By Nicki Escudero
By Amy Silverman
By Brian Palmer
By Chris Parker
By Troy Farah
By Lauren Wise
By Lauren Wise
"I was shocked to find out they were releasing this tape," Millikin says, "because we've been trying to get Jimmie and his lawyers to the table for so long, and all they do is stall, stall, stall. This is obviously a blatant disregard of any respect. It's the way they work, but it's not the way I work, and I'm not about to let them get away with something that's not right.
"I own the tape. Stevie didn't want it, and it was given to me by the radio station. I can't figure out where the fuck they got it. I've got it right here--well, not right here, but somewhere I'm not telling. It's just not right."
In Austin, however, it is difficult to find anyone associated with the tape's origins who believes Millikin owns it. They say Millikin actually turned down the recording when it was offered to him more than a decade ago.
Wayne Bell, KLBJ's program director in 1979-80 and the man who created the late-night program Better Late Than Never on which Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble played, says that until recently he possessed the only tape of that night's performance.
And that copy, he says, now belongs to the Stevie Ray Vaughan estate.
Earlier this year, Jimmie Vaughan and Mark Proct went looking for tapes of all the Stevie Ray concerts they could find. When their search led them to Bell, who quit the radio business in 1980 to resume film work, they made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
Bell says he was happy to see the tape land in the hands of the estate before bootlegs of the show began popping up, thus "desecrating" Stevie Ray's memory. He says he handed it over for a small fee, enough to cover the expenses of recording the show and transferring it to a digital master.
"I was told [by Proct] that Jimmie was gathering all the good-quality live recordings he could find and would maybe take cuts off of different ones. It belongs to the estate now, which is where it should be."
Bell says shortly after the 1980 performance, engineer Malcolm Harper offered Millikin a high-quality, multitrack recording straight from a professional mixing board--but that Millikin turned it down. A few weeks later, the recording was taped over during another KLBJ on-air performance by a different artist; all that remains now is the two-track tape that was heard all over Austin on April 1, 1980.
Jimmie currently is tweaking the recording and readying the album, which Epic will release on September 29--unless, of course, Millikin is successful in his threatened plan to go to court to halt the process.
@body:Jack Newhouse does not care how many copies this album sells, nor does he concern himself with the brewing controversy.
It has taken more than a decade for this tape to surface, and Newhouse, who spends his days mixing drinks behind a bar at Robert Mueller Municipal Airport in Austin, can wait a little longer.
Newhouse, you see, was the original bass player in Double Trouble, the guy you will hear thumping away behind a young Stevie Vaughan.
For a little more than two years, Newhouse was the one constant in an ever-evolving Double Trouble. When he joined the band in 1978, replacing bassist W.C. Clark, the group consisted of vocalist Lou Ann Barton, sax man Johnny Reno and drummer Freddie Walden. When Chesley Millikin kicked Newhouse out of the band in late 1980 in favor of Tommy Shannon, drummer Chris Layton had already come on board, rounding out the trio that would record Texas Flood in 1983 for Epic Records.
Newhouse, a soft-spoken guy in his late 30s dressed all in black, met me in Austin's Driskill hotel bar. As he sips a beer and puffs on a cigarette, he explains that he has never once looked back, never pondered what could have been.
"Well, maybe for a minute," he adds, laughing.
Though he can't recall much about April 1, 1980, Newhouse says playing in Double Trouble was "definitely the peak of my career." He remembers what it was like backing the frenetic guitarist--the response Stevie's playing would evoke from the audience, the emotion and pain with which Vaughan played, the "release" one got from being around him.
"I've heard guitar players who were technically better than he is, but I don't think I've ever heard or played with someone who played with so much emotion or put so much of themselves into it," Newhouse says. "I don't know if it was that particular night, but there was one night at Steamboat when someone came up to him and said, 'I just timed you on "Texas Flood," and you played the song for 18 minutes.'
"Stevie said, 'Well, I just had to get it out.'"
Histories of the band don't mention Newhouse; even the first press release for Texas Flood omits his name, making it appear that Tommy Shannon was the band's one and only bassist. And whenever "Tin Pan Alley," a cut from the Steamboat show, airs on KLBJ, Shannon gets credit for the bass part.