Categorized | Personal

My Brush with Greatness, Little Stevie

Posted on 29 July 2006 by SonHouse

Ok, so I’m a big SRV fan and am proud to say it dates back a bit to my senior year in high school, 1985, that’s right I’m 38, about to turn 39 in a few days..yikes! Anyway, SRV had already made a name for himself by then but for a guy like me from a small south texas town, seeing him live was something I’ll never forget.


I was on spring break that year down at South Padre Island Texas, my friends and I had rented a huge condo that slept about 10 of us and about 10 girls from our high school had rented the unit next to ours so needless to say, we were having a blast. One of my roomies kept talking about this guy, SRV, that was playing that afternoon down at the jetties, we all decided to go down and check it out. Now, I play a little guitar and bass and had been for about 2 years and believe me when I say that things were never quite the same after that afternoon. I had experienced a life changing event that I will never forget. The date was March 11, 1985 and this picture is from that show..I was right in front!


SRV South Padre.gif


So..we get down to the jetties where the concert is being held, and this other buddy of mine knew a guy who’s old man worked for the beer distributors that were sponsoring the concert. This guy had a backstage pass that he snuck to my buddy through the chain link fence so he could get in…we then proceeded to sneak that pass to each one of us that was there and before long we were all backstage hanging with the bands and drinking King size Bud and Lite. I didn’t really know what SRV looked like but I saw a few dudes that just had to be in his band. There was one guy all dressed in black wearing this hat with a huge feather sticking out of it. He was standing off on his own drinking a beer. I would later learn that was Tommy Shannon, one half of and the bass player in SRV’s band Double Trouble. Chris Layton, SRV’s drummer the other half of the equation was lingering around too..talking to some friends.


I caught my first glimpse of SRV as he came out of a trailer in the backstage area..this guy was a site to see, pale as a ghost all dressed up in this crushed red velvet outfit, with long sleeves, complete with hat and feather of course. We lined the stairs leading to the stage as all the guys walked passed us giving us high fives along the way. The I rushed around to the front part of the stage that and planted myself right in front of SRV as he launched into a tune called Scuttle Buttin’ then into Soul to Soul from there…wow, I was simply blown away. I don’t really know what I was expecting but it certainly was not that. I think I stood there the rest of the time with my mouth hanging wide open as SRV continued to tear it up. The concert ended with him trashing his guitar and leaving the stage as feedback filled the air. Holy shit! That was it, I was hooked forever. Come to find out that SRV was probably bottoming out around that time on drugs and alcohol, but I must say it didn’t really affect his performance that afternoon.


I went on to see SRV many more times, probably 6 or 7 times while I was going to UT Texas in Austin. He always played concerts at the Palmer Auditorium or Austin Opera House.


The last time I saw him was in 1989 the year before he died. He played a concert at the Austin Opera House and my good buddy and I decided to go check it out. We brought our records along with us thinking we’d get to maybe see him after the show and get a few autographs, what were we thinking! Well after the show was over we went back to the car to get our LPs and as we walked back into the concert hall, we walked right passed the crew and security. Nobody was stopping us so we just kept on going. We ran into Tommy Shannon in this hallway, he was very cool, signed our albums and pointed us in the right direction to find Stevie. Well we continued through the backstage area and ended up in a bar in the back and sure enough, there sat SRV at the bar, talking with some friends. We nervously approached him and said something stupid like, “We love your music and play guitar ourselves”. He was very polite and told us to keep it up and keep practicing. He also signed our album covers, my buddy brought his Texas Flood and I brought my Live Alive double LP. He even signed mine twice once for me and once for my girlfriend. After a few handshakes and some small chat, we were on our way in total disbelief.


I’ll never forget that night…check out the LP’s a bit faded these days, almost 20 years old but still very cool to look at. He signed the inside cover to Carla, who was my girlfriend at the time…


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