“No Willie, Waylon, or the Armadillo in 1977!!!” The Punk Beast Begins to Stir in Austin

A nascent scene takes shape in chapter three of the Austin Punk Chronicles

The Violators: (l-r) Carla Olson, Marilyn Dean, Jesse Sublett, and Kathy Valentine (Photo by Ken Hoge)

Editor’s note: This is the third chapter in a serialized history of Austin’s punk culture, written by veteran journalist Tim Stegall. Chapter 1, documenting how a collaboration between Roky Erickson and Doug Sahm spurred this primal strain of rock & roll, and Chapter 2, delineating the pre-punk world of glam rock, ran in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Over the Chronicle’s next three issues, Stegall takes us from Austin’s first punk band to the big-bang event of the Sex Pistols playing Randy’s Rodeo.

"I Just Wanted To Play That Music!"

"No Elvis, Beatles, or the Rolling Stones/ In 1977!!!" roared the Clash, London's No. 2 Great Punk Hope, from the B-side of their debut 45, "White Riot."

Seemingly overnight, every major metropolis on Earth boasted at least 10 local bands singing a variation on that chorus. Except Austin.

Guitarist Sterling Morrison of New York's Velvet Underground spent most of the Seventies in UT's medieval literature graduate studies program, working as a teaching assistant. In the Sixties, the VU taught future punks the value of distortion, primal rhythms, and songs about drugs, decadence, and urban decay. Morrison left the band midtour at Houston's airport in 1971, sick of Lou Reed's machinations. He eventually joined Austin party band the Bizarros. But as drummer Bill Bentley puts it, they "weren't protopunk."

"We made Sterling learn some blues, and early rock, which he already knew," he recalled. "But it was all so much fun, and we drank so much, nothing made much sense anyway – musically or otherwise."

Bentley's day job as counterculture biweekly The Austin Sun's music editor afforded him a panoramic view of the town's musical landscape. While the Armadillo's progressive country sound still dominated, the blues crying from Clifford Antone's eponymous club excited him more. The Fabulous Thunderbirds were the house band, sharpening their Chicago-esque chops onstage with greats like Muddy Waters and Bobby Blue Bland.

Local glam burned down with Mother Earth's original Lamar location. Dicks singer Gary Floyd, relocated here from Palestine, Texas, in 1974, thinks glam may've been a little too pretentious for Austin.

"People had to work and make money – that's Texas," he says. "People went out all night, then worked the next day, then started all over again. You could dress up a little bit, but people wanna be real. And in the summertime, it's too damned hot to dress in a costume! Glam might not've been real enough. It's why country music caught on here – they want the real thing.

"Austin is a place where they want you to be real."

In 1975, Roky Erickson unleashed his horrorpunk act at the Ritz at roughly the same moment the Ramones ruled CBGB. L.A. proto-punks the Imperial Dogs and Berlin Brats played scattered gigs, in one of the few U.S. cities to embrace both the New York Dolls and the Stooges. Art-damaged Cleveland garage-ists Rocket From the Tombs split, spawning an artier half called Pere Ubu and a Stooge-ier half named Frankenstein, the latter a year away from becoming the Dead Boys. Across the Atlantic, the Sex Pistols gate-crashed their first London art college gigs. ("Yeah, we're the opening act, mate!") Radio Birdman and the Saints played similar high-speed Stooge-rock from opposite ends of the Australian continent.

None of these bands were aware anyone else in this world also hated everything about the Seventies. They had to make this noise themselves.

San Antonio's local delinquent rock & rollers emerged in 1974 – the Vamps. They were led by brothers Frank and Joe Pugliese, relocated from Steelton, Pa., in 1965 when their father's civil service job shifted to Kelly Air Force Base. Six-foot-6-inch Frank fronted the band like a cross between Iggy Pop and early Mick Jagger placed on a stretch rack. The younger Joe slammed keys.

"We went through a billion guitar players and bass players," sighs Joe. "At first, we called ourselves Riff Raff, then we were Chatterbox. Then in '75, we landed on the Vamps, and kept that name until we broke up in 1980.

