Stevie Ray Vaughn
Stevie Ray Vaughan was a bad ass mother fucker. He came up out of Texas and made such a mark on guitar playing that many say he was as good as Hendrix. Some say better. Regardless, he is good enough to be mentioned in the same breath, and that alone is tribute to smokin Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Stevie was 16 years old when he told his momma "I'm dropping out of school". Momma said "Stevie Ray, what are you gonna do to support yourself?" He held up his beat up guitar and laughed. "I'm gonna play this momma". And he sure enough did, too.
Stevie's older brother, Jimmie Vaughan was Stevie's inspiration. Like all brothers, they had their disagreements, but they shared a love for music that kept them close most of the time. After banging around in a few garage bands, Stevie formed a group called the Cobras. They played around Austin in the mid 70's. They were a $100 band at the time, and stayed busy in lots of the top 70's venues.
Then in 1975, Stevie formed Triple Threat - a great band that included a chick singer named Lou Ann Barton. In '78, Barton left the band, and they renamed themselves Double Trouble. With Barton out, Stevie became the lead singer.
The band was hot in Texas, but nowhere else. They played at the 82 Montreux Festival and that is where they got their big break. David Bowie and Jackson Browne went backstage after the show to congratulate them. Everybody burned a fatty and got along well. Bowie invited Vaughn to play on his next album, and Browne offered to record Double Trouble free at his studio in L.A.
Stevie Ray laid down the lead guitar tracks for what became Bowie's Let's Dance album in late 1982. Vaughan's debut album, Texas Flood, was released in the summer of 1983. Let's Dance earned Vaughan quite a bit of attention, but Texas Flood was a blockbuster success, reaching number 38 on the charts, and crossing over to album rock stations. Double Trouble went from $300 to $5,000 gigs in a few weeks. The great thing was, they honored the $300 gigs even after signing a contract that paid $1,500 minimum to the band's agents. Imagine SRV losing $1200 to keep their word to the owner of a honky tonk bar in the Hill country. Stevie always showed up for gigs, even if his leg was broke.
Vaughan and Double Trouble set off on a successful tour and quickly recorded their second album, Couldn't Stand the Weather, which was released in May of 1984. The album was even more successful than the first By the end of 85, the album went gold. Double Trouble added keyboardist Reese Wynans in 1985, before they recorded their third album, Soul to Soul. The record was released in August 1985 and was also quite successful, reaching number 34 on the charts.
Although his career was kicking ass, Stevie was drinking and drugging his ass off. Even when he was sick, he continued to push himself, releasing Live Alive in October of 1986 and touring the whole US that spring. After the tour, he checked into a rehab clinic. For the next year Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were fairly inactive. Vaughan headlined the New Orleans Jazz Fest in 88, and wrote his fourth album. In Step was released in June of '89 and earned a Grammy, going gold just over six months after its release.
In the spring of '90, Stevie Ray recorded an album with his brother Jimmie, which was scheduled for release in the fall. In late summer, Vaughan and Double Trouble set out on tour. On August 26, 1990, their East Troy, WI, gig concluded with an encore jam featuring guitarists Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, and Robert Cray. After the concert, Stevie Ray Vaughan boarded a helicopter bound for Chicago. Minutes after its 12:30 AM takeoff, the helicopter crashed, killing Vaughan and the other four passengers. Vaughan was only 35 years old.
Family Style, Stevie Ray's duet album with Jimmie, entered the charts at number seven. The posthumous releases were as popular as the albums Vaughan released during his life. They included: The Sky Is Crying, In the Beginning, Greatest Hits, The Real Deal: Greatest Hits Vol. 2, and the 4 disc box set that came out in 2000.
Nightmoves is proud to induct Stevie Ray Vaughan into the Texas Hall Of Musical Excellence.