As we approached Stubb’s it was clear, even through a Maker’s Mark haze, that getting into this show would be our greatest challenge to date. In the Spring of 2000, there was quite a buzz surrounding Hank Williams III. The hope was that the talent of his grandfather had simply skipped a generation and that the kid “had it.” It was one of the shows we really wanted to see, but the line around Stubb’s and the packed outdoor venue just bummed me out. Shut out? We’d never been shut out of a show at SXSW and we’d seen some barnburners. This time, things looked bleak. “Follow me,” barked Dave and suddenly I was chasing him as he ducked into the restaurant entrance, about 100’ beyond the concert entrance. In 2000, Dave was pretty damn quick, and he was on a mission. He approached a management type who attempted to intervene, but Dave threw a pomp head-fake and left the poor guy grasping at air like some poor Packer linebacker trying to tackle Barry Sanders. After the whiff, the would-be stopper fell into a waiter and the resulting slow-motion splattering of marinara across a patrons white shirt looked like it came right out of a Mario Puzo novel. Not pausing to admire the Tarantino-esque artistic carnage, Dave quickly darted down a short set of stairs and then cut left as he led an out pattern through the kitchen. I could have sworn I saw Andy Warhol chatting with a busboy as we dashed past the dishwasher, but I’m sure it was just the excitement of the moment. Suddenly there was darkness, but only briefly before the light… The beautiful light of the Stubb’s stage!
We hurriedly moved into the crowd and took a position center-stage, just behind what became the mosh-pit. Just in front of us was this guy who was pretty big, especially in the cranial region. We didn’t realize it at the time, but he’s in a band with Jack Black called Tenatious D…We didn’t see Jack, especially with that big dude in our field of vision.
Anyway… Hank III, or “Hank Tree” as we were calling him finally hit the stage and acted all punk until he blew out his bass amp. Then he threw a hissy-fit and walked off the stage. Dave speculated at the time that we may have witnessed a classic moment in rock history when “Hank III walked off stage at SXSW.” Um, not so much. I don’t think “Tree” has lived up to the hype of those early years. Hey, maybe there’s hope for Hank IV.
I turned around to head out, but Dave suggested we stick around to see the next band. I completely trust Dave’s musical instincts, so stay we did. About ten minutes later Eddie Spaghetti and the Supersuckers emerged looking and sounding something like this.