Pieces of Austin

Armadillo World Headquarters memorabilia heading to auction — and you can own it

Armadillo World Headquarters memorabilia heading to auction

Austin Photo Set: News_Kevin_Gary Hartman_Guy Clark_Nov 2011_greezy wheels
Greezy Wheels at the Armadillo World Headquarters.  Courtesy of South Austin Popular Culture Center

KVUE — The stories Eddie Wilson can tell are probably as fantastic as the ones he won't. "Since Charlie had never seen a marijuana plant, these kind of look like palm trees," he said as he held up a pair of old cowboy boots.

Wilson opened the Armadillo World Headquarters in downtown Austin back in 1970. The acts that played were legendary — Waylon, Willie, Frank Zappa, Jerry Garcia, Van Morrison.

"I got Fats Domino booked. I grew up listening to him. When he finished his set he started belly bumping the piano and it rolled all the way across the stage at Armadillo so that he could dismount the stage," he said.

The 'Dillo closed in 1980, but Wilson then bought Threadgill's from its namesake and kept making memories. Over the years, memorabilia has crept from the the 'Dillo and Threadgill's restaurants into his home.

"I've got stuff that won't fit in my coffin. I'm in my 70s now," he says.

So Wilson has decided it's time to find a new place for many of these things. In January, he'll auction off history from Austin's music scene. Some of it is already at Burley Auction House.

"We had a string of fabulous entertainers and piano players and they all played my momma's grand little piano," he says. Yes, even the piano played by the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, Leon Russell and Fats Domino, will go.

Wilson knows that like music, Austin is changing. And within a few years there won't a place for Threadgill's downtown.

"I like to go where I'm needed and obviously I'm not needed in a high rise. They don't care about old funky Austin stuff," he says. But maybe there's room for his old legendary piano in one of those Austin high rises.


Read the full story and watch the video on KVUE.com