Blackstone-Winner of the State-Wide "Battle of the Bands"for opening slot on the 1978 Texxas Jam
I don't know who Shenandoah was, but
the winner of the state-wide battle of the bands that opened the first Texxas Jam was a band from Amarillo, Texas named Blackstone. I was their guitarist. We opened at 11:30 that morning. I have all the news clippings, docs, the recording contract that we won from Polydor, and an article from Rolling Stone (mid-August '78) that says we opened the Jam , etc. I know Shenandoah was listed in Wikipedia lately. Someone keeps changing it from Blackstone to all these other bands
About a year ago (2007), there was a film company that was putting together a movie called Texxas Jam '78 and all kinds of bands, primarily from around Dallas surfaced claiming that they were the "mystery band" that had opened the thing. I stumbled across it by accident and contacted the filmmaker CEO and sent copies of our documents to him. The film never went anywhere. But it was interesting that they had already chosen a band that they believed to be the winner called Glasspack. Like I said earlier, I found it really interesting. Blackstone disintegrated around 1980 when Polydor put our budget (and Pat Travers) into "Peaches & Herb". I went on to a punk-rock band, The Amatones, that turned alternative, The Blue Johnnies, in the late '80's and put out some records on college radio.
When I contacted Brian Hedenberg with Archway pictures, he said they had been looking for the right band for a couple of years. The producers of the Jam couldn't verify who it was and they had no documentation. That didn't surprise me. When the battle of the bands was over on Friday night (about 3 in the morning) they made the decision to send our gear to the Cotton Bowl, kind of an afterthought. There was no one assigned to us, no big deal made about it, no contracts, no anything. We had half an hour backstage in the Coliseum with the press and a bunch of music people. The stage manager came for our roadies and equipment, we went to Dennys, then back to our motel as the sun was coming up. They gave us a pass so we could drive into the backstage area. We showed up about 11, played at 11:30, hung around for a few minutes and left. The Rolling Stone issue with Blackstone listed was August 24, 1978 with Bruce Springsteen on the cover.
That show is a story in itself. We opened it in the middle of the afternoon and played about 20 minutes so that Rolling Stone could film us. Then some local bands played, maybe Nitzinger, I can't remember. Then some up & coming acts like 1999. The headliners were AC/DC and Mahogany Rush. During AC/DC's set, Frank Marino backed out because of the paltry turn out. They came to us and had us take M. Rush's spot at the end of the show and we played for an hour and a half. AC/DC wasn't too happy about opening for us, but were pretty cool about it.
Last year when I was corresponding with Brian Hedenberg. In here is a photo of the band by the pool at the Redbird Inn where we stayed. Notice the clothes. They are the same ones we wore on stage at the Texxas Jam. When we left for the Jam on Saturday morning, the stage clothes were left at the motel. I'm the guy in the brown t-shirt with the black Les Paul (I still have it, thankfully!)
Wilson said "Blackstone" had gone on tour with "Baby", another band from Amarillo, and had also been the opening act for the "Head East" concert in Kansas City, Mo.
5 p.m. Thurs June 29 - roadies & equipment truck left for Dallas
4 a.m. Friday June 30 - band caravan left for Dallas
1 or 2 p.m. Friday - went to Battle Of Bands meeting the slot we drew to play was in the middle
7 or 8 p.m. Friday - we played at the Battle at Fairpark Coliseum
2 a.m. Saturday - they announced us as winner of Battle Of the Bands. Haze from Houston was 2nd and Ruf Lok from Beaumont was 3rd.
3 a.m to 5 a.m. - backstage with Polydor, press, stage people, Pace, etc.
5 a.m. - our roadies & equipment went to Cotton Bowl, the band went to Dennys
7 a.m. - I dropped everyone off at the hotel and went to Love Field to pick up some friends that were flying in since we won.
10:30 a.m - I got back to hotel and everyone was asleep! I went screaming from room to room waking them up. We loaded one van with band and one with friends and hauled to the Cotton Bowl.
11:00 a.m. - traffic was backed up, so I drove on the shoulder all the way in and laid on the horn to get through the crowds that were milling around in the fair grounds
11:15 a.m. - we were in the back gate and shuffled into a dressing room. It was then that we realized that the stage clothes had all been left at the hotel, so we played in our street clothes, except for the singer. He had a special jumpsuit that his mom in-law had made him. Black with silver rick-rack trim! That's why the pool pics match our stage pics.
11:30 a.m. - met with Chip Monck so he could get our names right, met Eddie Money. Had no idea who he was until a roadie came up and said "Don't you know who that is!!!"
We went on about 11:40 and played maybe thirty minutes. We came off and Walter Egan went on. We hung around in back until Van Halen was on, then went back to the hotel.
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