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."
continued from page 1
I frequently describe Lubbock as like an old girlfriend
who - after you've broken up, you still love em, and you
dont want anybody else talkin' bad about em but -
You just cant live in the same place with em.
JHA: Well, its funny, cause I can drive by some of those beautiful homes in Lubbock that are all manicured - totally different than what we have in Santa Fe - And I can actually slip into that thing of goin, "Well, I could do that."
I mean, when you say, "Lubbocks where I want my ashes scattered." [Laughs] Its a weird deal, yknow? Its pretty ingrained in you, and theres a pride to it, yknow.
You would really have this pride where youd wanta show em "Lubbock. Then youd drive down some desolate street and try to explain to them: How incredible this place is! Yknow?
Chris: Thats what Im doing with this book idea. Im tryin to explain to everybody how incredible Lubbock is.
I have to tell you After youd called me to come meet you, I rewatched True Stories with some friends who had never seen it. And its sort of startling; The fact that somebody like David Byrne - who is not from Lubbock, so far removed from it - would come and be able to make that movie about West Texas. I mean, that movie reminded me more of "the Real Lubbock" than anything else Ive ever seen. [Laughs] Because the people there - inside all those little tract houses - are just totally bizarre like that.
JHA: Well, yknow, I tried to get David to do
just one more scene - somethin happened and we didnt
get to do it, but he wanted to do it.
Oh, God! I hated it all! And what was I gonna tell you about? Oh, God. I lost my train of thought but
Chris: I did too. I was engrossed.
Oh! True Stories! See, I went to this house for a rush
party that was on19th [Street]. The guy whose house it was had
been all over the world and hed shot all these animals
So there was a house full of all these stuffed
dead animals. Our motif for that particular party was a "Jungle
Attire." We all wore jungle lookin clothes and went
for a brunch at this guys house that was full of stuffed
In Fried Green Tomatoes I sort of got that room, when I got to do my sex sessions in with all the animals in the room
Chris: Oh, my gosh! I forgot that you were in that!
JHA: I was the sex therapist.
Chris: God! I know! Ive seen that movie.
JHA: David looks at everything like a child who is very fascinated by everything. I think that was why he was so able to capture that.
Chris: It is uncanny. When I watch True Stories with friends from Lubbock, they always have the same reaction. Like, in the movie when the wind is blowin and the camera is driving down the street past all the tract houses and David Byrne is sayin, "I wonder who lives in there?" And then, all of a sudden, it comes to the edge of the town and you see him in a big empty field envisioning, "Heres where more houses will be..."
Terry was talking to me about going out to the dirt with a circle of cars and everybody having a big dance or fist fights out there, and we did the same thing, I was tellin him...
JHA: Ill never forget this
We all had been
out all afternoon at somebodys house dancin. And
then, right at sunset, we drove our cars way out Slide Road somewhere
to a cotton field. We didnt plan it. Its like it
happened as a vision.
We all got out of the car, and picked a furrow and walked
toward the sunset, and I bet there was like 25 or 30 of us. We
walked real slow down these furrows until the sun completely
set and then we all sat down. So there was a line of us in the
furrows, all settin' down.
When we got tired of neckin, then wed go dance.
Chris: Its always, "Goin out to those cotton fields."
JHA: Nothing! Nothing out there at all! Yea.
We used to go out and park our car out on one of those
dirt roads. Wed have guys and girls both; it didn't matter.
Everybody did it.
Wed be out drinkin or partyin
and at some point - And it wasnt always at the end of the
evening - Wed go out there and take off all our clothes
and go runnin down the dirt road in the middle of the night
with the canopy of stars, where its just like: "You
and your eyes, runnin through the empty void of space"
freedom! [Laughs] And then wed
always laugh and have a great time, and then wed go back
into town and do whatever. But that was just something we always
did. One time we all got together and
took pictures of us out on these old railroad tracks all standin
in our underwear cause to kinda commemorate it. [Laughs].
JHA: Its about the freedom. Its about the space. Its like when you stand on that horizon and you could see all around you in every direction. You could feel like a minute speck of nothin in the universe; Nothin. And at the same time, feel like you are the Center of the Universe.
Chris: That was well said by way; I like that.
JHA: You realized youre nothing in the scheme of things under that vast, Big Sky; Where you see the whole world around you - And yet youre in the center of it.
Chris: Its like, George Harrison said on Sgt. Pepper's ; You realize: "Life goes on within you and without you." You really experience that in a first hand manner.
Also, my mother always told me something when I was a kid; She always said, "Never forget it! Youre no better - and youre no worse - than anybody else."
I think a lot of people who come from Lubbock get that
JHA: "Nobody helped me!" I mean, I heard this a million times. "Ive been the one that helps. Im always the one that helps. Nobody has helped me!"
I know. But it does give them sort of a personal pride
in what theyre doin,
JHA: Well, people in Lubbock are proud of who they
You go out to California, and everybody
is tryin to be something else.
