An Interview With Spades' Drummer John Kearney
The Austin, Texas band which featured Roky Erickson on vocals and lead guitar (pre-Elevators)
©2003 Andrew Brown

What follows is my interview with the Spades' drummer John Kearney from 1/31/03. John is now a history teacher for Houston Community College.

John, I have been trying to find information about the Spades for years...
One of my weak points in my own life is dates, which is a bad way to be for a historian, but when I saw that the recording dates on the Zero records were 1965 -- both in the same year -- that surprised me. It seems like they were eons apart.

Yes, only about seven or eight months separate those two singles.
Right, but in my memory, it was a grand evolution. Which makes it problematic on exactly when I linked up with the Spades.

Can you reference when you started playing music?
It was a strange time period where there wasn't much to do unless you were either in athletics...or in athletics. My mother was the music teacher at Porter Junior High School in Austin. She ended up teaching me, Roky (Erickson), George (Kinney), a whole host of others there. And so, she and my dad were always pressing me to play an instrument. I don't know why I eventually decided that was a good idea. I took a notion to the drums -- I wish I would've done piano, because that's what my mother played. But something about the drums appealed to me.

I had bought through Sears their cheapest model snare drum, and one cymbal. And had mostly just been playing along with records. And I guess I had mentioned to some of my friends that I was picking around on the drums.

Was this prior to the Beatles, or...
It's immediately prior...this is still the age of the guitar bands. Instrumental bands: the Ventures, the String-a-Longs.

Okay, I guess through talk of the high school grapevine at William B. Travis High School, my friend Jimmy Bird -- who will later be in the Golden Dawn -- mentioned to me that he and a friend of his named John Shropshire just wanted to jam, and would I mind drumming along? Which I did -- God knows what it must have sounded like. But remember, at this time, there's nothing that's really gelled. It's harder to sound amateurish when you're in an art form that...no one really knows what it is. (Where) there's no form and no rules. It was fun, and that was the major element of my attraction to music. The comradeship and the fun.

At any rate, about a week or so later, Shropshire calls -- and I knew he was with a group called the Spades. There's only like five bands in Austin. (Laughter) One of them I knew was the Spades. The top of the groups was a number called Butch Yant (sp?) and the Deeds. Their drummer (was) a guy named Rusty Weir, and I believe their guitar player was Johnny Richardson. They were impressive to watch. Rusty Weir was a great drummer.

So the Deeds later became the Wig?
Well, Rusty joined another old timer named Benny Rowe. But there's very few bands. The Spades had had some sort of falling out with their drummer. I never knew what it was, but Shropshire asked if I wanted to do a gig with them. It was at a Catholic youth church group in East Austin. That's all I remember.

This was around 1963?
In my mind, it was my freshman year (in high school), which would have made it '62 or '63. In my mind, this is an enormous period of time. And in reality, gosh, it could have all been in a year or two. It seemed like the band was a long thing, and in reality, I know it could not have been. John Shropshire had a magnificent voice. Not the raw energy thing that Roky will have, but a trained, good, beautiful singing voice. It was his misfortune that that became less popular than the raw dynamic of rock and roll. And then two cousins, Jack Roundtree, who played the leads, and his cousin, Ernie Culley, who also played guitar.

So you had three guitarists?
Three guitarists, because the electric bass...the bass, period, was just questionable. First of all, they weren't sexy. So, it just looked square to stand there with one. The electric bass itself looked good, but the amps couldn't hold it. They could've held it for a jazz club, but very quickly I was learning that rock and roll was not (equatable with) sedate, beatnik-style jazz clubs -- it was going to be a large, crowded, hoppin' affair. And the amps would blow. I don't care if it was Ampeg, Fender, or what. So it was questionable whether we even needed one -- whether they would catch on or not. It sounds funny, doesn't it?

Well, there were actually many bands in the early sixties who didn't include a bass. So what you describe was not exclusive to Austin at all. What other bands from that early period do you recall, besides the Deeds?
I'm sorry, but that's the only one that sticks in my mind. Does the name Charlie Hatchett ring a bell? He was like a freelance lead player. I would bump into him, because sometimes you'd get calls from somebody just throwing a band together for a frat gig.

It's amazing to think that so little was happening musically in Austin at that time.
It was because there were so few gigs. The club scene was virtually nonexistent. We will more or less make the Jade Room into a rock scene, coming from a very ossified, alcohol-oriented jazz club. There was the Jade Room, the New Orleans Club, but they didn't want rock bands.

They catered to kind of a sophisticated, adult clientele.
That's what they were shooting for. The only other option was the frat gigs. I learned very quickly from the other members of the Spades that part of our job was: after school, we took our business cards and went around to every fraternity, saying, "Hello, we're from the Spades, we're open for hire for your parties. This is our card." And that's how we eventually drummed up work. The frat gigs were about the only thing happening.

So for a while you played with three guitars. Eventually, I believe you said that Ernie Culley decided to take up the bass.
After the Beatles came out. The Beatles shake everything up, including me. We were all very excited. Especially since, aside from their own songs, they were doing the same licks we were doing -- Chuck Berry, Little Richard, 1950s-style R&B. And, apparently Ernie decided, "Okay, it's going to be the bass, whether the amps blow or not."

And we're holding our own in the scene, until at one point Jack Roundtree, our lead player, decides he's had enough. His quitting throws a monkey wrench -- "Where do we go from here?" Well, in the meantime, I learned that friends of mine, that I didn't know had any interest in rock and roll music, had in fact been working on it. One of them will be George Kinney. Another one will be a drummer named Mike Pankratz. The third one is Roky.

Now, you knew all of these guys in Junior High?
Oh, yeah. We meet in seventh grade, because a common friend of all of ours named Mitchell Howell brings to school an album called Bo Diddley in the Spotlight.

Why did he bring it school?
I don't know. He was going to show it to somebody. We're all in my mother's music class. No one knew what to make of it, except for me, Roky, and George. We said, "Man, you know who Bo Diddley is?" And from that point on, there was always that dim connection.

So you'd heard of Bo before that...
Oh, yeah. We had moved from Houston to Austin in 1959. There was a lot more radio to listen to (in Houston). So I'd been exposed to it. How Roky and George were exposed to it, I have no idea. We were just misfits in a generation of misfits. Often we'd stay up late listening to Wolfman Jack out of Cuidad Acuna, and another guy out of Nashville named John R. And I can't remember the radio station.

That would have been WLAC.
Okay. But we share this. Anyway, Roky and I go to the same Episcopal church. We're alter boys together. So we know each other at school, we know each other at church, and we hang around sometimes. And when we do, music is a major deal.

What was your impression of Roky's mother, Evelyn, in those days?
Oh, a beautiful woman. Certainly devoted to her children. She was an artist, I guess, in her heart. The house, I just can't describe it -- dogs, cats, crap all over. I'd spent the night with Roky -- we'd be up late watching Dracula movies. And I remember his dad coming in reeking of alcohol. He'd stand there looking around with the most disgusted look on his face.

Was he always called "Roky" for as long as you knew him?
Yes. He had it when I met him. He had it in the seventh grade.

So, you knew Roky and George, but you didn't know they were aspiring musicians?
No, not really. I knew that Roky had this talent to seemingly, at will, just approach an instrument and plunk out something. But he liked to do humorous twists on popular tunes. I guess I never took it seriously.

However, it is at William B. Travis High School they have a talent show. I wish I could remember the year. And the Spades played. Both Shropshire and I are going to Travis. We're the top bill, but much to my surprise -- much to everyone's surprise -- the act after us is Roky Erickson and a drummer named Joe Bierbauer (sp?). And Roky just blew everyone away. He had an electric guitar and a harmonica. And he did some number, I think it was a Howlin' Wolf number. I can't swear to that, but (it was) one of those old rhythm and blues songs that really gets you jumping. And, Roky, for all of his pluses and minuses, whenever he performed, he hit it 110 percent in those days.

No one was expecting this.
No one expected it, including me. And we'd been buddies for a couple of years at this point. They just said, "Okay, the next act is Roky Erickson and Joe Bierbauer." And Roky has this horrible, old Sears amp, and a very cheap electric guitar, and both of them look like they have been dragged through the mud for years. The amp rattles, but it doesn't matter. When Roky hits his singing and then blows into his harmonica, it just electrified everybody. Including me!

So when Jack Roundtree says he wants to leave the Spades, Shropshire says, "Why don't you ask Roky if he wants to sit in?" That's kind of the way you do it. You don't ask anyone outright. He did, and it worked. He wasn't the same quality of a lead player as Jack was, but with Roky it was the energy. Just the raw talent and energy.

Well, we can probably estimate the date of this fairly well, since the first Spades record (which doesn't feature Roky) dates from April, 1965.The guy who put the record out had the good sense to put the estimated release date on the label. So the talent show must have occured around that time, since school would have been out in May.
Yes, it would have had to've.

By the time Roky joins, we have our itenerary down. We are working frat gigs on a regular basis. We are playing, on a regular basis, such gala events as the Luling "Watermelon Thump" (an annual festival held in the small town of Luling). We played that every year.

But the major event after Roky joins is: there is a city-wide Battle of the Bands held at the Palmer Auditorium. It was put on by KOKE, the Top 40 rock station. So we enter, and everyone else enters. All the other bands. The Deeds had broken up, but new bands had popped up. And when we go on to our spot, we're on this huge stage in this huge auditorium for the first time. We start in, and none of us can hear the others. I cannot hear anything. They can't hear each other.

No monitors.
No! Unless you have monitors, you can't hear in a situation like that.

At that time, I believe most places didn't have stage monitors.
Oh, it's a nightmare -- except Roky never seems to acknowledge, or notice, that that is the case. And he continues to do that 120 percent, blasting performance. And when we got off the stage, I just wanted to take a knife and cut my throat. And so did Ernie and John Shropshire. It had to have been the worst performance given by the Spades in our entire existence. But Roky's performance was so electrifying, no one notices that we don't know what the hell we're doing. And after that, our bookings almost tripled.

Well, were you awarded the...
No, we don't win shit. (Laughter) We're lucky not to be potato'd off the stage. The winner was a group called the Baby Cakes. Chuck Bacondi was the singer. They win, and they are indeed a good band. But we were the ones who get all the bookings, and it was purely because of Roky's performance. This was not a band effort.

Now, when Roky joined the group, he played lead guitar?
Yeah. When the lead (break) would come, we'd all look at him, and he'd do something. It probably wasn't much. Roky can play lead, but I don't think he ever wanted to. Whatever it was, it got us through.

One of the stories that's always been told -- and I was hoping you could confirm its veracity -- was that when Roky went back to school in the fall of '65, he was told to cut his hair, refused to, and was thrown out.
He refused.

So that's a true story.
At that time, he was still with the Spades. And although the Spades had started to play the Jade Room on Thursday nights before Roky (joined), I'm telling you, after this flop at the Battle of the Bands, they can't seat 'em at the Jade Room. So, by the time school starts back up, Roky's musical career is looking up.

It becomes obvious at that point to him, and everyone else, that he has a career in music.
And that's the point that it's building to. It's fun sleeping with her, but are you going to marry the music or not? And with Roky, it was a done deal. John and Ernie had different ideas. I didn't know what the hell I was doing (career- wise), but I could sense the end of something was happening.

We skipped over the Spades records, and I wanted to discuss that. How did you get in with Gary McCaskill and Zero Records?
I think that was done through Ernie. We could tell that having a booking agent could be a big help, but there just weren't any. You had guys who would try it for a summer and then go on to something else. McCaskill was at least trying. Like I said, there wasn't a lot to do. He would get us gigs like at "OU Weekend," which was always great and a lot of fun. It would happen in Dallas, whenever UT was playing Oklahoma University. Whatever frat we were playing for, they would rent hotels, or blocks of a motel. We played one gig up there with Roky, one gig without.

