Why Not More on Tommy Taylor and Andy Salmon

RECEIVED Sun., Jan. 22, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Interesting article about Christopher Cross [“The Reluctant Celebrity,” Music, Jan. 20]. I was surprised more mention wasn't made of Andy Salmon or Tommy Taylor, who, whether they agreed or declined to be interviewed, were a huge part of the band's success, and who each remain a vibrant and important member of Austin's music scene. Tommy tours with Eric Johnson and has several other projects including the new band 86'D. Andy plays regularly, including with Stevie Ray Vaughan songwriter Bill Carter, whose latest gig was attended (and had a sit-in from) Johnny Depp – a week or two ago. James Fenner, the great percussionist, who was a huge part of the band's sound, wasn't mentioned at all. It was fair to quote the gifted Rob Meurer, who however still enjoys a working relationship with Mr. Geppert. But as so often happens, the person out front is perceived to be the "artist" while the band gets kicked over the side – often after years and even a decade or more of effort to get the "artist" in position to claim (and begin) a larger career. Christopher Cross was a band name. Like my late friend Willy DeVille (né William Borsey), Mr. Geppert took the band's name unto himself, while those who helped put him on the map in the first place are certainly as vibrant and significant contributors to music and specifically Austin. They have made lemonade out of bitter lemons, after being left in the lurch – whether at the urging of management, record label, or in some cases, an "artist" believing the group's success to be his (or hers) alone.
    As far as the sound of the band, I liked it before I moved to Austin in 1980. I came from New York where I worked and hung out with Steve Forbert, the Roches, Paul Siebel and others in a singer-songwriter scene. But I liked lots of other stuff, and to me, they just sounded like great California-style rockers, like the Eagles – or Beach Boys, whom they each admired. While so many in Austin hold the band (and certain other artists) in such scorn, despite their doing great everywhere else, is a mystery to me.
Mandy Mercier
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