Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. I must admit that I have many things on my mind today other than sports. After reading other blogs this week, my mind is drifting back to past times. I heard on the news today that a place in Austin called Mackendrick’s Tree House was being demolished. Even though the club was only open for about 8 years, I can’t tell you how many nights I spent listening to music at this cool place. The building was literally built up on stilts, with windows facing the lights of downtown. One summer night in the early 80’s, Julie and I braved the weather (and ignored our parents’ wishes) to take in a night of music at the “treehouse”. One thing about Austin is that when we get rain, it comes down in buckets. This was one of those Thunderstorms that lasted for hours. The streets were flooding and we had to take a rather circuitous route to make it out of our neighborhood. We should have never made that trip, but am I ever glad we did. The music that night was incredible. The weather meant that the club was not crowded, so it was a very intimate evening. The entire north wall of the Treehouse was glass, which allowed the flashes of lightening to illuminate the club. Sipping cocktails with my fiancé, listening to great music…it is a night that I will never forget and makes me sad to see the Tree House gone.
This is Passenger from an NPR broadcast. They tore it up the night at the Tree House...great memories.
The club has been closed for many years. It is literally a couple of blocks from the location of the old Armadillo World Headquarters…which was razed years ago. With the destruction of the Tree House, another of my personal Austin memories is gone. I stumbled upon an HBO special recently called Foo Fighters: Sonic Highway. The band is visiting 8 different cities across the country and doing a documentary about the music of each city, then recording a tune written from the history. I happened to catch the documentary about Austin and was amazed how many memories the show captured for me. Honestly, living in Austin…you forget how much music history this city has seen in the past 50 years. What I found interesting is that Austin has been home to many different styles of music. Many think of Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings when they think of Austin music, but the history of music is much richer than this. My music path usually led me through the jazz venues in town, but occasionally I would venture off and catch other music. The documentary reminded me how important Austin was to the psychedelic and punk rock music scenes. Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators were a bit before my time, but I remember musicians talking about the Vulcan Gas Company, which closed in 1970. You can imagine how popular this music was with the Austin police of the 60s. Erickson was arrested for possession of one joint and ended up being put in the Austin State Hospital. The Punk rock era was totally different. A club called Raul’s was originally a Tejano club, but desperate punkers managed to convince the owner to allow them to play their music. Raul’s quickly gained notoriety as the lead singer for the Huns was arrested on an obscenity charge while he was performing. The bare-chested picture of him being handcuffed on the stage soon had young fans flocking to the club.
Of course the other music form that Austin is famous for is the blues. The roots of Austin blues began back in the 1940's on the east side of Austin. Known as the Chitlin Circuit, the Victory Grill and other venues brought great music to eager Austin music fans. Many great musicians have traveled to East Austin over the years...some of them include: Clarence "Gatemouth" Bown, W.C. Clark, Ike and Tina Turner, James Brown and Billie Holiday. Clifford Antone came to Austin as a university student but found his love for the blues too hard to ignore. It is easy to point to Antone as the reason for much of Austin's reputation for the blues. When he opened Antones on 6th St. in 1974, he ushered in the next big wave of music talent. Over the years, Antone's gave musicians like the Vaughan Brothers, Delbert McClinton, John Lee Hooker and many others a place to exhibit their awesome talent. It is difficult to fully acknowledge how important that Clifford was to the soul of Austin's blues. As Antone's began to decline, the Continental Club picked up the blues torch from Antones and proudly continues to provide a terrifc venue for blues today. While the music in Austin continues to move forward, it is just not the same for me. Maybe it is because I am older and no longer have the personal connection…but I sure miss the days of old.
The Foo Fighters documentary was awesome. If you have a chance, you should check it out. The 8 cities being covered are: Chicago, Washington D.C., Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Seattle and New York.
I have been reluctant to jump to any conclusions with the college football committee. It did not make much sense to get too excited when there was more than a month left in the season. As the weeks are being whittled down, we now have a pretty good idea who the contenders are now. Like many outside of Tuscaloosa, I was hoping to see Mississippi State knock off Bama last weekend. But, I should have known better. I know that Nick Saban is an easy guy to dislike, but as I look around the college football landscape…tell me someone who is a better coach? Yes, the Crimson Tide has great talent, but there are many teams that have great talent. The difference is that the talent at Bama gets better. Like Saban or not, you must acknowledge that this guy can flat out coach. Having said that, there is no doubt that Auburn will be looking to put another loss on the Tide. There is also no doubt that Ole Miss will be looking to knock off Mississippi State. Is it possible that the first playoff series exist without a team from the SEC? I guess it is possible, but certainly not probable. I had no problem with TCU being bumped down this week...although I think that TCU is a very good team, I still believe that Baylor is the better team. I am a big proponent of head to head matchups being the trump card…and since Baylor beat TCU, they are the better team to me.
I read on Tuesday that Charlie Strong said that there won’t be any more seasons with Texas losing 5 games. I said weeks ago that teams should get their shots in on Texas while they could. As Oklahoma State found, this Longhorn team is no longer unsure and vulnerable. With each passing week, the Longhorns have grown in confidence and suddenly are a tough team to beat. The next test for Texas is the TCU Horned Frogs. My hunch is that TCU has too many horses this year for Texas to win, but I think it will be a battle. The defense that Texas is playing is the real deal. I am still not sold on Swoopes, but he has made great strides in the past 5 weeks. Is he good enough to beat a top 5 team? I don’t think so, but I will be happy to be proven wrong.
With the Longhorns 6th victory last week, they are now eligible for a bowl game. I heard it mentioned a few weeks ago that a possible Texas and Texas A&M bowl matchup might be possible in the Texas Bowl. I think that would be a terrific game, but after reading quotes from Chip Brown…I am beginning to think that this game won’t happen. Apparently word is that the Aggie suits don’t like the idea of facing this improving Texas team. I suppose that they figure this would be a losing proposition all the way around. I suppose they could be right about this, but I bet their fan base would have a different opinion. It would be nice to see a bowl game on December 29th that was sold out. C’mon Aggies, let do this…it will be fun!
Wait...how did he get dressed so quickly?
I have to take a moment to tip my hat to the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. Both of these teams said goodbye to a disgruntled running back on Tuesday. Ben Tate has been grumbling about reduced carries and tried to leave early on Sunday. LeGarrette Blount did leave the field early on Monday. Both of these guys will soon realize the error of their ways, as they are now unemployed. Ego can be a dangerous thing. I am always amazed how short sighted players can be. Tate may be able to figure out another gig, but with the other baggage that Blount is carrying, he may be done. Too bad, but it was the right move by the Browns and Steelers.
Each year, I am amused how early Christmas decorations go up. Sometimes in the rush to get up decorations, towns must forget to take a look at what they are putting up. This is a town in West Virginia that really should reassess their decorations…
Today is my brother Brad's birthday...happy birthday bro!
That is all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
If you go flying back through time, and you see somebody else flying forward into the future, it's probably best to avoid eye contact.
You know something that would really make me applaud? A guy gets stuck in quicksand, then sinks, then suddenly comes shooting out, riding on water skis! How do they do that?!
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…