Austin Texas February 22 2008

Posted: February 24, 2008 in The Roper Files


Hillary Vs. Obama and File23 was there…sort of

February 18…4am…Groggy and disoriented as the alarm clock goes off. Oh fuck is it Monday already? Get up, feed the cats. Fix coffee and turn on the computer. Upon checking the e-mail I discover one from none other than guitar god Davie Allan. I reviewed a couple on his cds on File23 and it seems someone sent him links to them. He thanks me for the kind words and reminds me that he is playing four rare dates in south Texas this week. Hate burning any of my precious paid vacation time this early in the year but I think this is going to have to be an exception. I’ve seen many of my guitar gods live and even met some of them, but Davie Allan and the Arrows haven’t played Texas since the 60’s. Dagnabbit, I’m going to Austin.

The timing is immaculate; work has come to a crawl. Spent most of Tuesday walking around with a crossword puzzle clipped onto a clipboard (looks like I’m taking inventory; by the way what’s a four-letter word for hornet?) and attempting to look busy. I put in for two days off right at quitting time Tuesday afternoon. Fuck work! Call my friend Baird in Austin; we get the go-ahead from his wife Susannah. Clearance! I’m doing this; Austin here I come.

Get up early Wednesday morning and hit the Amtrak station downtown. The bastards gouge me an extra twenty bucks for not buying tickets in advance. Oh well; who cares. I’m going to Austin.  Nothing can stop me now; damn the fates that bind me to this town. blog-illo-three.jpg 

Roll into Austin Wednesday evening. Spend the evening chatting with Baird and passing his vintage stereoscope. Baird has an entire box of stereoscope photos from the turn of the last century which show exotic places like the Middle East and Africa in 3D. Thursday morning I make contact with a cousin I haven’t seen or talked to in thirty years. Too bad there isn’t a cash prize for Americas Most Dysfunctional Family; mine would win hands-down. Someone has to break this cycle. A little apprehensive, a lot more nervous. This could go either way. She shows up with her husband (who I had never met) and we have lunch down the street. Pleasant enough. Feel good later for doing this.Thursday night: the Continental Club. My destination. The moment has arrived.

Baird and I walk up the street; he lives within walking distance of the club. Just around the corner from his house are the former digs of Charles Whitman. We walk underneath one of Austins infamous “moontowers”  ( )

We have a momentary scare followed by a laugh while waiting to cross a street. We’re standing in front of a vacant lot. A green light has just changed up the street and we’re standing there waiting for the cars to go by so we can cross the street.  Some “Aqualung” look-alike homeless guy appears out of nowhere behind us. “Gawddamn cars take forever, don’t they?” he asks in a raspy dried-out voice. I just about jump out of my shoes; had no idea this guy was behind us. We laugh about it later as we approach the club.


The band opening for Davie Allan is made up of three members of The Explosives (who I saw backing up Rocky Erickson last July) and have a blond go-go dancer dressed in a loud print Judy Carne Laugh-In-era dress and Nancy Sinatra white go-go boots dancing onstage. I am kicking myself for not bringing my camera; people are snapping photos left and right. This is one of the things that makes Austin so cool; in Dallas your next point of view would be you hitting the sidewalk in front of the club as the bouncers throw you out the door.

Spot Davie Allan standing around, walk up to him and introduce myself. He actually remembers me from my site; I’ll be damned. He seems impressed that I would actually travel 200 miles to catch his show and signs a cd for me. We shake hands and I walk away slightly star-struck.


His set that night was nothing less than stellar. Besides choice cuts from his FUZZ FEST and LIVE RUN cds (which you should buy from here… ) he plays Shape Of Things To Come, Peter Gunn, Elephant Walk and he ends the show with a smoking version of Pipeline. His drummer (who used to play with Agent Orange) beats the drums with a Keith Moon-like intensity. At one point a hot Latino bartender in a tight black dress gets up on stage and dances; this is worth the Amtrak endurance test, the cost of admission etc. alone. Aye yi yi!

We walk out the club satisfied with knowing this was not a wasted evening. As we cross the street we notice a large crowd of upwardly mobile yuppies outside of another club. They’re having a Hillary rally/ watch party of some sort. Ugh!

Friday we spend with our friend Mack White. ( ) We have lunch together and then the three of us spend the rest of the afternoon talking and laughing in Bairds backyard.


Saturday morning Baird dumps me off at Amtrak. The trip back to Fort Worth is uneventful; the usual staring out the window at the non-wonders of the Hill country of central Texas and burying my nose in a book.

Home: the cats are standing around indignantly waiting for food. The mailbox is full of bills; what else is new? But it’s good to be back. My own familiar shower; my own bed. This is the way it should be. All is well.


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