Picket Line Coyotes
Originally uploaded by trudeau.
Austin City Limits brought its viewers Los Lonely Boys and the Gourds in its Dec 23 edition. Sadly, Louisiana Public Broadcasting, which airs ACL most of the year, substituted songs of the season. Bleh.
LPB probably didn't know that Gourds singer-writer-founder Kevin Russell began his musical career in Shreveport. Here he had a band called the Picket Line Coyotes.
Founded in 1985 when drummer David M Green and Russel were teens working at Johnny's Pizza, Southern Hills, the group worked its way up from gigs at the riverfront Cafe Directoire to the Killer Poodle, an edgy club that sprang up in the building that once housed the Rusty Nail - on King's Hwy.
There I wrote about them for UpState Newsweekly and Phil Martin lionized them in the Shreveport Journal.
The roar of live music emanated from every club door in that era. The Picket Line Coyotes were bashing away - everyone compared them to REM because they had no easy reference for the Coyotes' original rock, remembered David Green - at the Metro Club, under the SportsPage. Their audience grew. The manager at Humpfree's discovered them. He signed them to a long tenure of Wednesday nights in Shreve Square. "That led to even bigger crowds," said Green in a recent interview.
With brash Rob Bernard on lead guitar and Joey Percival on bass, the quartet learned the music business. They played parallel to bands such as "the Native Sons, which was David Hoffpauir, Michael Roberts, Charlie Bush and Mark Roberts," said Green.
In some 18 months they'd been toughened, discovered who they were, and recorded the lp Fashion Dogs (1986). Channel Twelve's Christy Walton was a fan. She filmed a feature on them for KSLA TV.
Ambitious and attracted by the Deep Ellum scene in Dallas, they moved on. The Dallas Observer's Clay McNear anointed the gang as a great loss for Shreveport and gain for Big D.
Eventually they relocated to Austin. It was there, at some 8 years of playing, that Green began to back up considerable Texas performers and that Bernard found new bandmates. Russell founded the Grackles. The Grackles led to the Gourds, a band that tours Europe, plays tony rooms coast-to-coast, has a huge following in Austin and has sold tons of roots-rock records.
David Green and I have recorded an interview of his memories of the mid-80's in Shreveport. We'd like to hear from fans of the Picket Line Coyotes and people who remember the Killer Poodle, a place where I met, among others, Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians. Photos, clippings and/or recordings would be cool. Please write firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 318-861-6809.