We filmed this at Slaid Cleaves’ home in Wimberley, Texas. My old school Austin friends will enjoy hearing Slaid talk about Butch Hancock’s old store, Lubbock Or Leave It. If you have any stories about Lubbock Or Leave It, please post them in the comments because I’d love to hear them. Slaid also told a story about his father’s guitar. Slaid’s wife Karen, made us a seriously great breakfast. She even made homemade bagels and they were easily the best I’d ever had. She should get a trophy or something.

This is the second episode in this series. If you enjoy this or any other episode, please share it with someone. It’s not easy to get the word out and I need all the help I can get.

The short version: I made this video while visiting a few Robert Johnson sites in the Mississippi Delta. There’s a lot more to it than that, but this is the short version, after all.

The long version: For the last few months, I’ve been secretly working on a new project called Old Weird America. After much consternation, I’ve decided today is the day to set it lose into the wild. It’s a video journal of my travels, featuring some of the people and things I care about. Like most everything else I do, this is a completely DIY project, held together with duct tape and good intentions. My buddy, Todd Fox, helped film this and I’m doing everything else. (Neither of us know anything about any of this.) It’s a ton of work, I’ll probably lose a lot of money and maybe even make a fool of myself. That’s usually a recipe for something worthwhile.

Look for one episode a week for the first five episodes and then settle into one episode a month. If you dig it, please share it with somebody. I’m gonna need a lot of help getting the word out. I’ll post more info in the comments down below, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’ll do my best to tell some good stories and keep you entertained.
Thanks for giving a damn,
-Otis

This video is part an animated series I’ve been working on over the past few years with my buddy, Ross Simpson. The original idea was to animate stories from my podcast. It slowly morphed and evolved into this pilot that we’ve been shopping for the past two years. It’s called, “Tall Tales And Vague Recollections.” That’s how I originally described my podcast, so we chose it as a title for this show four years ago. We’re very proud of it and are trying to find a home for it. We’ve come close a couple of times, but are still shopping it around. We’ve kept this a secret, mainly because I’m a ridiculously private person and didn’t want to share it with the world until we’d found a home for it. Having said that, I’ve been hearing a lot about the new Mike Judge series and I’m wondering if he may have beat us to the punch. I figure this is as good a time as any to share this with the world, so here goes.

This episode stars the great Phil Kaufman, otherwise known as The Road Mangler. Phil is the coolest person I know. Period. The story opens with Mangler and his buddy, Gram Parsons at Clarence White’s funeral.

Please share this far and wide and let the world know it exists.
Thanks for giving a damn,
-Otis

The tour ended last night with a sold out show in San Sebastian, Spain. Thanks to everyone who came to my gigs over the…

Posted by Otis Gibbs on Saturday, July 1, 2017

Otis Gibbs -Sputnik Monroe (Official Video)

This is the story of how a professional wrestler fought to desegregate a Memphis auditorium. Sputnik Monroe was a "bad guy" or "heel" who wrestled in Memphis in the late 1950s. It was his job to make wrestling fans hate him so much, that they would lay down their hard earned money to see him get beat by the "good guy." He was so good at his job, that thousands of people paid to see him wrestle every Monday night at Ellis Auditorium. When he wasn't wrestling, he was hanging out with his friends in the cafes on Beale Street. Sputnik was one of the few white people that you'd find on Beale Street and his friends were all black. He was often arrested for the crime of being a white person who would dare to drink in public with a black person. This was scandalous at the time. When his day in court arrived, he was the first white person in Memphis to be represented by (his friend) a black lawyer. This was even more scandalous. It became common knowledge among the African American community of Memphis that Sputnik Monroe was alright. When his black friends came to see him wrestle, they were forced to sit in the balcony, while the whites sat in the good seats down below. When Sputnik entered the ring, a huge round of cheers would rain down from the balcony. This would make the white folks hate him even more. Sputnik one day confronted the promoters and told them that he would refuse to wrestle unless they allowed his black friends to sit anywhere they wanted. The promoters realized that Sputnik was making them a ton of money, so they gave in to his demands. This lead to the very first desegregated sporting event in the southern part of the United States. All of that because a professional wrestler was willing to take a principled stand. Imagine what the rest of us might be capable of.I think more people should know about Sputnik Monroe, so I wrote this song. Please share this with anyone who might be interested. I need your help to get the word out.Thanks for giving a damn,-Otis

Posted by Otis Gibbs on Friday, February 3, 2017

This is the story of how a professional wrestler fought to desegregate a Memphis auditorium. Sputnik Monroe was a “bad guy” or “heel” who wrestled in Memphis in the late 1950s. It was his job to make wrestling fans hate him so much, that they would lay down their hard earned money to see him get beat by the “good guy.” He was so good at his job, that thousands of people paid to see him wrestle every Monday night at Ellis Auditorium. When he wasn’t wrestling, he was hanging out with his friends in the cafes on Beale Street. Sputnik was one of the few white people that you’d find on Beale Street and his friends were all black. He was often arrested for the crime of being a white person who would dare to drink in public with a black person. This was scandalous at the time. When his day in court arrived, he was the first white person in Memphis to be represented by (his friend) a black lawyer. This was even more scandalous. It became common knowledge among the African American community of Memphis that Sputnik Monroe was alright. When his black friends came to see him wrestle, they were forced to sit in the balcony, while the whites sat in the good seats down below. When Sputnik entered the ring, a huge round of cheers would rain down from the balcony. This would make the white folks hate him even more. Sputnik one day confronted the promoters and told them that he would refuse to wrestle unless they allowed his black friends to sit anywhere they wanted. The promoters realized that Sputnik was making them a ton of money, so they gave in to his demands. This lead to the very first desegregated sporting event in the southern part of the United States.

All of that because a professional wrestler was willing to take a principled stand. Imagine what the rest of us might be capable of.

I think more people should know about Sputnik Monroe, so I wrote this song. Please share this with anyone who might be interested. I need your help to get the word out.
Thanks for giving a damn,
-Otis

It looks like my Mountain Stage appearance is streaming over at NPR .org. Everyone there treated me wonderfully and were…

Posted by Otis Gibbs on Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The day Ernest T. Bass terrorized Nashville. Howard Morris came to town on Nov. 22, 1986, to celebrate Ernest T. Bass…

Posted by Otis Gibbs on Friday, May 19, 2017

You can listen to Mount Renraw in it’s entirety on the player below. Please help us spread the word by sharing this with your friends and/or including Mount Renraw on your next Spotify playlist.

This is my love letter to the back roads and byways of old, weird America. From my new album, Mount Renraw (released January 13th, 2017). Thank you kindly for sharing this with your friends and helping me get the word out.  -Otis

Episode 153: Reggie Young’s Memories Of Recording With Elvis

Reggie Young talks a bout playing guitar on Elvis Presley’s legendary recordings at American Sound Studios in Memphis. These sessions produced Suspicious Minds, In The Ghetto, Kentucky Rain and other all time Elvis classics.