News8Austin is reporting that Clifford Antone has died of an apparent heart attack. Antone’s, the club that he started, is pretty much synonymous with the Austin blues scene that flourished here in the 70′s and early 80′s and birthed Stevie Ray Vaughan among others.
Antone opened the club in 1975 and famously went to prison in 2000 on money laundering and drug charges after being caught with more than 1,000 kg of marijuana. Antone celebrated his club’s 30 year anniversary recently and had taken over management and booking responsibilities at his club again earlier this year.
I’m probably a little odd in that I’ve lived here for sixteen years and never once set foot in either location of the famous club in the time that I’ve lived here, despite having visited almost every other club in town, but I can appreciate his legacy and all he’s done to contribute to our fair city’s famous tagline: “Live Music Capital of the World”. This, coupled with the death of Lloyd Bentsen, who famously put Dan Quayle in his place, makes it a sad day in Austin.
Please share your Clifford Antone, Antone’s or Lloyd Bentsen stories in the comments.
Update (05.24.2006 09:17AM CDT): KUT reports that Antone’s will be open free to the public from 4pm to 2am today. They’re claiming musicians from all over the country are flying in to pay tribute, but didn’t name any names. I’m guessing it’ll be packed, but it’ll be interesting to see who shows up.
Update 2: News8Austin has a couple of stories, including an interview last night with Jimmie Vaughan and quotes from Austin Chronicle editor Louis Black, who says that Antone’s death will precipitate only the third cover change in the history of the weekly, the other two being the death of Stevie Ray Vaughan and the death of Doug Sahm.