News of the death of Austin guitarist Joe Eddy Hines early this morning at age 63 from cancer circulated across social media on Wednesday, with stories from friends as well as photographs and video clips of his performances with Alejandro Escovedo and Buick MacKane. Here’s one YouTube clip from 1996 that prominently features Hines, decked out in a bright red shirt as he kicks off Escovedo’s “Crooked Frame” with a stinging solo:
Hines played for years with Escovedo not only in his main touring band but also with his garage-rock-oriented side project Buick MacKane. More recently, he’d been a part of local groups including Hellapeño and Hardtail.
But perhaps the most illuminating back-story came from drummer Tommy Taylor, known for his work with Christopher Cross, Eric Johnson and many other Austin bands stretching back to the 1970s. Currently he plays most Wednesdays at Antone’s with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame bassist Tommy Shannon of Double Trouble.
In a public post on Facebook, Taylor recalled how Hines first moved from Midland to Austin in 1975 to play with Tricks, a band Taylor had started with David Norwood, Rick Gabler and Charles Ford. A few excerpts from Taylor’s account:
“He was very ambitious and confident. … So we arranged for him to come into town for a little test. We had gigs booked so we weren’t really in a position to balk or bargain; if the guy was decent he was pretty much in.
“He came in with a full stack Marshall, a brand new Stratocaster, and a 50’s Les Paul TV special….cool enough gear. He had a great sense of humor and real no bullshit kind of presence. He had one really weird quirk…he was ….. VEGETARIAN….but he joked “he was fool for a cheeseburger.” Joe Hines was the first vegetarian I ever met. What many of you don’t realize probably is that he from childhood…had crippling arthritis of the hands….and he chose to play the guitar….his vegetarianism was based on the more suitable functions of that diet for his condition. He was on constant pain medication for his malady. He was very frank about it and never seeking any sympathy.
“We sat down to work up some tunes…and the guy could play the daylights out of the guitar…he played different and that was really cool. Austin guitar players have a thing…we love that. Joe didn’t play like that. He added something to our group that nobody else really had.”