Doug Sahm once said to me, "Augie is the most beautiful cat I ever met. He's a genius." Augie takes ordinary events in everyday life and elevates them to the level of modern folklore.
Sir Douglas Quintet
Augie's first taste of fame came with fellow Texas legend Doug Sahm. They formed The Sir Douglas Quintet. As an aside, Texas Monthly voted their song, "She's About A Mover" the best Texas song ever. Augie met The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix during his years as a Farfisa playing rock icon. After a few other hits, the members of The Sir Douglas Quintet broke up and went their separate ways. Doug and Augie each pursued solo careers. While they each had a large fan base in Texas, they weren't known as well outside of the state. Years went by before the "next big thing" would propel them to national stardom once again. It was The Texas Tornados.
Augie's songs personify what is most universal about the Texas Tornados' appeal. It was Augie, a half German half Polish Texas boy that incorporated and glorified Spanglish, a uniquely American Spanish-English hybrid. It's a glimpse of America's melting pot at work. Spanglish is sort of a Texican Mexican hybrid language, where you may start the sentence out in English and switch to Spanish in mid sentence, or vica versa. It's how the common man or woman talks in south Texas. The charm of it is that it doesn't have to be gramatically correct. It's about communication, not perfection. The only rule is that there are no rules. Augie represents the Gringo side of the equasion, while capturing the beauty of living in a largely Hispanic influenced culture. He celebrates life. It's happy music. In a very simple way, it builds bridges.
We have a little restaurant that just opened here in Nolensville, Tennessee. It's called El Texano. Many of the people that work there are of Hispanic decent, and some are gringos, Texas cowboy types. All of them are great folks, and it's the best restaurant in town. Before they opened, my wife went by to check it out. She told me they were all excited about the grand opening. They were telling her, "We're going to have great barbecued beef brisket, and we're going to play really great music like Freddy Fender and The Texas Tornados. Well, needless to say, I love this place;)
They found out that I used to play with both Freddy AND the Tornados. Well, as soon as I walked in they started playing "Hey Baby Que Paso". Even though I have played this music a thousand times, suddenly I had a new appreciation for it. I noticed that it seemed to make the people in the restaurant happy. It put them in a good mood. It brings people together rather than pulling them apart. It's just plain fun. It reminded me of the good times I had when I toured with the Tornados. It's probably the most pure fun I've ever had performing. Each show was a celebration. To me, this music says: We're all in the same boat, so we may as well have a good time.
I think Doug was right. Augie is a genius.
Still more stuff...
- Being taken seriously.
- How my father became a star.
- So, you wanna' be a country star?
- Who do you like better, Garth or Gershwin?
- You'll eat what you're served...
- The Media: Out with the old, in with the new.
- It's great exposure.
Thoughts on some of the people I've played with or known.
- Charlie Rich
- Freddy Fender
- Smokey Robinson
- Jo-El Sonnier
- Randy Meisner
- Billy Swan
- Flaco Jimenez
- Augie Meyers
- Doug Sahm
- Jerry Lee Lewis
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