"Basically, we became a band because no one else was playing music we liked. We were in the heavy metal capital of Texas, but we liked the Dolls, the Stones, and the Stooges. So we became a band playing that material. We played a lot of Iggy, a lot of Lou Reed and Velvet Underground, and at one time we worked up the entire first New York Dolls album."

"We did a lot of the same songs we do in the Sons of Hercules," adds Frank, singer with that San Antonio garage-punk institution since 1990. "We never really found the right guys to play these songs, back then. Some wanted to be in the Beatles, some wanted to be heavy metal. It was pretty bad."

"Anybody that was willing to take the time to rehearse with us? We'd take 'em!" laughs Joe. "Most of 'em had never heard of the Dolls or Velvet Underground. But it was easy enough. We exposed them to it. Then they liked it 'cause you could dance to it, it had a good beat. Most of the time, we'd need a guitar player, and they'd come over and say, 'Well, I like the Scorpions.' And I'd say, 'Well, if you're into the Scorpions, then you can play D and E!'"

In 1976, bands like the Vamps looked around, saw others in far-flung burghs peering back from the pages of Rock Scene and Creem magazine, and realized they weren't alone. Someone – maybe Legs McNeil at pioneering NYC fanzine Punk, perhaps Melody Maker journalist Caroline Coon in the UK – called it "punk rock." Creem writer Dave Marsh coined the term in 1969 to describe Farfisa-driven garage-ites Question Mark and the Mysterians, of 96 Tears fame. Fellow scribe (and future Patti Smith Group guitarist) Lenny Kaye then applied it to the groups featured on his hugely influential 1972 retrospective of Sixties garage sounds, Nuggets.

"Exactly," Frank affirms. "I didn't know punk from spunk! I just wanted to play that music!"

"I Didn't Think, 'Oh, I Can Do This.'"

Word of punk spread globally in summer 1977. June 25, NBC's late-night news magazine Weekend ran "The New Elizabethans," a report on England's sensationalized scene. "It is the newest music from the country where Handel composed 'The Messiah,'" intoned anchor Lloyd Dobyns, the screen filling with images of Eddie & the Hot Rods seething through Bob Seger's "Get Out of Denver." "This is punk rock, and its purpose, one observer says, is to promote violence, sex, and destruction – in that order." Visions of safety-pinned kids walking down the King's Road and pogoers ripping down ceiling tiles and electrical wiring to the Damned followed. Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren pontificated from a taxi cab's backseat: "We are, at the moment, in a country that is economically depressed. When you've got 60% of these kids out of work or sitting around or hanging out in the streets, without music that they feel can capture their imagination and inspire them to go forth, you have a whole force that is basically with very little future."

July 11, Time magazine splashed punk across two pages, headlined "Anthems of the Blank Generation." "The music aims for the gut," read the anonymous copy. "Even compared with the more elemental stylings of 1950s rock 'n' roll which it closely resembles, punk rock is a primal scream. The music comes in fast, short bursts of buzz and blast. Some groups have but two or three chord changes at their disposal, occasionally less: Last week at CBGB, a fledgling group set several unofficial records for length of time played without changing chords at all." Surrounding the jaundiced prose: images of Johnny Rotten flipping off the camera, Dead Boys vocalist Stiv Bators writhing on a floor, L.A. art brutarians the Weirdos, and some joker in a suit made of a parachute and raw cuts of meat.

Surely some Austinites at this historical moment were screaming, "No Willie, Waylon, or the Armadillo ... in 1977!!!" Well ...

"Iggy [Pop] played the Armadillo with the Sales brothers [Tony and Hunt, sons of Fifties pie-in-face comedian Soupy Sales] in 1977," emails Jesse Sublett, then at loose ends after playing last-gasp glamsters Jelly Roll's final gigs at the year's beginning. "That was a big pre-punk moment. If you were there – and it was a very small but ecstatic crowd – you would have recognized people who had been at the Runaways, the Tubes, and Roxy Music, all within 1975–77, and then you would have seen many of the same people at Raul's in '78."

