The preacher and the Prophet

Why can't we all just get along? The history, or not, of Russell and Jeff's Deep Ellum

June 5: Shallow Reign releases its self-titled debut on Pool Records.

June 20: Three on a Hill releases Biting on Tin Foil on Deep Ellum Records.

June 26: Former Twilite Room/Charlie's Liberty Hall/Circle A Ranch owner Charlie Gilder invests in the laundromat-nightclub Bar of Soap, located in Exposition Park.

The roof, the, you know the rest. Russell Hobbs’ Prophet burns to the ground, surely the handiwork of Satan.
From the basement, all right: 4 Reasons Unknown, featuring current Deep Blue Something manager Paul Nugent (far left), was the first Deep Ellum band on MTV.
From the basement, all right: 4 Reasons Unknown, featuring current Deep Blue Something manager Paul Nugent (far left), was the first Deep Ellum band on MTV.

June 29: The (Ob)Scene shuts its doors for the last time after a Sonic Youth show.

August: Texas Monthly staff writers Joe Nick Patoski and Jody Denberg do stories on the Deep Ellum music scene.

August 8: The Starck Club is raided after a six-month investigation by the Dallas police vice squad. Officers arrest 37 people, including night manager Ricky Lee Hall and employee John Thomas Anderson. Arrests include 15 for drug possession and 17 for public intoxication.

August 14: Liles and Hobbs move their apartments and offices out of the top floor of the Prophet Bar to make room for a restaurant, Tapaz, scheduled to open in October.

September: Liles leaves his longtime post as Theatre Gallery booking agent because of a falling-out with Hobbs. "I cannot have Theatre Gallery constipated anymore," Hobbs says. Several months earlier, Hobbs relieved Liles of his booking duties at Prophet Bar, TG's sister nightclub.

Hobbs, the majority investor in 12 to 21, Inc. -- now the umbrella organization covering Theatre Gallery, Prophet Bar, and Deep Ellum Records -- says Liles was let go because he was dissatisfied with recent TG bookings, and because Liles has "an attitude problem." Hobbs says Theatre Gallery started because he was looking for a place to live in Deep Ellum, "and it just snowballed from there. I guess I made the mistake of letting Jeff take over control of the bookings. He's looking for different values than I am...The club was founded as this open-minded thing, and Jeff was booking the bands he liked and refusing to book bands he didn't like. Theatre Gallery is a community club, not just one guy's club."

Shallow Reign singer-guitarist Bob Watson says, "It all seems so weird. We think Russell is really cool, and we have a lot of respect for him, but it's like, Jeff was the guy who put all the bands together and all that. I don't know anybody who's as well-versed in local music and in underground music around the country." In a remarkable bit of foresight, Watson added, "My personal opinion is that a lot of those bands that play Upper Greenville and stuff will probably be coming down to play Deep Ellum now."

September 1: Drinking age officially raised from 19 to 21.

September 11: Theatre Gallery hires Robert Englund, a friend of Hobbs, as its new production manager. Englund and Hobbs worked together at a radio station in Alaska during college. Englund will take over some of the functions formerly held by booking agent Liles.

September 22: Newsweek runs a story on the nation's burgeoning mini-SoHos, including Deep Ellum. A photo of Russell Hobbs is included.

September 26: Club Dada opens, owned by Victor Dada comedy-performance art troupe members David Border and Tom Henvey, with live music scheduling handled by Jeff Liles. Liles also recently began booking The Longhorn.

October 9: Deep Ellum Records releases "Sidestreets" single by Da Nu Man.

November 6: The rift that occurred in September between Hobbs and Liles, which led to Liles' move to The Longhorn and Club Dada, is now healed. Liles says the two have been talking about the future of Deep Ellum Records. "We're friends again," Liles says.

November 11: 500 Cafe holds its last musical performance, a concert by the New Bohemians. The club will later open an outdoor patio, dubbed the Exposition Street Theater, where bands will perform. The first show is Reverend Horton Heat and Randy Erwin on December 18.

November 13: The old Clearview Blind building goes up for sale, forcing Club Clearview to move.

November 18: Hobbs, who's managing local band Spam, receives a cease and desist letter from Geo. A. Hormel & Co., informing Hobbs of his band's copyright infringement of Hormel's processed meat product.

December 18: New Bohemians release their debut, cassette-only It's Like This. The tape immediately sells out.


January: Geffen Records signs New Bohemians to a two-album deal.

January 22: Liles is no longer booking at The Longhorn. Liles, however, continues in that capacity at Club Dada on weekends.

February: Liles forms Decadent Dub Team with David Williams (Self Is On The Throne) and Paul Quigg.

February 12: Patrick Keel officially moves Pool Records to Dallas. The label will be located at 4004 Main and will also serve as a rehearsal space for Shallow Reign.

February 16: Liles and Angus Wynne team up as booking agents for the Hard Rock Cafe's new live music series, beginning with a performance by Roomful of Blues and Earl King.

February 27: Da Nu Man records a live album at Theatre Gallery. Three of the four members of The Shitty Beatles regroup as The Potatoes.

March 7: Theatre Gallery hosts a record release party for End Over End's first full-length release, Scenes from a New World, issued on Deep Ellum Records.

March 19: Deep Ellum Records has named a board of directors to oversee its day-to-day operations. The board consists of Hobbs, Liles, End Over End drummer David Mabry, Three on a Hill's Peter Schmidt, and Jim Heath.

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