Clifford Antone talking with a patron of his namesake blues club, Antone's, 2005.

Clifford Antone (October 27, 1949 – May 22, 2006) was the founder of the eponymous Austin blues club and independent record label, as well as a mentor to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Kim Wilson, Gary Clark, Jr. and numerous other musicians. He is the nephew of Jalal Antone, the founder of the Houston-based Antone's Import Co - known for its po-boy sandwiches.[1]


Born in Port Arthur, Texas, to Greek Orthodox Lebanese American parents who had settled in Eastern Texas, Clifford Antone moved to Austin in 1968 and attended The University of Texas at Austin. An arrest for marijuana led to his dropping out of school. Nurturing a passion for Chicago blues, Antone started a blues club at age 25. The club, Antone's, became one of the first music venues on Austin's 6th Street[2] and helped lead to Austin's reputation as a music city. Clifton Chenier, Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker, Delbert McClinton, Pinetop Perkins, Muddy Waters, Albert Collins, Jimmy Reed, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, B.B. King, Sue Foley, Gary Clark Jr. and many other notable blues musicians have performed at Antone's since 1975.

In 1987, Antone founded a recording label, Antone's Records and Tapes. He also opened Antone's Record Shop, a record store specializing in blues and roots music. Antone served time in federal prisons for drug charges in the early 1980s and in 2000. He lectured on social change and the history of the blues at The University of Texas, Austin Community College, and Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. On hearing of Antone's death, Austin Mayor Will Wynn was quoted as saying, "One of the primary reasons Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World is because of Clifford Antone."[3]

In June 1997 the United States court system charged Antone with 11 counts of truck trafficking.[4] The accusation stated that he helped traffic drugs from Mexico.[5] He pleaded guilty to a money laundering count and a distribution count, relating to marijuana, on January 6, 1999. He was sentenced to four years in federal prison.[4]

He died in Austin, Texas at age 56.[6]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ [2] Archived June 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Gray, Christopher (May 26, 2006). "Blues for Clifford". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved May 25, 2006.
  4. ^ a b Cosgrove, Pat (May 26, 2000). "Popular Club Figure Clifford Antone Gets Four-Year Prison Sentence". MTV. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  5. ^ Riemenschneider, Chris (April 20, 2000). "Clifford Antone Of Famous Texas Bar Faces Drug Sentence". MTV. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  6. ^ "Clifford Antone, 56; Austin Blues Club Owner Helped Launch Career of Stevie Ray Vaughan". Los Angeles Times. May 25, 2006. Retrieved November 22, 2019.


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