May 2006:

Austin Boogie

Upon landing in Austin, Michael and Joshua effortlessly assembled a group of friends that in addition to their two guitars and vocals, included bass, drums, keyboards, and the saxophonist from High Society. Mike got a job at an infamous local coffee house, the saxophonist took up another administrative position the high tech world, and the rest of the guys drove cabs. Most of the band moved into a house about a half-hour outside of town in the Manor, TX. This is where Vietnam’s communal living trend begins. It’s also the point in which Michael’s hair and beard began their independent odysseys to future greatness.

Vietnam played out rarely during their year in Austin but quickly became a local flavor of the month. Their ambitious wall of sound was still a stranger to Austin at the time – a deliberate stab at Spiritualized, Phil Spector, and, particularly, Michael William’s absolute favorite record of all-time, Lou Reed’s Street Hassle. The band toiled tirelessly - spending almost every night for three months recording reel after reel in Willie Nelson’s studio after hours.

The sweet Austin living soured pretty quickly. There are conflicting versions of what happened with the studio tapes - but, in any case, nothing ever came of them. The group also began to view Austin as a step backwards into their comfortable past - making plans to move to Los Angeles. As the date got closer it became clearer and clearer to Mike and Josh that the other members weren’t saving their money and would be unable to get out of town any time soon.

One winter night the two packed their bags, left an envelope full of bill money, and slipped off quietly into the night – not to L.A. but to Philadelphia - where they got an offer to stay for free with a friend. There were quite a few conflicting reports and open wounds involving their departure – most of which have been resolved and mended by time. The plan was to be close enough to play gigs in New York and other east coast cities while saving money for the west coast – though they had moved to Austin in the first place to save money.

go back to p. 2, welcome to my room | go forward to p. 4, brotherly love




© New York Night Train , 2006