Guy Schwartz - Texas Rock, Americana & Blues Musician
LAST UPDATED IN 2010
They had come to pay tribute to a Texas legend on his 50th birthday. It was quite a concert! Gloria Edwards, the soul queen of Texas sang one of Guy Schwartz' songs. Calvin Owens, who was B.B. King's band leader for 30 years, couldn't wait to blow trumpet on one of Guy's 14 chord blues ballads, and was introduced so spontaneously that the local radio jock couldn't get to the stage in time for a proper introduction. E.P. Vallejo, Kool B, Jimmy Deen.... They were all there - rockers, rappers, bluesmen, folkies and every type of musician, entertainer and songwriter one could imagine. Guy Schwartz had worked with them all, and anyone could tell that he was enjoying the party!
That's what the official biography
in my promotional package said -
the last time I substantially updated this page, in 2002.
That was thirteen years ago.
The next official bio (2010) said -
ARTIST & TOUR INFO 2010
Texas bandleader, songwriter and film-maker, Guy Schwartz,
is about to release his 45th album with a renewed commitment
to live performances on the road.
Hailed as a hero by some in his hometown of Houston, Texas,
for a career in music that goes back to
the '60s, Guy Schwartz' unwavering support of
local musicians and music in Houston
has led to his being called 'The Godfather of
The Local Music Scene' by The Houston Press,
and his band, The New Jack Hippies, has been called
"Texas premiere blues-rock, hippie jam band",
by Nashville's Billy Block.
Schwartz has performed
as a sideman for a diverse group of artists,
including Vince Bell, Lightnin' Hopkins,
BW Stephenson, Blaze Foley, Gurf Morlix,
Lionel Hampton & The Monkees, and,
his bands (including Relayer and Z-Rocks)
have toured with the likes of Nickle Creek, David Lindley, U2, Eric Johnson, Muddy Waters, Duran Duran,
Huey Lewis & The News, Todd Rundgren, Carolyn Wonderland,
Van Gunn, The Thieves, Ted Nugent, Little Feat, ZZTop...
Playing 200 road dates a year with The New Jack Hippies
as recently as 2003, Schwartz' efforts have been
recently concentrated in studio work and video. Schwartz & video
partner, MArlo Blue have created TWO television series
(Hippies.TV & SOUTH BY DUE EAST TELEVISION)
featuring local, original Texas music of all styles and genres.
Now - Guy Schwartz has decided
to make a change that he can believe in.
"Working in the studio and editing room
with all of the great Texas talent is a blast,
but it's time to play my songs again",
he announced in March.
This summer, on these scheduled shows,
Guy Schwartz will often leave the cameras to MArlo,
as he straps on his
acoustic guitar to play and sing
some of his favorite songs
from 45 years of songwriting.
The songs include his love songs,
rock songs, country songs,
weed songs, and unconventional blues songs,
recorded by artists as varied as Hamilton Loomis,
Kinky Friedman, Gloria Edwards & The Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra.
Schwartz' current acoustic tour (without the band)
sports conventional dates at established venues,
but also concentrates on spontaneous
musical events created on the fly,
as he meets new musicians, often found on
Facebook, MySpace & Google AFTER he hits town,
and convinces them to do something spontaneous for the cameras,
usually in an unannounced guerilla raid on
an unsuspecting restaurant, college campus,
or anywhere that sounds like fun.
This new musical reality TV show
is called 'Guy Schwartz' Road Journal',
and it's first season was
well received in Texas.
Besides the perfect musical strangers he meets as he goes,
episodes have featured guests like
songwriting giant Billy Joe Shaver in North Carolina,
Texas triple-threat Carolyn Wonderland in Amsterdam,
and Americana Music Awards multi-winner
Gurf Morlix in the Cottage Country of Ontario, Canada
(as they perform unanounced in a 50-foot tall Teepee).
Find episodes of 'Guy Schwartz' Road Journal' online at www.HippiesTV.com
Find Guy Schwartz in your town... maybe at your house...
