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History[ edit ] Eddie Wilson in InAustin's flagship rock music venuethe Vulcan Gas Companyclosed, leaving the city's nascent live music scene without an incubator. One night, Eddie Wilsonmanager of the local group Shiva's Headbandstepped outside a nightclub where the band was playing and noticed an old, abandoned National Guard armory.
He had a desire to continue the legacy of the Vulcan Gas Company, and was inspired by what he saw in the armory to create a new music hall in the derelict structure. The armory was estimated to have been built inbut no records of its construction could be located.
The building was ugly, uncomfortable, and had poor acousticsbut offered cheap rent and a central location. The name for the Armadillo was inspired by the use of armadillos as a symbol in the artwork of Jim Franklina local poster artist, and from the building itself.
In choosing the mascot for the new venture, Wilson and his partners wanted an "armored" animal since the building was an old armory. The nine-banded armadillo Dasypus novemcinctus was chosen because of its hard shell that looks like armorits history as a survivor virtually unchanged for 50 million yearsand its near-ubiquity in Central Texas.
Wilson also believed the building looked like it had been some type of headquarters at one time. He initially proposed "International Headquarters" but in the end it became "World Headquarters. Even though illicit drug use was flagrant, the Armadillo was never raided.
Anecdotes suggest the police were worried about having to bust their fellow officers as well as local and state politicians. Soon, the Armadillo started receiving publicity in national magazines such as Rolling Stone.
In a story from its September 9, edition, Time magazine wrote that the Armadillo was to the Austin music scene what The Fillmore had been to the emergence of rock music in the s.
The clientele became a mixture of hippies, cowboysand businessmen who stopped by to have lunch and a beer and listen to live music. At its peak, the amount of Lone Star draft beer sold by the Armadillo was second only to the Houston Astrodome.
The Neiman Marcus department store even offered a line of Armadillo-branded products. The unique blend of country and rock music performed at the hall became known by the terms "The Austin Sound," "Redneck Rock," progressive country or "Cosmic Cowboy.
Bruce Springsteen played five shows during The addition of the Armadillo Beer Garden in and the subsequent establishment of food service were both bids to generate steady cash flow.
In an interview for the book Weird CityEddie Wilson remarked: People talk about the Armadillo like it was a huge success, but there were months where hardly anyone showed up. After the first night when no one really came I ended up crying myself to sleep up on stage.
The club finally had to lay off staff members in late and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Another factor in the club's demise was that it sat on 5. The final concert at the Armadillo took place on December 31, Some reports say the show ended at 4 a.
The contents of the Armadillo were sold at auction in Januaryand the old armory was razed for a high-rise office building. The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar began in at the Armadillo, and is still held annually during the Christmas season.
The Bazaar was another attempt to improve cash flow for the hall. Inthe Bazaar settled at the Austin Music Hall for twelve years.
The Bazaar has become one of the top-ranked arts and crafts shows in the nation with a long waiting list of artisans who wish to show their work. On August 19,the City of Austin dedicated a commemorative plaque at the site where the Armadillo once stood. Co-founder Eddie Wilson was on hand and stated: This is noteworthy for me because of the zero-tolerance mentality, and now the city erected a memorial that glorifies the things of the past that are not accepted today.
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Armadillo World Headquarters (sometimes called simply The 'Dillo) was a music venue and nightclub located in Austin, Texas from to It is located at Barton Springs Rd, Austin.
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