KUTX 98.9 Celebrates the Armadillo World Headquarters on the 50th Anniversary of its Founding

Jul 29, 2020

Month-long celebration includes daily features, online content and one-hour oral history

AUSTIN, Texas – July 29, 2020 – The Armadillo World Headquarters – the venue that helped put Austin on the musical map – opened 50 years ago and KUTX 98.9, the Austin Music Experience, is marking the anniversary with a month-long celebration.

Every day in August, KUTX 98.9 will highlight music from the eclectic range of artists who performed at the Armadillo World Headquarters, along with stories from the people who made the iconic venue what it was.  

A one-hour oral history, “Back Home to the Armadillo,” will air on KUTX 98.9 at 6 p.m., Aug. 15. The oral history features interviews with Willie Nelson and Armadillo World Headquarters staff Eddie Wilson, Mike Tolleson, Jim Franklin and Micael Priest. It includes fans talking about what the Armadillo meant to them and how it shaped Austin as a music incubator and destination. The special, produced by KUTX’s Art Levy, will be available as a podcast Aug. 17.

KUTX.org will feature in-depth stories from KUTX’s Jody Denberg, Jeff McCord and Levy on some of the most memorable shows and artists, including Freddie King and Bruce Springsteen. Fans can turn to KUTX’s social media channels, Facebook and Instagram, to see original concert posters and photographs from the Armadillo World Headquarters – many of them courtesy of the Austin Museum of Popular Culture archives.

The Armadillo World Headquarters, located at 505 Barton Springs Road, opened on Aug. 7, 1970 and, for 10 years, the club was at the forefront of Austin’s live music scene. It hosted some of the most influential performers of the last 50 years, including, Herbie Hancock, Dr. John, Devo, Bill Withers, Bette Midler and many others. The ‘Dillo, as it was often called, closed Dec. 31, 1980, and was replaced by a 13-story office building.

“The Armadillo World Headquarters laid the groundwork for the vibrant, diverse Austin music scene we enjoy today,” said KUTX Program Director Matt Reilly. “It’s where Willie got the hippies and rednecks together. It was quintessentially Austin: weird, adventurous and free spirited.”

Levy spent the past year interviewing Armadillo artists, patrons and staff, and digging through archives to create the “Back Home to the Armadillo” oral history. The hour special features the music of dozens of Armadillo performers, including Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Bruce Springsteen, Freddie King, The Clash, Frank Zappa, the Ramones, the Runaways, the Pointer Sisters, Jerry Jeff Walker, Count Basie, the Police, Joan Armatrading and more.

“Austin wouldn’t be called the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ if it weren’t for the Armadillo,” said Levy. “In a lot of ways, the opening and closing of the Armadillo speaks to Austin’s past, present and future as a live music destination.”

“Back Home to the Armadillo” was produced with assistance from Jeff McCoy, Ann Liefeste, Nick Marcotte, Eddie Wilson, Mike Tolleson, Jim Franklin, Jesse Sublett, Danny Garrett, Cole Hunt, Lydia Fortuna and the Austin Museum of Popular Culture.

KUTX’s month-long celebration of 50 years of the Armadillo World Headquarters is made possible with support from Silicon Labs.

About KUTX 98.9, the Austin Music Experience
Named “Best Radio Station” in the Austin Music Awards poll six times since it launched in 2013, KUTX 98.9 is the destination for new music from the artists driving the sound of Austin today – from new and local artists, to music that has stood the test of time. Programming includes more than 300 live, one-of-a-kind performances in Studio 1A each year; the Austin Music Minute, the KUTX Artist of the Month and the KUTX Song of the Day, as well as KUTX Live events that connect music fans to local and national talent. More at kutx.org.

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Media Contact: Erin Geisler