The preacher and the Prophet

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

October 22: Josho Misho bassist Wes Martin leaves the band to read James Joyce's Ulysses. Martin will later join Josho Misho's Josh and Mischo McKay in Macha.

Meanwhile, Russell Hobbs says he wants to "powwow" with Hard Rock Cafe owner Isaac Tigrett in order to set Tigrett's karma straight. Hobbs also threatens to install a "Prophet Bar across the street from the Hard Rock in every city in the world."

November 4: Alan Govenar presents two of his films and hosts a visual tour of historical Deep Ellum at 500 Cafe. Jeff Liles speaks on the current Deep Ellum music scene.

Nice shorts, fellas: Russell Hobbs and Jeff Swaney discuss who God likes better, Three on a Hill or the New Bohemians.
Nice shorts, fellas: Russell Hobbs and Jeff Swaney discuss who God likes better, Three on a Hill or the New Bohemians.
Are you my Dada? The holy trinity of Club Dada was, from left, owner Tom Henvey, manager Doak Boettiger, and booking agent Jeff Liles.
Are you my Dada? The holy trinity of Club Dada was, from left, owner Tom Henvey, manager Doak Boettiger, and booking agent Jeff Liles.

November 14: New Bohemians leave for England to record their Geffen Records debut with producer Pat Moran.

November 29: Decadent Dub Team signs with Island Records. The deal calls for the band to release a second 12-inch single for the label, a follow-up to "Six Gun."

December 1: According to manager Jeff Liles, Rigor Mortis will sign a letter of intent with Capitol Records, a preliminary to signing a full-fledged recording contract with the label.

1988

February 6: Feet First calls it quits, going out with a show at the Arcadia with End Over End and Reggae Force.

February 18: Hobbs bans secular music at both of his clubs, Theatre Gallery and the Prophet Bar. In December 1987, Hobbs had transformed the Prophet Bar into The Prophet, cutting off alcohol and promising to donate 12 percent of the club's proceeds to the homeless and his church, in conjunction with his conversion to Christianity. At the time, Hobbs was quoted as saying, "The Devil has left the Prophet Bar, and God has arrived...I think alcohol is supported by the government to keep the masses down."

Now, Hobbs has wiped everything off both clubs' calendars, saying all bands have to glorify God or they can't play. He also says that Three on a Hill and Lithium X-Mas can't play anymore until they change their "blasphemous" names. Outgoing Theatre Gallery booker Kelley Walker says that Hobbs told her he would allow the performance by The Exploited -- a gig Hobbs booked personally -- to continue, with these conditions: that gospel music be piped in between sets, and that "an inspirational speaker" get up on stage and attempt to "convert the skinheads."

"I have been totally misjudged, and I have not been appreciated for what I've done," Hobbs says. "Prophets are never appreciated in their hometown. I gave people the murals on the walls [at The Prophet]. I gave them the music. Now that I'm taking it away, they're all crying and moaning and persecuting me. But you know, the two [Satan and God] can't live in the same house. The Bible says that. I've repented, and my beliefs have changed. Everybody thinks I'm a fanatic, but I'm really a blessing in disguise."

February 25: Tim Sanders, a member of local band The Affirmative and spokesman for music festival-cum-local music watchdog Change Your Life, responds to Hobbs' decision to ban secular music from The Prophet and Theatre Gallery. "We will get Russell Hobbs out of Deep Ellum at all costs," says Sanders, who now works for broadcast.com. "This is war now."

Sanders' problems with Hobbs' format change aren't aesthetic or religious, he stresses, just realistic. Sanders points out that Hobbs canceled a total of 41 scheduled bookings at his two clubs. He also adds that Change Your Life members voted to give $7,000 to The Prophet after a September festival on several conditions, including that liquor be sold. Sanders plans to sue 12 to 21, Inc., Hobbs' umbrella company that owns both clubs.

April 7: New Bohemians replace drummer Brandon Aly with Ten Hands' Matt Chamberlain.

May 24: The Buck Pets sign a one-album deal with Island Records, with options for six more.

May 28: Club Clearview's Jeff Swaney and short-film specialist Rob Thomas are co-scripting a film with the working title of The Deep Ellum Movie. The budget is $250,000, and a number of local bands potentially will be included. The duo begins hosting talent nights at Clearview, looking for everything from extras to gofers to prospective musicians.

June 2: Despite major-label breakthroughs by The Buck Pets and Decadent Dub Team (both on Island Records), New Bohemians (Geffen Records), and Rigor Mortis (Capitol Records), many -- including Island's Kim Buie -- are having doubts about the Dallas music community. "There's really no scene at all," Buie says. "The live music scene is stagnant, and there's no real hook. With [The Sound of Deep Ellum] it was Deep Ellum." A follow-up to Deep Ellum is deemed unlikely, even though the compilation had fairly strong sales.

June 30: Ex-Peyote Cowboy and future Old 97 Murry Hammond releases the cassette-only The Watering Wheel, his first solo album.

July 8: An argument between skinheads and punks breaks out at Greg Winslow's Commerce Street club, Honest Place. Winslow whips out a .22 rifle and fires nine shots into a passing van carrying 12 members of the Confederate Hammerskins. One skinhead girl is shot in the back but not killed; several others are injured. Winslow is taken into custody by Dallas police but released the same day.

July 19: Rigor Mortis' self-titled debut is released on Capitol Records.

August: Decadent Dub Team now consists of only Jeff Liles, as David Williams leaves the outfit, saying he can do "without all the megalomaniacal bullshit." "I'm not in it anymore," Williams says. "As far as [Jeff's] concerned, he's always been DDT." Liles responds, "Nothing's changed. Nothing's going down with DDT. Everything's going up." Paul Quigg was either tossed out or left DDT earlier in the year.

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