Gary comes up with this record label, Zero. In fact, behind his back, we call him "Captain Zero." I guess (he called it that) because there's a big, round hole in the middle of the 45.

And you recorded the first one at Austin Custom Recording Studios in downtown Austin?
Yeah, I want to say almost at 5th and Congress. It was in downtown. My mother had recorded a piano piece there.

You recorded just these two songs, "I Want a Girl" and "Do You Want to Dance"?
Yes. I think Gary was able to get it played on KOKE once or twice, but if it ever sold, I had no idea. He also arranged the recording session at TNT (in San Antonio).

I don't know why he chose TNT for the second record, because the Austin studio had a much more professional set-up. They were recording to RIAA standards, and so forth. I don't think TNT even knew the RIAA existed.
The main thing I remember about TNT was having to move the drums back and forth, towards and away from the single microphone, so that the balance (mix) would be right.

A very crude mixing style.
Yes, but in my memory, that's how it was done. Roky had to stand a certain distance, and the other instruments had to be distanced.

Why did Roky choose the name "Emil Schwartze" for the record's songwriting credit?
Roky liked funny names. He liked to tell stories. He was very into Jonathan Winters, would later become very into Lenny Bruce, Lord Buckley -- storytellers, in essence, comedians of the beat era. Funny names appealed to him, and he considered that a funny name.

At what point did you add "You're Gonna Miss Me" and "We Sell Soul" to your repertoire?
Pretty close to the time of the recording. Roky had, when he came in, a great itenerary of James Brown/Chuck Berry/Little Richard. He started to work in Bob Dylan, too. But those (originals) were his.

Did the second record get any airplay or notice?
Not any more than the first one. (Laughter) Maybe played a couple of times on KOKE.

What's interesting is that it was released almost simultaneously with Roky's departure from the band.
Yes, very close.

It was pressed in late November, 1965, and then Jim Langdon wrote in the Austin Statesman on December 1 that Roky had left the band.
Yes, that's about right.

Well, that helps explain why the record is so rare -- because the band didn't exist when it came out.
And I had no idea how many copies were pressed, or what happened to them.

On the record, there are two guitars, bass, and drums. Does Roky play lead guitar?
Yes, he does.

John Shropshire on rhythm guitar, Ernie on bass, and you're on drums.
Yes. And the backup (vocal), that would be Shropshire, too. The voices, I guess, that's John and Ernie, and possibly a guy named John Ely. He was a friend of Roky and me, and Roky liked him a lot, so he wanted him to play tambourine and do backup singing. He didn't stay long (in the band), but he was there.

We did our last, wind-up gigs (at that point). One of them is in San Antonio in a place so strange, I still wonder if it exists. It was in the basement of some hotel. We played, and after us, a flamenco troup, headed by a woman named Rosita Fernandez, played. What blew my mind was that they liked us. I was sitting there just in awe of them.

What kind of an audience was this for?
God only knows. Like I say, it's almost a Fellini-type of scene in my memory. And then, the last gig is at the Jade Room. I remember that we were still trying to wear the maroon blazers in the Spades. And I called John and Ernie, and told them, "Guys, tonight, just wear what you want." And everyone seemed to understand that that was the signal. So we all showed up dressed however we felt like. Had a great gig, and that was it.

I've never seen any of the guys (after they broke up). I hung out with Roky as long as I could. I think 1969 was when we had our break. But Ernie, John, and Jack, McCaskill, I see them in dreams...and often wonder where they are, how they are, and if they are.

People that never saw Roky have to go by the recordings. That's too bad, because I'm not sure that he was ever recorded well. But the (stage) presence and the intensity is just indescribable. And it would spark like chain lightning the rest of the group members, and out into the audience.

Kind of like James Brown, actually.
Very similar. And of course, when we were younger, we would go see James Brown.

You know, Roky acted at the Austin Community Theater. I used to go with him to the rehearsals. I remember he played Indian Joe in a production of Tom Sawyer. And when Indian Joe chased Tom and Becky around the cave, what Roky would do is chase them, but jump off the stage, and run before the first row of the audience. They'd all shreik, and then he'd jump back on stage. No one told him to do it.

