Doug Sahm's 'Mendocino'

SXSW panels

Live Shots
Photo by Sandy Carson

Doug Sahm's 'Mendocino'

Austin Convention Center, March 21

Although this lively panel was ostensibly about the Sir Douglas Quintet's landmark 1969 single, "Mendocino," anyone who knows anything about the late Doug Sahm could guess tangential asides would overwhelm the assigned subject matter. Moderator Bill Bentley chose the 1966 Corpus Christi dope bust that compelled Sahm's move to California as the starting point. "The judge said, 'You can't come into my court unless you cut your hair,'" recalled SDQ organist Augie Meyers, "'but before you cut your hair, my daughter is a big fan, and she wants a picture of you.'" Once in the Bay Area, Sahm appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone with son Shawn to represent the tide of Texans fleeing cultural repression. He also met girls, including the "teenybopper" who inspired "Mendocino." "I had stepmothers in every corner of the world," joked Shawn. "Mendocino" became a national hit, but to 15-year-old future Chronicle Music writer Margaret Moser, the song's Chicano soul and country undertones encapsulated San Antonio's musical essence. From there, the discourse rolled from how SDQ stashed pot in microphone stands and Bob Dylan hiring Sahm to babysit son Jakob to George Lucas expressing interest in having SDQ appear in More American Graffiti, only to be rebuffed because Sahm thought it might interfere with watching baseball. Off topic or on, the panel found Sahm's storied "groove" in spades.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
SXSW Panel: <i>The Messy Truth</i> With Van Jones
SXSW Panel: The Messy Truth With Van Jones
CNN commentator takes on our new reality television society

Kahron Spearman, March 11, 2017

Ballroom Dancing
Flying the Indie Flag
SXSW panels

Jim Caligiuri, March 18, 2011

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Hector Ward & the Big Time
Smile Into Life (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, July 5, 2019

Texas Platters
Grupo Fantasma
American Music Vol. VII (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, April 19, 2019

More by Greg Beets
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Doug Sahm's "Mendocino", sxsxm, Sahm, Doug, SXSW panel

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle