"Don't be fooled by his name: Paul
Minor is a major player in the Live Music Capital of the World and a
pop tunesmith of the highest order. They don't let just anyone into
the Austin Music Hall of Fame."
- TEXAS MUSIC MAGAZINE Spring 2009
Austin American Statesman 6-2-09
Hole in the Wall music catches up with its past and its math with anniversary
"It's great to find out your memory is not
shot after all. I distinctly recall that the 15th anniversary
celebration at the Hole in the Wall was in June 1988. Timbuk 3
played, fresh from "The Tonight Show" and the line went down the
block. Meanwhile I was two blocks away waiting for a ride to San
Francisco. That's why I'm sure of the month and year.
So when the Hole's Paul Minor sent out a press release for the line-up
of the June 12-14th "25th Anniversary" of the Hole, I quickly corrected
that it's the 36th Anniversary. The I did some research and
discovered that Doug Cugini opened the joint in June 1974, which would
indeed make it 35 years.
Turns out we're both right. Cugini was
so unsure that the club would make it a year that he billed the grand
opening as "the first anniversary." It was a year off until the
club closed for a year in 2001. "When it opened back up we
celebrated the next anniversary on the proper year," said Minor, who's
put together an incredible old-school linup for the Big 3-5.
June 12 features a reunion of the Bizarros, with local legends Bill
Bentley and Speedy Sparks. Mike Hall of the Wild Seeds with
present his latest offshoot, Savage Trip at 10:30 pm, followed by the
Wannabes at midnight. The
next night will feature the Hickoids (singer Jeff Smith once owned the
joint) preceded by Two Hoots and Holler and Jane Bond. Then
on June 14, the Superego All Stars reprise the Free For All night,
which gave so many bands their first gig in town." - Michael Corcoran
May 30, 2009 - I am currently mixing the Texas Tycoons CD at Crow's Industrial Oaks Studios in South Austin,
and there are a bunch of shows on the upcoming calendar including:
I just updated the homepage and added myspace pages for Texas Tycoons and Alterego plus a ton of new videos and free downloads from the out of print back catalog on the music page. Thanks to Cindy at On That Note
for all the great new footage. I am heading to Marfa again this
weekend for the Grande Opening. Click the poster for more
April 29, 2009 The latest issue of
Texas Music Magazine is on shelves now with Ray Benson on the cover,
with a CD sampler that includes a radio edit of "Afterthought" from The Marfa Project. I will be back in Marfa this weekend opening for James McMurtry at Padre's for the Marfa Film Festival.
The new club is open and doing great business. I was there
a couple of weeks ago for the first weekend with live
music, kitchen and bar all up and running.
March 29, 2009
survived another SXSW but just barely. I had two production jobs
a day, moving my largest PA systems all over downtown all
week. Thanks to guest engineers I blew a total of 8
speakers. The parties where I mixed went great, including
the Texas Music Magazine Party at Scholz Garten and the Pentagram
publication party with Darden Smith and Joe Ely. The
Woodstock Tribute on Sunday was incredible, and we will be presenting
it again at Threadgill's WHQ August 16.
I am thrilled about the opening of Padre's Marfa,
which is serving food, beer, liquor and live music as of this
week. I will be there for a much needed vacation April 5 through
15, then the Marfa Film Festival April 29 - May 3, and the Padre's Grand Opening May 22-24.
Conor Oberst signed the show poster for me which features my friend John Sufficool's truck.
Our gig at Momo's Nov. 8 was full of nice surprises. We were a
late add to the bill, and although we did not make the calendar
deadline, Kate and crew treated us like special guests. Mario,
Cory and Perry proved to be an exceptional side unit. Several nice groups of
friends made it out to the early show. The sound and lights were
excellent, and Cindy at onthatnote.com shot some more awesome video. The pay was even
good, and more than we were promised. What town are we in? MOMO'S Saturday, Nov. 8
Discovery Green Houston Thursday, Oct 23
HOLE IN THE WALL
Friday, Oct 17
My new CD The Marfa Project hits the street this week. I really need your support at these shows. I've got a great band with Jeff Johnston, Steve McCarthy
and Austin Jenkins, and the new record was a lot of fun to make. Please
for real, Paul
Tuesday, Oct. 14, 9am - KGSR
Wednesday, Oct 15, 5pm - WATERLOO RECORDS
Friday, Oct. 17, 12m - HOLE IN THE WALL
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 12m - SAXON PUB
PAUL MINOR COMPLETES THE MARFA PROJECT
Minor's latest solo outing The Marfa Project is a West Texas roadtrip
soundtrack, with rustic acoustic textures and haunting visions of
windmills, campfires, trains and lonely highways. Recorded and
mixed in Marfa, TX with fellow frontiersmen from L'il Cap'n Travis,
Grand Champeen, Weary Boys and the El Orbits, this follow-up to his
critically-acclaimed Shadow Figure ventures even farther out into that
spacious middle-of-nowhere sound.
