2005 – Clifford Antone, who ran Austin’s famous music club Antone’s, dies aged 56. Since opening in 1975, Antone’s played host to blues stars like B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Clifford Jamal Antone, known to his lifelong friends as C.J., passed away May 23, 2006 at his home in Austin, Texas. Antone was noted as founder of the internationally known nightclub Antone’s, best known as Austin’s Home of the Blues. Cause of death is pending.
Clifford was born October 27, 1949 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Port Arthur, Texas, middle child of Jamal and Georgette Antone, also of Port Arthur. His immediate living family includes sisters Susan Antone and Janelle Antone Raad, and niece Georgette Raad, 13, and nephew Jamal Raad, 6. He leaves behind an uncle and two aunts along with many cousins, and a large extended family of fine friends.
Antone graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur and relocated in the late Sixties to Austin, where he attended the University of Texas. Clifford was preceded in death by his parents, grandmothers Pauline Ashy and Jamille Antone, grandfather Elias Antone, his loving aunts Onnie Hyslop and Aunt Gloria Farha, uncles K.E. Antone, J.E. Antone, and Fred Ashy, and cousin Craig Ashy.
Clifford Antone opened the original club July 15, 1975 at 6th and Brazos in an old furniture warehouse with zydeco king Clifton Chenier. Bringing in the blues and soul legends of the day such as Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Fats Domino, Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin, Eddie Taylor, Walter “Shakey” Horton, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, Albert King, James Cotton, Calvin Jones, Willie “Big Eye” Smith, Bobby Blue Bland, and B.B. King made Antone’s the premier blues club in Texas. He furthered the career of regional R&B artists such as Albert Collins, Barbara Lynn, Clifton Chenier, Miss Lavelle White, and Lazy Lester. Yet what truly made Antone’s Austin’s Home of the Blues was its cultivation of local talent such as Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Jimmie Vaughan, Angela Strehli, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Derek O’Brien, Lou Ann Barton, Guy Forsyth, Doyle Bramhall II, Sue Foley, Bob Schneider, and Charlie Sexton.
In recent years, Clifford Antone broadened his base of interests to work with numerous social and educational organizations. He created the “Help Clifford Help Kids” fundraiser for American Youthworks in 2000 and was among the first to respond to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 with his all-star benefit, “Neighbors in Need.” He loved teaching music at the University of Texas in Austin and at Texas State University in San Marcos. Antone was in the process of writing a book about the history of the blues and rock & roll with Sarah Rucker. Teaching and writing were among the work he most loved, along with being at his nightclub.
At the family’s request, donations in lieu of flowers may be made to the Clifford Antone Memorial Fund, care of Prosperity Bank, or via this web site. Visitation is open to the public at Cook-Walden Funeral Home, 6100 North Lamar, Thursday and Friday May 25 and 26, 6-8 PM. A public memorial and celebration of Clifford’s life is being planned for next week and will be announced through the local media. Private burial services will be in Port Arthur, Texas.
Clifford Antone truly loved the blues with all of his heart, and his home in Austin, Texas. Peace and love. Hook ’em Horns!