Living Proof of the Power of a United Community

by Guest Author on · 2 comments

Austin’s Lov­ing and Car­ing Music Com­mu­nity


What’s it like to live in a com­mu­nity of musi­cians and music fans who care and sup­port each other? I can tes­tify on that.

Meaux Jeaux, my wife and bassist extra­or­di­naire, live in the boonies near Austin. When not tour­ing, we play music in Austin some­times 8 or 9 times a week, never less than four times a week.

On Feb­ru­ary 24, 2012, after the Jit­ter­bug Vipers, my band, played at the Ele­phant Room, our sec­ond gig that night was at the Gypsy Jazz Jam­boree at Vol­stead Lounge at Hotel Vegas on 6th Street. If you’ve heard much about Austin, you’ve heard about 6th Street. It has so many music clubs that the streets are bar­ri­caded from 9 PM ’til 2 AM to pro­tect the club hop­pers who walk down the street. But the Vol­stead Lounge is way out on the East Side and the streets aren’t barricaded.

For what hap­pened I’ll say only what I remem­ber then fill in the blanks. I had put my gui­tar and amp in the car and decided to load Meaux Jeaux’s stand up bass, a nice hand made Czech bass. My next mem­ory is wak­ing up in the hospital.

So here’s what hap­pened. I was run over by a big SUV. There were lots of wit­nesses. The wit­nesses I talked to said it was a Ford Expe­di­tion. The wit­nesses Sarah, vocal­ist for the Jit­ter­bug Vipers, talked to said it was a Cadil­lac Escapade. All agreed it was a big SUV, It was a hit and run acci­dent. Sev­eral per­sons tried to step in front of the SUV to stop it and had to jump out of the way to avoid being run over. The SUV had paper dealer tags, with lots of small num­bers and let­ters. The back tags were flap­ping in the wind. The car or dri­ver was never identified.

So this dri­ver left me in the street for dead, uncon­scious and bleed­ing. The bass was splin­tered and was said to have saved my life. Sarah was the first band mem­ber to reach me. She held my bloody head in her lap and told me that Meaux Jeaux was there and I needed to come to. I don’t remem­ber any of this, but I opened my eyes tried to raise up and asked if I had been hit by a car. I appar­ently asked it sev­eral times.

Fast for­ward. While I was in the hos­pi­tal, there was a ben­e­fit held at the Vol­sted Lounge. This was one of the few Jit­ter­bug Viper gigs I missed though I was pretty messed up with a deep gash in my hear, a brain con­cus­sion, injured right knee and hip and cut up hands. No bro­ken bones but the long term results were loss of hear­ing and a slight loss of vision in one eye. But I walked as soon as I got out of the hos­pi­tal. Because of the brain con­cus­sion, I had a bal­ance prob­lem. It was hard not to look drunk when I walked. Ha! Friends would ask me if I was back 100%. I avoided the long detailed answer. Sarah would say, he never was 100%, and I would just smile.

A fine gui­tarist, jam­ming buddy and friend, Greg Harkins, played at the ben­e­fit at the Vol­stead Lounge and subbed for me at a gig in Hous­ton. I played my first gig after the acci­dent at Jo’s Cof­fee, sit­ing down this time! There was a high pro­file gig com­ing up in Dal­las at the Kessler The­ater. Meaux Jeaux was set on my not play­ing, and I was set on play­ing. I played a 4 hour gig at Z Tejas to prove I could and she relented. The Kessler gig was just one set and the ride was a lit­tle tor­tu­ous but oth­er­wise the gig not that chal­leng­ing. Except, after the sound check I lost my bal­ance and fell off the stage. I knew how to fall and wasn’t hurt. Luck­ily, Meaux Jeaux was in the green room and missed it. She would have had a heart attack!

But this story is about the Austin, Texas com­mu­nity of musi­cians and music fans who care and sup­port each other. I had med­ical bills for the hos­pi­tal, EMS, doc­tors, anes­the­si­ol­o­gist and the ongo­ing doc­tor bills after I got out. I think we paid EMS first and started on the hos­pi­tal bill which was about $55,000.00. Did I say we had zero insur­ance. That’s true enough although our car insur­ance even­tu­ally was some help because of my unin­sured motorist option, which they stretched to take care of a new bass, my leather jacket and some odd bills.

Friends, Ted and Linda Bran­son, orga­nized a ben­e­fit at Threadgill’s that was huge. Eddie Wil­son said he hadn’t seen so many hip­pies in one place since the Armadillo closed. There were other ben­e­fits and every­where I played, for a while, folks would give us money. And a famous Austin car­toon artist, Jeremy the Artist, who saw the acci­dent, made a hip draw­ing of me in a super man shirt with the cap­tion, “Takes a Lickin’ and Keeps On Pickin’”. We used the draw­ing to make posters and T-shirts and raised oodles. And all my med­ical bills are paid for.

Local news video of after accident.

Arti­cle shared by Slim Richey, gui­tarist for the Jit­ter­bug Vipers.

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