Defying the odds and still making music!
My first love is music, although I have a blast with recording, writing, video, digital art, web design and almost anything I do!. I've often spread myself in too many different directions (including family, business, politics, community work and art), but, it is the music - and the music business - that I keep returning to. I sometimes refer to myself a former 'minor league rock & roll star (because I've been lucky enough to have played some large shows with popular regional bands), but that type of simple characterization only touches the wide variety of experiences most of us have in our lives. I've previously run businesses, raised a family, mentored humans, and been a wild man, a righteous man, a genius and an idiot, but music and musicians have always captured my imagination and inspired my efforts.
Guy Schwartz (pictured onstage with Z-Rocks,
& below with B. W. Stevenson & Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins)
For me, the largest musical fun comes from songwriting and performing with great musicians for enthusiastic music lovers. I love collaborating with other writers, performers and musicians.
During my last tour (August/September 2008), I went out solo, making up gigs as I went along. I traveled in my Scion XB with guitars, bass, amps, cameras, recording gear, and my girlfriend, MArlo Blue. We had a few things set up, but it was a mostly improvisional tour - when MArlo grew tired of travelling (with much less road tolerance than I), we pulled into the next town, got a room, and began googling and checking myspace for local musicians. Whether in a hotel room, a venue, or an open mic - every night, I made something musical happen with friends or strangers - and we videotaped it for our TV and web video shows!
Bass and guitar are the two instruments that I've played the most in my professional career. As a bandleader I play both, but play a lot of guitar in recent years - due the availability of my long-time pal, Roger Tausz. Roger and I have written hundreds of songs together (several of which are good), and I cherish our working relationship. But, when other bandleaders and producers call, I still get most of my calls for work as a bass player.
Those that have hired me to play bass in the past include Gurf Morlix, The Monkees, Muddy Waters, Lionel Hampton, John Lee Hooker, Sam 'Lightning' Hopkins, Roy Head, B.W. Stevenson (pictured next - with Zeeder Hoog and I), Jimmy Reed, Freddy Fender and Chuck Berry.
My bands have opened up for, or shared the bill with, Todd Rundgren & Utopia, U2, Eddie Harris, Duran Duran, Ramones, Delbert McClinton, Sparks, David Lindley, Little Feat, Huey Lewis and the News, Eric Johnson, Carolyn Wonderland, Muddy Waters, Rush, Golden Earring, Johnny Winter, Romantics and Jeff Beck.
I took 7 years off to raise my kids, bury my dead, go back to college, and then played bass around Houston for a living until the band took over my time.During that period, just before the turn of the century, I played bass for Milton Hopkins, Rick Lee and the Night Owls, Big Daddy Gumbo & the Sheetrockers, Chip Arnold & The Terraplanes, Heath Spencer Philip, Sandy Hickey, Gerald Gray, Michael Williams, Steve Radney, Don Sanders, Ashton Savoy, Opie Hendrix and Gloria Edwards. I enjoyed working with all of them, and learned from each.
On Wednesday and Thursday nights, I used to go religiously to jam with many Houston, Texas area cats at two great Texas Blues Jams. Come see archived pictures and visit these Texas Bluesjams by clicking here! Or, You can go google The (now 15 year old) Infotex Jukebox to listen to the remaining sound clips of these fine musicians jamming! There are a lot of bad links there, so you'd better really want this music! I can't get into this primitive site anymore, so I can't fix it.
It was at these jams that the first signs of a my next band appeared, and bonds were formed between the musicians who would record and play Roger and my songs. We recorded and played around southeast Texas a lot, in a large revolving band and review called Guy Schwartz & The New Jack Hippies. It was a fun time, often performing with 15-22 pieces (and characters) in the band.
In 2001 & 2002, I took smaller version of The New Jack Hippies on the road. It was fun, but I was unable to turn that band into a regular touring unit. It's still a blast when we can put the big band together for local shows and parties, but we usually tour with a smaller version of the band, or I just go out solo or with another singer/songwriter.
