Roadhouse News - European Edition

I must admit that I was not exactly sure what to expect at rehearsal. Letís face it, these guys have been playing together since some of them were teenagers and I am not talking teenagers from the eighties. To play together for the first time after the death of Doug Sahm was not going to be easy on any of these men. It was not going to be easy on me and Lee Roy either. The last time I had seen most of them was at Dougís funeral. The first time I had ever played with some of them was at the tribute show after Dougís funeral. Both days would prove to be filled with highlights and filled with numbness. However, whether it be emotional or mechanical, at its very worst would prove to be fantastic.

During the course of the day several well wishers stopped by. "Break a leg" was the common response. Dougís sweetheart, Debbie, was the most touching. Augieís son, Clay, stopped by to showcase their new baby boy. They named him Dylan A. Meyers. Cool initials, and a host of others of whom the names I do not know.

The next day me and Lee Roy were met at the San Antonio International Airport by George, Danny, and Jessie. We were late! They were nervously awaiting our arrival. Little did they know that this was S.O.P. for us. We arrived a day early and headed for Groningen, Holland, to do the first show. I do not believe that anyone had any idea of what to expect. What we got was a sold out house of 1900 standing room only Tornado fans. We pulled it off without a hitch. Well maybe a few small ones that went undetected by the fans. My mind kept racing back to 1971 when I heard the Allman Brothersí play their first show without Duane in Odessa, Texas. They too experienced their moments that first night back. I could not help but scan the faces of all of the Tornados over and over again. I could not help but wonder what they were thinking when they would see another person standing where Doug Sahm had stood for so many times. At some point during all of the shows it was impossible not to feel Dougís presence. After the show there was an air of relief in the dressing rooms, but the positive energy outweighed the negative by a long shot.

The next night we played the Paradiso in Amsterdam. This show was also sold out. The bandís energy was at a higher level than the night before. Before this show would conclude, it would remind me of some hot spot we once all played somewhere in Texas or the deep south. It was hot and muggy on stage mostly from the fact that the people were packed in as tight as dominoes in a box all breathing hard, clapping hands, and stomping their feet. Later at dinner with Sara and Augie, he would tell me that tonight was the thirteenth time the Tornados had played the Paradiso. Once again I acknowledged within and took a reality check of what I was doing.

The Texas Tornados - At The Paradiso, Amsterdam
The Texas Tornados - At The Paradiso, Amsterdam
L to R: JBA, LRP, Speedy Sparks, Augie Meyers,
 Louie Ortega, Flaco Jimenez>

So far the weather had reminded me of home. West Texas! It would snow, then it would sleet, then rain. Finally the sun would shine and the wind would blow. Yea we were in Holland but if West Texas just had a few canals, some open water, and some cobblestone sidewalks and of course we would have to legalize a few things, then Texas would be kind of like Holland.

The next day, February 19, we headed for Tilburg, Holland. We were traveling in two Mercedes vans. We had the non smoking van and the smoking van but by now they had been dubbed as the groovers and non-groovers instead of the smoking thing. Actually there were a few imposters on each van. By now with three shows under our belts, the one place we all smoked was on the stage.

Tilburg would turn out to be a sold out show as well. We played a venue called ZERO THIRTEEN. It was a great room with great acoustics. There were a few people who made the trip from Amsterdam to catch the show for a second time. The weather had changed too. It was definitely winter time in Holland.

We would have two days off before the first show in Zurich. So Lee Roy, Jessie, and myself caught a train the next day and headed for Heidelburg, Germany. We spent one night here and then traveled down to Zurich the next day. However it was not without incident. We were running low on snuff and I knew it was just a matter of time before something would go haywire. It did. It was all over language and snuff and the wrong train station. This was the day that Lee Roy reminded me of a young Ransom Gallaway, and Gallaway rule #123 did apply. The rule is: Find out what kind of a mood a man is in before you joke with him.

All of the shows had their exceptional moments but it was not until the final three days in Zurich, Switzerland, that the unit actually began to smoke. And smoke it did! I saw Lee Roy Parnell go places he had not been for a long time. He was feeling it too. When you mix blues, country, Tex-Mex, polkas, a horn section, Mexicans, Blacks, and Whites, together, what you get is a tornado, the TEXAS TORNADOS.

LRP in the zone

JBA and Spot Burnett
JBA and Spot Burnett

I have told our readers before that I am a very lucky person. My luck has extended once again. Augie, Flaco, Rocky, Al, Spot, Ernie, Max, Speedy, and Louie, thank you for allowing me to be a TORNADO. And as always, Lee Roy, yet another door you have opened. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is highly possible we could be twin brothers from different mothers.