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Southwest Road Trip

January 11, 2010

Rambling Man's Thoughts: The James McMurtry Interview

By Lena Katz

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James Las Manitas-Lena Katz End All, Be All: McMurtry, himself. (Ann Woodall)

I promised I'd come back to James McMurtry, and here I am...constructing a tight little interview out of a rambling man's thoughts. If you ever get to Austin, look for him at the Continental Club or a wine bar, and see if you can pick up the conversation where I left off.

Why is the Continental Club your regular Austin spot?
It's the coolest club left in this town, and the last of old Austin. It's been open since the 1950s.

What's an artist you've never admitted to liking before?
All my musician friends would laugh if they knew I went through a Grateful Dead phase. The first time I saw them play at Compton Terrace [Phoenix, AZ] was amazing. It had special effects by God. A dust storm came up so thick it obscured the planes coming in. The tarps were pulsating, with lightning behind. There was a wall of hand drums behind the stage, and everyone left the stage except the two drummers, who beat their way around the stage, [the dust, the wind, lightning, the drums], all in perfect synch. I wasn't doing any drugs, so I could tell it was really happening...but a lot of people in the audience probably always thought it was in their minds.

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