Sundays usually find Margaret Moser on her porch with her boyfriend listening to KUTX and reading. Lately, she’s been thumbing A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara Tuchman. Now that the Chronicle’s senior music scribe is retiring, she’ll have a lot more free time. This was rarely the case in the past.
For more than three decades, Moser’s schedule has been at the whim of the music gods, whether covering it live, writing about it, or simply living it. She’s one of the people who made Austin the live music capital of the world. Her decades on the beat end May 16, the day she turns 60.
“I don’t really know any other life,” she acknowledges. “The Chronicle is my family.”
For two years now, Moser’s battled cancer. Instead of dividing her time between chemotherapy and work, she’d rather concentrate on the finer things in life, like listening to the aforementioned station’s Saturday night Paul Ray slot, Twine Time, without worrying about having to be out covering bands. That’s a far cry from 1981, when this magazine’s editor and publisher, Louis Black and Nick Barbaro, respectively, hired her after a stint at precursor weekly the Austin Sun.
“I nearly blew it early on,” she laughs. “Don’t ever hire a night scene columnist to double as your morning receptionist. But it’s been a dream of a career, and thanks to them, I’ve been able to interview people from Bob Geldof to Liz Carpenter. Black and Barbaro are remarkable men.”
Her only regret? Not interviewing Willie Nelson.
Cow punks the Hickoids kick off Moser’s official retirement party at 2pm, which climaxes with a very special surprise guest around 7:30pm. In between, ranging from swamp pop and blues to country and roots punk, Eve Monses, Churchwood, Standing Waves, the Wagoneers, Bluebonnets, Paul Oscher, Rosie Flores, my band the Painted Redstarts, and my father Jon Dee Graham perform.
Come thank the guest of honor for 30-plus years of public service.– William Harries Graham