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-
Guy Juke, A.K.A. Blackie White, has just arived at our table in the dining area of the original North Lamar Threadgill's. Juke has just indicated the painting on the wall behind the stage here at Threadgill's; Like much of the other art in this establishment and elsewhere around the traditional parts of Austin, Guy Juke painted the mural, as well as a portrait or Kenneth Threadgill himself, hanging on the same wall, just to the left of the stage backdrop mural.
JCP: And then he painted the picture inside the diamond. [indicating the artwork behind the stage]
Juke: I just did it for the hell of it, y'know 'cause they needed a better background for the stage. 'Cause they do lots of shows. That's a stage and they do live performances there.
Chris: Yea? And you painted that portrait, also? [a lifelike portrait of the late founder and proprietor, Kenneth Threadgill]
Chris: Well, we were just talking about how one could just see your art around town for decades.
JCP: How I got a crush on you.
Chris: And how it's just really diverse all your art.
JCP: It is really diverse Quite a number of styles there Fully developed styles
But then when I met him, he was just like "a Lubbock-guy," y'know. I mean, he acted like a Lubbock-guy, just the mannerisms and everything, so he fit in with what I thought a guy should be like very much "THE Guy" "THAT Guy"
Juke: What time is it?
JCP: I don't have any idea. You don't wear a watch either, Chris?
JCP: I don't either.
We stopped the interview while we finish our margaritas. It is now time to head back south to Jovita's, where Guy Juke is to perform as his alter-ego ego Blackie White.
Blackie is a featured member of The Cornell Hurd Band, a local Austin honky-tonk country western band. The Cornell Hurd Band plays every Thursday night at Jovita's on South First Street in Austin.
We were having a discussion about a form of aesthetic which I am defining as "Lubbock Ugly."
Lubbock Ugly can be defined as:
Chris: Richard Bowden told me he gets excited seeing the trash blowing down the street.
JCP: [Laughs] I know it! And see the trains that are so long You can see a WHOLE train.
Chris: Well, we had come to some sort of epiphany earlier I think, about the "friendship" thing.
JCP: Oh, yea. That is what we were talking about.
Chris: But I don't know if we hadn't worn that subject out.
JCP: I don't know either. But you know
our differences over time. And some of those were probably pretty
JCP: Jukey, what do you have to say about the friendships from Lubbock?
Juke: Only that they are just the most binding and lasting and marvelous and golden and
JCP & Chris: [Laughing out loud]
Juke: I don't know
Who do I know from Lubbock?
Well, let's see
Yea, I've gotta few friends from that ol'
I guess, the best that I knew in Lubbock would
be the Flatlanders: Butch
Joey most, Joe Ely.
JCP & Chris: [More laughing out loud]
Juke: And David Halley. But see, I never knew him in Lubbock. He's an Austin friend but he's from Lubbock. He's actually probably my closest friend of anybody from Lubbock: David Halley And Jo Carol Jo Carol is, of course, my Best Friend.
But you know, you can't always say that about your wife. You can "love" your wife but to really like her is another thing altogether. I actually like Jo Carol. She's probably my "actual best friend."
Chris: Y'all are very easy to like. Your relationship seems to be fairly functional.
Juke: We think a lot of each other. Yea, it's functional in our own twisted way.
Chris: What is this thing you were doing today? That you were on TV?
Juke: Oh, God See, I just thought I always wanted to be on TV
Chris: A new experiment?
Juke: Yea. I just called and said, "Can I be on
TV?" And they said, "We'd be happy to have you!"
I don't ever go in the front door, anyway. I'm kind of
a backdoor kind of a guy.
This is to appeal to people - and they pocketbook - the middle-class hippies of South Austin. And it's also reaching out to West Lakes Hills and trying to appeal to people who just moved to town and say, "Hey! Don't you wanta' get some of that 'Real' Austin flavor in your house?"
Chris: Super-cool. Yea.
Juke: Like I'm hitting everyone I hit the young people and the old people with this same routine...It's like I'm saying, "Be like ME!"
