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Amazing Rhythm Aces
Armadillo World Headquarters

October 31, 1980
11" x 17" (27.9cm x 43.18cm)

Five years after the first Amazing Rhythm Aces poster, I was commissioned to do another. Whereas the first was themed on a song by the band, this one was themed on the occasion. Halloween was rapidly becoming the premiere holiday for Austin’s eclectic community and I sought to address that fact in this bill. The playing card motif that was the ancillary theme in the first poster has here morphed into a general game paradigm, with an anthropomorphic playing card, the ace of music, sharing the checkered stage with chess pieces and a hammer banged thought balloon. Above, Jack O’Lantern, the Irish Halloween deity, disgorges a flock of aerial aces that torque above the scene, casting an ominously moving shadow giving startled pause to the central character and his bag of musical treats. Bordering the whole mess is a semiotic sweep of suit symbols, cornered by palm trees, a personal symiosis of my art.


My second Amazing Rhythm Aces poster for the Armadillo World Headquarters was executed nearly 5 years after the first. Much had changed since the mid 70s, and with the election of 1980 –- and with it the ascendancy of Ronald Reagan and the Republicans to power -- less than a week away, much much more was scheduled for much greater change. The Aces were still quite popular, but their brand of music was threatened and diminished by these winds of change as well.

Halloween was in the air in Austin; always an auspicious occasion for the capitol city of Texas. This was also true, only more so, for the Armadillo, and this particular Halloween marked a significant change for the traditional holiday concert there. This was the first year in a half-dozen that the venue’s traditional Pumpkin Stomp with Ramon, Ramon and the Four Daddios would not be held. In its place, the Aces. Nonetheless, it was a memorable show; a last gasp for central Texas hippie jug-band music. It was a rip-roaring occasion and a costumed gala in the old Armory building. And the focus was on the show and Halloween; change and the ominous future were left outside the hall.

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