Today’s Austin music scene is a robustly global brand: South by Southwest, the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and even upstarts like Fun Fun Fun Fest and Austin Psych Fest draw deeply international throngs, and Spoon and Gary Clark Jr. are popular pretty much everywhere. The slogan “The Live Music Capital of the World,” it turns out, wasn’t that much of a stretch.
So it’s useful to be reminded by “Homegrown: Austin Music Posters, 1967 to 1982,” an exhibit that opens January 12 at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, that this local music scene was once genuinely local. The collection (University of Texas Press will publish the catalog in February) traces fifteen years of Austin music, from the psychedelic explosion at the Vulcan Gas Company to the cosmic cowboy moment at the Armadillo World Headquarters to the punk and new wave invasion at Raul’s. There are plenty of posters promoting touring acts, but the emphasis is on bands that called Austin home—and graphic artists who did the same. Reading Joe Nick Patoski’s catalog text, you get the impression that virtually everyone who created these posters was a Texas native who went to UT and woodshedded at the Daily Texan or the Texas Ranger. Almost all of them, you suspect, were content to be living in the Live Music Capital of Texas.
(Posters © Gilbert Shelton, Jim Franklin, Danny Garrett, Noxx (Michael Nott), and Guy Juke. Courtesy of the Wittliff Collections)