Today I remember one of my biggest inspirations and one of my favourite Texans ever, Stevie Ray Vaughan. What made it all the more special was that when I got clean in 86 , at 22 years of age I felt my greatest love, Music ,and all the good times it brings was going to be over.
Johnny Winter toured that year on the back of his Alligator Records success, and I went, sober and clean, and it was awesome. There was hope that music could be fun without being out of it. Still have the T-Shirt from that tour, wish it still fit me!
A while later SRV released Instep, I could tell by the lyrics he was sober. I was young, and I just thought it was cool. Not only was he clean, the new record kicked some serious ass! Great feel, addition of keys, brilliant. I somehow took some solace that you can be clean, and be cool, and be creative more importantly. I was in Warning back then playing SRV, Johnny Winter , Rory Gallagher, Buddy Guy songs to name a few, and my recovery worlds and music worlds collided in a wonderful way with SRV.
When they announced his death on morning news, I was broken hearted, and it was all pre-Facebook, no mass media. I can see that social media allows you to connect in a strange way globally when something like this happens. Seeing he was a bluesman and not universally loved in Australia ,I drove off to work and I felt that as if there was no one to tell who really understood what this meant. It was a devastating tragedy. Not just to me, but to Music. I rang my bass player, he loved him to. It was good to talk about it, our favourite songs. The times we would drive to gig in the bush, long drives and listen to his albums. Memories that will never leave me.
SRV was our Hendrix, he defined guitar, made the blues modern, he was our Bluesman. When I visited Austin, I would always go to Antones, even though it was a different building, the town had him in it. I took a picture by his statue, it was a pilgrimage. Music helped me understand this world, relationships, feelings, love and hate, pain and joy. SRV was music; just watching him play you knew you were in the presence of greatness. I saw him only twice. Once at the Opera House with the Dynamic Hypnotics, that red suit, my God, he blew me away. Then at the Hordern Pavilion with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. It doesn’t get any better than that.
I went to the Narcotics Anonymous World Convention in San Antonio about 9 years ago, and at the Blues Luncheon Steve E spoke then Kenny Wayne Sheppard played with Chris “Rivers” Layton on drums. It felt like he was in the air. I felt that when the Arc Angels released their debut album, SRV was there. 29 years into recovery, SRV is still cool, and Recovery is cooler than ever.
God bless Stevie Ray Vaughan.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F73EcycGCO8&list=PL84wasvrcnHl8t8ss2_1WIMoTgbvl2Fp7&index=2