July 12, 2010

Monday Music

In Austin, Texas in the late 1960’s a small group of hippie types got together and opened a club. The Vulcan Gas Company was just three blocks from the Texas Capitol building, and in it’s brief three-year lifespan, hosted such notable acts as Johnny Winter, Moby Grape, Canned Heat, John Lee Hooker, Poco, Bubble Puppy, Lightnin Hopkins, Muddy Waters, The Steve Miller Band, and Freddie King.

The house band, locally popular but otherwise not-so-well-known, would go on to front for such famous acts as Spirit, Janis Joplin, Steppenwolf and ZZ Top. The band, called Shiva’s Headband, became the first act from the Austin music scene with a national presence, a recording contract, and a charted hit.

Shiva’s Headband was an early innovator in Texas style psychedelic rock, and they got a recording contract with Capital Records for that reason. The band members were loyal Austinites who continued playing at and trying to save the cash-strapped Vulcan until the club's final demise in 1970.

True to their home town, after the Vulcan closed, the band aided in the founding of the Armadillo World Headquarters. Their first manager, Eddie Wilson, spent the band’s first royalty check to help open the now legendary venue of Austin music, and Shiva's Headband was the first band to perform there.

Their first album, Take Me To The Mountains, never made it very high on the charts, but because of it, in 1973, the band caught a role playing the title song in the Ryan O’Neal - Jacqueline Bisset film, The Thief Who Came to Dinner

The first recording ever by an Austin artist to hit the charts was the 1968 tune, Kaleidoscopic/Song for Peace.

They played at Austin’s Ruta Maya in 2008.

In Hindu lore, Shiva was the destroyer; a harbinger of change. For the Austin Music scene, Shiva’s Headband fit that description well and every successful Austin musician should tip a hat to this great act. 

The band remains true to Austin, and in 1999 founding member and bandleader Spencer Perskin was voted "Austin's Old hippie” at the Eeyore's Birthday Party, an annual Austin rite of spring.

Although a grandfather, Perskin is still active and the band still performs in Austin under the name, the Shiva's Headband Experience.


Anonymous said...

I always enjoy my Monday Music Education Day! Thanks Mr. OMDAS