Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back in the Day, Part Two: an Open Question for you, Dear Reader

Five years later, the Austin punk and hardcore scene had burned up and blown away. Raul's got shut down and became the fratboy-friendly Texas Showdown; Voltaire's Basement reverted to being just a basement. Like some of the other best and brightest, Terry Marks left town: I did finally get to have an actual conversation with her, but I had to move to New York City to do it. Curiously enough though, the Hickoids--as a concept and an influence, if not as an actual band--did survive: in 1995, for example, my younger brother was playing drums in a country-punk band who revered the Hickoids, though they may have never seen them play.

But I believe the Austin punk, new wave and hardcore scene of 1979-1985 left permanent stains on the city, its music and its culture. In fact, as non-snoozing readers may have guessed, I'm working on an essay about this era for an upcoming museum show in Austin. Because of this, and because I know a lot of my Austin friends will have their own ideas about it, I'm gonna do something I've never done before (tee hee): I'm asking an open question or two of Euro Like Me readers, especially any of you Austin folk who are still tuning in. (Ed, are you there? B, are you still checking me?) Here's the question(s): What is the legacy of bands like the Big Boys, the Dicks, the Butthole Surfers and Scratch Acid in the Austin of today? Who are the extreme or amazing and freaky bands of 2008, and do they owe any debt of influence to some of the aforementioned superfreaks? And do any clubs in the city bear the traces of great old venues like Club Foot or Dukes Royal Coach or the Beach?


Ed Ward said...

Well, I can't answer all these questions, because I sort of tuned out of the more hardcore scene you hymn so eloquently, but one thing the punk/new wave scene did was to give both the Austin Chronicle and SXSW to the world. The Chron guys were all Raul's veterans, and Roland Swenson, who started SXSW, began by managing Standing Waves.

The allure of the scene was enough to bring out-of-towners like Timbuk3, Daniel Johnston, and the Kinman brothers (ex-Dils, later Rank & File) and Alejandro Escovedo to town, and all of these people, to one degree or another, continue to have national impact.

But for the most part, the bands on this scene were well-kept secrets (well, the True Believers were huge in several odd places, like Dayton, Ohio), and some day people will rediscover some of the great stuff that was birthed at the Beach and the pre-roots-music Continental Club and the late, great Liberty Lunch.

That's just a start on an answer; I'm packing to move for the next couple of days, so I can't really think about this and write about it in detail yet...

pat said...

Thanks, Ed! I think you're right and you mentioned several things I hadn't thought of. Good luck with the move!