MORE MUSIC AND RECORDING STUFF
I started recording when I was 7. I plan to add that story on the next update of this page!
LOST MY SCHOOL DAZE TO MUSIC
I formed bands in Middle School and continued into high school. My school bandmates included Jimmy Raycratft, John Elsley, David Wintz, Vince Bell, Bill Browder, Chuck Carey, Jimmy Humphreys and Bob Axelrad. Most of them became sane and didn't pursue music as a living. Vince Bell, Jimmy Raycraft and Bill Browder still play. Wintz has a company called Robin Guitars, and makes fine guitars.
At the age of 15, I was hired to lead a three piece rhythm section - 'THE ZAP RHYTHM BAND' - that backed four singers - 'The Four Dudes'(who performed TEMPTATIONS-style, including dance solos) - on the East Texas/Southwest Louisiana soul circuit. We were usually picked up on a school night, and taken around to do a 15-minute set at each of Ray Barnett's 7 clubs in Houston - and then do it again. It was usually an 8 hour night, and we each made $27 nightly for the 14 shows.
It was the first of four Zap Rhythm Bands in my life, all of them containing fine musicians that I was very fortunate to work with and learn from. That band featured Bill Browder on guitar and Mark Van Dyke on drums.
I soon settled into 4-night a week gig at The Golden Fleece club in a downtown Houston section called Market Square. The band was led by Ray Salazar, a great vocalist who later had a couple of minor hit singles. On two nights, Wednesdays and Thursdays, we played 5 sets a night to 3-500 patrons for $20 a man, then rehearsed 'til 4 or 5am. Then I went home, changed clothes, ate breakfast, had a toke or two, and went to high school. On the weekends, the gig lasted 'til 5am, and another band was added to alternate sets with us.
$80 a week was good money then, and GREAT money for a 15 year-old, so my high school athletic career ended when the basketball coach forced me to choose between the team and the gig. It was also at this gig, that I first met Steve Hunter, Tony Braunagel and Tommy Lee Bradley, who played in one of the other bands (Buttermilk Bottom) on the weekends (and eventually took our weeknight gig).
The second Zap Rhythm Band featured Riki Robau on guitar, Butch Lass on congas and vocals, Mark Keener on drums (and later - Rusty Speck and Jim Weideman). I was the bassist and lead singer. We were a working rock/funk band, usually playing 6-night weekly gigs at rock rooms near armed services bases. We made a meager living, ingested a lot of pills, booze and weed, and had beautiful (and not as beautiful) women hanging out at all times.
Oh - and we had our own T-shirts! It may not seem like a big deal now, but this was 1971, and nobody in the world had band T-shirts. Nobody printed them yet. Ours were made by the greek shop on the drag in Austin, one at a time, with press-on letters which said "ZAP" - as if it were a fraternity (Zeta Alpha Phi?). Each guy in the band had one.
The girls loved them, too. One night in Lawton, Oklahoma, at the old Zodiac Club by Fort Sill, one of the guys told a female seargent that his ZAP shirt could be earned by travelling from room to room and sleeping with each of the band members - which she promptly did. It began a tradition which lasted the life of the band. This was 10 years before AIDS, when any trouble we could run into could be cured by two shots of penicillin in the butt.
Although it was a cool, funky band, this ZAP never recorded. Our emphasis was to work as musicians, and we put our time into covers, travel and booking.
WORKING MUSICIAN & PRODUCER
For the next 10 years, I played bass and recorded as a bandleader, a band member, or as a sideman, arranger, or consultant for other peoples gigs and recordings (while learning guitar and piano).
Roger Tausz gave me the first studio time for recording my own songs in 1976. It was right after we met. Our mutual friend, Gary Trimble, decided that we needed to meet each other. This was an unusual bit of foresight, because Roger and I were both bass players (and two bass players hardly ever get to work together), and at the time, Roger played primarily country music while I was playing rock. Nonetheless, Gary was right, and our relationship has lasted all of these years. One of the two singles that came from that resulted in my first commercial rock radio airplay. During those sessions, we also worked on a country song of mine called "I Found God at a Truckstop", which brought me a little bit of infamy after it came to the attention of my friend and former summer camp counselor, Kinky Freidman..