Chris: That is the truth. And you dont have to go too far out of your way to be individualistic there. They make it pretty clear what "normal" is in Lubbock.
JHA: I see it as a town of massive contradiction.
I like that about "paradox" that you pointed
out; the stark contradictions. That was really good, because
that is true in Lubbock.
JHA: You would want to be different. You were sort of applauded for being different...In a way; The way we always had to tell stories and top everybody else's.
Its so weird. It is weird. I mean, seriously...Ive tried to think of it, too: "What it was about Lubbock."
Chris: The "storytelling" thing, too. I think because civilization seems so far away from you out there, youve gotta have this immediate reaction. I think thats an explanation for all the music that comes from Lubbock, too. Music is an immediate type of creative activity, where everybody can join in at one time and interact.
Because otherwise, youre very lonely out there. Its real easy to go crazy....Its real easy to drink too much in Lubbock, because it just seems like you just gotta get out of the house and interact with others or go just go crazy! And the only place that there is anybody is out in a bar. Unless its Wednesday night or Sunday night; then you can go to church. But otherwise, youre just sittin around by yourself Goin kooky
JHA: Yea. You gotta do something.
Ill tell you something else that was upsetting to me,
too: When I did my
play in Lubbock, I said to my mother that there wasnt
a big attendance - Ive usually had good luck doing theatre
I said, "Did it matter that the character that cussed
was a complete and total angel? That she was the biggest do-gooder-type
character in the world? Cussed a blue streak like a sailor."
When that guy from The Avalanche Journal - Bill Kerns -
He did the most thoughtful interview with me. He said to me,
"How does it feel to be pre-judged?"
Im reading a book that my mom gave me for some totally
unknown reason. I have no idea why she gave it to me. She just
handed me this book. [Laughs]
He was describing what it was like in that area of the world
at the time that those events were happening- 300, 400 B.C. -
And the descriptive words he used really reminded me of people
in Lubbock; They were so "xenophobic" and so bound
to the law - "You CANNOT violate the law!" Because
they were so concerned with preserving this idea that they had
that, yknow, God was gonna smite them.
It seems that description: That its the same kind of
environment in Lubbock:
JHA: Its that thing of not reading a book because its so scary to have someone elses opinion in your head; Because you know you dont believe whatever it is, and you dont want to tempt yourself.
And the Rock-n-Roll thing; The whole record burnin
The people who are out there lookin for "the
Devil"...Well, you can surefind the Devil if your out there
looking for him! You see the horrible things that happen when
those kinda people start loking for the Devil everywhere.
JHA: Yea. "So now Im really bad!"
Chris: Its really sad. It causes a lot of that kind of pain.
But I think all that - also - leads to the type of character like Terry or Joe...Always sayin, "I cant put up with that kinda stuff;" Who's not afraid to question some of those crazy rules that just serve to scare people.
JHA: Terry actually ran away from Lubbock with a vengeance.
But I didnt. I went with him; But I wasnt running
away. I was very happy in Lubbock, and I wasnt running
away from anything.
...People have a whole lot of the same needs. It takes so
much courage to live a life. Its something you dont
hear talked about very much anymore. But just to live a life;
It has to be such a courageous endeavor for every single person.
Because of what we all are gonna go through and nobody
I said in my play, yknow, that...I said, "Everything has its opposites. Everybody knows
that theres horrible times and fantastic times. And 'Real
Good' and 'Real Evil.' And total right and total wrong and not
much else in between worth mentioning." [Laughs] But every
single thing in Lubbock had its opposite. So theres this
kind of "Right thing" you get there, and then you forge
something other on your own.
There are just so many people from there with these fantastic stories and great lives. I have such a great life And I feel that everything Ive done up to this moment has been so fantastic, and it has been so incredibly bizarre; I think a lot of it is from being from Lubbock...
JHA: I think about
childhood there; It was a magic adventure. The weather is so harsh; When it would turn
ugly, the teachers would pull the blinds down so we couldnt
see outside, itd be so bad...So we wouldnt get scared.
Turn on all the lights.
Its that kind of thing: I dont know, its all those things that make you.
Chris: You have to pretend, and you have to create yourself - from the inside. There's nothing there forming you from the outside.
JHA: I'd wait for the sky-writing plane to fly by.
And it was just such a huge event, when youd see up there
in cursive "Coca-Cola", yknow? Just like, MAJOR
I've got to tell you one more thing. I dont know if
you can use this but I will tell you this funny thing:
Chris: Is that true?
JHA: [Nods vigorously] Can you believe it? [Laughs] Its like my mother is telling me; She springs on me - Not only did this man that I love die! But its like she was telling me, "Joe Hair died because of what you do!" [Laughs] It was like she was saying my acting in that movie shocked him into having a heart attack!
I was just like Whoa!!! [Laughs more]
For bein such a load of sunshine, youve sure
told me some sad stories.
JHA: [Laughing still] "I killed Joe Hair!"|
2007 Chris Oglesby
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