28 Days of Bevis Griffin, Day 13: The Birth of the Skyscrapers

28 Days of Bevis Griffin - Austin Music Foundation
Posted by admin Category: Artist Spotlight

Written by Chris “C.K.” Bailey

 

I first met Bevis Griffin at Raul’s in late 1978. I had played in The Bodysnatchers, one of the original three bands that started the punk scene at Raul’s (the other two being the Violators and The Skunks). The Bodysnatchers had released the first Austin punk record, a 5-song EP, but then broke up shortly afterward. I had first noticed Bevis backstage at The Punk & New Wave Battle of the Bands held at the New Atlantis Club on 6th Street a few months earlier, which was the event that really kind of launched Austin punk as a “scene” beyond just Raul’s. 

Bevis really stood out as a sharp-dressed, glammy Black guy amongst all the white kids, and I thought, “Who is THIS guy?” So, when I later saw him sitting in on drums with The Violators at Raul’s, I took the opportunity to introduce myself after their set. We sat on the back patio talking and immediately hit it off, bonding especially over our mutual love of Cheap Trick and Funkadelic.

Most important, both of us were at loose ends and looking for a new band to play in. We decided pretty quickly we wanted to work together. Bevis brought in his former Franklin’s Mast bandmate Jimmy Saurage and with the addition of local scenester Buck Davies on bass, The Skyscrapers were born. After rehearsing a set of original tunes by Jimmy, Bevis, and myself – plus some choice covers by Elvis and the NY Dolls– we made our debut at Raul’s. The reception was mixed, to say the least, as our style was more glam- and punk-influenced Texas rock’n’roll than punk or new wave.

We quickly found a more hospitable home base at the newly-opened Continental Club. Things took off pretty quickly for The Skyscrapers: we got management and soon snared gigs opening shows at The Armadillo for The Ramones, Tom Robinson Band and Jules & The Polar Bears. We were getting out-of-town gigs and also had a weekly slot at the Continental, but things fell apart when Buck unexpectedly split town for LA at the prospect of joining a more established act. By this time Bevis and I were producing more and more songs and felt we would be better off with our own vehicle, which Bev wanted to front rather than continue as a singing drummer. After one final gig in Albuquerque with ex-Jo Jo Gunne bassist Jimmie Randall filling in, we parted ways with Jimmy Saurage and started scheming on our next project.

 

Chris “C.K.” Bailey is a guitarist, composer, and producer.

Bodysnatchers ’78 | The Skyscrapers ’78-’79 | The Shades ’79 | The Bats ’80-’81 | Banzai Kik ’82-’87 | One Fell Swoop ’92-’93 | The Paradigm ’05

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