Project is Austin Music Awards Hall of Famer Paul Minor's 6th
independent release, counting four with Hole in the Wall house
band Superego. Minor was the first paying customer at Marfa
Recording Co, operated by Gregory Smelley, the house soundman at
Ballroom Marfa. Drummer David Beebe and partners including Minor
are building a new live venue in Marfa called Padre's, and tracks were
recorded during a trip last summer to survey the renovation of the
historic building and open up some West Texas shows for Jon
Langford. Avant garde artist and Marfa Food Shark owner
Adam Bork also contributes keyboards to the CD.
Project is a result of the creative camaraderie between these musicians
and the wide open setting that inspired the songs.
Minor and his
local band, incuding members of Diamond Smugglers, Li'l Cap'n Travis
and Pink Nasty, will celebrate the release of THE MARFA PROJECT
with an in-store at Waterloo Records, Wednesday Oct 15 and Hole in the
Wall, Friday Oct 17 with Sheboygan and Brothers Lazaroff.
A real quick update: I played a solo gig for the Health
Alliance for Austin Musicians Tuesday Oct 7 at Potbelly Sandwiches on
the Drag with Brennen Leigh, see video below. Next week I perform
Tuesday morning at 9am on KGSR and Wednesday at Waterloo Records at 5,
then Hole in the Wall Friday Oct 17 at 12m with Elizabeth
McQueen. October has been hectic with production jobs and Texas
Tycoons rehearsals and gigs. See my calendar for the full schedule.
MINOR MUSIC MATTERS 7-22-08
Well I recently discovered that uploading to myspace is quicker and comes out clearer than youtube.
So enjoy the latest online video from Texas Tycoons:
I played a fun solo show at Quack's on 38th the other night and birthday gurl Cindy Royale shot this video for my new tune Out of My System.
just got back in town from a two week trip to marvelous Marfa, Texas for
relaxing, writing, recording, hiking, and surveying my investment in
the new dancehall project Padre's. I came home a day early to give
myself a decompression period. I'm laying low and just easing back into
the week. I finished the book I was reading in Marfa called The Gay
Place. It is a novel based on the true misadventures of LBJ's aide de
camp, partially set in the hill country and west texas. I started
watching the fascinating I'm Not There DVD and bonus features which
arrived while I was gone.
Here is a day by day overview of the trip with videos.
Sunday May 4 -
Drove through Sisterdale to Kerrville, met Dad, stayed at my Uncle TK's. Ate at Mamacita's, went to Hasting's and Wal-mart.
Monday May 4 - Breakfast in
Kerrville. TK and Dad video interview, drove west, put up posters in
Alpine and met Railroad Blues owner Richard. Arrived Marfa in time for
final Marfa Film Festival screening of Kenneth Anger films, the gothic
demon drag queen who influenced David Lynch and Guillermo Del Toro.
Outdoor screening of Dennis Hopper film at Marfa golf course eclipsed
by spectacular lightning storm.
Tuesday May 5 - Settled into cozy shack, went on campaign trail
with David Beebe, ate at Jett's in the Hotel Paisano with David and Karen, recorded demos of ten new songs for my Marfa
Recording Co. project.
Wednesday May 6 - I slept in
and missed the 9am labor party David invited me to at Padre's, where
some shuffleboard tables and other fixtures were moved. Ate delicious
pork tacos atFood Shark, interviewed David for a documentary film
crew. I went to the
studio to meet with Gory the studio owner and discuss the project.
We listened to a few of the demos, and briefly discussed an informal
partnership in his sound company that provides PA support for Marfa art
I realized that I had been delirious from the overnight session and the
demo CDs were not burned properly, so I went back to the shack and
finished a song called Here I Am that I had started on the trip out.
