True Believers, Kickstarter, you, and me

True Believers now:

True Believers then (photos by Theresa DiMenno):

Way back in the mid 1980s, I managed a rock and roll band called The True Believers, a three-guitar five-piece ensemble in Austin whose members were Jon Dee Graham, Alejandro Escovedo, Javier Escovedo, Rey Washam and Denny DeGorio. It was my last flirtation with the so-called music business before returning to writing full-time. They recorded one album for EMI-Rounder and had another one ready for release when they were dropped by EMI. That second record was released a few years later as a two-fer with the first album on Rykodisc as Hard Road.

That was that. Alejandro, Jon Dee, and Javier have all enjoyed successful solo careers, although the memories of the band remain strong.

Last September, they reunited to play a benefit in Austin for Brent Grulke, their onetime sound man who was the creative director for South By Southwest. The band had so much fun, they’ve decided to do it again, one more time, playing SXSW (Saturday, March 16 at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, late), lining up some May dates and going into the studio again.

Only, there’s not much of a music business left. So rather than be disappointed by some A&R weasel at a record company in Los Angeles, the True Believers are going Kickstarter, raising money to cut a single just after SXSW. Who knows if it will pay off? The cool thing is, if enough fans raise $5,000 they’ll get a brand new single out of the bargain, have ownership in the band, and prime the pump for a whole new album.

Raising dough, playing SXSW and cutting a record have sucked me back into to the music business. It’s unfinished business for me, and for them. Check em out and jump on board. Whoever you are, you’re sure more fun to deal with than an under assistant West Coast record weasel.

And for those willing to invest in some over the top Texas rock, we salute you.

True Believers Recording Project on Kickstarter here:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1763258740/true-believers-recording-project

Website here TheTroobs.com

Facebook page here: facebook.com/True-Believers

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Pro Football’s Biggest Star

from the February 26 edition of TMDailyPost.com
link here:

The passing of Jack Eskridge on Februrary 11 was noted by one of his former employers, the Dallas Cowboys Football Club, which cited Eskridge as the team’s first equipment manager and one of Tom Landry’s very first hires in 1960. But, arguably, Eskridge’s most important contribution to the Cowboys was choosing a blue star to be the team’s logo.

Eskridge’s life was defined by numerous achievements, including witnessing the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima during World War Two, playing professional basketball for the Chicago Stags and the Indianapolis Jets, and coaching basketball as an assistant at the University of Kansas, where he recruited future superstar Wilt Chamberlain. But his simple choice of that star has resonated farther and wider than anything else he did.

It began as a blue star on the side of a white helmet—no white border around the star and not a spec of silver anywhere in the team’s uniform. The Cowboys’s other logo, a cartoon helmeted football player riding what appears to be a freaked-out miniature Shetland pony, was used to promote the team in print ads.

alternate Cowboys helmet

Before the 1964 season, there was some tinkering with the helmet logo that was credited to Tex Schramm, the Cowboys’ first GM. The team experimented with a Cowboy boot with a star spur logo and considered a blue helmet with a white star, but neither gained traction. When the season started, though, players wore the now-familiar silver helmets with the blue star, which was now outlined in white.

Schramm continued experimenting trying to come up with the right shade of silver, according to Carol Hermanovski, who designed the football club’s new offices at Expressway Towers at 6116 North Central Expressway and redid their bumper sticker to highlight the star.

“I’d meet with him, and he would say, ‘Carol I want to show you something.’ He’d say, ‘What do you think about this color for the leggings for the pants?’ He was obsessing constantly about that silver-blue color. He was so concerned about how that color looked on TV, and of course that was something you couldn’t control because each person’s TV was set differently. He was always trying to get that perfect silver blue. At times he got it a little much like a pale turquoise and I would tell him, ‘No, Tex, it’s got too much green in it. It looks too turquoise.'”

(Here’s a year-by-year evolution of the Cowboys’ look.)

This much is true: Eskridge’s embrace of the star as helmet logo would have been called marketing brilliance, if such a term existed around pro football in the sixties. Of all the brands associated with the state of Texas, none is as well-known and instantly identifiable around the world as that blue star with the white border. No other sports franchise can claim a logo that’s as simple and as instantly recognizable.

Helping to promote the star was the television show Dallas, which by 1980 was the most popular television show in the world, dubbed into 67 languages in more than ninety countries. No matter if viewers understood American culture, much less had an inkling about the city of Dallas—they knew the star, since the opening credits of every episode featured an aerial shot of Texas Stadium, zooming down through the hole in the roof to focus on the end zone where the letters spelled out “COWBOYS,” accompanied by the five-pointed logo. The star said all that needed to be said.