It was just natural. And it electrified the performance -- took it beyond something that was just on a stage, and indeed his musical performances did the exact same thing. He craved seeing (audiences) happy. In my opinion, that's what drove Roky. He had a talent to make people happy, and he loved to do it.

I'm sure when you knew Roky growing up, you would've never dreamed that this guy would end up in a mental institution by the end of the decade.
Well, not any more than the rest of us. You know, there's still debate among the old-timers over whether Roky's crazy or not. But Roky always wanted an easy path. That was part of the trouble with his talent. For all appearances, it looked like he never practiced guitar...that he just picked it up. Or piano. In hindsight, we know o one does that. No matter how talented, he must have spent many long hours practicing.

But he always gave the impression that it all came natural?
Yeah. There was never talk of, "I'm taking music lessons." But it seemed to come easy to him -- things that the rest of us worked and worked for weeks and months and years. It seemed like, for him, it just happened. That can be good, but it can be bad.

My best memories of the group, oddly enough, were not the club gigs --they were the frat gigs. Where everyone's just blasted, and hopping, from the ceilings on down. And Roky's just loving it.

At these frat gigs, would you play in the living rooms, or...
Often times. And some of their houses were big. Sometimes they'd rent a party barn outside of Austin, sometimes a hotel. That's where the money was, but it was also hoppin', because they'd get so intoxicated. You couldn't play it loud enough and you couldn't play it fast enough -- it was just one huge area of gyrating, laughing bodies. Which is, you know, what music is supposed to produce -- at least rock and roll. In my mind.

The Jade Room was Thursday nights, and then (frat) bookings were Friday and Saturday nights.

Places like the Jade Room were different from other night clubs in Texas at that time in that they were drinking establishments, but they allowed teenagers inside. All ages were permitted, but you couldn't drink unless you were 21. I think maybe that was unique to Austin.
Oh, yeah. They just weren't as anal (as night clubs are today). And really, for the most part, unless you played the fool, no one really cared if you were under 21. I remember going to an Italian restaurant named Caruso's with Roky -- I must have been 15. We sat down, and they were taking our orders, and the waitress asked Roky what he wanted to drink. He said, "I want a beer." The waitress didn't even blink. So when she got to me, I said, "I want a beer." (Laughter) We were obviously underage. We were with a group of adults, but no one cared.

Well, there was no fear of having their liquor license revoked or going to jail for serving alcohol to minors.
No, or corrupting youth, or any of that stuff. It was an obvious family-style atmosphere, and no one cared.

So, at places like the Jade Room, would it be primarily a teenage audience?
It was an older crowd when we got there. Somehow, the frats started showing up. And then, I guess the major event in the story, was when the hipsters show up. And this is Tommy and Clementine Hall, Powell St. John, Charlie Pritchard, then Stacy (Sutherland) and John Ike Walton. And Benny Thurman. You couldn't ignore Benny Thurman. You knew as soon as he walked in the room.

I remember watching them as they came in. We could recognize them as other musicians. I don't know how -- I guess because they were so weird.

There's a famous quote from Roky where he says something like, "These three cats walked into the room and they had an aura about them."
Well, they did. That's as good a way to put it as any.

So, you had never met any of them prior to that night?
No. That's why, when they came in, it was so noticeable. This is a meeting of worlds.

It was immediately apparent that these people were not frats.
No, they're not rednecks, they're not...we don't know what they are, except we realize they're other musicians. They watched us play, and they were digging it. I wanted to see what they thought.

So Roky decides to go with these other guys.
Yeah. It was the correct choice. The Spades were outgrowing whatever it was we were in. High school was ending. It was time to make decisions, you know.

Did the band continue after Roky left?
No. No, the band was over. We could feel it was -- no one wanted to say it. There was never a group meeting. I think he imparted it to me, because he and I were very close. Ernie had already mentioned that he wanted to go to medical school. And Shropshire just became disenchanted. Looking back, I wonder if it wasn't a real blow to him, to be displaced as the vocalist.

