excerpt of review by noted blues
historian, teacher, writer and W.C. Handy National Blues Award winner Art
Stevie Ray Vaughan: Day by Day, Night After Night
- Craig Hopkins
Craig Hopkins … has produced the most impressive and complete Stevie
Ray Vaughan biography you’ll ever read. This 400+ page book is a must for
everyone who loved the pure energy of Stevie Ray Vaughan.
has self-published only 3,200 copies of this weighty tome. Thus, it can only be
ordered from his site, stevieray.com. Once this highly limited edition sells
out, it may not be available again.
[With the participation of Stevie’s mother
and knowledge of the project by Jimmie Vaughan]
makes it very clear that he affords the family the opportunity to be involved
at whatever level they are comfortable. For
conducted over 100 interviews in the past year with Stevie’s famous friends
like Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Doyle Bramhall, Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon,
Reese Wynans, and Johnny Winter. At the same time,
tracked down members of every band Stevie played in since his first band, The
Chantones, formed in the summer of 1965. There is a full three page listing of
’s bands with every member listed (except the short lived Epileptic
has found pictures of many of these early bands with Stevie the kid smilin’
over a huge guitar. These listings, pictures, and interviews are found nowhere
There is a picture from 1965 of Jimmie’s
first band, the Pendulums, then a picture and business card for Stevie’s first
band, the Chantones. There are great stories of Jimmie’s early star abilities
and how supportive their parents were, driving Jimmie to whatever gig he had. In
tells that their parents would come to whatever shows they could make, painting
a very different picture from the SRV VH-1 Legends
There’s Stevie’s 1971 letter to the editor
about study halls in his high school, stories about Stevie’s trouble in school
because he refused to cut his hair, and other early facts.
The illustrations Hopkins unearthed, including
hundreds of personal photos, handwritten set lists, rough draft lyrics, posters,
contracts, riders, and guitar designs, offer a nostalgic look back. The lengthy
interviews with former girlfriends, managers, band members, techs, producers,
promoters, and fans are presented as if they are sitting across from you. And
Hopkins’ extended look into the Austin music scene accurately recreates the
early days of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Triple Threat, Antone’s and Double
This is no Wikipedia fast food biography; this
book offers one of the most thorough, moment by moment biographies I have ever
read. As the title suggests, the book is organized into a day by day arrangement
which shows clearly that, unlike today’s American Idol today, star tomorrow
mentality, the road to Stevie’s fame was a long and arduous one.
is able to trace the day by day aspect of the book by following each band’s
cites every magazine or newspaper story that mentioned or featured SRV. In
addition, he references every recording, studio or bootleg, television
broadcast, radio show, and award that included
. And if you’re as guitar gearhead, the stories of all SRV’s guitars and
gear will put you in Fender heaven.
’ style with each band
was part of is to let the members of the band speak at length about the days
with Stevie. The same is true of every SRV incident. The 1982 appearance at the
Montreux Jazz festival is given five pages of great pictures and impressions of
those there including Jackson Browne. Likewise, the failed
tour is covered in four pages. Stevie was left on the street holding his bags
as the tour bus pulled out, but by reading all aspects of the affair, each
reader can form his own opinion of who was right and who was wrong.
Stevie’s eventual substance and alcohol
collapse in 1986 is told in the same way, through the eyes of those closest to
the [downward spiral] and subsequent recovery.
has also included
’s four page testament at one of his AA meetings.
’s rise from the ashes is the archetypal parable of how one rediscovers the
true path from the darkest bottom. The stories from Martha Vaughan, Raitt,
, and Wynans offer inspirational looks into SRV after his commitment. There is a
great Raitt story about calling Stevie to the stage when he attended her
show on 11/12/1986, becoming his first performance after his sobriety date.
Through it all,
has painted the most intimate portrait of
he could. Amid the turmoils one experiences living the musician’s life,
Stevie was a kind hearted and generous human being. He was born with a gift, but
he also knew that he had to work hard to elevate that gift. He was respectful to
the blues masters he idolized like Albert and B.B. King, Johnny Copeland, Albert
Collins and others, and, at the same time, he was very giving to others with his
own talents. This book is so very relevant to every music fan, but the
interviews offer so much more. Without knowing it, Hopkins has presented a life
story of anyone born into the innocence of the 1950’s, who lived through the
turmoils of the late 1960’s, who experimented with the fast life of the 70’s
and 80’s, and ultimately rediscovered life’s purpose.