Just think, it could have been that goofy cartoon player riding the midget pony, which is right up there with the oil derrick that ID’ed the Houston Oilers, or that silly patriot hiking the ball that Boston originally embraced.

Or it could have been just a big D, for the first letter of the city the team represented, which of could have been confused for Denver (although today, D might be more appropriate, since it could also be mistaken for Dysfunction, which pretty much sums up the current state of the franchise).

Whatever it represents, it goes back to Jack Eskridge. No matter what one thinks of the Dallas Cowboys, that iconic star represents the team, the city, the state, and NFL football better than any logo in sports.

(Stars from Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.Net, Boot helmet from Helmethut.com.)

Joe Nick Patoski is the author of THE DALLAS COWBOYS: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America (Little, Brown). Read an excerpt from it here.

AP Photo/Aaron M. Sprecher

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Joe Nick’s Texas Music Hour of Power now every Sat nite

Yep, Joe Nick’s Texas Music Hour of Power has gone weekly, and we’ve been stretching to two hours now, 6-8 pm central, every Saturday night.

You can listen online via MarfaPublicRadio.org

or in Far West Texas, on KRTS, 93.5 FM in Marfa, KRTP, 91.7 in Alpine, KDKY, 91.5 FM in Marathon, and on KXWT, The Big X Across West Texas on 91.3, Odessa-Midland.

Requests or comments? e me at Texas@MarfaPublicRadio.org

Here’s the first hour of the Jan 4 show for your personal listening pleasure

and the second hour

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Ten Best Football Books of 2012

according to Kirkus Reviews
link here: www.kirkusreviews.com/lists/10-best-football-books-2

10 Best Football Books

We know what you’re thinking—why are those book nerds over at Kirkus pontificating about the best football books? Do they even watch football at Kirkus? Ahem—we’ll bypass that question to remind you that if it’s a book, we know whether it’s any good. This week, we highlight 10 gripping, insightful stories about the big egos, big money and big bruises at the heart of America’s national sport. You won’t get all 10 read before Sunday’s epic battle, but any of these titles will provide some nice perspective on why that little oval of pigskin—and the guys fighting and fumbling over it—capture our attention (even our attention).
Cover art for MUCK CITY
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 23, 2012
MUCK CITY: WINNING AND LOSING IN FOOTBALL’S FORGOTTEN TOWN
by Bryan Mealer
“Mealer tries a little too hard to tug at the heartstrings; nonetheless, he offers a stirring tale of sports as a means of escape from dire circumstances.”
High school football players and other residents of hardscrabble Belle Glade, Fla., fight for their pride and their lives in this chronicle from veteran reporter Mealer (All Things Must Fight to Live: Stories of War and Deliverance in Congo, 2008, etc.). Read full review >
Cover art for THE DALLAS COWBOYS
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 9, 2012
THE DALLAS COWBOYS: THE OUTRAGEOUS HISTORY OF THE BIGGEST, LOUDEST, MOST HATED, BEST LOVED FOOTBALL TEAM IN AMERICA
by Joe Nick Patoski
“A fittingly exhaustive history of a larger-than-life franchise.”
Texas journalist and author Patoski (Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, 2008, etc.) delivers an oversized history of one of sport’s greatest franchises. Read full review >
Cover art for WAR ROOM
NONFICTION
Released: Nov. 8, 2011
Kirkus Star WAR ROOM: THE LEGACY OF BILL BELICHICK AND THE ART OF BUILDING THE PERFECT TEAM
by Michael Holley
“A deeply reported, thoroughly engaging look at what it takes to succeed in the NFL–and a perfect complement to the NFL Network’s compelling miniseries Bill Belichick: A Football Life.”
A longtime Patriots chronicler goes inside the brain trust of the NFL’s most successful team. Read full review >
Cover art for OUR BOYS
NONFICTION
Released: Aug. 18, 2009
OUR BOYS: A PERFECT SEASON ON THE PLAINS WITH THE SMITH CENTER REDMEN
by Joe Drape
“A feel-good story of youthful drive, great coaching and the value of unflagging communal support.”
Turning his attention from horseracing (To the Swift: Classic Triple Crown Horses and Their Race for Glory, 2008, etc.), New York Times reporter Drape follows a high-school football dynasty. Read full review >
Cover art for THE GLORY GAME
NONFICTION
Released: Nov. 4, 2008
THE GLORY GAME: HOW THE 1958 NFL CHAMPANIONSHIP CHANGED FOOTBALL FOREVER
by Frank Gifford, Peter Richmond
“Touchdown, Gifford!”
NFL great Gifford (The Whole Ten Yards, with Harry Waters, 1993) reminisces about the legendary game between his New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts. Read full review >
Cover art for THE BEST GAME EVER
NONFICTION
Released: June 3, 2008
THE BEST GAME EVER: GIANTS VS. COLTS, 1958, AND THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN NFL
by Mark Bowden
“Not quite on par with Bringing the Heat (1994), among the best football books ever, but surely a delight for anyone interested in the history of the NFL.”
Bowden (Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam, 2006, etc.) takes a sharp look at the 1958 National Football League championship game, which featured “the greatest concentration of football talent ever assembled for a single game.” Read full review >

