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."
When in Austin,
Trent: Just to add to that, because Ive thought
about this quite a bit: You were isolated,
being in Lubbock, from the rest of Texas and the rest of the
real world, with little pockets of culture coming in occasionally.
But we would do with them what we would. It makes a pretty
decent test market, because we are so isolated.
When you do get a group of people together that are like that, there is a sense of rebellion which is a GREAT feeling! And nothin wrong with it!
Some of the best, most exciting,
greatest moments in my youth was "rebelling" and that
feeling of "Im free! Im doing what I want to
Trent: We drank together. That's kind of how it all
Trent: We played some of the same venues. They were
doing a lot of original stuff and had a unique act - with the
stand-up bass and all that. And we were playing original music
- but we couldnt cover a whole night with just originals,
and neither could they. We started talking about, "Man,
wouldnt it be great if we could get up there and play just
a set of our stuff?"
Chris: That doesnt surprise me too much. Theyve been banned from a lot of bars in Lubbock; pretty rowdy.
So what was your first recording experience? I know y'all did the Squarehead album that yall did at Caldwells.
Trent: Thats actually about 3 or 4 recordings later. I started - with the Intentions - recording in a trailer house It was actually at a Christian music, little recording station in Lubbock. They started in a little trailer house, and they had a cheap recording studio. It didnt sound very good, but we had a great time. They were shocked when we brought in a case of beer. We recorded 2 or 3 originals and 6 or 7 other tunes, Buddy Holly & Beatles tunes. Ive got the recording somewhere.
Then we recorded with Broadway Studios which was owned by Wally Moyers.
Chris: Wally Moyers - the steel-guitar player.
Trent: Yea. He owns Broadway
Studios. Then we recorded at Caldwell
Studios with Mark Murray.
Did you know him? He played with The
Mosquito Bites, a great musician and a great engineer.
We recorded with him and did a couple of little singles to release
on the Texas Tech radio station. That was Squarehead.
After Squarehead had ended, I wrote & recorded some jingles, and Lloyd played with me on some of those. I guess I hired him out, and Lloyd played steel guitar on a couple of jingles that are still playing in Lubbock. Hes a phenomenal steel guitar player.
Chris: Its very important in Lubbock to have that small community of people there who are always supporting that music. There aren't many of those people, but the one's that are there are so important.
Trent: You know what? When I got out of Squarehead and started trying to do jingles as a way to go, I went and talked to Don Caldwell, and I told him I wanted to write some jingles for him. Don told me not to get within 50 feet of the jingle business. He wasnt interested in it at all and didnt think I should get into it. One particular firm at that time had kinda wrapped up the jingle business there. I did do a few of em and I realized that there wasnt a living in it. And Don did tell me not to mess with it.
Chris: What was his theory there?
Trent: Lubbock is the size town that if youve got a real outstanding advertising firm and youve got a pretty outstanding marketing person on the jingle side, then theres that kind of that "good ol boy" thing; They got it pretty wrapped up.
Chris: So you werent gonna be able to make a living doing that.
Trent: No. And that was their goal. At the time, I called a guy named David Alderson and told him that I had contracted with an Italian restaurant called Orlandos and I said, " I got the jingle, got it written, got the musicians lined up, I just need a place to record it and some direction." And they wouldnt even talk to me. They didnt want me in their business. Not because it was me, but they didnt want anybody in their business. That pretty much soured me on writing jingles.
Chris: So when you left Lubbock, had you just kind of given up on the whole music thing? When did that dry up?
Trent: Somewhere along the way after I had my third child.
As much as the parents and friends of the parents - the community
you grew up with - loves you and wants you to do what you want
to do, theyve got certain standards; "By the age of
25, you ought to be in your first job, movin' up, living in a
certain neighborhood, driving a certain car."
Chris: Youre material possessions are very apparent in Lubbock, for sure. Everyone notices them.
Trent: Thats right. And I wasnt moving in that direction, at least at quickly as I think some of those people wanted me to. So they began to question me on it.
Chris: Thats family or just people in the community?
Trent: Family, and friends of the parents. I mean,
when youre as involved in the community as my parents were,
youve got tons of people who know em. Dads
big in real estate, big in the church, big in The Kiwanis; Dads
got a big heart and does a lot of stuff in the community. But
people started saying to him, "Whats your son doing?"
Chris: And thats when you left town?
Trent: No. I sold cars for a little while until I decided
what I was gonna do. And then I got my real estate license and
sold real estate with my dad. Then I got an opportunity to own
Chris: Were you feeling that it was something you just oughta be doin?
Trent: That was it; It was an obligation thing. So I thought, "The time that Im putting into all this stuff is not worth the money; So what I need to do is figure out a way to make more money with less time. I ended up getting hired and went to Alabama for a franchise opportunity with a restaurant. Once again, the time and the stress factor that were involved didnt allow me to be involved with my kids like I wanted to or with my wife, or anything else. Then I went to "corporate"; I got an offer from a corporation, and we were making more money than we ever had made, living nicer than wed ever lived. But it was more time away and less time with the kids, more responsibility.
Then I realized that I didnt even own a guitar anymore!
Somewhere along the way I had sold it; I dont even remember
what for. And one day, I just snapped and told Diane, "Im
just not happy." And I was sure she was thinkin, "Oh
my God! Hes gonna divorce me!"
