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Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends of West Texas Music
by Christopher Oglesby
Published by the University of Texas Press:
"As a whole, the interviews create a portrait not only of Lubbock's musicians and artists, but also of the musical community that has sustained them, including venues such as the legendary Cotton Club and the original Stubb's Barbecue. This kaleidoscopic portrait of the West Texas music scene gets to the heart of what it takes to create art in an isolated, often inhospitable environment. As Oglesby says, "Necessity is the mother of creation. Lubbock needed beauty, poetry, humor, and it needed to get up and shake its communal ass a bit or go mad from loneliness and boredom; so Lubbock created the amazing likes of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, and Joe Ely."

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"Indeed, Oglesby's introduction of more than two dozen musicians who called Lubbock home should be required reading not only for music fans, but for Lubbock residents and anyone thinking about moving here. On these pages, music becomes a part of Lubbock's living history."
- William Kerns, Lubbock Avalanche Journal

continued from page 1
Chris: You had indicated to me that I should ask you about the Joe Cocker tour '76-'78…

JBA: We're gonna fast-forward to about 1974-'75: I signed a record deal with Atlantic Records. We're touring with everyone by now, and we've had many band changes…So there's an opportunity for a tour coming up that we're gonna be the "special guests" on; It was with Joe Cocker. He's got a band that happens to have a saxophone player in it by the name of Bobby Keys, whom we all now know is from Slaton [in southeast Lubbock County]. But at this point Bobby has not drifted back to Lubbock at all.

The tour's about 3 months long and we start the tour in Florida. The very first show we do, we're back at the hotel after the show, and this beating comes on my hotel room door. He's walking down the hall beating on all the doors, and he's knocked on three of four of 'em saying, "I heard there was someone up here from Lubbock, Texas! Where is he?"
I open the door, and there stands Bobby and I said, "I'm the one you're looking for." We introduced ourselves, and so for the rest of the tour we develop a friendship.

Then we go our separate ways after the end of the tour and he goes back to England to get ready to go do the next Rolling Stones tour. So that's how I met Keys. But he never came back to Lubbock before that.

As a matter of fact, the first time he came back to Lubbock and did any playing of substance at all was for the second Tornado Jam. I had invited Bobby to come play with me and my band at The Tornado Jam, and he accepted. We sent him a plane ticket - He was living in New York at the time - and he came down to Lubbock and stayed with me at my house, with me and my wife. We rehearsed together, played a date up in Amarillo, and then came down and did the Tornado Jam

Chris: So Bobby Keys played with The Jay Boy Adams Band at the Tornado Jam…?

JBA: That's right, and that was sort of his "return to Lubbock;" his return back "home."

Chris: Was there any awareness in the audience that this guy was originally from Lubbock County and has played with John Lennon and The Rolling Stones and…?

JBA: Oh most definitely! Oh Yea! Sure! Sure!

Chris: So everybody there knew who Bobby Keys was?

JBA: Yea. Most definitely. Most definitely! Everyone there knew who he was.
But that was really his introduction to our little clique…our little core of musicians there in Lubbock. Y'know: Davis [McLarty] and The Planets, Joe Ely's band, all the guys that were there in that line-up: that's really how he met all the Lubbock musicians.
Smokey Joe was playing with Joe at the time on saxophone.

But that's actually how Bobby Keys came back to Lubbock….

After that, a couple of years later, Bobby came back to Lubbock and stayed in Lubbock for a couple of years…

Chris: Yea! That was during the period of time that I was in school and goin' out. He was playing with Danny Raines & The Ace Liquidators. I'd go out on Thursday and Friday nights and I'd be thinking, "There's a Rolling Stone here up on that stage!" Pretty exciting!

JBA: See…Before we had met Keys, I had another personnel change. My bass player left the band and when he did, my steel player Cal Freeman said, "I tell ya', I know a guy that lives up in Lincoln Park, Michigan, who I think just might be the perfect bass-player for this band." I said, "Great! Let's get him down here and audition." That bass player was Danny Raines. That's how Danny came to Lubbock.

Chris: That's really interesting. I did not know that. So he's not even originally from Texas?

JBA: Oh, absolutely not! He's from Lincoln Park, Michigan. As a matter of fact, we sent Danny a plane ticket, and we had sent him one of my records and a tape to work up some material. Lubbock still had the old terminal where you…um…

Chris: …walk down the stairs to the runway to get off the plane?

