Treasured Tracs – Record Store – Austin, TX (1981-1985)
Checking stock at the the very first Austin Record Convention (spring 1981) at the Zilker Clubhouse, convinced me that selling collectable records was a viable idea. Treasured Tracs (1115 S. Congress Ave.) had a humble beginning by starting on a shoestring budget of only a few thousand dollars in August of 1981. I began by only selling used and collectable records but was soon able to expand and carry selected imports and mainstream titles with a very strong emphasis on the growing blues and R&B scene in Austin.
Well then, who better to hire, than the musicians who are making the music you like and are selling. Some of our employees included Mike Buck (drummer for the likes of the LeRoi Brothers and the Fabulous Thunderbirds), Lucinda Williams and Eddie Stout (current proprietor of Dialtone Records and blues historian).
Having in-store bands and record releases was also very much a part of Treasured Tracs. The bands included the LeRoi Brothers, Lucinda Williams, Chick Willis and Little Charlie (Sexton) and the Eagar Beaver Boys. Henry Gonzales of Armadillo World Headquarters fame also did a series of posters for the store.
The demise came somewhat anti-climatically when our landlord informed us that Printmasters (another tenant) wanted our space and that our lease would not be renewed. After we vacated Printmasters moved in but promptly went out of business. I continued my commerce in music selling at the Austin Record Convention and online for the next 25 years.
Jungle Productions/Records – Austin, TX (Founded 1983)
My first foray in music production was actually in 1981 with the legendary punk band the Stains (who became MDC or Millions of Dead Cops, Multi Death Corporation) under the moniker Buzzard Productions. The single was the infamous John Wayne Was a Nazi backed with Born to Die. It was the catalyst that put the bug in me.
As founder, president, and janitor of Jungle, I directed all aspects of music production necessary for the; recording, manufacturing and sales of LPs, cassettes and Compact Discs. This included budgets, contracts, scheduling and monitoring recording sessions, overseeing graphic designs, layout and packaging, marketing, publicity, sales, accounting, copyrights, and licensing. Jungle releases have been licensed worldwide and received several of the industry’s top awards from the National Association of Independent Record Distributors (NAIRD) and National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS – 28th Grammy Awards).
The first official Jungle record was the LeRoi Brothers’ Check This Action (JR1006) and was released in the spring of 1983 with a Rock & Roll parade down Austin’s Congress Avenue that featured the band jamming from the bed of a pick-up. The album is now considered a classic roots Rock & Roll record. In 2017 a Deluxe CD Reissue was released that includes Six Bonus Tracks, four taken from the legendary Moon Twist EP that was originally released on Amazing Records in 1981. The two additional outtakes were taken from the Check This Action 1983 sessions.
In 1985 Jungle released Big Guitars from Texas Trash, Twang and Thunder (JR1007), an instrumental album that featured six of Austin’s most renowned musicians: Denny Freeman, Evan Johns, Frankie Camaro, Don Leady, Mike Buck and Keith Ferguson. TT&T was nominated for a Grammy Award (1986) in the category of Best Rock Instrumental Performance. That same year NAIRD presented the Big Guitars an Honorable Mention Award for Best Indie Rock Album. RykoDisc licensed the album in 1988 (20074).
1985 also saw the release of the Commandos single – Psycho/My Baby Loves Monster Movies. Core members Suzy Elkins and Gerry “Phareaux” Felton were joined by Mike Buck, Omar Dykes, Don Leady, and Wes Starr and included a cameo appearance by Al “Grandpa Munster” Lewis.
In 1986 Jungle released the self-titled debut by Evan Johns & the H-Bombs (JR1008). This album was partially produced by Garry Tallent of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band with fellow E-Streeter Danny Federici making a cameo appearance.
In the fall of 1986 the Wild Seeds released Brave, Clean & Reverent (JR1009). The album featured the songwriting talents of Michael Hall and also included Joey Shuffield of Fastball fame.
In 1987 the Killer Bees released Groovin’. (JR2001). The disc featured Michael E. Johnson and Malcolm Welborne (Papa Mali), along with very special guests Cyril Neville, Daryl Johnson (Neville Brothers), and Timbuk 3 and earned NAIRD’s top award in 1987 for Best Indie Reggae Release.
1988 saw the September release of Mamou (JR1010), a Cajun-bred rock band that named themselves after their hometown of Mamou Louisiana. MCA Records licensed the album in 1990 (10124). The band and their music was also featured in the 1991 film Scorchers with Faye Dunaway and James Earl Jones.
In 1989 came the release of Evan Johns & the H-Bombs mini-album Please Mr. Santa Claus (JR4001). Originally pressed on red vinyl, RykoDisc licensed the album in 1990 (30169).
In the fall of 1990 the Highwaymen (which later became Loose Diamonds) released Live Texas Radio (JR3003). A set that featured the songwriting talents of Troy Campbell and guitarist Jud Newcomb was recorded in Austin for KUT-FM’s Live Set.
South by Southwest Music & Media Conference (SXSW) – Austin, TX (1987-1997)
My SXSW life began as a co-director. In the first year I was responsible for backline coordination for the participating venues. I organized and participated in all aspects of this international, annual industry convention. I also served as a panelist and speaker on various workshops sharing my music industry experiences and expertise.
After a few years I settled in as Manager of the SXSW “General Store” selecting, purchasing, and marketing a variety of SXSW merchandise to conference attendees. The sales were not limited to SXSX items but included consigned products by the hundreds of bands participating in the conference. I designed and implemented the stores unique inventory control system to handle this task. I also supervised numerous volunteers along with creating store layouts and displays.
The First SXSW – http://www.austinchronicle.com/features/2001-09-07/82876/
When the True Believers reunited after Grulkefest, Jungle was called upon to digitally distribute two new recordings Dedication and Gipsy Son in support of a tour. The band also wanted product to sell at shows and Jungle oversaw the production and manufacture of the CD EP for the tour. Jungle also prepared and digitally released the first two original True Believer albums as the twofer Hard Road.
During the last two years Jungle has also release most of its past catalog exclusively for digital distribution.
Associations – Awards
- 1986 – Nominated for a Grammy Award (NARAS) for the album Trash, Twang & Thunder by the Big Guitars from Texas in the category of Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
- 1986 – Received an Honorable Mention Award from the National Association of Independent Record Distributors (NAIRD) for the album Trash, Twang & Thunder by the Big Guitars from Texas for Best Indie Rock Album.
- 1987 – Earned NAIRD’s First Place Award for the album Groovin’ by the Killer Bees for Best Indie Reggae Release.
- 1988 to 1989 – Served on the board of the Austin Chapter of the Texas Music Association.