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Topic 52 of 64: Armadillo World Headquarters

Sun, Jul 14, 2002 (14:58) | Paul Terry Walhus (terry)
The Armadillo World Headquarters was the legendary fountainhead of the Austin scene.
7 responses total.

 Topic 52 of 64 [austin]: Armadillo World Headquarters
 Response 1 of 7: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Jul 14, 2002 (14:58) * 10 lines 
I found a reference on that Talking Heads B52 concert:

15-Aug-79 Armadillo World Headquarters B-52's, Talking Heads
8-Dec-78 Armadillo World Headquarters Lotions, Talking Heads

I also found this "Austin Hippie History"

 Topic 52 of 64 [austin]: Armadillo World Headquarters
 Response 2 of 7: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Jul 14, 2002 (15:08) * 6 lines 
A Brief History

August 7, 1970, Eddie Wilson opened the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin. On New Year's Eve, 1980, Kenneth Threadgill played the last concert. These pictures were taken the following day, January 1, 1981. During its ten year run, the Armadillo was the venue to play in Texas, hosting many local and national acts, including Taj Mahal, Leon Redbone, Asleep at the Wheel, Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen, Steve Fromholtz, BB King, Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, Greezy Wheels, Edgar and Johnny Winters, the Pointer Sisters, Bonnie Raitt, Chuck Mangione, and many others. It was also the home of the Austin Ballet Theatre and the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. There was a beer garden outside, and inside it was a huge cavernous place, where you had to sit on the carpeted floor with the smell of beer and ashes from previous performances.

The entrance

 Topic 52 of 64 [austin]: Armadillo World Headquarters
 Response 3 of 7: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Jul 14, 2002 (15:09) * 5 lines 
The Armadillo World Headquarters was once the hottest club in Austin, and it's still quite a legend around these parts. It consisted of a large auditorium and Biergarten, and the inside walls were decorated with large murals of local musical heroes/heroines festooned with armadillos, all by artist Jim Franklin. The cutting table in the kitchen featured casework made from the pine benches of the Vulcan Gas Company, another legendary Austin club. All sorts of people played there, ranging from Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker to folks like Frank Zappa, Kraftwerk, and Roxy Music. The Armadillo was located at the corner of South 1st Street and Barton Springs Road, but the land was bought out in the 1980's and is now home to a highrise bank building.


 Topic 52 of 64 [austin]: Armadillo World Headquarters
 Response 4 of 7: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Jul 14, 2002 (15:11) * 8 lines 

Step back into Armadillo World Headquarters about 1976 and have a look at some Burton Wilson photos of artists, staff, and audience members, as well as interior scenes and views of the beer garden. Take a peek at some of the great poster art and meet the artists who painted the musicians. Listen to a bootleg recording of the Thanksgiving Jam at the 'dillo in 1972 with Doug Sahm, Jerry Garcia, Leon Russel, Mary Egan, Hank Alrich, Phil Lesh, Benny Thurman, Jerry Barnet, and others.

The above url and blurb from

 Topic 52 of 64 [austin]: Armadillo World Headquarters
 Response 5 of 7: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Jul 14, 2002 (15:21) * 58 lines

The Armadillo World Headquarters opened August 7, 1970 at 525-1/2 Barton
Springs Road in a building that was previously a National Guard armory
and later a roller rink. The name was inspired by Austin’s growing
affection for and identification with the seemingly whimsical, armored
beast who makes his home in the Hill Country, a creature who had become
popular as a recurring symbol in local artist Jim Franklin’s works.

Founded by Eddie Wilson, then manager of Shiva’s Head Band, Mike Tolleson,
an entertainment attorney, Bobby Hederman – previously associated with the
Vulcan Gas Company (an earlier Austin rock emporium), and Franklin (shown
in the photo to the right-click it for enlarged view) – the 'Dillo’s
resident artist, the hall was initially financed through meager
contributions from Spencer Perskin of Shiva's Head Band and Mad Dog, Inc.,
a playful bunch of Austin’s "literati".

The 'Dillo earned an international reputation by presenting the widest
available range of top national and local talent to appreciative Austin
audiences. Audiences got their first exposure to numerous national and
local acts at the ‘Dillo, where an intimate, engaging concert experience
was enjoyed by all.

AWHQ bookings boosted the careers of current superstars including Charlie
Daniels, Bruce Springsteen, Emmy Lou Harris and Willie Nelson. Live albums
by Commander Cody, Frank Zappa, Doug Sahm, Phil Woods and Bugs Henderson
were recorded at the 'Dillo. Many local groups got their start performing
at the hall. Photos of some classic concert posters from the Armadillo
World Headquarters may be seen on the Posters page along with links to
more about the AWHQ.