Later I finished the music for another new song called Sweet and Sour
Girl, and made discs of all the demos and delivered them to the guys. Giant Steps in Marfa
Thursday, May 6 - I decided to
go looking for the site of the movie set of Giant, the epic Texas classic fifties film
starring James Dean, Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson and Dennis Hopper. Locals
said there was nothing to find. I went looking anyways.
one thing on this earth more important than money, and that's land..."
In Valentine, some friendly locals pointed me in the direction of the Prada Marfa store installation and various other relics, and I made a quick video for Out of my System.
Later that afternoon I did an interview and performance with gracious host Drew Stuart on Marfa Public Radio.
After the interview, I stopped by Padre's just in time to catch the long-awaited arrival of the new roof trusses.
Later I joined David Beebe's videographer Karen for some birthday
dessert at Maiya's and then enjoyed a slideshow at the dome with Adam
and some friends.
Friday May 9 - I filmed
Jon Langford's radio interview, practiced one song briefly with Beebe
at Padre's, met Yard Dog gallery manager Rachel for enchiladas at
Borunda's and went to Alpine to open up for Langford at the Railroad
Blues. Friday night's after-party was at Hollye's cabin in Marfa.
Saturday May 10 - Rachel
and I picked up haybales for the art opening, I helped set up the PA
system, ate at Pizza Foundation, visited the eerie and disturbing Hello Meth Lab in the Sun installation, and
then introduced David Beebe as the winner of the Marfa City Council
election before my show at Yard Dog Gallery. The after- party was at Langford's
room near the Ballroom.
This is a highlight video of Jon Langford's shows in Marfa and Alpine.
Sunday May 11 - We
started the recording project at Gory's followed by a victory party and
shuffleboard tournament at Padre's. I met Jonny Sotol and some other
great locals and ran out with the gambling pot during the dramatic climax of
the final game.
Monday May 12 - We recorded several more songs at Gory's with genius filmmaker and musician Adam Bork on glitchy 60s keyboards.
Check out hisamazing video channel.
Here's a new tune called Lucy featuring Adam's tasty wurlitzer licks and David's beatnik bongos.
Tuesday May 13 - We recorded David on harmonica and wrapped up the recording. I
packed up and left Marfa to start the side trip portion of my vacation.
In the evening I drove to McDonald Observatory for the star party. It
was too cloudy to see anything, but an hour or so later the clouds
cleared enough for an amazing telescopic view of Saturn and its rings.
I camped inDavis Mountains State Park.
Wednesday May 14 - I ate the breakfast buffet at the Indian Lodge and
took a 2 mile hike. It was an emotional revisit to a trail where my romantic
nature took a major plunge last year. After seeing a herd of bighorns
descend majestically down the mountain, I felt like I had reclaimed the
territory for my true self, and continued my journey, heart intact. I
visited the Ft. Davis National Park where the brave Buffalo Soldiers defended
the frontier in the late 1800s turf wars with the Apaches. I drove the
40 mile scenic loop around Ft. Davis and drove to the Balmorhea pool to
find it closed for its 2 day annual cleaning. It is amazing to see the
full depth when empty.
Wednesday night I spent chilling in Alpine at Jonny Sotol's metal shop.
Thursday May 15 - We took a ride in La Cucaracha.
Thursday afternoon I had a great massage at Janna & Co. Spa, hung out in the Library and Museum at Sul Ross University and edited
video. I ate at La Trattoria and met some pleasant locals who invited me to join them at Reata. I drove down
to Terlingua, ate at Starlight Theatre and heard a sad old cowboy playing Dylan
and the Dead. I hung out with some park employees at the La Kiva bar and slept in my
favorite Terlingua creek campsite.
Friday May 16 - I hiked in Big Bend National Park in a cold, steady sprinkle. It was gray
and overcast but Boquillas Canyon was still spectacular. I bought some contraband peasant art from Victor the Singing Mexican. I drove on a
muddy dirt road and hiked down to the hot springs pool on the banks of
the Rio Grande. I soaked for 3 hours in the misting rain with Jonny and Beverly who showed
up unexpectedly. Friday night I drove to Lajitas and ate fajitas
at the Thirsty Goat in the resort and listened to a set by Chris Baker the flute-playing
cosmic cowgirl in the sand.
