South by South Austin

The Cornell Hurd Band is in it for the long haul

"I consider myself fortunate that I don't have to depend on music for a living," asserts Hurd.

"I don't know if I'd want to," adds Skelton. "I don't know what I'd do if I did music for a living. What would I do all day if I didn't have a job? Sit around all day? Mow my lawn? I don't think so. I need something to do."

Hurd cites an observation he once heard said by Cyndi Lauper, of all people, to justify the motivation he operates under and shares with his group. "She said, 'Do not ever do this for the money. If you do this for the money, you will be so unhappy. You have to do it because you want to more than anything.'"

"People say music is your hobby, and I bristle at that," says Cornell Hurd, third from left. "It's part of your personality, your psyche, your identity."
"People say music is your hobby, and I bristle at that," says Cornell Hurd, third from left. "It's part of your personality, your psyche, your identity."

Skelton agrees that fame and fortune are, in the end, not the goal. "I can't understand that motive. If music is your primary purpose, you just do that, even if you are playing for your dogs."

And even though The Cornell Hurd Band doesn't always get its just due, there are some places where it does get the reinforcement from audiences that also help make it all worthwhile. And the one city where that happens most is right here in Dallas. "From the first time I played there with the band at the Three Teardrops, I could see that people in Dallas seem to get it," Young observes. "They seem to understand what we're doing here. Don't ask me why. I don't have an explanation for it. But more than anywhere else, they seem to get what we are doing."

It still sometimes rankles Hurd to be making such quality music without enjoying the bigger buzz that often surrounds so many other acts in the Austin music scene, bands that haven't anywhere near the heritage of Hurd's band and that will be long gone while Hurd and his group are still keeping at it. But then there are those small, special moments of recognition, such as when he and Skelton are handed Sharpies during our meal at Hoody's and asked to add their autographs to the restaurant's wall of fame.

"People say music is your hobby, and I bristle at that," Hurd concludes. "It's a part of your personality, your psyche, your identity. It's a personality disorder. I like playing with good musicians. I like playing for people."

However, he adds, "I like loading equipment less and less as I get older." But if that's what it takes, you can rest assured that Cornell Hurd will be lugging amps until he can no longer lift one.

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