Art&Seek presents This Week in Texas Music History. Every week, we’ll spotlight a different moment and the musician who made it. This week, Texas music scholar Gary Hartman visits a nightclub where a Texas icon was born.
You can also hear This Week in Texas Music History on Friday on KXT and Saturday on KERA radio. But subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss an episode. And our thanks to KUT public radio in Austin for helping us bring this segment to you. And if you’re a music lover, be sure to check out Track by Track, the bi-weekly podcast from Paul Slavens, host of KXT’s The Paul Slavens Show, heard Sunday night’s at 8.
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The Vulcan Gas Company, Austin’s first psychedelic nightclub, opened on Oct. 27, 1967. The club soon attracted the attention of local police because of its psychedelic décor and its tendency to attract a young, pot-smoking crowd. Despite such controversy, the Vulcan Gas Company hosted a variety of prominent artists, including ZZ Top, Big Mama Thornton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Just before it closed in 1970, the owners renamed the venue the Armadillo Gas Company, and they included images of armadillos on its flyers and posters. Although the club itself folded, the armadillo became a Texas icon after the owners opened a new venue nearby in South Austin—the soon-to-be-legendary Armadillo World Headquarters.