Roger moved in with Charly and I, placing two bass players in the same home for ten years. The reason I play guitar today is directly attributed to the need for one of us to grab another instrument so we could jam and write at home. We played shows as 'THE ZAP RHYTHM BAND', performing music we loved, most of which we had written together at home. This was a great band, and almost a prototype for the type of large band we would later have with The New Jack Hippies at the turn of the century. Tommy 'Bubba' Robin & Buddy Duncan played saxes. Both of our drummers from those days, Billy Block and Tony Braunagel, have gone on to play with great bandleaders and have cool careers in music.
We still play (once or twice a year) with Billy at his WESTERN BEAT Roots Reunion shows in Nashville.
My succeeding bands have all recorded to one degree or another. 'BUCKSHOT' (featuring the twin 'guitar stylings' of Jim Fulton and Win Landureth) recorded and released several singles, before signing with legendary producer Huey Meaux. That was as far as it went, because although some good tracks were recorded, no further releases came from that signing. Jim now owns a guitar shop, Lone Star Guitar in South Houston, and still plays really well. Jim also builds fine custom guitars. Last thing I heard, Win is living somewhere near San Diego.
Tim Munson and I wrote many songs together for RELAYER, and recorded 3-4 albums worth of material - only one released during the life of the band. It was a partnership that I enjoyed thoroughly. I always thought that Tim was an excellent keyboardist, and an enjoyable eccentric, but the vitriolic diatribe he wrote to me when I tried to friend him up at MySpace in 2006 leads me to believe he may still be a very troubled man (which always lends itself to creativity).
Win Landureth (who didn't stay long) was the primary ramrod and was the one who put RLAYER together. We recorded and released THE RELAYER ALBUM, with material that Tim and I had written previously. We recorded a second album, and a third, full of songs that Tim and I had written together for Relayer, but those songs stayed in the can forever. I continued to get calls for and requests for RELAYER, and the 1977 vinyl RELAYER album still sells well amongst record collectors. We released a double CD with everything 2006. We digitized two track mixes and ruffs from vinyl and tape, and put it out there for the interested and the insane.
Roger Tausz and I worked together again in the late seventies when recording my first solo album 'Rock Side/Rhythm Side' (with a lot of help from our friends), featuring some of the songs we had written while living and working together. Two of them, "What You Give, What You Give" and "Gotta Keep the Music Alive" are available (in edited form) here.
Click here to hear a recording of "She Caught The Katy", which The Zap Rhythm Band recorded at 4am one night, after a very successful show. The guys in the band were really tight that night, so I called Steve Ames (the owner of Rampart Studio), we met up to open the studio and see what happened. Within 45 minutes, we had recorded the whole 7 piece band, live, doing two songs (each on the first take). We walked out that night with finished recordings on two songs. The only overdubs on KATY were the background vocals and Jimmy Don Smith's slide guitar!
I met Randy Soffar when I was being hired to produce an EP on him. Our music, and our hitting it off personally, led to my forsaking my production fees in lieu of forming 'Z-ROCKS' with Randy. This partnership led to to a lot of fun, a lot of neat music, and to album that sold a few copies based upon the airplay we received on Randy's song, "The Teacher's A Punk".!
Z-ROCKS recorded a second album, a double album full of some of my favorite material. By then, Randy and I were writing for Z-ROCKS, and the results were appropriately better. The tapes sounded great, with David Kealey co-producing at Inergi Studios, but they were never released. That seems to be a repeating pattern for me!
There came a time, after Z-Rocks opened up on the 1985-6 Duran Duran tour, that I retired from music, in order to take care of several terminally ill family members.