Saturday I had breakfast at the Motor Inn diner, and headed back into
the park. It was raining, and I debated turning around and heading
home. Something convinced me to keep going, and by the time I turned
onto the Ross MaxwellScenic Drive to Castolon and hiked into Santa
Elena Canyon, it was a gorgeous, cool sunny afternoon.
The final episode of the frontier video is made from highlights of the recording
sessions and my Big Bend excursion to the tune of a rough edit of the
new track Lettin Off Steam.
I made it back
to Marfa Saturday evening and met Ann and her friends for juicy steaks
at the house they are fixing up across the street from Austin St. Cafe,
briefly showed them the dome, and met Gory for drinks at Thunderbird
Lounge. The thankfully one and only Jackie Pepper gave me an a-capella performance in the
courtyard, we went to a party in a mobile home where a naked guy came
out of nowhere, and my Marfa trip was complete.
Sunday May 18 - Gory and
I ate slices and lovely salads at Pizza Foundation, did a quick edit of the outtake track
Slow Burn, then I packed up my stuff from the cozy shack and started on the long drive home. I
took the long way through Marathon on Hwy 90, made a pit stop at the Gage Hotel, saw Judge Roy Bean's
saloon in Langtry, a ghost town except for a lone cyclist on his way
from FL to CA. I crossed the majestic bluffs of the Pecos River
and the gorgeous
Amistad resorvoir, and then took lonely country roads through
Rockspring, Kerrville and Fredericksburg before arriving in Austin near
The Austin American Statesman and the Continental Clubblog
pages both reported that Dylan was rehearsing with his band and working
out in Austin earlier this week, but neither of the bloggers was sighted at the
phenomenal 5 star shows at House of Blues in Dallas this weekend. Minor Productions was a
key eyewitness to Dylan and band's point-blank assassination of an
adoring easy-target audience. His voice was the magic bullet, Denny's
sharpshooting guitar was the second gunman, and the setlists were the
highest caliber ammo. We also know the name of the Austin
gym, the local trainer and which deadly bloodsport she engaged him in.
House Of Blues
February 22, 2008
1. Cat's In The Well
2. It Ain't Me, Babe
3. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
4. Blind Willie McTell
5. Rollin' And Tumblin'
6. Workingman's Blues #2
7. Things Have Changed
8. Spirit On The Water
9. Visions Of Johanna
10. Honest With Me
11. When The Deal Goes Down
12. Highway 61 Revisited
14. Summer Days
15. Masters Of War
16. Thunder On The Mountain
17. Blowin' In The Wind
House Of Blues
February 23, 2008
1. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
2. Lay, Lady, Lay
3. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
4. Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)
5. The Levee's Gonna Break
6. Spirit On The Water
7. Stuck Inside Of Mobile w/ the Memphis Blues Again
8. 'Til I Fell In Love With You
9. The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
10. Honest With Me
11. When The Deal Goes Down
12. Highway 61 Revisited
13. Workingman's Blues #2
14. Summer Days
15. Ballad Of A Thin Man
16. Thunder On The Mountain
17. All Along The Watchtower
Minor Productions no longer provides exclusive booking
services for the Hole in the Wall, now under new ownership.
You'll need to send the new booker Singer Mayberry a message to
book dates at: www.myspace.com/holeinthewallaustin. Long Live the Hole!
Alright people. The 2008 Minor Productions Blog officially begins with this hilarious item in the Austin American Statesman. Corcoran is the master of the backhanded compliment, but I'm taking this one at face value.
"At the end of the year, I
decided to not rank the nationally acclaimed "Shepherd's Dog" by Iron
and Wine as an Austin album. I&W's Sam Beam might live in the area,
but he's not truly an Austin musician. Neither is Kina Grannis, the
"Crash the Super Bowl" finalist, who moved here after graduating from
USC in May. Bill Callahan, who used to call himself Smog, is no more an
Austin musician than Bob Mould was in the '90s. It takes more than a
ZIP code that starts with 787 to truly be considered a hometown
musician. Use this guideline to tell the difference between a musician
who lives in Austin and an Austin musician:
Sorry, but you're not an Austin musician until ...
... you've played at either Emo's, the Hole in the Wall or the Continental Club.