Chris: And thats when you moved back here to Austin. I remember - when I heard that you were moving back here without a job or place to live or anything - thinking, "Oh God! Hes gonna move back here to try make it into the music business in Austin? Theres A LOT of people trying to make it here!"
Trent: Well, that was just naïve. But I did.
Trent: Its stupid to do something like that,
but Im really not a planner. Thats one of my weaknesses.
But that was what I wanted to do.
Chris: A lot of musicians in Austin have that problem now.
Trent: Especially with kids. Because if it was just
Diane and I, we could live on top of a restaurant. But when you
have kids, you gotta give em at least a decent environment
to live in: a yard, not a lot of crime, and all of that.
I had started writing again while we were still in Alabama.
Right before I made this decision I was singing songs in my head,
getting some tunes goin. Once I told Diane that I
wanted to get back into music, we went and bought a guitar and
I wrote two or three songs before we left town.
Once we got in the house, I just kept playing. This is the interesting part: I found a guitar player; He waited tables with me- and he played the acoustic guitar pretty good; I liked his attitude and everything else. He wrote a few songs so we played together a little bit. His name is Greg Moses.
Then I started looking for a bassist. Diane came to me one
night and said, "Hows your search for a bassist going?"
My wife asked me, "Can I have a shot?" Now, Diane
plays the flute, she plays the piano, but shed never played
the bass; And shes taking care of my kids and all of that.
But I said, "Yea, you can give it a shot."
Chris: How was she planning on teaching herself to play?
Trent: I dont have any idea; Except at the time,
she had already purchased a bass - which I did not know about!
Ever since then Dianes been playing in the band. Shes started writing her own music and playing the guitar, too. Shes turning out to be really strong.
Chris: Did you ever - all that time you were married - think that shed ever want to be "in the band?"
Trent: No. She was "my groupie!"
Chris: What about your music? What would we hear if we go hear Something Johnson play?
Trent: I tell ya what, this is the hardest question to answer.
Chris: I know. Its hard to describe music.
Trent: Well, not even that
Because my range is
so wide. I dont put any barriers on the musicians that
I play with, and I dont put barriers on myself when Im
Without being a smart-ass, I just say, "Music!"
Chris: Thats perfect. I think thats what "Lubbock music" is. Thats one of the reasons you dont hear it on the radio a lot, because people listen to -say- Jimmie Gilmore and think, "What the hell is that?"
Trent: Its hard to categorize it. "Where do you put it?"
Chris: "We cant put that on the Country station," but you sure as hell cant put it on the Rock-n-Roll station.
Trent: You can put it on 107.1 [Austins KGSR].
Chris: Thats about it. And thats why all those artists love that station, because its about the only place that you get to hear that.
So lets get back to Lubbock. I just want to get some feelings about growing up in Lubbock and how music got in your soul.
Trent: Its interesting because I got introduced to music somewhere along the way, and I started playing it, loved it, and I pursued it. I was drawn that direction, and the older Ive gotten, the more concrete it has become. You go through "money" and "responsibility" and all that. But ultimately as art and a form of expression, its in you; If musics really what you enjoy doing, then you make the adjustments. Theres a sacrifice somewhere and you make the sacrifices and get adjusted. Im kind of to the point where Im definitely not satisfied but Im real happy with the direction Im going.
But when you brought that up, I started thinking, yknow, my mom dated Mac Davis back at Lubbock High, and my dad was in the same class as Buddy Holly! Mac Davis was a sophomore that year, dating my mom who was a cheerleader. So Buddy Holly went off and did his thing, and Mac Davis went off and did his thing, and my dad stayed and did his thing...
Part of the struggle for Lubbock musicians who stay there is that theres not a big enough musical and artistic community - there a lot more per capita that are forced to make a choice, versus living a double lifestyle.
Chris: You have to either live - what is in the view of the community - that kind of "loser artist" lifestyle, or you have to be the Number One band in town, and that isnt gonna last forever. A few people can make a living in Lubbock, like John Sprott. But you have to be willing to be kind of a "weirdo" like John Sprott does.
Trent: Right. And hes beyond even your average guitarist.
Chris: Right. He could be a "big fish in another pond"; He just decided to be the "Best Guitar Player in Lubbock."
Trent: Well, look at us - You and me! Were in Austin. And theres a reason for it. Even though we still have fond memories and still think Lubbock is a pretty cool town, theres more opportunity and less oppression here in Austin, so we can live a little freer and just get together as Lubbockites every now and then and reminisce.
Chris: Do you ever miss Living in Lubbock? I mean,
it was crazy and a lot wilder.
Trent: The biggest difference
between Austin and Lubbock to me is; Youll have a lot more
tattoos and body piercing and weird clothes here in Austin, but
you have a lot more strange thought and unique thought up there
in Lubbock than you do here.
Chris: Do you want end on something positive? How about some fond memory?
Trent: Well, Ill tell ya; The best thing about Lubbock is that - even today - youre kids can get out of school and get on their bike, doesnt even have a lock on it necessarily, ride down the block to their friends house, play to just before night fall. Ride a mile or two to get home. Show up just as the sun is setting, and moms not worried about em. Suppers on the table because Mom doesnt necessarily have to work. You show up at supper and you eat and talk about the day. I mean, "Family" is still king there. Its still a great place to raise kids, and to grow up.
But you know what? You just gotta be prepared to have your kids listen to music and decide they wanta go that direction and move on down the road!
2007 Chris Oglesby
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