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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

Bonus Interview Material

Chris: I wanta’ shift gears here. One subject that I am wantin’ to explore is the man and the place of Stubbs.

DC: Stubbs was our greatest friend in this community, even beyond those all night jam sessions. I mean, you could call Stubbs up at anytime and say you needed - y’know, a case of beer after the liquor stores closed; stuff like that - And Stubbs not only would show up with two cases of beer; he’d show up with all the barbecue you could eat!
I mean, there were many, many times when Stubbs was available to the music community for anything that they needed. Anybody that needed a meal…
I mean, he was a great guy. 

One of the biggest deals with the the Cactus Theatre was getting Stubbs’ "thumbs-up" on it. I don't know I felt that way about it but it was a big deal to me.
I was in there working one day when we were building it; I was up on stage, and Stubbs was sittin’ right back on the back row in the theatre. He had just kinda’ snuck in and was sittin’ there watchin’. He was like, "Yea, man. Yea! This is one great place. I just love this place!" He said, "Man, we gotta have a Flatlanders Reunion. We gotta’ get Butch and Joe and Jimmie together here."

That was the last conversation I had in person with Stubbs before he died

But Stubb was all for what we were doin’ with The Cactus and Lubbock. I just regret that Stubb didn’t live longer and could be our guest a lot here at the theatre. 

But I really…I mean, Stubbs was the worst businessman that ever lived, y’know.
I mean he just did not take care of business. But he just sincerely loved people. With that man, there was no barrier at all between people - racial, socioeconomic - I mean there was nothin’…
To Stubb, he met a man face-to-face and he judged him by his feeling of what the guy was, and nothin’ else. He was real true…Stubb was a True Guy. Man, he was an honest man.

Chris: Stubb seems like he is almost more of "a Force" than…than just a man; Much of this phenomenon emanates out from Stubb, it seems like.

DC: Yea, Stubb’ll live on for a long time. I mean, Terry loved him. Terry and Joe and all of those musicians were a lot closer to Stubb than I really was. By me always being in business and always havin’ to watch the bottom-line and stay alive - y’know, that kinda’ deal - instead of out playing with them and bein’ a musician...

What I’m saying is, I’m a musician more than I am a businessman. And if I coulda’ afforded to feed my family and stay in West Texas and done nothing but play music, I would’ve never bought a recording studio. I would have just played music my whole life. That’s what I really would’ve liked to have done.But I just simply couldn’t make a living doin’ it in Lubbock; Especially playin’ saxophone. 

If I’d been playing steel guitar or somethin’ that was a "Country" instrument when used to the only place you could get a job in Lubbock is playin’ in a Country bar; I couldn’t do it playing saxophone.

But I’d walk into a building in Lubbock, and it would be like, "Gah, it would be great if they had a bandstand over there and a little music goin’…"
I mean there’s so much potential here. It’s always been there.

But back with the Stubbs deal; Stubbs was that way, "We need to do this!" He was always comin’ up with these deals that needed to happen because of the great music here. And I mean the best jam session I’ve ever been in my life was at Stubb’s.

At " the Great East Broadway Onion Pool Championship" deal, that night I was playin’ in a band down there called Good Cheap Jazz that night. And ol’ Tom T. Hall saw the name Good Cheap Jazz, and he went back to Nashville and wrote "Good Cheap Country" on the back of his bus; And that was on his bus for years.

Chris: Wow.

DC: …because of the band Good Cheap Jazz playin’ that night.

Chris: My dad was friends with Stubb's and he would drag me over there all the time. I remember bein’ a kid and thinkin’…"It was almost like another world here."
Also, I was thinking, "Why does nobody else in Lubbock ever come over here?" ‘Cause it didn’t seem like most people in Lubbock really knew about it or would go over there. My dad is just a barbecue freak. He's been quoted in books about Texas barbecue because of his encyclopedic knowledge of it.

DC: Well, see that’s always been the case in this town. Lubbock has some of the best-kept secrets in the world. And still does.
I know there’s all kinds of stuff in this town that people don’t know about - that even I don’t know about - that are just out there for the takin’.

We’re not good promoters, y’know. That’s back to that mentality. Our mentality and our work ethic and our whole way of bein’ raised in west Texas was that;
"You do not toot your own horn. You do not be a braggart. You just get out there and drive that tractor."  I’m going back to the "drivin’ a tractor" thing because that’s what my uncle always told me, "You get your lazy little butt out of bed every morning and you drive that tractor." That was the work ethic.

But look at Muhammend Ali. He found a way to tell the world how great he was.
You gotta’ stand up and tell people how great you are and be proud of what you are. And look at sports now! I mean every dad-gummed athlete you see is like, "Hey Man! I can run faster! I can jump higher! I can do that!" 

Promotion is the biggest thing. Well, we’ve not been good promoters in Lubbock.

The second half of my career - It’s promoting Lubbock music. Not getting in and producing it, particularly...And I do produce it, too. But the big deal is; Every time we do a project, we now have a place to go with it. We got a way to make it happen. So it’s like connecting that production thing to the promotion thing. 

I heard the definition of "Luck"; The definition of luck is the meeting of two circumstances, and that is:
"When opportunity and preparation meet, then you become what’s called 'Lucky.'"

