I first heard “San Antone” when Garrett T. Capps performed it with a full band at Sam’s Burger Joint in 2014.
It was one of those unforgettable performances by one of SA’s musical kamikazes, and last January 5 Capps offered another, stripped-down version at The Mix, on the same night he shared the bill with The Bolos (performing with drummer Sarek Gutiérrez for the last time) and Lonely Horse (one of the first shows by guitarist Nick Long post-hand injury; and pardon the focus problems… I had left my glasses at the taco stand by Limelight. It gets better after a few minutes).
This time, Capps once again proved his versatility and unpredictable spirit. Doing his one-man show, his left foot was erratic, but his right hand was merciless. He then improvised a loop, stood up, and talked for a few minutes, managing the crowd with the conviction of a stand-up comic (jump to about 4:15), before going back to his seat to read his huevos rancheros/barbacoa/puffy tacos cheat sheet (7:10) and closing the show on a high note. It was a superb performance, better appreciated if you know the lyrics:
“I was born in San Antone (x 2)
even though I’m a gringo,
I was born in San Antone
When I was younger and feelin’ so bold
everyone told me to never leave home
I said I’m sorry but I gotta go
but I was born in San Antone.
Went to Boystown, caught the donkey show
then San Marcos, Midland and Arlington
couldn’t get a gig in Austin
‘cuz I was born in San Antone.
Out in Denver, man they get too stoned
women in Portland are just skin and bone
LA, Nashville, New York, NO
when you were born in San Antone.
Jumped up to Europe by way of a boat
stranded in Dublin without no coat
someone asked me, “Where’d you come from, bloke?”
I’ve come from San Antone.
Hit right through Paris, Prague, and Rome
drank wine till my blood ate through my bones
lost my direction, 10 times alone
far from San Antone.
I found myself down a deep, dark road
empty pockets and a wayward soul
then I heard somethin’ on the radio
sounded like San Antone.
It had deep blues roots, and a Vox organ
a groovy shaker, and a Fender tone
it said “she’s about a mover” and I was gone
gone home to San Antone.
Sir Doug, Flaco, and the Sun-Glos
Butthole Surfers and Bongo Joe
Ozzy pissin’ on the Alamo
Pistols at Randy’s Rodeo
Godfather on the radio
Gunther Hotel Robert Jo
Leon Valley, China Grove
South Side, West Side, Olmos
Alamo Heights and Stone Oak
USAA and Valero
HEB, Bill Miller, Clear Channel
Frost Bank, Rackspace, Santikos
Avery Johnson, George Gervin
Duncan, Bonner, Admiral
Memorial Day Miracle
lengua, nopalitos, menudo
bacon egg cheese with some pico
el pastor onions cilantro
over easy on huevos rancheros
carne guisada, queso fresco
Barbacoa y chicharrón
cheese enchiladas w/borracho
flauta, chalupa, special nachos
guacamole salad with my puffy tacos
I WAS BORN IN SAN ANTONE”
The problem is: the song hasn’t been recorded yet, and it is about fucking time he puts down those damn tracks. It is the type of song local music radio shows would love, especially in these times when the SA music scene desperately needs a solid radio structure to showcase the best local songs (and there are many great local songs and enough local music radio shows; bands and more fans than we think love them).
“[There is] no recorded version,” confirmed Capps. “I am currently in the studio as we speak, working on a heavy [rock’n’roll] album similar to Radical Sabbatical, but more refined. ‘San Antone’ isn’t on it but there will someday be a recorded version.”
Dude, c’mon! Anyway… According to Capps, “the story [of “San Antone”] is slightly based on reality, but is basically just about how killer SA is.” Yeah, yeah, very nice. But what are you waiting for to record it? I imagine Augie Meyers singing the taco/barbacoa part while adding some Vox organ. Capps laughs and tells me he’s working on his upcoming R&R album with Phil Luna (The Please Help) and Shawn Terry (Guilty Strangers), which is great too. I understand Capps has (so far) at least three sides to his act: the country-ish, the killer frontal guitar assault, and the one-man band, and he wants to keep things separate. But what’s wrong with adding “San Antone” to a R&R mix? Both Terry and (especially) Luna, who sings each song as if it was the last, could perfectly bring out the best of it. Guys: Don’t wait. Record it now. That song’s a winner, an instant classic. I expect something first thing in the morning.