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, 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!)
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