First time I met Rich Minus was on Will Sexton’s 16th birthday. An RV had been parked in the back of the Continental Club that night in 1987 and after MCA recording artists Will and the Kill played, there had been some heavy partying.
With Sexton’s drummer Jeff behind the wheel, the RV took off aimlessly at around 3 a.m. and Will yelled out, “Hey, isn’t that Rich Minus?” We looked out the window and saw an old drunken hobo in a cowboy hat, kinda taking two steps forward, then one step backward and one sideways. Anyway, Will went out and brought him back to the RV, where Minus must’ve felt he’d found heaven. There was still lots of booze left and there was a guitar and old friends. Will’s mom used to go with Townes Van Zandt and so he grew up around all those drunken angels, like Rich Minus and Calvin Russell and Blaze Foley and Jubal Clark.
With the RV parked in the lot at Riverside and Barton Springs where we found Rich, he sat on the little couch and sang a song called “How Can I Dance (When It Cost an Arm and a Leg to Get in)” and we all laughed. Will Sexton was an old man in the mind when he was a 16-year-old heartthrob.
Calvin said Minus was a guy you got to know little by little. He was always so drunk when I’d run into him, at joints like the Hole In the Wall or the Austin Outhouse, that I never really got much, except that he was from San Antonio and used to have some sort of straight job like a college professor or something before he ran off and joined the song patrol.
Occasionally, there’d be good news about Minus, like when the Texas Tornados covered “Laredo Rose” in 1992 and Minus released an album of new material, “Still Alive In Texas” to good reviews in 1996. It’s worth remembering that even the hardest living souls have a few hours of clarity a day. Long enough to write a song.
Minus is currently in longterm care at a facility in San Antonio. But he’ll be arriving via limo to his tribute show April 7 at Giddy Ups Bar a 12010 Manchaca Road. Music goes from 1
pm- 1 am and such acts as Alvin Crow, Appa Perry, Bobby Mack, David Halley, DURWAWA, Freddie Krc and Emily Grace Berry, George Ensle, Lost John Casner, Mandy Mercier, the Mickey White Band, the Nortons, Ponty Bone and the Keepers, Ted Roddy, Thierry Le Coz, Stephen Doster, Will Sexton will perform.
Cost is $10.