Friday, May 08, 2009

Bud Shrake: The Leader of the Pack

Bud Shrake, one of the great bad boys of Texas letters, died today. Shrake rolled with everyone from Ann Richards to Hunter Thompson but was perhaps best known for having led the ragtag assembly of wild Texas writers calling themselves Mad Dogs. Joining Shrake in the gang were Gary Cartwright, Larry L. King, Billie Lee Brammer, Dan Jenkins, and Peter Gent. All nuts enough in their own right but when you toss in Willie Nelson and Jerry Jeff Walker the boozy, artistic mayhem got epic.

The Mad Dogs crashed headfirst into the sixties, and their legendary excesses have often overshadowed their literary production but Shrake was a writing whiz, who just so happened to hobnob with exotic strippers and criminal masterminds and be able to write about snorting coke with rodeo champions for Sports Illustrated. He deserves to be remembered as one of the state's most revered writers every bit as much as an all-time great merry maker. This video interview with Evan Smith of Texas Monthly offers insight into an era lost to the fogs of memory and the business models of the times. They stopped making Texans like Bud Shrake many many moons ago and probably just in time. RIP Bud Shrake. God bless outlaws.

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the running mule

the running mule