FOX San Antonio - The Valdes View
By: Michael Valdes
In the mid-seventies, the local rock band Ultra opened for some big groups. At sold out shows in venues like Sunken Garden. But on January eighth, 1978 on a Sunday night at Randy's Rodeo, they would open a show that's a part of rock-and-roll history.
"When they started playing, we were kind of in awe of just the act," recalls Ultra drummer Tom Schleuning.
After troubles with their tour, the law, and politicians in their home of England, The Sex Pistols set out to the U.S. They would play just seven shows here.
Schluening says, "There were a lot of people that had safety pins and combat helmets on. Then there were cowboys and their hats and boots. So you had this mixture of people that you could kind of tell that something bad might happen cause of the crowd."
"We got paid," says Ultra bass player Scott Stephens. "But I don't remember what it was." "At three-fifty a ticket, it was like... hmmm do the Math," jokes Schluening.
Nancy Gray was just an eighteen year-old college student who enjoyed taking pictures and took plenty that night. Gray says a couple of friends gave up their tickets, out of fear. Fear even being stoked by a local sheriff on television.
Gray says, "The sheriff's exact words or sort of exact words were, 'They have been rumored to urinate, bleed, and defecate on people. And another warning, there will be homosexuals at this event.'"
That's not the scene most remember, but what they did find was a crowd and a band intent on spectacle. Food, beer, and slurs were hurled.
But in the end, for the bands and for the crowd, it was all just rock and roll and one unforgettable night.
"They did change the scene and the face of music. Not just in San Antonio, but globally," says Scott. With Gray concluding, "It was awesome. I wish it would happen again."
Tuesday, January 8 2013, 10:10 PM CST
The Valdes View Blog
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