JBA: Yea. And I picked Danny up at the airport that night when he flew in. He walks off the plane and he is just shit-faced drunk. He stumbles in and walks up to me and sticks his hand out and he says, "My name is Danny Raines. I guess you know yours." That was my introduction to Raines.
I thought, "Oh my God, what have got ourselves into here?"

….So anyway, that's how Bobby Keys and Danny Raines got to Lubbock - and back to Lubbock, Texas - through The Jay Boy Adams Band.

Chris: And just briefly, for people who don't know who Danny Raines is: What did he end up doing in Lubbock?

JBA: Raines played with me for several years, and when he left the band…Davis McLarty had moved to Albuquerque and was playing in a band called The Planets. They then moved to Lubbock and needed a bass-player. So when he left my band, Danny went to work with The Planets. And then later that band split up and he started a band called Ace Liquidators.

Chris: That was the band I saw him playing with Bobby Keys.

Okay, now: Let's talk about Lubbock. I guess when you were referring to all "that crowd" in Lubbock when you were talking about the Tornado Jam…Tell me about that Lubbock music scene, what the crowd was. What would be unique about that music crowd? What was it like?

You were telling me earlier about the place you were living and the coffeehouses you had played in…

JBA: I was telling you earlier…My first memories of The Flatlanders was when I was living on top of Buffalo Beano's which was in an old house where the Texas Bank building later was, at the corner of 19th and University. There was a coffeehouse down below called Aunt Maudie's Fun Garden, and upstairs was this head-shop Buffalo Beano's…I lived upstairs and played in this coffeehouse.

I was kind of the core of the entertainment and we needed more bands. I thought it would be cool if there were more acts playing there, and I got [Joe] Ely and The Flatlanders to come over and share the bill with me. They'd play a set and I'd play a set. But this is before I got my record deal.

Chris: Alright. So we're goin' back…

JBA: This was right after I came back to Lubbock from Ruidoso. Yea, that's my first recollection of The Flatlanders. They used to split shows with me.

Chris: You had these gigs you were telling me about at The Tower of Pizza?

JBA: Yea. The Tower of Pizza was over on Main Street. The Main Street Saloon was there but they didn't have entertainment then. Sort of the way that thing developed…The Main Street Saloon was owned by Bruce Jaggers and John Kenyon, and both of them were friends of mine…Once we got to know each other we realized that Kenyon's grandmother and mother were from Colorado City, Texas, and his grandmother was a friend of my mother's…We just kinda had a Colorado City connection, so to speak.

I was the first entertainment at the Main Street…That was kind of my "house gig." When I came home to Lubbock when I was out working with ZZ, that's where I would play. I mean, I always had a gig there. I have a poster that says "Jay Boy Adams every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at The Main Street Saloon," and I mean that was the truth! I was the original house entertainment at the Main Street Saloon.

When I would leave, sometimes they wouldn't even have any entertainment. But sometimes I would get someone to play in my place for me when I was out on the road, and it was always Joe Ely. Joe would come over and sit in with us, and play with my band there…We'd do "Dallas", and "…Bluebird", and "…Fingernails…" and all of those tunes.

Chris: This was now years after The Flatlanders split the bill with you?

JBA: Yea. The Flatlanders were split up.

This brings me to…What happened was: The Main Street Saloon was really the first little music venue that stood on its own in Lubbock. It's where all of the musicians, all of the music lovers just hung out there.
I had done some dates, by this time, with Jackson Browne and Bonnie [Raitt]…. As a matter of fact, the first time Jackson ever came to Texas to play, I opened the show for him. He was traveling with David Lindley, just a duo. And at the time, I was experimenting with my original tunes with a cellist. So I had a duo and Jackson had a duo. I opened the show for him that night and that was the beginning of a friendship with both him and David Lindley. As a matter of fact, I did numerous dates with those guys throughout the country from that point on. And David Lindley actually played on both of the records I did for Atlantic. He did all the slide-work. And Jackson played on the second record: "Fork in the Road".