... you've been rejected by SXSW.
... you've opened for Guy Forsyth.
... you've been ticketed for double-parking on Sixth Street while unloading your gear.
... you know your order without looking at the menu of the Tamale House No. 3.
... you know who Paul Minor is. (Bonus points if you know exactly what it is that he does.)
... David Cotton won't return your calls.
... you've looked forward to playing out at the airport because at least that gig pays.
... you are a 94-year-old blues legend. (Pinetop Perkins exemption.)
... you've snuck a case of beer out the back door after a gig.
... you've had your name misspelled on the Red Eyed Fly marquee.
... you've worked double shifts at
Thundercloud to save money for studio time, put your heart and soul
into every track, proudly mailed your first CD, your baby, to critics,
then watched Jim Caligiuri give it half a star in the Chronicle."
LATEST FROM THE OUTBOX:
A dear friend and former employer suggested I contact you about
possible career opportunities at the club. I am not sure what you
might be looking for currently, but my chosen profession is live music
You may be familiar with my experience as a local performer and
promoter, but you might not know that I have operated a production
company for several years now, specializing in coordinating the sound
and talent for public and private events. My website has an
extensive list of satisfied customers, and I have worked for ACL, SIMS
Foundation, SXSW, Hard Rock Cafe, and many more illustrious
clients. My references include Margaret Moser, Charles
Attal, Wayne Nagel, Andy Langer, David Cotton, Darin Murphy, and many
other local music professionals.
I have also been the production manager and talent buyer for the Hole
in the Wall since it reopened in 2001. I recently invested in a
new venue in Marfa, so I am also proud to finally be a clubowner for
the first time.
I am not actively pursuing a change of employment currently, but since
I have always held your venue in very high esteem and your founder is
one of my heroes, the possibility of working with you in any capacity
is worth discussing. Like him, I am "all about the music."
I am available any afternoon that you would like to meet and chat about music and the club. I look forward to seeing you.
Austin Academy of Music Lecture UT Music School 10-23-07
Hey everybody, thanks for coming to class today. I've always maintained
that attendance is the number one most effective technique to learning,
more so than note taking, homework, group study or anything else.
In the music business, just showing up is often the most important part.
My name is Paul Minor. I'm a local musician. I'm 41, and
I'm told I am a typical Virgo. I have a small production company
that provides the sound systems for local events, and I currently book
a couple of small but esteemed local clubs - the Hole in the Wall and
Flipnotics. This weekend my PA systems were working for Willie
Nelson, the Gourds, Skyrocket and the legendary soul singer
Barbara Lynn. I was in San Antonio Saturday night DJing for the
Class of 1966 Laredo High School reunion. This is what I do.
I want to talk to you today about being OPEN. Those of you brave
or foolish enough to stick with a career in music very long, are going
to learn sooner or later that you need to make yourself, your heart and
your mind, wide open to all of the unpredictable twists and turns
that a career in music will bring you. Every bump in the
road is a learning experience, and every setback is an
opportunity. And drastic changes come with the territory.
I also want to talk about COMMUNITY. The relationships you build
and the friends you make in this business are more valuable than any
stock options or insurance benefits you will ever earn. Friends
are life's greatest reward.
I'm just curious, how many of you, by a show of hands are interested in
a career as a performing and recording artist?
Well so was I. If I have learned anything at all, I have learned
you have to roll with the changes and be flexible in this
business. How many of you are wanting to be in some area of the
music business as a career? Now is the time to take
whatever job or internship you can to get in the door. I am a
poster boy for the part time job, and I can tell you about dozens of
ways to make money on the side as you pursue your dreams. Austin
has as many types of job opportunities as it has types of music.
If you will indulge me, let me just tell you how I ended up here
today. It has been quite an adventure, and I might drop a few
names so look out below.
If you have a question at any point, I would love to answer it during
the speech while you're thinking of it and maybe let this be more of an
interactive dialogue, otherwise I might just ramble for
Also, at the end there will be a quiz. Not really, but I have an
unusual exercise for you. I'm going to ask people randomly
to ask me a question, whether your hand is up or not. So everyone
needs to have a question ready for me later. I'm also going
to ask you to not use the following words in your question: Who,
what, when, where, why, or how. What other words are
there? Compare, Contrast, Consider, Recommend, Predict, Suggest.