Glam/metal-damaged teen combo the Runaways, L.A.'s Joan Jett-led great proto-punk hope, made their Austin debut Feb. 15, 1977. R&B greats the Womack Brothers opened. NYC's Ramones played Armadillo World HQ on Thursday, July 14, 1977. They essentially codified the hyperadrenalized tempos, chainsaw guitars, and leather jacket couture that would characterize punk, and acted as the movement's Johnny Appleseeds most everywhere. But while Austin's punks-to-be may've been excited by "Cherry Bomb" and "Blitzkrieg Bop," it hardly seemed to dawn on anyone that this new music could happen here.

The Ramones backstage at Armadillo World HQ on July 14, 1977 (Photo by Ken Hoge)
“Dee Dee Ramone would walk up to the front of the stage. Me and my friend would put our hands on his shoes. He looked at us like, ‘Okay, that’s weird. Must be queers.’ But he kept coming back, and we kept rubbing his feet.” – Dicks vocalist Gary Floyd recalling the Ramones debut Austin performance at the Armadillo World HQ on July 14, 1977.

This seems odd, considering the catalytic effect the Ramones had most places. It was similar to Elvis Presley barnstorming the South in 1955, leaving behind a trail of greasy-haired hillbillies boppin' the blues, or the Yardbirds' blitzkrieg of the entirety of America 10 years later. As manager Giorgio Gomelsky once exclaimed, they returned after six months to find "every local band was the Yardbirds!"

"Dee Dee Ramone would walk up to the front of the stage," Floyd recalls of the Ramones' Armadillo gig. "Me and my friend would put our hands on his shoes. He looked at us like, 'Okay, that's weird. Must be queers.' But he kept coming back, and we kept rubbing his feet.

"At that time, I was only listening to blues stuff. I couldn't listen to all the other shit anymore, like the Moody Blues or that kinda thing. The Ramones were new and exciting, it was the new sound. The Ramones and the Pistols went into heavy rotation with me for a long time."

Future Huns guitarist John Burton was at the Ramones and Runaways shows, as well as the Ramones' July 18 San Antonio gig at converted bowling alley Randy's Rodeo.

"People just pulled chairs up in front of the stage," marvels Burton. "I was sitting in the front row, with no room between the stage and the chair."

A native of Schertz, Texas, then studying at San Marcos' Southwest Texas State University, Burton was a teenage hard rocker who'd played drums in junior high cover bands before getting distracted by cars and motorcycles. He also "devoured" New York Rocker and Rock Scene.

"Particularly in 1974, Rock Scene covered Wayne County, the New York Dolls, the Ramones – and Kiss! They were part of that pool of bands. To me, the Ramones were hard rock, just in a more innovative way. They still had the wall of Marshalls, but they had songs that were inspired by 1950s rock with their own spin: two to three minutes, short, to-the-point, fast, loud. That was the first punk I saw, but I didn't think, 'Oh, I can do this.'"

"They were almost an act," muses Bill Bentley. "They were a visual thing – they all dressed alike, they had the same name. It was almost a routine as much as it was musical. But if you didn't look at them and listened to the music, it was mind-blowing. But it was almost comedic. People didn't take them seriously – and that might be why they didn't inspire people in Austin to do it themselves."

"The music seemed a little familiar," recalls Big Boys bassist Chris Gates of his first exposure to the Ramones. "There was that Sixties soul element, but it was the fastness of it! My head couldn't get around it. It just seemed funny. I didn't know what to think of it. It was so far outside of anything I had experienced."

Gates was a skateboarding longhair learning to play guitar to Ted Nugent records. He loved Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, and Aerosmith, but also early Seventies underground sounds – Bowie, the Stooges, the Dolls.

"To me, a lot of rock by 1977 was getting pretty stale," he says. "I was already looking for something else. Rock radio was inundated with Journey and Styx. It was getting tedious."

