Greezy Wheels, the “Grateful Dead of Texas” and members of the Texas Music Hall Of Fame, have been blowing things up in Austin since the days of the legendary Armadillo World Headquarters, and they are still blowing it up good in 2013. Founding Greezy Wheels members - Cleve, Lissa and Sweet Mary Hattersley - considered collectively by long-time Austinites as the Godfather and Godmothers of the Austin alternative/Americana music scene, still lead the band, which includes thirteen year veteran, Penny Jo Pullus, on back-up vocals, and John Bush (Edie Brickell And the New Bohemians, Critters Buggin) on drums. John is in his sixth year with the band.
The Wheels have recently added two extremely exciting new members to the fold. Joining his former bandmate John, New Bohemians bassist, Brad Houser, brings muscle, chops and (oh by the way) horns to the section. And from the magnificent 7 Walkers, the Willie Nelson family, and many others, comes super keyboardist, trombone and harp player, Matt Hubbard. Greezy Wheels, always at the center of musical adventure, have found yet another amazing nexus for exploration.
The Wheels were one of the first Austin acts ever signed to a major label (London), and they continue to release CD’s on their own label, MaHatMa Records. Their release in 2011, ‘Gone Greezy,’ had the highest debut of the week in Americana radio and remained on the Americana charts all summer. Margaret Moser, the immensely influential music writer of the Austin Chronicle, placed ‘Gone Greezy’ in her Top Ten Best Albums of the Year in 2011, as did many folks across the country.
The band’s next record, ‘Kitty Cat Jesus,’ is scheduled for a June, 2013 release. Two cuts from the album, ‘I Cry Myself To Sleep’ and ‘I’ll Get Away With It,’ have already gotten plenty of airplay on Austin radio. The album promises to be among the most controversial and provocative of the Wheels’ controversial and provocative career.
As the unofficial Armadillo World Headquarters House Band in the 70’s, Greezy Wheels opened or headlined first Austin gigs for the Flying Burrito Brothers, Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Lee Lewis, Asleep At The Wheel co-headlined), Willis Alan Ramsey (headlined), Alvin Crow (headlined); and dozens of others. A legend in her own right, Sweet Mary participated in some of the wildest jam sessions in the history of the Armadillo, with such as Jean Luc Ponty, Frank Zappa, Jerry Garcia, Leon Russell, Doug Sahm and dozens of others.
The band held down Wednesday nights at the equally legendary Soap Creek Saloon, where everyone from Jerry Jeff Walker to Delbert McClinton to Stevie Ray Vaughan made their bones. Greezy Wheels hosted Tequila Wednesdays for four years, until they became too dangerous for the drinking public.
The Wheels also became the darlings of the alt/country scene in New York City in the mid-to-late seventies, first appearing at the Bottom Line, but then touring regularly through the infamous Lone Star Cafe.
The band recently started touring outside Austin and Texas again, after decades away from the road. Their performance at the late Levon Helm’s legendary ‘Midnight Ramble’ in Woodstock four summers ago brought the house down, as did their Ramble appearance the following year.
There’s no denying it: “everybody juz loves dem ol greezy wheels.” And the new release, ‘’Kitty Cat Jesus,’ the final work from the retiring, yet extraordinarily talented John Jordan on bass, with first appearances from the newbies, Brad and Matt, is only going to bring more love.
Look for the band in the northeast this year, y’all!
‘Juz Loves Dem Ol Greezy Wheels,’ 1975
‘Radio Radials,’ 1976
‘Millennium Greezy,’ 2001
‘HipPop,’ 2004, Remastered 2012
‘String Theory,’ 2007
‘Gone Greezy,’ 2011
‘Kitty Cat Jesus,’ 2013