Now if you think about that, Chris, that is the definition of Luck.
And it really changed my life. Because we prepared and prepared and prepared and learned our craft; and we learned how to cut records; and we got passed that stage of Terry Allen’s thing - of not knowin’ what-in-the-heck we was doin’ recording technically - We got passed that; we did good preparation. 
And it got to where we could cut records that were really, really, really quality type things and we could help people to make things happen. There was never any opportunity for music advancement because we had never created any opportunities in this community for it. So the result was that name after name after name of people that really should have had successful careers in music, they never got those careers in music because the opportunity never came along to put that great product out that they had. So they never got "Lucky." 

What I'm into right now, is the "Opportunity" business. We’re offering opportunities to people to get their stuff out there and show all that great knowledge they’ve compiled and all that ability and all of the great art they’re wantin’ to offer the world. We’re gonna’ try to make the opportunities for that to happen. And that’s by now bein’ able to plug your community into the music - where the whole community supports it.

Chris: I can’t quit thinking about that line from the Bible - Mark 6: 4-6 - where it says ‘Jesus said to them that no prophet goes with dishonor except in his own home. And Jesus couldn’t do any miracles there, and he had to go out traveling around on a circuit.’"
People don’t believe that somebody they actually know could do something great.

DC: Bigger than life. That’s why they don’t accept how great Holly is…How great the Holly reputation is.
"Nobody from Lubbock, Texas, that played danged ol’ Rock-n-Roll music could be that well-known throughout the world." I mean, you still have that mentality. You’re right…
That’s neat…You’re right. [Laughs].

I think the philosophy is that you just gotta’ believe in the inherent quality of the endeavor and believe enough in it to stay with it; Put your heart into it.
And like me: I’m an entrepreneurial-type spirit. I can’t stand to work for an hourly wage. I gotta’ build something my own; That’s just the way I am. I wish I wasn’t.
I wish I wasn't like that. But I believe in it. 

I believe in that stuff. I believe in the power of music. Look what it did to me: I mean, I heard Sam Butera blow saxophone and my whole life changed. From that moment. It was so impressive to me, and it was such an emotional thing for me to hear that beautiful sound…And that wasn’t just a poor-ass saxophone player. I mean, that was the Honkin’est, Grooviest Mother that ever lived! He could say more with less notes than anybody…
That guy actually inspired me to do this for my life’s work, and he's a still a guy I consider to be The Greatest I’ve ever heard. I mean, this guy’s just as good as it gets. He’s the whole essence of swing.

Chris: And I’m sayin’ that your life being changed…It’s so inter-related with all these other Lubbock musicians, that it has to have changed their lives, too.

I think that’s what it’s really all about; every individual person being their little part and doing their part, and not worying about what everybody else’s part is. When they do that one thing that makes them "weird" or "different" from everybody else, then that’s the one thing that helps move everybody else along.

DC: That is a really neat, neat deal; to think of it that way.
You get a little bit off-center from the norm but you give someone else the inspiration to get a little further off…

But I mean, like there’s a trumpet player named Clay Jenkins that is now a really well-known jazz trumpet player in Los Angeles. I taught Clay and got him into the deal; And now he teaches - And there’s hundreds of people that he's taught…He’s more of a player than he is a teacher. But he’s still teaching at Cal-Arts which is The artist deal; it’s the real thing.
And Clay, if he’d of…y’know...They were trying their best to get him to be a band director and stay in Lubbock, Texas. Instead, he's played with Count Basie or Duke Ellington and Woodie Herman. He’s played with Buddy Rich. He’s played with every great jazz orchestra in the world...From Lubbock, Texas!

But it was that inspiration - getting it going in that direction - that helped him make a decision that, "Hey, I can do this!"
Look, just like this: Sam Butera put the vibes out there. And Clay just saw me and was able to think, "There’s another wacko guy in Lubbock like me." So that's the deal...

Chris: This is something I think about Buddy Holly; Have you seen Paul McCartney's film The REAL Buddy Holly?

DC: No. I need to. You're the third person recently who's told me about it.

Chris: Paul talks about how he and John used to try to figure out how Buddy would do that 'eeah-eeah, a-hee a-hoo a-hah,' y’know. That hiccup thing Buddy would do.

And that’s just… To me; "Where’s that come from?" It's just weird sounding; just weird! But he was comfortable enough with himself just do whatever he wanted to do, just the way he wanted it. And everybody else in the world…[Snaps fingers]
It changed the world! "No Buddy Holly, no Beatles!"

DC: Yea. It’s those "Greats" like that…Because he was way out there....
I mean if he’d a come into my studio for the first time - and like you’re sayin’ I had never heard of ‘im, I wonder what I woulda’ thought of Buddy Holly? I hope that I would’ve had enough vision to understand what he was doing. …I don’t know that I would! I question whether or not I would have said, "Man, you're crazy doin’ that hiccup stuff!" Y’know?

I mean, think about Norman Petty: Norman Petty had this real straight group, the Norman Petty Trio - the squarest crap you’ve ever heard. Well, it wasn’t that square but it was kinda’ square - compared to jazz it was really square.
And here comes, this kid Buddy Holly, hiccupin’ like that, and this drummer that’s playin’ this off-the-wall kinda’ stuff.
I’ve never talked to him about that. See, dad-gum it! People don’t talk enough! Y’know? I was around Norman a lot, and I never talked to him about that; What he must of thought the first time he heard Budy Holly. [Laughs].

That’s why you guys who do these books are valuable!

For more of this interview you have been reading on virtualubbock, Buy the book by author Christopher Oglesby
Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air:
Legends of West Texas Music

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