London's outrage, the Sex Pistols, became internationally notorious by summer 1977. It seemed the Ramones would be punk's Beatles, and the Pistols its Rolling Stones. Everything lead snarler Johnny Rotten, bassist Sid Vicious, guitarist Steve Jones, and drummer Paul Cook touched was destined to offend everyone in their path, until they could never play a show in their homeland. Their vitriolic rock & roll and nasty manner especially produced local converts, amongst Austinites sick of slick Seventies rock.

"Punks were out there," notes Sublett. "But it took the Sex Pistols to wake everyone up or something."

Sanctum Sanctorum

If Austin's punks-in-the-making received the news, it wasn't from alarmist news magazine stories or television reports. Blame the import bins of Inner Sanctum Records. It initially opened August 28, 1970, by UT student Joe Bryson, out of a ramshackle West 24th and Rio Grande location for a down-on-its-luck shop called Phil's Record Store. It soon moved to a large old house up the road at 504 W. 24th. Among their neighboring businesses in that building: The Texas Observer's initial offices. On the staff: a young Molly Ivins.

Over time, Bryson assembled a crew of musical aficionados whose expertise he'd rely on, like store manager James "Cowboy" Cooper and Richard Dorsett, eventually the jazz buyer. The store specialized in cosmic cowboy sounds, but they stocked everything. Pioneering the sale of used records – plus their controversial (among major labels, at least) practice of renting records at $1/day – helped make Inner Sanctum one of America's most influential independent record retailers. It was certainly Austin's most popular record store.

Inner Sanctum crew: (l-r) "Big Al" Ragle, Joe Bryson, Neil Ruttenberg, James "Cowboy" Cooper, "Steve-O" Goodwin, and Richard Dorsett (Photo by Ken Hoge)

"You could find things at Inner Sanctum that you would not find anywhere," says Bryson, these days a prominent local realtor. "We had a really unique selection. Four years into it, we broke our first million dollars in annual sales, starting from a $3,600 investment."

"Everybody would just go there and talk about music," says Bentley. "We didn't even buy records – we just talked about 'em! You'd buy a beer at Les Amis, then go in and talk about music."

The store grew, eventually taking over 504's entire bottom story and employing a staff of 16.

"I ordered the imports," says Neil Ruttenberg, another San Antonio native who joined the staff in 1976. "I was into prog rock. I was an avid reader of New Musical Express and Melody Maker. That was the only way to get any information, other than New York Rocker, which came out in '76. But there were all these pre-punk bands like the MC5 and the Stooges who were putting out records, and there was also pub rock that was kind of a bridge. You had all these people like Nick Lowe and Graham Parker who sort of fertilized the punk scene.

"All this music was being funneled through our shop. We were an independent record store – it wasn't Discount Records, it wasn't Record Town. It wasn't corporate. We could bring in whatever we wanted. Joe never cared about that. We were an amalgam of every kind of music, depending on who was working. Cowboy would always play country. Richard Dorsett and I would play the Dolls and the Stooges. Personalities drove what you heard in the store, and we were terrible snobs. But that was part of the charm of the store. Somebody would walk up with a record, and I'd go, 'You don't wanna buy that! You wanna buy this!'"

Come 1977, what Ruttenberg and Dorsett increasingly wanted you to buy was punk rock. They stocked all the latest U.S. indie releases and British imports, plus those UK rock weeklies and Xeroxed fanzines furiously documenting this new music – Punk out of NYC, Sniffing Glue from London, sometimes the West Coast's Slash and Search and Destroy.

"We were forming the musical interests of these subcultures by doing this. The whole thing started from singles, because nobody had albums out yet, except for the Ramones and the Clash and eventually the Sex Pistols. Everything was singles. So we would get singles from New York and England, and I was constantly picking through Melody Maker and New York Rocker, always looking for something new. I was bringing in a ton of stuff. Joe wasn't real happy about it, because sometimes things didn't sell."

