If you’re in Austin and not a musician you might as well be impotent at Plato’s Retreat. Sure, us ordinary and un-godlike folk can have a swell time just listening to all the music around, but it’s the guys with calloused fingertips that get respect, turn heads and, most importantly, get the cute blonde girls whose hobbies include giggling and wearing high heels to the 7-11.
Everything is booming in Austin, including the groupie scene. Musicians get about 90% of the squirms, but there are also groupies for just about everything else. There are theatre groupies, bartender groupies, artist groupies, legislative groupies. There are busdriver groupies. They sit in the first seat and ride the bus for five hours and then get off where they got on. There are even disc jockey groupies, but they’re pretty rare. These guys are on the radio instead of TV for a reason, after all. Radio is still one of the major ways for guys with ponytails to make money.
Yes sir, they’ve got groupies for everything except what I am.
I’ve been going to clubs for 10 years now. That’s a decade of watching blonde girls flock to the instrument players—most of whom were merely skillful in the way of a carpenter or barber and as musical as an Etch-A-Sketch is artistic.
I just stood off to the side, waiting for my time to come. I figured that one day “Guys who make Richie Cunningham look exotic” would be the rage in Europe and New York and I’d finally get what I really did honestly deserve. But that anticipated trend never quite materialized—Sean Penn was as close as it got—so three months ago I decided that rather than continue to wait for massive upheavals in the social codes of blonde females, I myself would change.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to start picking up more girls in bars. This was New Year’s ’73. Up until three months ago, however, it was pretty much business as usual; me not talking to girls until I was too drunk to make sense and then walking the three miles home. Walking because my ride left an hour ago when I told it I’d probably get a ride home (wink, wink) with the girl in red who would, a scant 15 minutes later, tell me to “go hump a cactus.” And I thought she liked me because she offered her wrist when I asked the time instead of just telling me. Body language whips my ass again.
But then, as I may have said, three months ago I found the secret to success in getting women out of smoke-filled nightclubs and into my plant-filled furnished apartment. I became a musician. I still can’t even play “Louie, Louie,” but these days I’m too busy having sex to have time to learn.
Mark Twain said, “Whenever in doubt, tell the truth,” to which I paraphrase “Whenever in heat, lie your ass off.” It really works.
Of course this miracle transformation involves more than just claiming to be a musician. Sure it’s worked for Jerry Jeff, but don’t plan on being so lucky. You’ll also have to look and act the part. And foremost, make doubly sure that you are never found out. Use the precaution you would if you were sleeping with Barbara Sinatra. The worst thing that could happen to your penis, this side of low-flying shrapnel, is for the blonde girl to see the band you claim you’re in and see that you’re not. Word travels fast on the amp puppy wireless. So, the day after you sleep with her, not two days later, not after 24 hours, but the Very Next Day, you have to call her up and tell her how you just found out that your bandmates, those bastards, didn’t give you songwriting credit on the album so you quit. Who needs ‘em? “Maybe I’ll call up Ty Gavin and see if that offer is still good.” Ty Gavin is a good name to lay on blonde girls.
Joe Ely and Charlie Sexton don’t work as well as you’d think they would. I guess Ely’s too obvious and everybody knows Little Charlie. When you meet people in Austin for the first time, they’ll always tell you 1) Their name 2) What side of the river they live on and 3) How old Charlie Sexton was when they first saw him. If you know anyone at the Chronicle, you’d do better just to keep quiet about it.
So now that you know how to namedrop, you’re halfway there. The easiest part is the look. A musician’s hair is his plumage, his coat of arms, his blonde admirer’s focal point. So your hairstyle should reflect the type of music you “play.” Don’t deviate. Heavy metal and hard rock call for a long-haired permanent. Bring a picture of Eddie Van Halen with you to the hair salon. If you can’t find a pic of Eddie try to get one of Stephanie Powers.
Punk/Hardcore styles spring off from three different families: 1) Mohawk 2) Skinhead and 3) Bangs-a-Plenty. You’ll want to look like you slandered the barber’s mother halfway through the haircut. If it’s a country or blues musician you “are,” style is not important as long as you sweat a lot and comb with your fingers. There’s only one rockabilly haircut and you know it, and as for jazz, hey, I thought you wanted to get laid.