Never Heard of 'Em: Austin's Music Explosion 1994-2000
Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., June 15, 2012
Never Heard of 'Em: Austin's Music Explosion 1994-2000by Sue Donahoe
Self-published, 222 pp., $19.95 (paper)
What do you want from your pursuit of happiness? For those led by the music muse, a measure of recognition to go with the years of study, practice, and work is as desirable as monetary compensation. The gold standard remains a headlining slot, but achieving that even on a local level can require 24/7 tending, not to mention the constant demand for new – and better – songs.
Sue Donahoe's 2010 book speaks to the years she and her late husband Mike ran musical ephemera shop Local Flavor, catering to the Austin music scene and its artists. That gave her a catbird perch for observations on the scene, especially those segments of it that were largely off the radar. And it's easy to be off Austin's radar even while answering the muse nightly – yet musicians who take risky gigs are true warriors of the musical realms. They test the unknown venues, play as thankless openers, try to develop audiences for music where none exist, or try to keep the ones that do entertained. Never Heard of 'Em posits these lesser-known local stalwarts – across genres from folk to punk to cult: Ponty Bone, Apaches of Paris, Johnny Goudie, Bubble Puppy, the Chumps – as the foundation of Austin music. Lots of fun photos and food for thought, but it cries out for an index. That in itself would summarize Donahoe's loving title point.
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