Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends
of West Texas Music
"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."
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?"
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'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.
.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.
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
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
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
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?"
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.
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-Z Chelsea Street Pub Coldwater 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.
JBA: Sounds just like him, don't it? And I said, "Sure,
Man. I'm doin' alright."
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 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.
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
acts rent my coaches as tour buses.
2007 Chris Oglesby
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