After about a year and a half of helping support five households, I ran out of rock star money and started a business that was a copycat of my father's old remodeling business. Toward the end of this period, I began my life online. Quite frankly, I never expected to play music for a living again.
Somehow, ten years later, one of my online associations (with a guitarist named Larry Barras, led to my first visit to the blues jam at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar. Soon I was a regular jammer. Jamming led to live recording, and then to taking on a few gigs as a sideman... and then a lot of gigs as a sideman.
Roger Tausz and I began to write together again in 1997, and the results seemed quite promising. I began using the blues jams as a laboratory for the new songs. Many of the new songs held up, and many did not. Many were reshaped by the musicians at the jam. Some songwriting award nominations and recognition came our way in 1998, which led to some live shows for which we put together an 18 piece band, mostly manned by musicians from the blues jams. That led to some studio recording, and an ongoing project which involves a basic core of around thirty great musicians who know a few hours worth of our material, and who show up, as available, whenever I'm asked to play. As a result, the gigs we've played for the past year, as Guy Schwartz & The New Jack Hippies have had anywhere from 7 to 18 musicians, of which 3 - 5 are leaders of theor own bands, and are fully cpable of taking over the singing duties at any minute! Guys like Teri Greene, Jerald Gray, Albert Storo and Heath Spencer Philip have done much to help shape the songs.
One never knows, do one!
I wrote a monthly column in MUSIC NEWS for years, as well as contributing a more lengthy piece in the quarterly Blues Review, published by The Houston Blues Society. My first book, 'KEEPING THE BAND TOGETHER', is a how-to manual designed to help musicians in one of the most difficult aspects of playing in a band. It seems to me, that there is only one thing that everyone who has made it in music has had in common, and that is the fact that they kept the act together long enough to make it happen! IT's obsolete and out of print now.
My second book is almost finished (sic). It deals with my life as a musician, how I became a musician, and some wild, and sometimes humorous, road stories (watch out for falling litigation). I don't have a title yet.
My writing has been replaced by telling the same (and similar) stories on video, though I do crank out a good essay every now and then - and send it out to the email newsletter list I maintain on yahoogroups.
I'm a member of several online communities, and have been a member of some for decades.
Most of what I do in the way of social network in 2015 happens on facebook, twitter and YouTube
I tweet "@newjackhippies"
My Youtube Channel is "siriushippies"
ONLINE ANCIENT HISTORY
I began my online life on CompuServe in the early '90s. I was a founding member of 'The BASSment' section (Section 20) in the Music Industry Forum on Compuserve (GO INMUSIC), an online area devoted to bass players. Along with Pete 'Choo Choo' Conrad (of the Boston area band "Dynamic Of Groove"), Don Hinds, and a few others, we 'hounded' Chief SYSOP Jim Card (it did not take too long - Jim liked the idea) until he let us go with it, and we kept a lively dialogue going with an ever growing community of bass until the Compuserve cummunity seemed to fall apart in 1998. It was my early online experience, and I miss the people from there who I have lost track of.
Rocknet was a fun place to hang out in those days, but I still see many of my Section 7 deadhead pals on a yahoogroup listserv which we began in early 1999.
Since that time, I've begun my own groups, including The New Jack Hippies Listserv, where several Hippies and our friends gather to talk, and my newsletter list, which is where I send updates, calendars and essays from the road.
I also hung out on CompuServe in the Music and Arts Forum (GO MUSICA). My presence here, and the increase in my musical activity, limited my time in that forum until I was unable to spend any more time there. My friend, 'Big Jim' Eaves, has a page at his website that features many of our pals from that forum. His website has always been on the cutting edge, and is always worth a few clicks. Click here for a visit to Big Jim Eave's Homepage.
I also do a bit community work, serving as my neighborhoods elected precinct chairman, as well as commitee work at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and the PTA. As a matter of fact, I recommend the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo website.
last carefully updated and modified: June 15, 1999
(c) 1996-2015 Guy D. Schwartz • All RightsReserved