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, first held in the Armadillo World
Headquarters, was scheduled to last for 2 days, Friday and Saturday, Dec.
17-18, 1976. It went so well it was extended to Dec. 21, 22 and 23. The
first poster for the Bazaar is shown at left (click it for enlarged view).
It was started as a means to expand the ‘Dillo’s cultural outreach and to
ensure December cash flow and it guaranteed a warm, dry space and
alternative selling experience for artists who regularly sold at the
Austin Renaissance Market, known as "the Drag", on 23rd Street across from
the University of Texas. Lucinda Williams conceived of the market in Nov.
1974 as a way to get the artists out of the bad weather on the Drag during
the Christmas season.

From 1977-79, the Bazaar adopted the theme of the "Twelve Days of
Armadillo Christmas" and was held from Dec. 13-24. A waiting list of
artists wanting to get into the show became established by Jan. 1979. The
Bazaar experienced 50% growth in attendance each year, from 8,000 in 1977
to 12,000 in 1978 to 18,000 in 1979. In 1980, the attendance grew to
27,000 and the AWHQ held its "Last Dance" concert on New Year’s Eve, 1980.
The old hall was soon demolished in order to build yet another bank


 Topic 52 of 64 [austin]: Armadillo World Headquarters
 Response 6 of 7: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Jul 14, 2002 (15:28) * 3 lines 
The last concert at the Armadillo.

 Topic 52 of 64 [austin]: Armadillo World Headquarters
 Response 7 of 7: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) * Sun, Jul 14, 2002 (18:57) * 73 lines

Hey, great to see that link! Craig's an old friend of mine. At one time
was working on a musical history of the Armadillo. He was compiling a
of everybody who'd played there, and when they played, which wasn't easy
since nobody kept records. Ed, you probably know Craig Hattersley from
your Third Coast daze, no?

Topic 32 [texas.ind]: Gone, Daddy, Gone!
#125 of 125: Paul Walhus (terry) Sun Jul 14 '02 (16:49) 54 lines

These paragraphs qualify as a "good old days" paeans if I ever I ever
heard them (from Craig Hattersley's site above. Craig's an old friend of
Jon Lebkowsky, a locak net activist/writer, who worked on a musical
history of the Armadillo and compiled a list of everybody who ever played

Still and all, Austin was better than most places. For one thing, it
boasted a low threshold of survival. In 1969 and again five years later,
Department of Labor study declared Austin the cheapest city of its size
the nation. Back then, you could rent a small house for $50 a month and
eat on a dollar day. That made it easy to follow your muse-"do your own
thing," as it were-a boon to the starving artist. And word got around:
From 1970 to 1973, Austin population growth of 4.5 percent a year was
second in the nation.

and this:

In 1974, Time magazine gushed: "Rock is no longer a dirty word in Austin.
Indeed, by embracing rock's big beat, Austin's musicians have evolved a
brand-new style of country rock, and have made the city the
fastest-growing country-music center in the U.S. Nashville, still the
capital of country, may provide more regular work. Bakersfield, Calif.,
may offer the inspirational presences of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens.
from the point of view of new sounds, freedom and plain musical fun,
Austin now definitely ranks as No. 1 . . . What the Fillmores East and
West were to the rock era, the Armadillo World Headquarters is to
country-rock set."

and the story about the Russian's is classic!

Back before perestroika, when the Cold War still raged, the head of the
Soviet news agency and his staff came to Austin. After lunch with the
Capitol press corps, they spent the afternoon at the Texas Observer with
Kay Northcott, who then asked if there was anything else they'd like to
do. The Russians said, to the utter dismay of the State Department lady
accompanying them, they'd like to check out this Armadillo place they'd
heard about.

That night at the Dillo, the autumn equinox, Balcones Fault laid in a
heavy on big-band swing-Fats Waller tunes and the like. Eight or fourteen
pitchers of beer and numerous pocket flasks later, the Russians were
jitterbugging with the hippies in front of the stage.

As longtime Dillo emcee Micael Priest remembers it, "The one guy who
speak and read English pretty well was buzzing around the walls, filling
up notebooks, copying people's T-shirts, the signs on the wall and
paintings, stuff like that."

The Russians partied the night away, losing themselves in the good times.
But before leaving, finally shepherded out long after the last dog
dangled, one remarked, "This must be the freest place on earth."

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