by Rich Maloof

With all the bad news that pours in every day, we can be somewhat unfazed even by jaw-dropping acts of hatred like the one that made news yesterday. Though I’m reluctant to give any more press to the psychotic Joseph Stack, who flew his small plane into an Austin, TX, building housing IRS offices, here’s part of it that really rattled me: the guy was a musician. Mainstream media had just a few photos of Stack yesterday, but in one the tuning pegs of a bass were clearly visible. Now more images are out, like the one here, and there’s no mistaking it.

We published 7 Things They Never Told Me When I Started Guitar a few weeks ago, and here’s the unprinted 8th thing: that ninety times out of a hundred, I would find fellow musicians to be very likeable people. Music attracts people who have a voice of their own but are also good listeners; who are independently minded while being attuned to others. Curious, sharp, witty, sensitive.… I suppose it’s not healthy to generalize even in the most optimistic terms, but that’s been my experience. That one of our own could commit an act like this, and attempt to hurt as many other people as possible — it just makes even less sense than if a normal, everyday bastard had done it. But a violent musician bastard? Come on.

Austin has had it tough enough lately. Arguably the greatest music town in the Southwest, breeding ground to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Spoon, Lyle Lovett and many others, the “live music capital” has struggled to keep open the doors of some of its most famous venues. Armadillo World HQ, Electric Lounge and Black Cat, to name a few, have long ago lost that fight. If you’re thinking about an extended weekend somewhere you can find great music, great food, and great people, Austin will not disappoint. And they could use your support.