Well, when Roky joined, did he also start doing all the vocals, as well?
Well, Shropshire would sing his traditional...we all had to sing at least one song. That was the rule, because an amp was going to blow, a string was going to break, God knows what was going to happen. We all had to be prepared to sing a song. But with Roky there was really no competition, and it probably proved very disenchanting to John Shropshire, in retrospect.

Tommy Hall is a case in himself. He was on to what was going on. He had a much more cosmopolitan picture of what music is about to go into.

Well, anybody who would apply an esoteric word like "psychedelic" to popular music in 1965 was definitely someone with a precient sense of pop culture.
Yeah. And it's real. That much of his persona is very real. And it's very infectuous. He has a grand vision and it's going to improve the world, this is the avenue, and he's going to be there with it.

And Roky was completely taken by him?
Oh, yeah. We all were. Even Stacy and John Ike and Benny, you know, that are hardcore redneck types. Of course, they only swallow what they want to. But he's not that far off the mark, as you know in hindsight -- things are about to change. And, with all the talent they were able to assemble, it's a tragic story, in my opinion.

Were you still in high school at this point?
No, I graduate about the time the Spades break up. I graduate a half-a-year late. Probably because of all the screwing around I was doing with the Spades. I remember, the last day of school, it actually snowed in Austin.

Did you join another band?
Well, I tried to fit in with the Elevators awhile. There wasn't anything for me to do. John Ike Walton was a fantastic drummer. They never should have flossed that guy. He contributed more than I think they realized.

I tried working up a group with George that will become the Golden Dawn after I leave it. Jimmy Bird, Bill Hallmark, Tom Ramsey...it's another case of: they make good after I leave. (Laughter) I can't remember what we called ourselves.

What do you remember about the Elevators' early shows at the Jade Room?
Oddly enough, at their first couple of gigs, they weren't well- received. I remember one person turning to me and saying, "Listen to that shit -- bring back the Spades."

What was your impression of the electric jug?
Tommy Hall's personality was such that it wouldn't have mattered if he'd played a comb with his armpit. He was going to be on that stage. And oddly enough, like Roky, the others were capable of projecting an incredible stage presence, as well -- and that included Tommy Hall. When Tommy first talked to them, as the Lingsmen, he was going to play bass, and Benny Thurman was going to play violin, at which he was very proficient. Later, he breaks the news to them that he's going to play jug, because he had been in the jug band circuit. He was convinced that this was the link between beat/folk and rock and roll.

At the Jade Room with the Elevators, was it a teenage audience, or...
The Jade Room and the New Orleans Club were geared for the 40-45 year old crowds that wanted to hear some smooth jazz while they had a martini and talked to their date. It was a hard transition to make. Marjorie Funk was the lady that owned and managed the Jade Room. She at least had enough insight to see that one scene was tapering down, and another scene was kicking in. The only thing they had at the Jade Room was one of these big glass balls that would turn around and throw light everywhere.

A mirrored ball. That was the extent of their "light show."
That was the extent of any sort of night club light show (at that time).

Did people dance to the Elevators?
Well, that was a problem. They danced to the Spades like crazy. It was dance-oriented music. Occasionally, the Elevators would play places with go-go dancers, and they would complain that they just couldn't pick up the beat.

What did you think when you heard the Elevators' version of "You're Gonna Miss Me"?
Oh, I thought it was an improvement.

What did you think of "We Sell Soul" being reconsituted as "Don't Fall Down"?
Well, "We Sell Soul" was never my favorite. I was proud of Roky, because that was the first effort, that I knew, that he'd written a song. And with the frat crowd, it got them hopping. It's transition into some sort of psychedelic message...I don't think it went well. And to this day, when I listen to that album, I'll skip over that song.

Was "We Sell Soul" supposed to be an advertisement for the band?
It was Roky's song, but in the feeling of comradeship that the Spades had -- it was a group effort, always -- he used the term "we."

So he had written it as "I Sell Soul"?
That's more appropriate. It was never discussed, but Roky's as socially minded as anyone else. At that time, he felt a real hunger to please. I can't accent that strongly enough, because that's my memory and impression. He just loved to see people happy. He paid a high price for that. I've always considered that ironic.

