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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Mind If My Little Brother Sits In?

Roadhouse Blues was where all the action was in the retail music business back in the early eighties. Stevie Ray Vaughan came out of it, and it was buried along with him. That’s his big brother’s band, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, in their original iteration, I think. I recognize the left-handed junkie playing the bass, the one they had before they got a right handed junkie from Providence to play bass. I wasn’t a very good bass player, and I wasn’t any sort of junkie, so I never had a shot.

Bad players buy expensive guitars one after another because they figure a new guitar will make them better players. The entire music instrument industry is based on this concept. There’s Stevie Ray Vaughan, poised to be something more, but still a spare part on his more notable brother’s stage, with a borrowed Telecaster, a guitar as useful as a boat oar, putting the lie to that whole idea. People take drugs because they think it will make them as interesting as interesting people that take drugs. The entire drug industry is based on that concept. I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan drinking directly out of pitchers of beers while he played, and knew that sort of behavior is used to dial back whatever you had going on pharmaceutically, not get drunk; but I never dreamed he had dissolved his cocaine in the beer and was taking his yin with his yang as Cocaine Tang, but I gather he was. I just don’t have that kind of imagination, I guess. I once got invited by a mutual acquaintance to go backstage at one of their shows, after SRV had gotten notable, but I passed and just sat in the audience where I belonged. What could we have possibly talked about?

People think if they act like famous people they’ll get famous. I dunno about that. My experience has been that there are only two kinds of people in any room, and some face one way, and others face the other way, and that’s that. If the people on the stage try to sit in the audience, they implode, and if the people in the audience try facing the other way on the stage, they explode. I call it the Theory of Natural Self-Selection. Well, I just did, anyway.

9 Responses

  1. Very interesting. I smiled at your comment about the Tele. Owning a 50th Anniversary Strat and a 1977 Les Paul Custom, I picked up my first Tele last week and while it has been greatly modified, I like it better than the other two combined and am looking forward to the first gig with it next Friday.

    Hope the boys are doing fine……RJV

  2. I saw SRV open for Joe Cocker in Canadaigua '90 or '91, can't remember as i was quite a junkie back then. Same thing, poor Joe. SRV pretty punched Joe's retirement ticket that night.

  3. I saw SRV warm up for Jimmy Page's Outrider tour. I had never heard of the man. It was after the show that I decided I wanted to try and play the guitar.

  4. One of the greatest regrets of my youth is that when I was 15 I got conned out of buying cheap but lovely, banged up, scraped and scratched red Tele for a brand new Strat. It was probably an early '60s model, not that anybody cared about "vintage Teles" then. Or Vintage Fenders even, that much.

    The store clerk told me the Tele was "too crude for your first electric guitar. You won't be able to control it".

  5. Sipp,

    My testament:
    I ran out on a decent straight life to chase sex-drugs-rock&roll. I found 'em all and walked in darkness for a couple decades. A wealth of basses and bass amps passed through my hands. Booze and drugs never ever made any part of my life better. I am now twenty-seven years clean and sober and the bad days I have now are better than the good days I used to have.

  6. My Stevie Ray Vaughn story: I was working for a small-town daily newspaper, when the story of Vaughn's death (and the others too, but it lead with Vaughn) came over the AP machine around mid-morning. The news just stopped us in our tracks and it was very hard to get back to work—our press rolled at noon. Later the editor gave me the first AP news story that moved that day and a lot of the photos, as a memento for my son, a huge SRV fan. He was at sea then, courtesy of the USN.

  7. T-birds and Stevie Ray, Austin to Boston, Lupo's and excess. The costs were so high. Lucky I survived. Thanks for the clip.

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