But I noticed in your interview with [Bruce] Jaggers that he couldn't really remember how it came to be that Jackson Browne came to be in the club that night…
Jackson came to the club that night to hear my band and to play with us. Some of the musicians from Bonnie's band came over and sat in with us, and David Lindley played. And Jackson was gonna sit in with us that night but he got too drunk and he passed out…

And I'll tell ya' a funny story: I went out to see Jackson about this time last year - out to Los Angeles - and spent the day with him. We were talking about old times and reminiscing as people do when they get to be our age - or my age - and he said, "Y'know Jay Boy, the drunkest I've ever been in my entire life was that night I came over to that bar to hear you play…"
And I mean, he was just snockered, Man! And at the end of the night, when the house lights came on and we were getting ready to leave, we couldn't find Jackson. We thought, "Well, he's left with someone," or whatever. His tour manager was a little nervous, and Lindley was saying, "I just saw him, and he was gonna play with us tonight but he was just too drunk to get up on stage. He couldn't stand up!" So finally, my soundman says, "Here he is! He's over here!" He had passed out under the soundboard…

Chris: Oh God.

JBA: He was sitting back by the mixing board and kind of just "went away" and landed underneath the mixing board console table.

Well, Jackson told me last year when I was out in California, he said, "Y'know, that's the drunkest I've ever been in my whole life! I've never been that drunk since and I will NEVER be that drunk again. But the one thing that sticks in my mind is: I was laying on the floor and I could hear you guys calling me and I knew y'all were looking for me…And I opened my eyes and was looking straight up, and I had no earthly idea where I was…And all I could see was these specks, different specks in front of me, like I was hallucinating. I was seeing a glob of red, a glob of green, a glob of gray, a glob of blue and all these globs were floating above me…I was thinking, what in the world is that?"
He said, "I've thought about that for twenty years! And only a few years ago, it finally came to my mind what those spots were that I was seeing."
And I said, "Well, what was it?"
He says, "I was layin' on the floor on my back staring up at the bottom of a table and that was chewing gum that people had stuck underneath the table!" [Laughs].

So that will answer Bruce Jaggers question of how Jackson Browne came to be in his saloon that night. [Laughs]

Chris: [Laughs] And Jackson Browne can rest safely that he's probably not the only one that the drunkest he's ever been was in Lubbock, Texas.

JBA: That's true. Myself included.

Chris: That's a great story. Okay, you had told me earlier you wanted to tell another Tornado Jam story about Dan Duke's house?

JBA: Well, actually it was the story of the first Tornado Jam. Ely had been in Europe, probably in Britain. And he came back to town after doing a tour…Y'know, he signed with MCA shortly after I signed with Atlantic.
When he got back to town, there was a party over at Dan Duke's house and Joe and I were talking. He says, "I've been thinking about something: For the 10th anniversary of the tornado, I'm thinking about having a big jam and getting different guys to come in and play. What do think of the idea and would you think about playing?"
I said, "Hey Man, That's a great idea! Count me in, I'd love to do it!" He had probably got into town the day before or that day. But that was when the idea was certainly in its infancy and I feel very privileged and honored to be a part of that history, those three jams. They were great! The whole concept he thought of was an excellent idea…

Chris: Do you want to talk about that a little? I try to collect as many Tornado Jam stories as possible…

JBA: Probably the most memorable musically was certainly the very first one. I mean, it was just incredible! It was really just local stars…well, not local "Stars" but whatever celebrity we possessed at the time. It was mainly local bands. And he had The Clash there with him the very first year.

Chris: Who were some of the local bands that first year?

JBA: Y'know Chris, I really don't remember, to tell you the truth. I do know this: After we played that night…We were the headliners - I mean, Joe obviously headlined but I played right before he did. Probably before Ely even finished his set that night we were loaded on the bus and were taking off to play somewhere the next day. It was just in our schedule to come through and play…I mean, that was at the peak of my career. We were on the road 300 days a year by that time. So it was a hit & run for us that night.

Chris: Talking about being on the road…I want to talk a little bit about what you've been doing since your music, because I think its interesting. I mean your experience on the road led to what you're doing now…

JBA: Well, I lost my record deal in the late '70s, like '79…It might have been as late as '80…

Chris: And you had done two albums for Atlantic?

JBA: I did two albums that were U.S. releases and then we did another record that was a compilation of the two that had some different tunes on it, which I never even saw…It was released in Europe. I don't even have a copy of it; I wish I did. It's relatively unknown; not a lot of people even know about it.

