Reflections of Austin:
A Musical Journey through Generations
As I sit here, reminiscing about my vibrant and musically infused upbringing in Austin, Texas, a wave of nostalgia washes over me. Growing up in the ’70s, experiencing the wild ’80s, and embracing the rebellious ’90s shaped my love for music, taking me on a journey through legendary venues that defined Austin’s rich cultural tapestry. From early childhood moments at the Armadillo World Headquarters to unforgettable nights at the Liberty Lunch and the Ritz, the sounds of iconic bands and the pulse of the city still echo in my soul.
Part 1: A Musical Haven for All Ages
As a child in the ’70s, my parents introduced me to the vibrant Austin music scene, taking me to concerts at the Armadillo World Headquarters, Soap Creek Saloon, and Willie Nelson’s Austin Opera House. The Armadillo, with its funky decor and vibrant atmosphere, hosted a myriad of influential bands like The Grateful Dead and ZZ Top. I still remember the eclectic crowd and the contagious energy that filled the air. I can’t count how many shows I saw at Willie Nelson’s Austin Opera House, from high up on the “cocaine catwalk”… a secret to most, but the best seats in the house for those with access.
Part 2: A Teenager’s Rite of Passage
In the electric ’80s, I embarked on my own musical adventures, exploring Austin’s iconic venues as a rebellious teenager. The Continental Club, known for its intimate setting and vibrant blues scene, captivated my soul. Antone’s, a legendary blues club, drew me in with its soul-stirring performances by blues greats like Stevie Ray Vaughan, pushing the boundaries of my musical horizons. Those nights were an education in raw talent and unbridled passion.
Part 3: Finding My Voice
As the ’90s unfolded, I found myself at Liberty Lunch and the Ritz, where the alternative and punk scenes thrived. Liberty Lunch, with its laid-back vibe, played host to an array of influential acts like Sonic Youth and The Butthole Surfers. It was a place where free spirits and music lovers united under the open sky. The Ritz, on the other hand, embodied the edgier side of Austin’s music scene, featuring underground acts and groundbreaking performances. Bands like The Pixies, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana graced its stage, leaving an indelible mark on my musical journey.
Austin is Still a Beautiful City, Just Not Quite as Cool as it Was
My years growing up in Austin during the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s were an immersive experience in the power of music and the vibrant energy of a city that thrived on artistic expression. From the historic venues that shaped the city’s cultural identity, like the Armadillo World Headquarters and Soap Creek Saloon, to the intimate spaces that allowed me to find my own voice, such as Liberty Lunch and the Ritz, Austin’s music scene molded me into the person I am today. Those bands and those nights still hold a special place in my heart, forever reminding me of the magic and allure that can be found in the sounds of a city that pulses with creativity.