Jeff Schattle has been working and/or watching live music in Dallas for a solid 27 years. From historic spots he worked like Dallas Music Complex, Bronco Bowl, Deep Ellum Live, The Basement, Bomb Factory, Lakewood Theater and more, Jeff Schattle has worked, and born witness to, the evolution of Dallas' local metal and rock scene, starting in the early half of the 90's and rolling into the present. He's been especially passionate about carrying the flag of legendary rock club The Basement, whose history is an ode to great many Dallas bands that went on to at least tour as national acts, if not make a half decent buck in the rock racket.
Schattle is also on the tail end of a tough battle with Pancreatitis, and even had to ring in 2014 from a hospital bed. He seems on the mend today though, as we check in with him about live rock in Dallas, past and present.
How are you feeling?
It's been a rough few months. I had to put my dog to sleep which was quite devastating especially when you have four kids whom grew up loving him, and then there were several deaths of close friends that make you start realizing even more that we are getting older and life is is short and we need to live life to it's fullest. Which leads us up to my recent illness. I spent four days in the hospital including New Years Eve and New Years Day with Pancreatitis.
I hear Pancreatitis is especially painful.
It is definitely a life changing disease. Time to re-evaluate my priorities and get in better shape for my children, family and friends. I do realize, however, that we all have issues and that this is just part of life. There will be no crying here! Just moving forward in a positive direction.
I thought you did a great job on the Basement Reunion shows. How did they go, overall there?
Thanks Ayo, I put a lot of time and effort into making these fun and successful does take a lot of energy but it's so worth it when you get the e-mails, phone calls and Facebook messages telling me how much fun they had and asking me when is the next one. It's really the bands that deserve most of the credit for putting in the work and creating such memorable reunion performances as well as the good old Basement alumni who show up and support every year. Without them none of this would happen. Oh, back to your question.
Will there be more Basement Reunion shows?
Yes. They have been very successful and yes there will be more. The next one is being worked on right now and will be announced soon for an April date.
Obviously you've worked closely with a lot of Dallas-based rock acts but, even moreso, I know you have certain gifted musicians that you've been especially supportive of over the years.
Dallas has so many great musicians. Kinley "Barney" Wolfe (Lord Tracy, The Cult, Black Oak Arkansas) I've loved since I first saw him play back at the Basement. I would say he is one of the best bass players in the world. And he's played with bands like Lord Tracy, The Cult, Black Oak Arkansas, The American Fuse, 76 and many more. He's an all around great guy. Chris "Seven Antonopoulos`- I first saw when I was walking through the streets of Deep Ellum and Club Clearview had an outdoor stage set up. His band Strap was playing and all I could do was watch that bad ass drummer beating the hell out of those drums. Didn't know him at the time but became real close friends shortly after. He also played with several nationals and regionals including Vanilla Ice and most recently my buds Brand New Machine. And guess what, he's a great guy as well.
Of course there was Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott, Lance Lopez, who's an amazing guitar player, and Ron Taylor of Lillian Axe, The Daze and Lowside is one of my all time favorite frontmen.
How about some newcomers?
Let me tell you about my favorite band right now. They're fronted by two of Dallas' best new players, Taylor Burns and Preston Wimberly. Their band is called The Wild Feathers and they are the next big thing. Opening up for the likes of Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Ryan Bingham, ZZ Ward and more. These two guys are Richardson High School grads. Check them out!
Do you play any instruments yourself? Ever given it a shot?
I do not play, but have always wanted to play harmonica. You can break that out anywhere.
What are some of the best live music you've witnessed happening on a local stage?
This is another hard one. There've been so many. The very first club show that The Black Crowes played was at the Basement.
Wow, really! I didn't know that. How did that go?
It was off the chain. Of course, every Pantera show...when they were playing to 50 people on a Monday night, to the 3 days of filming the Cowboys From Hell, Psycho Holiday and Cemetery Gates videos at the Basement. Seeing the Cure play a warmup club tour date at Deep Ellum Live and of course, the Toadies New Years Eve shows at Deep Ellum Live. And hey how about Kid Rock at the Bronco Bowl on his way up to super stardom. So many to list.
Was there a profound event or time period in your youth that turned you into a music person?
There was not any profound moment, but I have always like music. I am one of 9 kids, so there was all kinds of music in the house. My Dad listened to Charlie Pride, Hank Williams and Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, so I always liked that stuff, My sister listened to disco, one of my brothers listened to hard rock and my oldest brother really got me listening, without knowing, to Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart ,Jeff Beck, Robin Trower, The Stones, Allman Bros and so on. I actually had every Merle Haggard album in High School.
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There's not a damn thing wrong with that.
I guess you can say I love it all. After high school and before the Basement I got hooked on Ten Hands, Three on a Hill, New Bohemians, Loco Gringos and such. I kind of take something musically from everybody that touches my life.