What happened is…When my deal was not renewed or dropped from the label or whatever, obviously that was a big blow to me because…I mean, to lose your contract was a major blow. So from that point, what I had to do was, obviously, I had to make a living. And I had a bus; I had a truck and trailer; I had a 5-piece band; and I had a two-sometimes-three-man crew. I mean, I didn't want to lay anyone off and I certainly didn't want to quit playing music. So we essentially became the proverbial "bar-band" that played original tunes that had realized a certain degree of notoriety, that enabled me to make a fairly good living playin' at clubs around the country. And then from time-to-time we'd go out and do a string of dates opening a show for someone. We still continued to stay on the road and work.

But when we would come back to Lubbock -- now its seven or eight years later -- there's many clubs. Liquor by the drink is in; you don't have to have a private club. You've got Fat Dawg's, you've got The Silver Dollar, you've got Rox-ZChelsea Street PubColdwater Country…There's a lot of places that you can play in Lubbock and make a living, at this time.

And everyone has discovered Lubbock now: Stevie Ray [Vaughn] is coming through, Bugs Henderson, Delbert McClinton, Angela [Strehli]. I mean, you name it; all of the Austin bands…It's a good pit-stop for the different bands to come through and play…

But…what was your question?

Chris: Well, we were talking about what you're doing now…?

JBA: Oh, I remember…So from 1979 to 1982, we continued to do some recording…We went down to Capricorn Records, down in Macon, Georgia, where The Allman Brothers, Charlie Daniels, Ike & Tina, Marshall Tucker, Grinders Switch, all of those great Southern Rock bands were recording down there…We went down and did some demos for them and I really thought I'd get a deal with Capricorn but it never materialized.

I just kinda got burned out.

So now I owned two buses. And I was having a meeting with my accountant Mike Weiss, and - as you know - Mike has a very dry sense of humor.
I was sitting across the desk from him, and he says, "So tell me Jay Boy, in this musical career that you've got: Are you doin' pretty well with it?"

Chris: [Laughing]

JBA: Sounds just like him, don't it? And I said, "Sure, Man. I'm doin' alright."
And he said, "Just how good do you think you're doing?"
And I said, "Oh, I don't know. I make a pretty good living. I'm not missing any meals."
And then he said, "Well, you made $20,000 playing music last year."
And I said, "Okay."
And he said, "Do you have any idea how much money you made with your buses?"
…'Cause I was leasing my buses out by this time. I had bought two buses but I couldn't afford to use 'em myself and I had to do something with 'em. I was right in the middle of my peak touring when I purchased the buses. I mean, it was like it was gonna be a never-ending story for me. And of course, when I lost my record deal I had to do something with that bus, and I leased it to another band that my manager managed. As a matter of fact, ZZ Top wound up using both of those buses for a long time…
He says, "Do you have any idea how much money you made with your bus rental business last year?" And I said, "No."
Of course when he told me, it just absolutely floored me!
Mike said, "I think you really need to think about just how much you like that music…"

Chris: So was it about twice what you made playing…?

JBA: Oh, it was WAY more than twice! I mean, it was closer to 10 times as much!

Chris: So you had thought you were doing really good with your music, but it was really coming from your buses?

JBA: Yea. So I thought long and hard about it. And I was at a crossroads at that time; I had worked very hard for about ten years, and I didn't have a whole lot to show for it except the fact that I have a great wife that was very understanding and had stuck by me.
I thought, "Well, y'know, I've really let the tail wag the dog for the last three or four years. Maybe I should make a decision;" And I did.

I gave all my band members a year notice. I said, "Guys, New Years Eve of 1983: That's gonna be it." It was actually the end of 1982. The last show we did was New Year's Eve. We played at the Rox in Lubbock. That was the end of it. And I then just pursued my bus company full-time.

Chris: So describe your bus company real quick. I mean, give me the "promo-pack" description of it.

JBA: Once again I never left Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock was always my home base. I never moved to Nashville. I never moved to L.A. Never moved to New York. I was in Lubbock, Texas. That remained my home base until only about five years ago, 1996.
But in 1983, I went full-time with my bus company and quit writing, virtually quit playing music altogether, except for occasionally. Today, our company [Roadhouse Coaches] is the second oldest in the nation. I'm not the largest, but I'm probably number 2 or 3 as far as fleet is concerned, which is not a big deal to me. To be the biggest has never been my goal. My goal has been to build the best product and have the greatest, most sought after coaches.

Chris: And so who are you clients; Who are your customers?

JBA: The core of our clientele is Rock and Pop bands. We do Celine Dion; Shania Twain; Crosby Stills & Nash; ZZ Top; Bruce Springsteen…Pop acts rent my coaches as tour buses.
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