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Jesse Sublett

Jesse Sublett Papers
Note that Sublett's original literary papers were processed in 1996. Since then Sublett has made several new additions to his papers. What follows are separate inventories, listed in chronological order, beginning with the 1996 "Finding Aid" to the Sublett Collection. Please scroll down to see the full range of papers available.
A Guide to the Jesse Sublett Papers, 1978 - (ongoing)
bulk: 1983-1995

1.5 linear feet
3 boxes
Oversize/Regalia: 1 box
Acquisition:  Gifts donated by Jesse Sublett, 1993-1995.
Access:  Direct inquiries to the Archivist, Albert B. Alkek Library, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, Texas  78666-4604.  (512) 245-2313.
Processed by:  David Bruner, September 1996.  Inventory revised by Amy Ruthrauff, October 2005.
Jesse Sublett was born May 15, 1954, in Johnson City, Texas.  He was valedictorian of Johnson City's LBJ High School Class of 1972, and attended Southwest Texas State University from 1972-1974 as an English major.
From 1974 until 1986 Sublett lived in Austin, where he played a dominant role in defining the live music scene as bass player and/or lead singer for a number of bands, most notably The Skunks, who recorded three records between 1978 and 1983.
During this time, Sublett began writing short pieces for the Austin Chronicle, including record and restaurant reviews, and in 1984 he was assigned to write a short piece on the club circuit which bands like The Skunks played.  Instead, he submitted a semi-parodic music mystery entitled "Traveling the Hardboiled Highway," which imitated the style of a hardboiled detective novel.  This marked the birth of Martin Fender, the central character in Sublett's first three novels.  He submitted a second Fender piece, "The Nature of the Crime," which the Chronicle's editorial staff declined to publish but which they encouraged him to re-work as a novel.  After finishing the re-titled Capitol Crimes, he wrote Rock Critic Murders with the intention of selling the two novels as a series.  While waiting for the attention of publishers on the first two books, he began work on a third novel, Blunt Instrument. 
In 1987 he moved to Los Angeles in order to be closer to the spirit of his hero Raymond Chandler.  He continued to play music on the West Coast while awaiting responses from publishers and re-writing Blunt Instrument.  Shortly thereafter, Lisa Kaufman at Viking took an interest in his work and agreed to publish Rock Critic Murders. 
Sublett has written several screenplays, and served as story editor for the Disney series Adventures of the Old West.  During 1994-1995 he ventured into nonfiction, writing a history of the Texas Turnpike Authority.
Sublett now lives in Austin with his wife Lois Richwine, their son Dashiell, and two cats.


