Under the Hood: Clifford Antone on Opening Antone’s Nightclub

The 1970s were lean times for the blues. Even the biggest names in the business had a tough time getting gigs. But in 1975 an idealistic young blues fan named Clifford Antone opened a nightclub in Austin, Texas. Soon the word got out about Antone’s, where bluesmen could play real blues for real money. The club even had two hot, but unknown house bands, one fronted by Jimmie Vaughan, the other one featuring his little brother Stevie Ray. From the House of Blues archives, Clifford Antone.

Well we just worked real hard. And we did have some big names like B.B. King and Bobby Bland and Albert King, so that helped. So we had the two bands with the Vaughan brothers, well those were my two house bands and they opened those shows you know. And they got to be seen.  Before that they had nowhere else to play, before that in 1975.  But Stevie was already great, and so was Jimmie, but just no one knew it, no one cared for a long, long time. And all of a sudden they cared. – Clifford Antone