"We weren't a club or promoters, we were blues fanatics." Clifford Antone remarks about his legendary blues club of the same name in the documentary Antone's House of Blues. Despite his own efforts in keeping Antone's out of the club category, this film is immersed with musicians who say time and time again that the "club" was a family, filled with friends at any given time.
With the start-up of Antone's in Austin, Texas, the performances grew widespread: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, B.B. King, Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan all made the bill. Antone supported the working musicians and gave many no names a jump-start. From Jimmy Vaughan's little brother who played faster than anyone on stage, not even Stevie Ray Vaughan yet, to boosting Hubert Sumlin's confidence, many of Antone's good deeds remain silenced.
Musicians went as far to play benefits at Antone's to pay rent. Several musicians, Albert Collins notably, didn't even ask for a paycheck. Camaraderie kept the spirit of the club alive and as much of what happened on stage happened back stage.
Antone opened the club to turn people onto the blues. He was a communal man of the music. "That's where we come from. It's the root of our lives; the blues, whether we know it or not." Antone insisted on this mantra even at the lowest point in his life. He spent time in jail on two occasions for distributing marijuana simply to keep Antone's open and running.
With his recent passing on May 23, 2006, Antone's life should be celebrated with unduly praise; much like the spark of creation that led his blues brothers to unite in this documentary.