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org if we don't get to your question or you think of something later you would like to ask me.
I grew up in Houston, in the 4th ward inner city, off of Telephone
Rd. We got H-town in the house? My family was part of a big
born again religious community there doing an inner city
ministry. We had artists, musicians, poets and all kinds of
wandering souls living under one roof. The first live music
I ever saw was the church coffee house folk music group called The Way
We took a three year detour to the Louisiana Delta, where I first
picked up guitar and played my first gig for a junior high pep
rally. My family moved to Austin in 1980. I started out
playing my first gigs in Austin clubs in 1982 at the age of 16.
My band was called The Urge, and one of our first shows was in a big
lecture hall here at UT for the History of Rock and Roll class.
We also played 6th street, the Continental Club, Hole in the Wall and
tons of west campus fraternity parties. They really liked our
selections from the 60s like Louie, Louie and Shout because it was like
Still in high school, I released my first 45 single on vinyl, and I
also became the very first intern that the Austin Chronicle ever took
on. My band started opening for bigger acts like the Skunks and
Joe King Carrasco, and doing some regional touring. When I
entered St. Edward's University I had already played CBGB's in New York
Playing music was hurting my grades at college, so I took some time off
from serious academia. I switched to UT for one
I told my advising professor at St. Edward's if I was not going to excel as a student I wanted to be more anonymous about it.
In my late teens and 20s I toured the country as a player and road
manager with several more bands including Roman Candles, The Neptunes,
the Wagoneers, and Big Car. I also worked as a doorman, soundman,
manager, and bartender at several local clubs including Steamboat,
Continental Club, Electric Lounge, and Hole in the Wall. I held
down many diverse day jobs including real estate research associate,
state school security guard, legislative proofreader, print shop clerk,
guitar salesman, and delivery driver.
I worked briefly for Texas Monthly, interested in pursuing journalism,
but I overslept once to get the mail for the publisher and got to ride
the corporate elevator down and out the door.
After graduating from St. Edward’s University In 1994, I co-wrote
and recorded an album with Beaver Nelson at Ardent Studios in Memphis
and Sony Studios in Santa Monica. Recording where so many
of my heroes had made their names was a big career highlight, but the
record was eventually shelved by Lightstorm Records. The owner was a
famous film director who had started the company as a tax write-off for
his soundtrack albums. He directed the Terminator movies and was
working on a new one called Titanic. Our project sank like
a ship. After the band broke up, two members of this band
formed a new band called Fastball. I was not one of them.
Every SETBACK = OPPORTUNITY.
In late 1994 I was playing solo gigs and spending a lot of time at the
Greenbelt and Barton Springs. A UT friend of mine knew the
Beastie Boys and we went to Lollapalooza in Dallas. We spent the
whole show in their dressing room jamming, and I was swapping songs
with a green haired kid named Billie Joe, months before Green Day went
platinum. The next night I asked some friends to join me at
the Hole in the Wall for a Sunday night jam session. The owners
dug it and asked me to play every week.
I had a brainstorm for a free weekly variety show and new band
showcase. The Rock and Roll Free For All at the Hole in the Wall
became a focal point of the local music community. Bands
that played some of their very first shows there are Fastball, Spoon,
the Scabs, Trail of Dead, and Rilo Kiley. During this time,
the local media, especially the Chronicle and Statesman, made the Hole
in the Wall into a local phenomenon, and I became a spokesman for the
The management of ZZ Top recruited me to assemble bands for an indie
rock compilation. Free For All Vol. 1 was co-produced by Mike
McCarthy, who moved here from Nashville, met me working the door at the
Electric Lounge and asked me what bands to check out. Today he is
still working with Trail of Dead and Spoon after first recording them
at those sessions.
In the late 90s, Austin became the live music capital of the world, and
new clubs started popping up all over the map. Many new places
were interested in my expertise as a local music promoter. I
production managed, ran sound, promoted shows and booked bands for Dick
Clark’s American Bandstand Grill, the Texas Music Saloon and the Hard
I produced several independently released albums, including 5 albums by
my own band Superego, 2 Rock and Roll Free For All compilations and a
live album by Fastball. I also bought a video camera and directed
music videos for Spoon, Deep Sombreros, Fastball and others to be
played on the new Austin Music Network. I've got them on my youtube
channel now if you're curious.
