After I graduated from UT Austin, the last place I wanted to go was back to Houston. As Carlton Crutcher has put it, Austin was “Shangri-La On the Colorado”, and I had no desire to leave. I had gone back to HTX briefly in the summer of my freshman and junior years, but finally I decided to stay in ATX. So for the glorious summer of 1984, I inhabited this wonderful two story apartment next to the post office at 43rd and Speedway. I think it was called Act 5 or something when I lived there – it has a different name now.
I loved the apartment. Living room and kitchen downstairs, bedrroom and bathroom upstairs. I had amorous dalliances with several amazing women that summer, and enjoyed myself very thoroughly. I hated to leave, but somebody else had already reserved the place for the fall, so I accepted an offer from my friends Tom Goodwin and Steve Chiles to move in with them at their house on 30th St. behind the Beach club in the fall of 85.
Cheated a little on this one as I had a package to mail, so it was a purposeful ride. Lovely weather for a January in Austin, especially considering what was to come in February, but that’s another story. These apartments were painted red when I lived there and were not as nice-looking as they are now. I was in one of the two apartments pictured behine me. Not sure which one. I was only there for three months, so it’s hard to remember. It was a good ride and the bike performed well.
Stop Three. 302 W. 38th St. #117, ATX 78705. Monday 1/4/2021.
Used to be called the Le Marquee Apartments when I lived here. They’re called something else now, es non importante. Still as unsecured as when I left, so was able to walk right up to my old front door, which is a first. There’s all the mailboxes behind me – was always a bit of a pain to have the mail traffic, squeaking and noises right outside the breakfast nook/kitchen area, but not too bad.
Managed to stay there two years, another first. Junior year at UT with roomie Bob Bechtol, senior year with roomie John Svatek, god rest his crazy Czech soul. Liked it pretty well, close to the Speedway buses, calm but OK with my stereo – etc. Many formative events of my life occurred here. I could go on for hours. But I won’t.
However, in this entry, I’d like to stress how pretty much everybody in the world except you, dear reader, is kinda a douche. Once again, the bike did pretty well on this trip but no fewer than 3 different cars decided they had to fuck with me on this ride. One CARAMEL FILLED JACKMOUTH in a PICKUP TRUCK DECIDED he needed to YELL “SIDEWALKS”! at me, even though…yeah, you know it, go ahead and say it…bikes aren’t supposed to ride on the sidewalk. Some other fucker on Oltorf decided they HAD to honk at me three times, and then somewhere downtown somebody decided that in the great scheme of things, they really needed to call me “STUPID!”. Now, granted, I may not be the best biker rider in the world, but is all this really necessary? I realize I was doing a LOT of harm by bicycling, like, a whole real lot of harm. A lot.
Stop two. 2104 S. Pleasant Valley #104. Thursday Nov. 19th 2020. Used to be called the Carriage House Apts. when I lived here from September 1981 to June 1982, but now it’s part of the vast complex known as the Metropolis Apts. The complex is now security gated (it wasn’t when I lived there) so I couldn’t get in, but the building in the photo behind me is where we wwere. I can’t even remember exactly how I met James Canchola, my roommate at this spot, but he was a cool dude, a pretty good guitar player, and the man who introduced me to proper Mexican food (or at least proper Tex-Mex) by taking me to have lunch at Jorge’s Uptown Enchilada Bar several times. I had never tasted carne guisada or had a chalupa or a margarita before! Upstate New York boy and alla that. He was a bit of a stoner though (pot kettle black) and he was supposed to have the apartment ready for us in August, but failed, so when I got there in mid-August, we ended up staying for 2 or 3 weeks at his cousin(?) Roger’s house out by Oak Hill/Sunset Valley, which may as well have been the moon, as neither of us had a car and that was super remote from Austin proper back in those days. That spot should actually count as one of my Austin domiciles, but I asked James where it was exactly and I don’t think he remembers either. I’m pretty sure we got to go downtown at least once, and I think that was when I saw Steppenwolf. Born to be wild, baby!
Other things I remember from staying way out in the Riverside area student ghetto: riding the UT shuttle all the time; regularly going to Whip In #2 for cold Ringnes beer and whippets; and the fact that James played only two records from my collection – he played “Best-Dressed Chicken in Town” by Dr. Alimantado CONSTANTLY, and also played my Virgin Front Line reggae sampler pretty regularly. I have both of those records pretty well memorized to this day.
Hardest bike trip yet, that blistering Oltorf hill by 888…damn! I’m riding Wendy’s bike for this, a lovely Marin mountain-type bike, and so far it has been performing admirably. I can’t say the same for my aging physique. At least I’m finally learning how to work the gears on it properly.
b) have another creative project to work on during the pandemic and
c) wax nostalgic about the ridiculously long time I have lived in Austin
– – – ride my bike from my current abode in South Austin to all of the 17 different places I have lived in the ATX. I’ll post a few of them every now and then as I get inspired. I really don’t ever take selfies, but I decided to do one after I reached each destination.
Stop One. Jester East dormitory. Monday 10/19/2020. Now that I think about it, almost exactly a year after we (my education) were out recording at Sonic Ranch. I have a lot of very vivid memories of Jester East, definitely the poor red-headed stepchild of Jester West. HAS ITS OWN ZIP CODE! Etc. Our room looked right out over the athlete’s cafeteria, which smelled like it had much better food than ours, and there were many rumors of the fantastic all you can eat steak and shrimp dinners they had in there…
Of course they wouldn’t let me in there anywhere near rm. 316, the abode of myself and Jim Sweeney for the 1980-81 school year. Unsurprisingly. So I had to settle for this pic right outside the entrance to East. So many memories there. Ask me about the bedbugs and the closet pot farm.
Bike did pretty well. Out of shape me had to walk up a few hills on the way back.
We have a previously unreleased track on the brand spankin’ new (blue circle) CD compilation from the fine folks at Dub Ditch Picnic Records. It’s our version of Deathtrap by Hawkwind, from the classic Calvert era. This is an early live recording done at one of Clay Brown’s (Puffy Brutha Man, Bug Wonders, etc) End of School Band-O-Rama shows, this one at Club Saigon, the short lived quasi-successor to Dong Huong, in summer 1989. It’s pretty stonking, which is why we picked it. A bunch of the comp is ST 37 related material – lots of old friends going back to a Vast Majority track that was recorded in 1979! You can pm us for a copy or buy it on Bandcamp here: https://dubditchpicnic.bandcamp.com/album/blue-circle
Looks pretty cool too:
Hope all you guys out there are staying safe, living through this unprecedented event. We’ll have another new track (and it’s also a cover tune) on the forthcoming Really Red tribute record Teaching You the Fear Again. Our track is about the late Walter Wolff, and it’s called Pigboy. Joel did a great video for it that features lip=syncing for the first time ever in an ST 37 video! Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcwEEgGm5jk
We’ve been working whenever we can stay safe and distanced in the studio and at home on tracks for the Ballard record and for our new single, which we hope to finish on Thursday. It’s called Over and Over Again and it’s about repetition, repetition, repetition. We’re gonna try to have a socially distanced outdoor rehearsal on July 25th out in Cedar Creek. Should be interesting. We’ll keep you posted.