This is my new favorite book! Cleve is a fun /snarky guy to hang out with for the Holidays. I wish I could have followed him around back in the day..


By his own admission, Cleve Hattersley stumbled through a life of adjacent stardom. Best known as the leader of Greezy Wheels, the house band of the Armadillo World Headquarters, the Austinite's memoir offers a long, strange trip across America's countercultures, like a Beat Forrest Gump. Serendipities range from sublime (Jimi Hendrix auditioning at the Night Owl in NYC) to surreal (living across the street from the Manson family in the Haight), with the author marveling at his dumb luck most of all. And yet, it's Hattersley the hustler who positioned himself in Greenwich Village in the early Sixties, at the Fillmore on the West Coast later in the decade, in Austin's progressive Seventies, and in running the Lone Star Cafe back in NYC through the cocaine-fueled, cameoed Eighties.

The songwriter's narration is as erratic as an after-hours, smoked-out jam session, jumping from his prison stint for smuggling pot to running Kinky Friedman's political campaigns with an anachronistic nonchalance, but his informal and gossip-spilling telling never fails to entertain. Beyond the anecdotes, Hattersley's life seems to be a testament to saying yes but keeping your shit together enough to get out alive and, maybe more importantly, maintain a helluva a story to tell.

Buy the book below!

Meeting James Brown was one of the highlights of his career. Booking the hardest-working man in show business was a major coup, something he dared not believe possible. Brown’s career had sagged a bit, and he needed to make some noise in New York City. “He was one of those guys who wasn’t just the center of the room when he walked in; he was The Room,” says Hattersley.

Hattersley’s greatest childhood hero was Mickey Mantle. Besides having been born on his birthday, he played for his favorite team, the New York Yankees. When he finally met Mantle at the Lone Star Cafe, he had nothing for him to autograph. As Mantle and Billy Martin wobbled into the revolving door (and Mantle had to rotate through the door twice, before finding his way in), Hattersley could tell it might be best to take them upstairs to the closed-off area.

With these and many other tales from years gone by, LIFE IS A BUTT DIAL will fill mature readers with a sense of nostalgia for the freewheeling ‘60s and ‘70s and give younger readers a connection (education!) to those turbulent times.

About The Author

Cleve Hattersley is a member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame with his band Greezy Wheels, which recorded two albums on London Records and served as the house band of Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. He managed the Lone Star Cafe and Blue Note Jazz Club in New York, and traveled the world with Kinky Friedman.

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