In 1996, I was working full time as a security guard at the TX School
for the Blind. One day, the head of the technology department
asked me if I had ever used the internet. He invited me into his
office and showed me how it worked. I had a lot of down time at
my job, so I bought a laptop and started learning how to make a website
with basic HTML code. I started e-mailing, blogging and promoting
my events and shows. A year later I was fired for personal use of
state computers. I still have the website. How many of you
have myspace pages? How many music myspaces are here today?
Please let me be your friend.
Around that time I was asked to join a band that played mostly
weddings, and I needed the paycheck. I also took a job at a
corporate music store. I became a wedding singer and a
salesman. I worked full time at the store, played receptions on
Saturdays and I continued to play every Sunday at Hole in the
When Mars the music store went bankrupt a few years later, I was
thinking about what to do next, and I decided to try working as a
soundman, which I had been learning to do for years at the club and
with my bands. I bought all the PA equipment I could afford while
it was marked down for clearance, and immediately began picking up jobs
around town. I started doing sound every Friday across the
parking lot from Mars at Jupiter Records. I went from Mars to
Jupiter, get it? I'll let you guess what planet we named the
liquor store in between after.
In 2002 I received a master’s degree in Human Services Management from
St. Edward’s University and a state certification in conflict
resolution. It was also the year the Hole in the Wall shut
down. I was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 2002 Austin
Music Awards, and in 2003 I had the honor of organizing and performing
in an all-star tribute to the Hole in the Wall at the music awards
ceremony. When the Hole in the Wall reopened under new ownership,
I consulted with management about booking and promotion and eventually
was hired to book it full time.
In graduate school I did several case studies on a local non-profit
organization called the SIMS Foundation, which provides low cost mental
health services and counseling to Austin musicians and their
families. The organization was named for a musician I knew who
had committed suicide, and his friends and family started a foundation
in his honor. After grad school I worked for SIMS as Public
Relations & Event Coordinator, and I saw first hand how difficult
it is to keep an organization like this running. They
burned out 5 executive directors in as many years, and although they
are a high profile local media presence, they still barely get by with
as much fundraising as they can afford to do. Non-profits are a
very tough business.
While at SIMS, I learned some very valuable lessons about
self-promotion. I had earned a reputation as a tireless
self-promoter, winning over the public one fan at a time with my grass
roots efforts. Working with SIMS I discovered that my
communication skills were increased when I was working for a cause
greater than myself, and seeing the big picture instead of just feeding
my ego. My fundraising campaign slogan "I'm with the Band" and
the newsletter I started are still being used to gain support at SIMS.
I worked for SIMS as a private contractor. I have not been
officially employed by anyone but my own company since the music
store. Self-employment has many great rewards. No boss, no
regular hours, and every day is a new challenge, every gig is different
from the last. It helps keep me interested. I'll never work
in an office again, but I sure spend a lot of time at my
computer. I get around 100 e-mails a day about upcoming gig
details and bands that want to play for my clubs and
When I started doing sound, I needed a name for my company and a new
website domain name. My name and the names of my bands were
taken. When I finally tried to register Minor Productions, it was
available, and I really liked the ring to it. Finally the name
that had been made fun of all my life had a good connotation. FOR
A MAJOR SUCCESS, MAKE IT A MINOR PRODUCTION. All of the hats I
wear- musician, wedding singer, promoter, producer, soundman - are now
under one logo.
Another client of mine is the Austin Chronicle. I deliver their
papers once a week to the Lake Travis - Bee Caves area, and I provide
production for their office events. I lead my own wedding
band these days, and I just started a new project called Texas Tycoons,
an all-Texas music cover band. As a working musician,
in my many years of experience in organizing, leading and motivating
musicians and dealing with the special needs and sensitivities of
artists, I have become intimately familiar with the challenging
emotional complexity of pursuing a music career, and I'm fully
committed to the mission of keeping Austin music alive and well.
Looking back, I think I’ve always been trying to re-create that sense
of community in my music career that we had in Houston at the born
again church. I'm still friends with the journalists I worked
with at the Chronicle and Texas Monthly. When I was at UT for one
semester, the group of guys I partied with on west campus are still
some of my dearest friends and collaborators today. I guess we
had our own fraternity in a way.
As the man said, "The life I love is making music with my friends."