"We had all the imported punk singles," says employee Eddie Muñoz, also freshly un-Jelly Rolled like his pal Sublett. "I'd see the kids coming in from UT and looking through the shit, wondering when this record was coming out. Back then, you had to look at the Jem Records catalog to see what was scheduled to be released." Muñoz was eventually joined at Inner Sanctum by Will Sharp, another San Antonian who eventually managed the Next.

As touring punk acts began playing the Armadillo, they'd stop in Inner Sanctum for an in-store, signing records or even playing a brief set as the registers rang and the beer flowed. That fall, Robert Gordon – an Elvis-alike who'd begun with CBGB act the Tuff Darts before co-leading a rockabilly revivalist outfit with genuine Fifties rock guitar legend Link Wray – crammed people into the shop. An Elvis Costello look-alike contest promoted the release of his debut album, My Aim Is True. When KLBJ refused to play the Clash's first LP, Bryson bought a block of airtime for Inner Sanctum spots, went next door to sister station KHFI's production studio, and began the ads by announcing, "At this point in time, you will not hear this music on this radio station." Then proceeded to play a minute of "Janie Jones."

Music fans crowd into Inner Sanctum Records, circa 1977 (Photo by Joe Bryson)

The Ramones did three Inner Sanctum in-stores over time. Once, Dee Dee Ramone ordered five Bovine Specials – "two quarter-pound hamburger patties they put tomatoes and grilled onions and cheese inside, the chicken kiev of hamburgers," according to Bryson – from the Mad Dog & Beans burger stand next door during the course of the signing.

"He had 5 pounds of ground beef in his belly," laughs Bryson. "He looked like a damned pregnant totem pole!"

Dee Dee's feeding frenzy made him forget his stage clothes in a paper bag in Inner Sanctum's closet. Tour manager Monte Melnick called from El Paso, asking if the store could send them to the tour's next stop, Albuquerque.

"Neil laid his clothes out in a record box," grins Bryson. "Then we ordered a Bovine Special next door, laid it on top, sealed the box and shipped it."

Moving Violations

"The scene was stale," drawls Carla Olson, still leading the Textones from Los Angeles, as she has since the days when 213 was the city's only area code. "It wasn't happening. Suddenly things started changing, and people started saying, 'Y'know, I'm not doing these four sets of radio songs anymore.'"

Well, certainly. Who wants to play four sets per night of "Disco Duck" and "Afternoon Delight"?

Olson grew up middle class, attending Reagan High School until she was thrown out for not wearing a bra. ("And believe me, that wasn't an issue, because I looked like your kid brother!") Her parents bought her first acoustic guitar with S&H Green Stamps. Seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show changed her direction: "I didn't wanna play folk guitar – I wanted to be in a band!" By 1976, she had played in some glam-ish bands – Silver Clouds, Warp Factor 5 – with shag-cut boyfriend Muñoz, who could twist a fretboard with rare strength and agility.

“The main takeaway for me was, ‘Oh, I don’t have to play like Jeff Beck. I don’t have to woodshed five years before I can really do this well.’ It took away a lot of the need to be a virtuoso and the gender bias. You didn’t have to be extreme. You could still have a shag haircut and be punk.” – Future Go-Go’s bassist Kathy Valentine, a member of 1977 Austin act the Violators, on the sense of empowerment that punk gave her.

Muñoz spent much of the summer in Los Angeles, absorbing events at the Masque. Opened by Scottish immigrant Brendan Mullen in the basement of the Pussycat porn theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, the cheap rehearsal space soon became Hollywood's punk palace. Blasting the graffiti off its walls: the Germs, X, the Weirdos, the Controllers, the Bags, the Alley Cats, and many other bands with a definitive article starting their name, like a vicious nihilist parody of Sixties British Invasion bands. Muñoz saw most of those, plus out-of-towners like Blondie and the Ramones, and San Francisco's Avengers. He befriended scenesters like Phast Phreddie Patterson, founder of proto-punk zine Backdoor Man, and Chris Desjardins, record reviewer for Slash and leader of the Flesh Eaters.

