Musicians Off the Record: Margaret Moser

Margaret Moser is a pioneer in Texas journalism and a matriarch of the Austin music scene. Since arriving in Austin in 1973, her body of work as a rock, blues, country and folk scribe, most notably for the Austin Chronicle, has left an unparalleled literary legacy. Author, performer, producer and "Grande Dame" of the Austin music scene, Moser's grandest achievement was to provoke a response from a music industry that was at one time too occupied with its own survival. Her work both encouraged musicians to live a more intense and passionate life and drove city fathers to become more cognizant of their creative capital.

Moser's career as a journalist began in May 1976 at the Austin Sun where she "cleaned the bathroom and answered the telephone" before making her way into Bill Bentley's music gossip column. She soon took over the beat, and as a natural blues aficionado her writing captured the spirit of Antone's scene. Aside from her next role as columnist for the newly arrived Austin Chronicle, where she helped spark the rising punk movement centered around Raul's nightclub, she found other avenues to champion musicians, her most infamous contribution being ringleader of a troop of groupies known as the "Texas Blondes."

As Moser fought unfair stereotypes of women in music by doing legitimate work in the business, she found libidinal empowerment in the role of "Queen" of Austin groupies. The Texas Blondes showed southern hospitality to a range of artists from U2, the Clash, and the B-52's, to the Ramones, the Police, and R.E.M.. During the 1980s, Moser also performed with Dino Lee as a back-up vocalist.

Still, it was Moser's penchant for letters which saturated and inspired the burgeoning contemporary Austin music scene. Her lucid observations were full of humor and savage irony, but her work was most significant for its positive effect on musicians. The Austin Music Awards, an outgrowth of the Chronicle music poll, began in March, 1982 and Moser quickly became its central player and hostess. As she continues to be the engine which drives its raw mystique, her book titles, "Rock Stars Do the Dumbest Things" and "Movie Stars Do the Dumbest Things," as well as the Austin guidebook for the Edges series, further underscore her knowledge of and affection for the entertainment industry, and the scene she helped construct. Along the way, she has inspired countless novices, made superstars blush, and left a trail in ink that will guide future scholars and music fans alike.

moser from Madeline Maxwell on Vimeo.

"Texas Blondes."