Anyone who knows music in Austin or knows the blues knows of Clifford Antone. Cliff opened the legendary blues club, Antone’s, in Austin 30 years ago and was responsible for showcasing artists like Stevie Ray Vaughn, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Eric Johnson before anyone knew who they were, nevermind the countless legendary blues musicians that graced the stage there.
I met him when I went to UT in 1987-88. I hung out at his used records store across the street and frequenly went into the bar and watched some great musicians play. He was always super nice to me, feeding me sodas, talking about music and introducing me to a lot of legendary musicians.
When U2 came through Austin, my friends and I figured they’d go to Antone’s after the show. Sure enough, not only did they go, but Bono and the Edge got up on stage with Stevie and Jimmie Ray Vaughn, Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Dr. John, among others, playing for about half an hour. It was pretty awesome.
He passed away on Tuesday at the age of 56. He’ll be missed.