From the first of two volumes, Stevie Ray Vaughan – Day by Day, Night after Night: The Early Years, by Craig Hopkins: a series of early first impressions and fond memories for Stevie’s birthday today.
Musician and guitar dealer, TONY DUKES: “It was a warm day, the first time I saw Stevie Ray. All you could see was stringy brown locks and a toothy grin over the top of a red Gibson 335 [possibly an Epiphone]. What made you look was the tone, a guitar tone that seems to scream and breathe…One thing that always struck me odd, but identifiable, in my eyes about Stevie – his resilience and his quiet confidence.”
RODDY COLONNA, drummer: “I first met Stevie in the school lunchroom at Kimball High School. He was kind of weird looking to me, a little bit, because he wore these big sunglasses and bell bottoms with this little sash thing, paisley shirt, and he wore a dickey too – ascot-type thing. One day he came up and sat by me in the lunchroom and started talking to me like he knew me. He was talking about his band. I had a car, and that made it good for him because he didn’t have any wheels. He was just a kid; real friendly.”
Blackbird keyboard player NOEL DEIS: “Christian [Plicque] brought Stevie over and I thought, ‘This kid sounds like Eric Clapton!” He was a little bit tentative, but he had a darn good sound. He had no equipment. I can’t remember what he dragged over, but it wasn’t much. Stevie went to Kimball and was the outcast kid that was picked on by the local jock population.
CHRIS LAYTON: “The first time I heard [Stevie] play was [with the Cobras] on a Tuesday night at a place called Soap Creek Saloon in Austin. It was either late ’76 or real early ’77. When I walked in, they were already playing. Immediately, Stevie caught my ear because of his energy and this feeling from his playing. They were doing Bobby Bland stuff, a couple James Brown things, and a song by Ronnie Laws called ‘Always There.’
I walked in and turned the corner where you could see the band, and Stevie was playing a solo, and I was, like, mesmerized…he had so much presence, and, I don’t know, this undefined energy and charisma.”
BRUCE BOWLAND: “Even offstage, rarely did I see Stevie without his guitar slung over his shoulder. He was one of those guys who just walked around the house and piked. He’d sit there and talk to you and he’d be picking. About the only time he’d take it off is when he’d go to the bathroom. He had a burning desire, not to be famous, but to be as good as he possibly could be.”
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Day By Day, Night After Night
It is no easy feat to capture the enormous spirit of Stevie Ray Vaughan, a man whose presence in the world was like an untamable fire, shooting flames of raw talent, passion, and innovation. That bright light wrestled with a dark side, an addiction and sadness that threatened to put out the fire forever. His unmatched guitar playing, buttery vocals, and unforgettable songs made him a triple threat. Vaughan is arguably the greatest guitar god who has ever lived – a re-inventor of guitar and the blues. Twenty years after his death, he lives on in the hearts of millions of people around the world.
In a day-by-day format, Craig Hopkins presents an unprecedented celebration of this wonderful artist. This book is the first installment of a two-volume account of Vaughan’s life. With this work, Hopkins delivers one of the most detailed biographies of any musician. This edition covers the complete history of Vaughan’s roots, from his childhood to just before his first major release. Filled with testimonials from those who knew him best and from fans everywhere, along with facts about tour dates and recordings, stories about his bands and life on the road, rare artistic and historic photographs, and more, this lavishly illustrated book is the ultimate collector’s item for any Stevie Ray Vaughan fan.