"There was no culture shock," he claims. "Those bands were all fucking amazing, even though some of those acts were more challenged on the artistic level."

Muñoz returned to Austin enthusiastic about his experiences. He carried back several punk imports and local L.A. 45s, raving to Sublett.

"It took a few months of absorbing the idea, but the epiphany came quick," he says. "Jesse smiled big time and said, 'Let's do this!'"

Meanwhile, Olson visited friend Toni Laumer in England that fall, as did Lois Richwine, another San Antonian. Also visiting Britain: Kathy Valentine, the teenage guitarist Muñoz encountered while rooming with her British mom. All three were blown away by the industrial grinder that the Sex Pistols, Clash, Damned, etc. applied to English rock. Valentine even auditioned for and joined a newly formed Runaways-style punk/hard rock amalgam, Painted Lady.

"Kathy, to me, was one of those points of light in the cosmos that makes shit happen," says Muñoz. "Of course I was too young to realize that until a while back. She is the reason I grew to be the musician I am. She kicked my ass on guitar until she showed me how to play 'Hideaway' by Freddie King."

Muñoz also recalls Valentine taking piano lessons from a Greenbriar School associate, acknowledged in her recent memoir All I Ever Wanted. They gave her a sense of musical theory and sight-reading she passed on in sessions around the family piano. She apparently also taught him a crucial chord change in another blues standard, "Keys to the Highway."

"I had learned the Eric Clapton version in 1974," he recalls. "She had her own take on it, maybe from hanging out with one of the blues guys in '77-'78. She had discovered a chord change that wasn't on the Eric version.

"Actually, maybe Carla had something to do with that, too. Carla knew those Freddie King turnarounds that I struggled with. Carla had a great handle on blues changes, the cool ones. Carla is pretty much ground zero for improving my guitar playing in our relationship – and, by osmosis, Kathy's too. Kathy was rough, but she had something."

In London, Olson and Richwine intimately viewed the goings-on at Stiff Records, via Laumer's relationship with co-founder Jake Riviera. A rock impresario christened Andrew Jakeman, he'd co-founded Stiff with Dave Robinson in 1976, off a loan from Lee Brilleaux, singer for Dr. Feelgood, the vicious, Riviera-managed, pre-punk R&B outfit. Launched with "Heart of the City," a Nick Lowe single that resembled the Feelgoods covering the Ramones, Stiff distinguished itself with its tongue-in-cheek marketing ("If It Ain't Stiff," read one notorious promo T-shirt, "It Ain't Worth a Fuck!") and a roster of rehabilitated pub rock veterans rebranded "New Wave" – Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Wreckless Eric, etc. Riviera also managed London's rowdiest punk band the Damned, enabling his charges to release Britain's first punk single, "New Rose," and first punk LP, Damned Damned Damned, via Stiff.

"I didn't know Carla and Kathy," says Richwine. "I was with Toni on the street one day and ran into them, and she knew Carla. They're from Texas. 'Oh my god, what are you guys doing here?'"

Valentine's book mentions no such encounter. But in person, she paraphrases the sense of empowerment punk gave her, underlined in its pages.

"The main takeaway for me was, 'Oh, I don't have to play like Jeff Beck,'" the future Go-Go's member says of her epiphany. "I don't have to woodshed five years before I can really do this well. It took away a lot of the need to be a virtuoso and the gender bias. You didn't have to be extreme. You could still have a shag haircut and be punk."

A mysterious ailment led to Painted Lady – soon renamed Girlschool – replacing her with Kelly Johnson. Undaunted, Valentine returned home bent on starting a punk band. She was already tight with Marilyn Dean, a drummer who shared her Joan Jett fashion sense – razor-shag/heavy kohl/leather jacket. Muñoz mentioned his girlfriend's musical gifts, to Valentine's shock. Olson was game, once he got her on the phone with Valentine. When no suitable female bassists were found, Sublett was approached. Meet the Violators – Austin's first punk band.

