Secret (opening sequence)

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