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Augie Meyers on Kissing Death Goodbye and the Eternal Hustle

Photo: Josh Huskin, License: N/A

Josh Huskin

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Meyers and Flaco Jiménez (original members) with Shawn Sahm (Doug’s son, center), the core of today’s Texas Tornados

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Every time I get together with Augie Meyers, I want him to lead with a joke. Yeah, yeah, we’ll talk about your new album, whatever, but make me laugh first.

“I don’t know, man,” he tells me at Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant, his favorite diner for the last 40 years. “My jokes are kind of risqué.”

“No problem,” I reassure him. “This is the Current—everything goes.”

“OK, then…”

Thus we enter Augie Meyers’ world, one where there’s always time for a silly joke or a crazy story. His eyes open wide, and he relishes the opportunity as if he had been practicing for this precise moment all his life.

“This lady is walking down the street, she faints, she sees the good Lord and says, ‘I’m only 30 years old! I don’t wanna die!’” Meyers begins.

“‘Honey,’ says God. ‘You’re OK. You have another 55 years, 10 days and 11 minutes to live.’”

Meyers is winding up, now.

“‘Thank you,’ she says. So she went to the hospital across the street, had her tummy tucked, veins taken out of her legs, dyed her hair blonde, had her tits fixed, butt moved a little bit… For seven months she was in the hospital, got out, crossed the street… and boom! A truck hit her and killed her.

When she sees the Lord, she says, ‘I thought you said I had 55 years, 10 days and 11 minutes to live!’”

Meyers pauses for effect.

“‘I did, sweetheart, but I’m sorry!’ says God. ‘I didn’t recognize you!’”

OK, granted—it’s old, and much funnier in person but, comic merits aside, the fact that Meyers doesn’t find it hard to joke about death tells you a good deal about the guy. The keyboardist for Sir Douglas Quintet (“She’s About a Mover” wouldn’t be the same without his Vox Continental organ) and the Texas Tornados himself had a brush with death four years ago. A person who heard on the radio about his need for a kidney gave him a second life, and in 2010 he got the much-needed transplant. “I call him my angel,” he said of Jimmy Lucas, the Dallas computer technician who saved his life.

If you thought this would slow down Meyers, you don’t know Augie: this September he came back with his best music in recent memory. Loves Lost and Found is the country album he always wanted to make (he released Country in 2009, but “this one’s better,” he says, and I agree). He’s back on the hustle, having already written what he calls a “mariachi” album (two fiddles, guitarrón and no drums), a handful of blues numbers and a pocket book of “Augiesms” (more on that later), high-profile TV appearances (as part of Tom Waits’ band on Late Show with David Letterman in 2012), and traveling, lots of traveling.

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