I used to would be much too shy to do this but I'm getting over my shyness, apparently, and turning it into an act. I get to play different characters. I just realized that, "Well, I'm not Guy Juke; I'm not Blackie White, so I'll just play them, y'know "
Chris: Well, your art is definitely recognizable as "Austin Art."
Juke: Yea, I look like all the other ones. When I came here, I would sit down and look at Jim Franklin posters and draw them, y'know, copy them. I copied Priest, and I'd copy everyone else until I kinda got my own style.
Then there was the Armadillo World Headquarters. They had this challenge The problem was is all the Armadillo posters were starting to look alike. So one month, they had this big meeting and Ramsey Williams said, "I'm gonna assign you all a different poster for this week " It was for the Armadillo "something-special-anniversary-week" of some sort. "I want you each to turn in something that's completely different from an Armadillo poster." So that was the big challenge.
I turned in an Asleep at the Wheel poster that week. That was probably my first "weird" poster. It was "a sheep at the wheel." It's got all these little angular things...It was my first kind of abstract work I did, as a poster.
Then I kept departing even further, and I was always afraid to turn posters in. "This is just too weird." And those are the ones that everyone liked, y'know, the ones I was scared to turn in. Like, "They're just not gonna get this one." Like Louden Wainwright with his own face on the end of his nose Stuff like that.
JCP: [Laughs] I loved that one!
Chris: Now, were you doing this because you were getting paid for it, or were you doing it because you just had the creative energy to want to do it?
Juke: Mostly the creative energy Just to be recognized. I have a HUGE ego, apparently.
Chris: Right. Okay, I get it.
Juke: I think the most I ever got paid for an Armadillo poster, if at all, was maybe $100 Once. Ordinarily, you'd get about between 30, to 50, 60 dollars
JCP: You're kidding? Really? Wow. I didn't realize that.
Chris: So it was just the contest of it? Getting your stuff seen? Making something better.
Juke: Yea. It was just something to do.
Chris: Now, did you go to Tech to get an art degree?
Juke: Yea. I guess so.
Chris: That's how you ended up in Lubbock? [Laughs]
Juke: Mostly to get away from my mother. A had a domineering
mother of sorts, and we didn't get along too well at the time.
And then I went to Tech and just flunked out, 'cause all I did was just run around. It was the first time that I had any freedom in my life. I just spent it like Monopoly money, you know. Running around with venereal diseases, of course
JCP: [Laughs] I never knew that one, Juke!
Juke: Smoking dope
Chris: So that's when you met all these musician guys
like Eddie Beethoven
Juke: Yea. Eddie lived across the alley from me, so
we got together every morning at five o'clock, get up real early
and play ragas on our guitars; All this semi-mysticality that
was running through everything.
Chris: That would have been hard in Lubbock.
Juke: Yea.We had long hair, beards.
Chris: And Lubbock had a good dose of that?
Juke: Oh, yea! It was actually a very hip place
me. I mean, I ran into people who were considerably smarter than
most of the people I ran into around San Angelo, so it was like
a Hey-day for me. It was like, "There's people here who
get my jokes, people here who understand me. They don't know
that I was a bad football player. They don't know that I was
a nerd in high school. They don't know any of that, and then
if they did it wouldn't matter."
JCP: He didn't play sports in a real "sports town."
Juke: In San Angelo, you play sports or you're a queer.
Chris: So the crew you ran into in Lubbock was a pretty remarkable crew.
Chris: Now, where were you going out or what were you doing when you say you were "going crazy?" I mean, what was going on in Lubbock that was so hip then?
Juke: Oh, yea, those crazy nights
Chris: Where were all those crazy people going?
Juke: Playing music, just running around writing songs, being around other songwriters and stuff
JCP: Or driving around the Hi-D-Ho naked. Stuff like that.
Chris: Just seeing if anybody would notice, or what?
JCP: Well, it was actually through Der Weinerschnitzel.
