Too old to Rock & Roll, too young to die... Ray Lomas
A number of years ago during SXSW here in Austin, Texas I was standing outside a club with a friend who worked as an A&R guy for a large record company waiting to see a band showcase. At one point he held out his hand and in it were the two biggest pills I had ever seen in my life! I looked at him and said, "Thanks man but I don't do that sort of thing anymore"! He just laughed, shook his head and replied, "Don't be a nitwit, These are EAR PLUGS , not pills"! OOPS...and yes, I was more than a little embarrassed. I love all sorts of music but admit I am partial to Rock and Roll and every once in awhile I like to crank it up and push the volume to (as they noted in Spinal Tap) 11... Yep, we are living the good life in Austin, Texas! For those of you who may not know, Active Rain's Community Manager and blogger extraordinaire Active Brad Andersohn is an accomplished guitar wizard, click on his name and you will be treated to a scorching guitar solo!!
As an avid music fan I like all sorts of music, hitting the shuffle mode on my iPod can be a confusing experience because you will skip from Metallica to Mozart, Gospel to Soul, Reggae, old school country, Blues and well... you see what I mean! I remember exactly when I got my first taste of LOUD Rock & Roll. In high school, I skipped class with some friends and ended up at a house where there were no parents during the day! It was a pretty boring experience until one the guys put on a new record (yes, I am talking vinyl here) and the track opened with some sustained feedback that crashed into some loud chords and I had my first experience hearing Jimi Hendrix! It's funny but I still get a chill to this day when I hear Foxy Lady. Music has a huge impact on people of all generations and you would have a hard time finding anyone who did not attach some song to many significant events in their lives. I am not saying that Music can save the world but it certainly has a significant influence. Think about the collapse of the Soviet Union, I know there are lots of people who would like to take credit for that but consider the influence of the Monsters of Rock tours in Moscow during the early 90's and the effect of the full on sonic assault from Texas band Pantera who called themselves the cowboys from hell! And as my friend Mark Varien also pointed out, Mikhail Gorbachev was a ROCKER!
I began listening to all sorts of other harder edged rock bands and I have never really lost my love for a whole range Rock & Roll styles over the years. My friend, Margaret Moser, an incredibly insightful and talented music writer for the Austin Chronicle describes our segment of the baby boom generation as "SONIC BOOMERS". I have to agree that her portrayal is very accurate. The last time I was at a ZZ TOP concert, over half the people there were older than ME! I recently read a post by fellow blogger Sharon Paxson about her attendance at a recent ACDC concert, the Rolling Stones are all in their 60's, many new rock bands pay homage to old school rockers of the 70's,80's and 90's. I am amazed that Ozzy Osbourne is still around and playing before huge crowds. Face it, loud music is not just the pastime and realm of the young. To this day whenever I enter a club or show and it's between songs I seem to always shout "TURN IT UP", no matter how loud the band is already playing! Another rather juvenile stunt I often pull is when I am in the car and I have the music cranked up, I will sometimes turn it up a bit louder and crack the window some so that the cars next to me at a stop light can get a taste. I usually do this next to older folks and often much younger just to see the reaction!
As most of the music loving universe knows, Austin, Texas is Live Music Capital of the World and as such has numerous live music venues. I've listed some of my favorite Rock & Roll venues here in town and though by no means comprehensive, they are all good places to listen to GREAT MUSIC! By the way, for anyone who might get the wrong idea, Rock is not my only music love and next week I might list my favorite boot scootin' dance halls or jazz clubs but this week It's only Rock & Roll but I like it...ENJOY!
Antone's is known as one of the premier Blues Clubs in the nation and world and I can teel you the volume can get very loud at times. Home to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Vaughn, James Cotton, and many others!
The Continental Club is another place that has been around for many years and play host to local and touring acts in a smaller more intimate venue!
Emo's is one of several clubs along Red River that cater to alternative, metal, and other fringe acts. The last time I was here was to take my son to a Butthole Surfers show. I know the lead singer Gibby Haynes and he left an envelope with passes and you guessd it Ear Plugs along with a note that said,
RedEyedFly is a very cool smaller venue also in the Red River District! They just celebrated their ten year anniversary and have enjoyed a variety of shows here including a couple I've attended with my daughter! I would also like to thank the owner for helping me when I locked my keys in the car the day I took this picture!
Stubb's Don't be fooled by the quaint stone building. In the back is a large open air theater that has hosted road shows from all over the world. Stubbs was the place I took our son for his first concert when he was eleven. It was a around Thanksgiving and it only cost some canned good for the local chapter of the Food Bank. Nickelback and Saliva headlined the show; this was before they were playing arenas and my son was pretty excited by the whole experience. This is s great venue to see touring shows if you don't mind standing while you rock! They also have an incredible Gospel Brunch on Sunday's.
La Zona Rosa is a club just west of downtown that has been around since the early 80's. I have seen so many rock, reggae, blues and assorted bands here that I cannot name them all. Although it's been awhile the last show I saw here was a tour by Robin Trower !
Austin Music Hall is in a brand new remodeled building just south of the 360 Condos. A large number of road shows and tours stop here and again the music performed covers a very wide range. About 10 years ago I attended a Motley Crewshow here with a friend who is an architect. We did not have time to go home and change and just showed up wearing suits and ties much to the chagrin of many of the fans who just did not know what a couple of "suits" were doing at a heavy metal show. They must have figured we were cops or extremely bad-A fans and everyone gave us a rather wide berth!
The picture below is from the back of one of the stages currently under construction this week for a little party that happens once a year in Austin known as the ACL Music Festival where several hundred thousand music fans (OF ALL AGES) will gather to hear an enormous range of music representing almost every genre being played these days. It is one of the largest music events in the world and of course, it's right here in The Live Music Capital of the world. I am planning to catch a few shows and if possible will try and catch Pearl Jam ...another band that likes to CRANK IT UP!
Well that's about all for now but before I go I want to tell you one more thing...my daughter came home the other day and told me, "Dad, you know when you pull up next to old people and crank up the tunes?" "Sure," I replied. "Well, my friends and I like doing that too!" I guess it does run in the family, Rock on!!
It's a Good Life in Austin Texas!