A flier for a Violators and Skunks show at Raul's

Rehearsals commenced in October, according to Sublett's Never the Same Again, consisting of originals he and Valentine had lying around. They balanced out the repertoire with covers of still-relevant Sixties rockers – Stones, Yardbirds, Kinks, 13th Floor Elevators, and Velvet Underground – and current punk/New Wave luminaries: Pistols/Damned/Costello/Lowe.

"Carla and Kathy did most of the singing," he continues. "The band was rough, but way ahead of its time for Austin."

Richwine returned to San Antonio around Thanksgiving, running into Olson and Valentine again and being struck by their chemistry. Valentine stayed in touch, attempting to coerce her into relocating by matchmaking her with the Violators' bassist.

Muñoz, meantime, kept showing up to their practices, acting as an ad hoc roadie – changing strings, adjusting the PA, etc. Once on a break, Muñoz revved up James Williamson's immortal two-chord riff to Iggy and the Stooges' "Search and Destroy" on Valentine's '63 Fender Strat. Sublett naturally fell in on bass, as Dean pounded the beat for all she was worth. Grins ensued all around. The three tried two more songs the next night. Sublett was enjoying the power trio format. Muñoz said he knew of a drummer from Beeville who was managing a sandwich shop next to the Continental Club on Congress: "A little Keith Moon, a whole lot of Charlie Watts, he said. Sounded good to me." Billy Blackmon indicated his interest, but they'd have to play a few songs by his favorite band, the Kinks. Sublett and Muñoz readily agreed. Meet the Skunks – Austin's second-ever punk band.

The Violators debuted late '77, opening for Austin jokesters Uranium Savages. For their trouble, they had to suffer singer Kerry Awn's Violators jokes during his band's set. Mother Earth at its new Riverside location followed. They fared poorly, despite the club's usual cover bands sneaking Sex Pistols and Ramones songs into their sets by now. This clearly was not going to work. The band needed a venue. Dean had been dating Little Stevie Wilton, drummer of the prog-ish Project Terror, who'd been gigging regularly at a rock club called Gemini's at 2610 Guadalupe, across from the UT campus. By the time Olson and Valentine went in seeking a booking, former Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant manager Roy Gomez had purchased the property, renaming it Raul's. His friend Joseph Gonzalez managed the club, intended as a Tejano music showcase, and Bobby Morales was the bouncer. Gomez and Gonzalez opted to take a chance, booking the Violators and the Skunks into Raul's for mid-January.

Raul's manager, Joseph Gonzalez (at right) outside of the club (Photo by David C. Fox)

Sterling Morrison, of Velvet Underground fame (center, with guitar case), outside of Raul's (Photo by David C. Fox)

"The pizza was good, and you could get $1.25 pitchers of beer," says Olson. "Bobby and Joseph were the sweetest guys! Nobody was willing to take a chance, but we told them, 'We've rehearsed these songs, and we're playing.' Jesse was playing bass, and Bobby and Joseph said, 'Well, you guys should come in and play!' I think it was Wednesday or Thursday nights – never a weekend, because they had a lot of pool players.

"They had a stage. There was no PA – we had to round up a PA and mics and all that stuff. At that time in Texas, you had to have your own PA. Clubs didn't have PAs – you brought yours in. And if you had a PA, you had a van. And if you had a van, you had bigass amps. Nothing was mic'd except vocals. Kathy and I would put up fliers up and down the Drag with wallpaper paste. You could NEVER get them down! We covered the town with those fliers, and they stayed up for years!"

Meantime, the Violators sought a higher-profile gig happening sooner: The Sex Pistols were coming to San Antonio.

"After getting our demo tape and band photo," writes Sublett, "the concert promoter called back to say we could have the gig if he could fuck Marilyn, the drummer.

"We told him to go fuck himself, instead."

Want more of the “Austin Punk Chronicles”? Check out the next three issues of The Austin Chronicle, and find previous chapters at austinchronicle.com/austin-punk-chronicles.

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