And no, they didn't notice.
Chris: [Laughs] We did the same thing at the Taco Villa when I was in high school!
JCP: You did? [Laughs some more]. There's just something about Lubbock that makes you wanta take your clothes off.
Chris: I like to go out to the country and go streaking.
JCP: It's the best place to do that.
Chris: I mean, we took out clothes off whenever we could when I was growing up! Just something about Lubbock You wanta throw all your clothes off.
JCP: Yep. Or I remember people standing around lookin' at the sky and sayin' about the weather, "I just wish it would go ahead and do something."
That's kinda the way that I felt about Lubbock: "I just wish it would go ahead and do something Anything."
Chris: I always love tornado weather, 'cause you can
tell when it's about to happen.
You can tell, "Ah! Something's different! Everything is
starting to change!"
JCP: And the light's so different then.
Chris: It sounds different and there's different vibrations in the air. I always like it.
JCP: Me too. Any kind of storm, I love.
Chris: Go outside and stand in the front yard and see what happens.
Juke: Well, we can absolutely verify now that you're from Lubbock saying things like that; Things like, "We wrote a song or a play about it 'I wish it would hurry up and do something today' Staring up at the sky."
Chris: When I go back now...I'm really amazed that
I didn't really notice the night sky then the way I that do now
when I go back.
JCP: We were always looking for flying suacers, hoping that they would come and pick us up. So we saw the sky a lot, looking for the Lubbock Lights.
'Cause that was the only thing to do: Lay out in the backyard
and look for Lubbock Lights, wait for the flying saucers to come.
Or go to strange churches like the Four Square Gospel; The
one where they have electric guitars
It used to be over
on Thirty-fourth Street
It's probably not there anymore.
It used to be kinda between Q and Indiana, but closer to Q; down
there on 34th Street
Or just go anywhere. We used to go to fortune-tellers around there.
And Sharon [Ely] always knew where to find any foreign people who might be coming through, anybody from any other culture, 'cause she just was hungry for that. She met like Swiss watch-makers and Japanese; all these kinds of people. If any dance troupe was coming in from out of town, she'd go down to the rehearsal and get to know 'em and carry 'em around Lubbock and stuff, and take 'em to all the sights in Lubbock like Prairie Dog Town
Juke: Yea, like when Elvis Presley played in Lubbock she went out and met their band and drove around with Elvis' piano player.
JCP: When she met the Rolling Stones she said, "Those are nice outfits. I like those outfits, real good."
Chris: That was in Lubbock?
JCP: No, that was later when she was with Joe somewhere.
Juke: Yea. Joe Ely warmed up the Rolling Stones
on tour for a while. The connection between Joe and the Stones
is Bobby Keys. So there is
this Lubbock connection.
Jo Carol and I have dropped Juke off at Jovita's to warm up for his show. I have taken Jo Carol home so she can get ready for the evening out. As we're sitting out in front of their South Austin home, we conclude the interview about Lubbock.
JCP: Tommy Hancock
always seemed to know about all those intersting, dark little
places. Tommy Hancock was like a real thug back then. He always
dressed in black. He always drove interesting cars. I had a huge
crush on him.
I liked him because he always seemed to know about the underbelly of Lubbock. He seemed like he knew about places I had never gone into and stuff like that.
Chris: I was with Tommy one time, and he was introducing
me around as "He's writing a book about the under-side of
Lubbock. You wouldn't think anything so flat would have two sides
JCP: Yea, There is. That's right.
Chris: So it was some kind of Zen prairie-koan or something...
JCP: One place that was always intriguing Do you know a place called TV's?
Chris: TV's? No, what's TV's?
JCP: It was this bootlegger place out East of Lubbock,
an all-night club. He had these TVs lining the driveway
what reason I never found out.
There were guys with nicknames like "Schoolboy"
and stuff like that. They explained all these nicknames to us
once but we were too drunk for me to remember, I think. [Laughs]
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2007 Chris Oglesby
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