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."
Chris Oglesby Interviews
When John Scott introduced us, we were standing directly in
front of the original artwork for a The Honky
Angel Tour concert poster, designed by Ely himself. I mentioned
to Ely, "I was at that Lubbock show at Fast & Cool.
I guess Fat Dawg's had only recenly shut down."
We agreed to get together after the ado of South by Southwest was finished in order to talk about the enigma and paradox that is our hometown Lubock, Texas.
I was to meet Joe at the Austin Pizza House, near the "Y"
at Oak Hill, near Joe's home. He was making preparations for
his tour promoting the new Twisting In the Wind album
and was running around town trying to get everything together.
[Chatting at the Short Stop drive-thru]
Joe: I was trying to hold down two jobs. I had to wash dishes in this place over on 34th Street at this place called the Chicken Box. So every day after school I would do that. Then I was getting my band together at that time, so I would go out at night after washing dishes, I would go out & play. I was probably fourteen when I had that job. Then I started my little band, so pretty soon it became obvious that music was a damn sight more fun than washing dishes at the Chicken Box.
You know Tom & Bingo's Bar BQ? And the Chicken Box was across the street. Funny ol' Chicken Box Johnny, he ran that place and used to go over every night and lose all his money gambling to Tom & Bingo at their BarBQ place across the street. We used to go over there and watch them gamble all night.
But Lubbock was like that. It was a hard-hit-on place. When you was living there, you just thought it was normal, but when you look back on it, for people to eke out a living there, it was damn impossible: This ol' place on some prairie that had not really meant for a town to be there. It just kinda' accidentally opened up.
Chris: So I'd like just any stories or feelings about
you growing up in Lubbock, the impressions Lubbock gave you that
drove you on.
Joe: Yea, an interesting little side note in it all was the Tornado Jam; the fact that the City agreed to do it thinking it was going to be a little thing, you know, two or three hundred people out at Buddy Holly Park. The first year eight thousand people came. The second year thirty thousand people came. The third year: forty or fifty thousand. It was unbelievable!
Chris: What year was it that the Cadillac ended up in the river?
Joe: Well, the second year this guy brought his girlfriend
to the Tornado Jam; they came out in the afternoon. Her boyfriend
had borrowed her daddy's Roll Royce to come out there, so they
could kinda' stud around. Her daddy was a lawyer, Harley Huff,
and he had the only Rolls Royce in Lubbock. So he had borrowed
that car from his girlfriend's daddy to drive it out there to
- you know - look cool.
Joe: And then the next year, Steve Moss, who was in charge of kinda' promoting & video-taping the thing, he just thought, "Well, let's kinda' set up a tradition, so he went and bought a Cadillac and just rolled it in the lake himself. So it was kind of a fake thing.
Chris: Alright, 'cause I thought it was a Cadillac
Joe: Yea, well it was in the paper. The Cadillac was in the paper, the Rolls never was. The next year ol' Steve just bought a Cadillac, and rolled it, an old 'Seventies Cadillac and rolled it in there.
Chris: That's an even better story. I've never heard that. Thank you.
Joe: Yea, I got a picture of the tow-truck pulling the Cadillac out. I've got my hand on the side of it like it was a big fish.
Chris: So when you were at Monterey [High School],
did you leave town right after Monterey or were trying to do
your music in Lubbock?
Joe: Yea, terrible aren't they?
Chris: [Still laughing] Those aren't there anymore.
Joe: No. Yea, thank goodness. They were pretty horrible ol' places, those kinda' Rock-n-Roll clubs where kids went out. We went out there and played.
2007 Chris Oglesby
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