Eddie Wilson & Jesse Sublett
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Eddie Wilson is a member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame.
He is a former concert promoter and co-founder and owner of the Armadillo World Headquarters (1973–1980), the legendary music venue that led a music movement in Austin to national prominence as the birthplace of Texas progressive county, aka cosmic cowboy/redneck rock and making Austin the live music capital of the world.
Eddie is an Austin native and holds a degree in English from the University of Texas. He continues to purvey live music as the owner of two Threadgill’s restaurants in Austin. The original, which he purchased in the mid–1970s from Kenneth Threadgill was where Janis Joplin got her start. Threadgill’s World Headquarters in south Austin, is located right beside the residence of the Armadillo Headquarters.
Jesse’s many novels and nonfiction books include 1960’s Austin Gangsters, Never the Same Again, The Martin Fender Novels, and an upcoming book on Esther’s Follies. His work has been published in many print magazines, including the New York Times, Texas Monthly, the Austin Chronicle. He has written extensively for the History Channel, as well as for reality TV and other TV/ film projects. Jesse also works as a ghost writer.
Jesse’s papers are collected in the Southwestern Writers Collection of the Witliff Collections at Texas State University, his alma mater.
ARMADILLO WORLD HEADQUARTERS (TSSI Publishing/UT Press, March 2017)
“Eddie’s story is by turns hilarious, informative, and the living spirit of its age. . . . [He] piles the most unlikely anecdotes on top of one another, creating a land of enchantment and an order of chemically altered consciousness that rescues an era I’d thought not so much lost as forgotten. Not only am I thrilled I’ve read this story and wish I was in it, I wish I’d written it.” —DAVE MARSH, from the foreword
“The Armadillo World Headquarters . . . was one of the most exciting, and remained one of the most exciting, places in the United States for the years that it was in operation. I saw a little of everything at the Armadillo, and it was one of the great experiences of my life.” — ANN RICHARDS, from the book’s preface
On August 7, 1970, Eddie Wilson and a band of hippies threw open the doors of Armadillo World Headquarters and the live music capital of the world was born in Austin, Texas. Over its ten-year lifespan, the Armadillo hosted thousands of high-profile musicians—Willie Nelson, Frank Zappa, Bruce Springsteen, Taj Mahal, AC/DC, Charlie Daniels, the Ramones, Roy Buchanan, and Bette Midler, to name a random few. The Armadillo helped define the Austin lifestyle, culture, and identity, setting the stage for successors such as the SXSW music festival, PBS’s Austin City Limits, and the ACL festival, which have made Austin an international destination for music fans.
In this rollicking memoir, Eddie Wilson tells the behind-the-scenes story of the Armadillo from the moment he first peered into a derelict National Guard armory building and knew that destiny had found him. He vividly describes how two previously clashing groups—rednecks and hippies—came together at the Armadillo, enjoying a new blend of country music and rock that spawned a many-named movement: cosmic cowboy, progressive country, and redneck rock, among others. Wilson also reveals the struggles and creative solutions that kept the doors open, the angels who provided timely infusions of cash, the janitors and carpenters who maintained the Dillo, and the artists who created iconic poster art. Extensively illustrated with candid photographs and music posters, Armadillo World Headquarters recounts the story of this legendary venue as no other book can.
For more information, please see University of Texas Press.