Cover art for CARLISLE VS. ARMY
NONFICTION
Released: Sept. 4, 2007
CARLISLE VS. ARMY: JIM THORPE, DWIGHT EISENHOWER, POP WARNER, AND THE FORGOTTEN STORY OF FOOTBALL’S GREATEST BATTLE
by Lars Anderson
“Gripping, inspiring coverage of three powerful forces’ unforgettable convergence: the sports version of The Perfect Storm.”
Sports Illustrated staffer Anderson (The All Americans, 2004, etc.) chronicles a 1912 game that proved a turning point not just for college football, but for the sport as a whole. Read full review >
Cover art for NAMATH
NONFICTION
Released: Aug. 23, 2004
NAMATH: A BIOGRAPHY
by Mark Kriegel
“Namath was no angel, thank goodness, but this evocative portrait shows him at play in the fields of magic. ”
Meaty biography of Broadway Joe from sports-columnist-turned-novelist Kriegel (Bless Me, Father, 1995). Read full review >
Cover art for BACKYARD BRAWL
NONFICTION
Released: Sept. 3, 2002
BACKYARD BRAWL: INSIDE THE BLOOD FEUD BETWEEN TEXAS AND TEXAS A&M
by W.K. Stratton
“Good-natured, intelligent, funny, and less bombastic than the title suggests.”
A savvy sportswriter uses the football rivalry between the University of Texas and Texas A&M to paint a lively, partial portrait of the Lone Star State. Read full review >
Cover art for MY GREATEST DAY IN FOOTBALL
NONFICTION
Released: Oct. 8, 2001
Kirkus Star MY GREATEST DAY IN FOOTBALL: THE LEGENDS OF FOOTBALL RECOUNT THEIR GREATEST MOMENTS
edited by Bob McCullough
“Simply not to be missed: Meat and potatoes for the football fan.”
Fun memories from football greats, and some fascinating insights into the politics of the Hall of Fame and football’s evolution over the past 50 years, as compiled by McCullough (My Greatest Day in Golf, not reviewed). Read full review >

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Cowboys first Bling Ring 4 Sale

Dallas Cowboys’ first team publicist is auctioning off a rare keepsake: his ring from team’s first Super Bowl win in ’72

The link is here direct from the Scoop blog at the Dallas Morning News.

And here’s the Scoop:

By Robert Wilonsky
rwilonsky@dallasnews.com
9:51 am on January 24, 2013 | Permalink

Curt Mosher’s held on to this Super Bowl ring for more than 40 years. Selling it now, he says, is “the thing to do.”(Courtesy Heritage Auctions)

Curt Mosher, a sportswriter who got comfortable in some front offices around the National Football League, officially became the Dallas Cowboys’ public relations director on April 1, 1967. He wasn’t the first to hold the position: “Tex Schramm’s official title was general manager and chief public relations executive,” says Joe Nick Patoski, author of The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America. “But Curt was the first I read about who was ID’d as team publicist.”

Mosher held that title till 1976, when he left to run the day-to-day operations of the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers; a year later, he was assistant general manager for the Atlanta Falcons. But he left Dallas with one heck of a parting gift: a diamond-studded “World Champions” ring, the result of Dallas’ 24-3 whipping of the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI at Tulane Stadium down in New Orleans.

And now it could be yours: Mosher and wife Mary are selling the ring in Heritage Auctions’ February 23-24 Platinum Night Sports Auction, which will take place in New York City. As far as Heritage can tell, this is the first 1971 season title ring to be offered at auction.

“It’s hard to part with it,” says the 80-year-old Mosher. “And it’s a gorgeous thing. Tex was the one who OK’d the design. Tex was appreciative of a lot of things, including jewelry. It’s gorgeous.”

But Curt hasn’t worn it “for quite a while,” says Mary. The reason: “He’s been ill, and it just fell off his fingers. It’s been laying around for years …”

“Not years,” interrupts Curt.

“Well, you haven’t worn it for years,” Mary says.