What happened to you after the pre-Golden Dawn band?
Well, after the Golden Dawn, I had my first child, and I had to get to work. Worked all sorts of bizarre jobs, but couldn't make up my mind, whether I wanted to try to get back into music, or settle down. It's a hard decision for a young man. And since I was so unsettled, my marriage was not good, and my wife Susan and I would separate for long periods. And as soon as things would get rocky and we'd separate, I'd say, "Shuck the job," take the last paycheck, buy a snare drum, and try to get back into the music scene.

At a certain point, you played in a band with Bill Miller. How did you meet him?
I can't remember, but I think he probably called me and said he was looking for a drummer. He and Tom McGarrigle. I was very impressed with both of them, but our lives just weren't together -- at least mine was not.

Well, you were a couple of years older than them, I think. Was Bill already playing the autoharp at that point?
Yes, he was on the autoharp, he was writing prolifically...the problem, I think, was, like I say, my life wasn't settled. And Bill's music requires a lot of practice. He was into changing tempos. And I've never liked that, because it screws up the people dancing. And it takes a lot of practice if you're going to do it right. It would've taken us years to have perfected even a small part of it. But I always respected his talent. A great guy.

He remembers playing here in Houston with you with his band Amethyst.
We may have.

He remembers playing at Jubilee Hall, which was the old church that had earlier been called La Maison.
Oh, I remember La Maison. But I remember playing there with the Misfits. I don't remember doing it with Bill Miller.

When did you play with the Misfits?
This was after the Spades had broken up, and I was just taking gigs. Tommy and Stacy had been to Houston, and apparently had met Pete (Black) and James (Harrell). I came down on a whim with their (Elevators') manager. His name was Jim Stalarow. We stayed at the home of a guy I still know, named George Banks. The Misfits' drummer couldn't make the gig at La Maison, so I sat in with them there.

This was the church location?
No, it was an old grocery store.

Yeah, Jim Stalarow was the guy who told Gordon Bynum about the Elevators. Bynum was the guy who put out "You're Gonna Miss Me" on Contact. I still don't know where Stalarow heard them.
He just appeared at Tommy and Clementine's house. I was living there with them. My wife and I lived upstairs from them at that house on 38th. Suddenly, (Stalarow) was just there in the kitchen. Talking a lot.

How did you come to live with Tommy and Clementine?
My wife had already left home, and I was supporting her there in an apartment in Austin with my winnings from the Spades gigs. (Laughter) And probably out of sympathy for her, Clementine said, "Well, we have an upstairs room."

Note: The interview had to end at this point.

Early 1965. Austin Custom Recording Studio, Austin, Tx. Engineer: Roy Poole
JOHN SHROPSHIRE, lead vocal/rhythm guitar; JACK ROUNDTREE, lead guitar/backing vocal; ERNIE CULLEY, bass/backing vocal; JOHN KEARNEY, drums

(A) I Need a Girl (G. Mac-J. Shrop.) ZERO 10001
(B) Do You Want to Dance?

Note: Label contains notation, "Rel. April 12, 1965."

Prob. November, 1965. TNT Recording Studio, 1422 W. Poplar, San Antonio, Tx. Engineer: Charlie Cole
ROGER "ROKY" ERICKSON, lead vocal/lead guitar/harmonica; JOHN SHROPSHIRE, rhythm guitar/backing vocal; ERNIE CULLEY, bass/backing vocal; JOHN ELY, tambourine/backing vocal; JOHN KEARNEY, drums

(A)TSS651118B You're Gonna Miss Me (Emil Schwartze) ZERO 10002
(B)TSS651119A We Sell Soul (Emil Schwartze)

Note: ZERO 10002 was repressed circa 1975-76. These later pressings have white labels and matrix numbers C-10002-A/B. Original pressings have gray labels and the TSS (Texas Sound Studios) six- digit matrices, indicating mastering dates of November 18 and 19, 1965. Emil Schwartze = Roky Erickson.