Vaya con Dios, Narum

RECEIVED Wed., Nov. 25, 2009

Dear Editor,
    Re: "Bill Narum (1947-2009)" ["Off the Record," Music, Nov. 27]: Bill was a friend and a fellow traveler since the late 1970s. We were not close but friends nonetheless and had dozens of mutual friends. La Bastille, Anderson Fair, Calico Print Company, KLOL, the Old Quarter, Fitzgerald's – during the late '70s in Houston, Bill and his lovely artwork were everywhere all at once. I was a stringy punk kid just starting in the arts, yet Bill always had a kind word and a smile for me. I first met another young stringy kid by the name of Stevie Vaughan at one of Bill's openings at Anderson Fair. Nobody I know involved in the arts in the state of Texas ever had a single bad thing to say about Bill. Besides being a great artist, he was a fair and intelligent businessman. This is a rare combination anywhere – especially here. My return to Austin has not necessarily been easy. I've grown and so had the town while I was away. One of the highlights, however, was running into Bill at several openings. It was nice to see him again in a more settled and less mischievous environment. He seemed genuinely happy and very much at home and in love with Gloria. When the accounts are all settled, Bill will be remembered as a great American artist every bit the equal of Pollock, Rockwell, or Warhol. Together with his contemporaries – Franklin, Juke, Yeates, and Priest – he co-founded an entire school of art which continues to thrive today long after "the incense burned away." At one point in time, there was not a kid in Houston who didn't own a K101 runaway radio T-shirt. That station and its programmers helped to start Southern rock and started my lifelong love affair with radio. I still listen all night long. He influenced hundreds of thousands of Texas artists just by being himself and doing his own thing very well. My sincerest condolences to Gloria, Michelle, Nico, Billy, Dusty, Frank, and Bill. "When things go wrong, so wrong with you it hurts me too." – Elmore James
Vaya con dios, amigo,
Jeff J. Newman
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