Remembering Doug Sahm: The Man Behind The Texas Cosmic Groove

Award-winning journalist and author Joe Nick Patoski talks about his film, “Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove.”

By Rhonda FanningMarch 24, 2015 8:28 am

“You just can’t live in Texas/if you don’t have a lot of soul.”

Doug Sahm was born in San Antonio into a perfect storm of Texas music. The grandson of an Oom-Pah bandleader and steel guitar child prodigy, he was destined to change the music scene. He played almost every genre of music south Texas had to offer before his exile to California; where he would rise to the top of the psychedelic scene before returning to Austin and undergoing several musical transformations.

For decades, Joe Nick Patoski has been writing about all things Texas. From the biography of Willie Nelson to coffee table books, and now, film. At the 2015 SXSW Film Festival Patoski’s film premiered at the Paramount Theatre.

Today he joins the Texas Standard to talk about “Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove.”

On the Sir Douglas Quintet and the British Invasion:

“They were notorious in 1965 because they were a band from San Antonio with three Mexican-American players, and tried to pass themselves off as part of the British Invasion. And it worked, until the television show “Hullabaloo” in which the host Trini Lopez from Dallas, outed the quintet as being from Texas.”

On Doug Sahm being in the right place at the right time:

“He’s in the middle of all these scenes, and then through circumstance he got arrested for marijuana possession in Texas and so he has to go out into the wilderness of exile—talk about timing—he lands in San Francisco before the Summer of Love! It was right in the thick of that.”

On the timing of Patoski’s film:

“Enough time has passed [since Sahm’s death] that people have forgotten and it’s kind of like the institutional knowledge is shrinking. I thought I knew his story, but as I started working on this it’s just like the rabbit holes I’ve been going down are just fascinating and I can’t shut it off.”