“I wore it when my fingers and hands worked,” Curt says. “I’m very arthritic. And I’ve had health issues. But you don’t want to hear all that.”

In an emailed statement Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage, reminds this is far from the first Super Bowl ring Heritage has sold; it was news back in 2011 when long-ago Green Bay Packer Fuzzy Thurston sold his Super Bowl II jewelry to cover some back-tax issues, for instance.

“But we can’t find another instance of a single 1971 Cowboys Super Bowl ring ever coming up a public auction,” says Ivy. “For fans of America’s Team this may well be the ultimate artifact, and there’s certainly no telling when, or if, another one will surface.” He guesstimates the bidding will open around $10,000 and go up from there.

For Curt, parting with the ring won’t be easy. His connection to the Cowboys of old goes way back and runs deep. “I loved Tex Schramm,” Curt says. He and Mary were at his house just days before the team’s first president and general manager died on July 15, 2004.

And “he was the messenger who informed Roger Staubach that Don Meredith had retired, sealing the Dodger’s future with Dallas,” says Patoski. “Until that point, Staubach was thinking his future was probably with another team. And he was in the inner circle of the front office that got to party with Clint Murchison at Spanish Cay, back when owners were beloved rather than reviled.”

The Moshers say, yes, it’ll be nice to make some money off the ring. Of course. Absolutely. “That’d be great,” Mary says.

“But I’d like to see it in the hands of someone who loves it as much as I do,” says Curt. He says he used to wear the ring all the time — even in New York, when he worked for the National Football League’s Management Council, though he would wear it backwards as not to attract undue attention. But those days are long over. Time to pass it on to the highest bidder who’ll really appreciate such a rare keepsake from the team’s very first Super Bowl win.

“I always love to hear good things about the Cowboys,” says Mosher. “It’s just been very pleasant. Mary’s taken on the task of selling it, and that’s the deal. Yes, it’s hard to give it up, but that the thing to do.”

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Book of the Week on TheFinancialist.com

Very fine review from the Finalialist, link here http://www.thefinancialist.com/book-of-the-week-the-dallas-cowboys/

Book of the Week: The Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl in nearly two decades. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2009. They finished this season with an 8-8 record and a gut-wrenching loss to the Washington Redskins that ended their hopes for a playoff berth.

Despite their lackluster performance in recent years, the Cowboys still have a swagger that delights their fans and enrages their many detractors. “America’s Team,” as the Cowboys have dubbed themselves, plays in a $1 billion stadium that includes displays of high-end art alongside the team’s five Lombardi trophies. The stadium and its gigantic high-definition screen (the fourth largest in the world) is a reminder that, win or lose, the Cowboys always seem to be in the spotlight.

In his 800-page book, “The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America,” former Texas Monthly journalist Joe Nick Patoski explains how the team cultivated its larger-than-life persona over the last four decades. He argues that the Cowboys’ brash attitude is part of the Lone Star State’s own unique football culture, where high school and college football often approach the status of religion. In fact, when Clint Murchison Jr., the son of an oil baron, invested $600,000 to launch the Cowboys in 1960, he had to rely on a healthy dose of spectacle to convince fans who passionately followed high school and college play on Friday and Saturday to also cheer for professional football on Sunday.

While Murchison used marketing to build a fan base, by the 1970s, the team was drawing crowds with its winning ways. Head coach Tom Landry, always wearing his trademark fedora, led Dallas to five Super Bowl appearances, winning in 1971 and again in 1977.

Much of Patoski’s best material comes from this era, including his descriptions of quarterback Roger Staubach, who asked for a station wagon instead of a sports car after being named M.V.P. of Super Bowl VI, and running back Duane Thomas, who refused to speak for an entire season as part of a contract dispute.

Patoski also dedicates a great deal of ink to the Cowboys’ current owner Jerry Jones, whose over-the-top sense of style personifies today’s team. The author portrays Jones as a passionate, hands-on owner who signed some of the league’s biggest contracts and built one of the its most ambitious stadiums.

In his own way, even though the Cowboys are no longer winning, Jones has helped solidify the brand established by Landry and Staubach back in the 1970s. Dallas remains big and bold, and whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are still America’s team.

Photo courtesy of Ken Durden / Shutterstock.com

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Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, Sat Dec 15

Austin-area Cowboys fans, I’ll be selling and signing Dallas Cowboys books at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar at the Palmer Events Center on Saturday, from 11 am to 5:30 pm. Come and visit, and pick up a few gifts for your favorite Cowboys fans. I’ll be bringing some Texas High School Football and some Willie Nelson books too. Drop by and say Hidy.

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