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Stevie worked with David Bowie on the Let’s Dance record, but quit the band before the tour started. Thousands of journalists from all over the world wanted to talk to this guy, this skinny little blues- guitar-playing nobody that told the world’s biggest superstar “No.” You couldn’t buy that kind of publicity with millions of dollars. Stevie just wanted to go back and play in his own band and play his own music.


I saw the band one year on New Year’s Eve at the City Coliseum. It was the best show I think I have ever seen.


That was the El Mocambo period, I think.


Anybody who knows about blues knows that Stevie was killed in East Troy, Wisconsin, in a helicopter crash.


We were staying in Chicago and playing in Alpine Valley, a 2-hour drive each way with no traffic, so we flew by helicopter. With 60,000 people going in and out of there every night on a two-lane road, it would have taken much longer.


What kept you or Tommy from being on the helicopter that night?


Both Clapton and Stevie had hired the same flight service. Clapton was the first to hire the flight service that we were both using. Clapton’s group was leaving first that last night and we were going to have to wait. They had someone in their party who needed to stay behind, so they offered the seat to Stevie. He took that seat, and that’s how he ended up on that flight.


You know I have seen a lot of guitar players in my lifetime, but seeing Jimi Hendrix at his peak could not have been any better than Stevie at his best.


Photo: Jo Lopez


Stevie was awesome. It was a huge loss for me. He was a special person.


He was a soft-spoken, gentle soul. When he picked up the guitar, all hell broke loose.


You and Tommy ended up working with Charlie Sexton and Doyle Bramhall Jr. in Arc Angels, didn’t you?


Right before Alpine Valley, Stevie and his brother Jimmie had decided that they were going to go promote their record that they


did together doing various TV shows...


I took a room at the Austin Rehearsal complex, where I ran into Charlie and Doyle and said “Hey, let’s put a band together and do some gigs.”


I came back after Alpine Valley and Mark Proct, Doyle’s manager, had told Robert Cray’s manager that we had put together a


Do you see yourself playing music 20 years from now?


I can’t see anything different yet. When I first started playing, it was what I was driven to do and mostly what I thought about. Fifty years later, it’s still mostly what I think about.


OriginMagazine.com | 35


L to R: Chris Layton, Stevie RayVaughan, Tommy Shannon Photo: Don Hunsten


gig.


“When I first started playing, it was what I was driven to do and mostly what I thought about. Fifty years later it’s still mostly what I think about.”


“Don’t look in the sky, listen to me!”


Then you worked with Storyville and now you are playing with Kenny Wayne Shepherd?


Yeah I met him when he was 7 years old. Kenny heard Stevie and Double Trouble when he was 7 and said, “I want to do that.” I have done most of his records with him. We are playing next week at Bass Concert Hall.


Was there any particular moment you got to meet or play with someone that was a life-changing experience?


There have certainly been some, but one of the most memorable days in music for me was the day that I spent all day with James Brown. Double Trouble and Kenny Wayne Shepherd were touring through Georgia. Ken Shepherd, Kenny’s manager and father, called James a longtime friend.


We went to James Brown’s radio station, interviewed with James, he took us to lunch, and then he took us to our soundcheck. We spent the whole day with him. It was awesome.


new band. Robert wanted the band to open for his Austin show. We had not really played together but rehearsed 40 minutes of material to do the show.


We were asked what we were going to call the band. I looked up and saw ARC on the sign of the rehearsal studio and said why don’t we call it the ARC Angels?


That went on for four years. We had a two-record deal but only made it through one record and a year and half of touring.


We did some shows together. Remember that gig at the hot- air balloon festival in El Paso?


It rained all day and they had me lying to people on the radio, telling them it was sunny at the


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