Editor’s note: This article was originally published August 7, 2014
Update: Grammy Award-winning Austin musician and rising blues titan Gary Clark Jr. has joined the partnership to resurrect iconic blues club Antone’s, which closed its East Riverside Drive location at the beginning of the year.
Spencer Wells, a Washington D.C.-based scientist and explorer, led a group that bought the licensing rights to Antone’s in November and had been working to find a new home for the club, founded by Clifford Antone in 1975 (Antone died in 2006).
That partner group now has been restructured and partners added, including native Austinite and local businessman Will Bridges, who is involved with Arlynn Studios, Lambert’s Barbecue and Deep Eddy Cabaret; freelance writer and independent filmmaker Erick Kelemen; and sound designer Walter New, who owns White Rabbit Sound Services in Los Angeles.
"(Gary Clark Jr.) is a really, really good friend. He’s family," Susan Antone, the founder’s sister, said on Thursday; Clifford Antone was an early mentor to Clark. "He and my brother were so close and such good friends in particular. I couldn’t think of anything too much nicer than having Gary be part of Antone’s because he already is, really."
The restructured group continues to look for a new home for the club.
The Austin Chronicle reports this morning that Antone’s has been reorganized under a new ownership group that includes native Austinite and rising blues titan Gary Clark Jr. "I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it hadn’t been for Antone’s. It allowed me to experiment, explore, and try to better myself as a musician," Clark told the Chronicle.
According to the report, Clark joins Will Bridges owner of Lambert’s who recently took over Deep Eddy Cabaret and Spencer Wells, a scientist and explorer who purchased rights to the club late last year in a partnership that also includes Susan Antone, sister of the club’s founder Clifford. The partnership also includes Wells’ brother Arnold Wells, a local musician and photographer, freelance writer and independent filmmaker Erick Kelemen and sound designer Walter New who owns White Rabbit Sound Services in Los Angeles.
The ownership group has not yet identified a space for relocation. We will update as we get more information.