When Spin magazine flew me to Austin to interview pigfuck progenitors Scratch Acid in 1986, I was only a few months out of the U.S. Army. Not sure precisely how many months, since the (quite long) article doesn’t directly cite a calendar, but I’d been honorably discharged in May, and the piece ran in the October issue, which apparently came out in early September, which means I must’ve taken the trip when — July, maybe? I do vaguely remember it being summer-ish. A hot tub was involved. You do the math.
It was only my second time visiting Texas’s capital, where I now live. When Richard Linklater coughed up Slacker in 1990, this was presumably the Austin era he had in mind. My first wife Martina and I, as I recall, had passed through on a road trip a year or two earlier. We saw the band Zeitgeist, who Wikipedia tells me formed in 1984 and later had more college radio success as the Reivers. A couple guys in Scratch Acid later had more college radio success themselves in Jesus Lizard, and I much preferred their noisy kind of ’80s independent-label (not called “indie” yet I don’t think) rock to Zeitgeist/Reivers’ jangly kind of ’80s independent-label rock at the time. Still do.
My loud-not-quiet crusade led me to take gratuitous aim at The Austin Chronicle‘s supposed scene cheerleading, since without a whole lot of evidence (how many issues had I even read?) I was under the impression the (now venerable, then just a half-decade old) alternative weekly didn’t like the right bands, boo hoo. Pretty jerky of me, as one Luke Torn duly noted in the paper’s September 12 issue: “Nice trick, Chuck, nothing like a little journalistic backstabbing to go with all our musical backstabbing. Kind of makes you feel warm all over, doesn’t it.” I plead guilty, and belatedly hereby apologize.