 Works Published
            Rock Critic Murders.  New York: Viking, 1989.
            Tough Baby.  New York: Viking, 1990.
            Boiled in Concrete.  New York: Viking, 1992.
            The Teflon Babe.  Brooklyn: Gryphon Publications, 1992.
            "Gore Galore", published in Detective Story Magazine, issue no. 6,                                                       November 1989
            "I am the City" in Hardboiled, issue no. 10, Spring 1989.
            "Easiest Money I Ever Made" in Hardboiled, issue no. 15, February                                                                 1993.
            "I've Got a Gun and It's Name is I.O.U." in Hardboiled Detective, issue                                                            no. 11, April 1991.
            Hey Joe, 1988
            Rock Critic Murders, 1989
            Pay the Devil, 1990
            Hale Storm, 1991
            Shadows in the Sun, 1993
            In the West, 1995
            The Texas Turnpike Authority, 1995
Book manuscripts, screenplays, drafts, cartoons, clippings, correspondence, photographs, ephemera, sound recordings, and regalia documenting Sublett's careers as a rock musician and writer. Many of the drafts of Sublett's writings include handwritten annotations by the author.  Copies of certain letters to Richard Holland, Curator of the Southwestern Writers Collection, have been retained when they shed light on some phase of Sublett's creative life.  
Series I: Early Works, 1985-1998
Box 1                                                                                                                            
This series, kept as a discrete group of materials by Sublett in his home, contains drafts of some of his short pieces for the Austin Chronicle, including The Nature of the Crime  (1984),  a piece never published but which prompted the Chronicle's  editorial staff to urge Sublett to write a novel.  The rest of the items relate to Rock Critic Murders:  consent & release forms, an early title page design containing a saguaro cactus, and blurbs solicited from James Ellroy, Gerald Petievich, and Kinky Friedman.
Series II:  Austin Chronicle, 1983-1985
Box 1
Articles and stories appearing in the Austin Chronicle: "The Big Tape", "X-15: The 4-Track Walkman", and "Crying on the Shoulder of the Road" (Nov. 24, 1983);  "Traveling the Hardboiled Highway", record review: Madonna Madonna (Mar. 23, 1984);  "How to Make a Record" (Nov. 30, 1984J);  "Martin Fender & the Flat-Top Kid", short piece on Raymond Chandler for a feature on mystery writers (Dec. 13, 1985).
Series III:  Novels, 1984-1987
Box 2
Contains a letter to Richard Holland explaining the sequence of Sublett's works; a 2nd draft of Rock Critic Murders, a first draft of the book which ultimately became Tough Baby entitled Blunt Instrument, and a completely-rewritten second draft of Tough Baby entitled The Big Hurt.
Series IV:  Screenplays, 1988-1993
Contains a short note to Richard Holland describing Hale Storm as a first draft, and versions of Hey Joe, Rock Critic Murders, Pay the Devil, Hale Storm, Shadows in the Sun,  (with Stephen Purvis), and two versions of In the West  (with Stephen Purvis and Tom Huckabee).
Series V:  Non-Fiction, 1995
Box 3
Notes and drafts for History of the Texas Turnpike Authority. 
Series VI:  Reviews & Publicity, 1982-1992
Box 3
Interviews, reviews, and notices documenting both Sublett's music career and his writing career.
Series VII:  Photographs, [1978?]-1990
Box 3
Candid shots and publicity photos of Sublett and the Skunks.
Series VIII:  Ephemera, 1982-1992
Posters and postcards advertising the Skunks, Boiled in Concrete,  a novel by Andrew Vachss, and a magazine cover for which Sublett modeled.
Series IX:  Sound Recordings, 1979-1982
1 45-rpm record; 1 2-record set (with lyrics); 1 cassette representing the recorded output of the Skunks.
Series X:  Regalia, 1978-1982
Box 3
Artifacts from Sublett's musical career.
Series XI: Original Documents
Box 3
This series is comprised of original copies of all clippings found in this collection. 


Accession 2000-102


One VHS viewing copy of Perpetual Motion , The Killer Storm, one business card from Jesse Sublett and two edited drafts dated Jan. 28, 1999 and Feb. 10, 1999 from Sublett’s The Killer Storm



Accession 2004-108


Unproc. Acc. Box# 433 - 435 & 475

Various manuscripts (complete and incomplete & annotated and clean), correspondence, notes, research material, essays and miscellaneous material from musician/writer Jesse Sublett.  
Materials reference Sublett’s writing career, 1999 - 2004

Items included are as follows;
- complete typed manuscript titled Supercool: A true story by Jesse Sublett, dated March 2002
- slightly annotated complete typed manuscript titled Supercool by Jesse Sublett, dated May 24, 2001
- incomplete annotated typed manuscript titled Never the Same Again: A rock ‘n’ roll gothic by Jesse Sublett.  Along with manuscript are various pages of handwritten notes.
- highly annotated typed complete manuscript titled Never the Same Again: A rock ‘n roll gothic by Jesse Sublett, dated November 03, 2004
- “death and rock n roll” notes, correspondence in reference to manuscripts, photocopies of articles.
- annotated typed complete manuscript titled Love & Death & Rock ‘n Roll by Jesse Sublett, dated 2003.
- clean complete typed manuscript titled Love & Death & Rock ‘n Roll by Jesse Sublett, dated March 2003
- slightly annotated typed complete manuscript titled Never the Same Again: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Gothic by Jesse Sublett, dated September 2003
- folder titled “miscellaneous” containing material in reference to medical files, research material, correspondence, photocopies of articles, & notes.
- folder titled “outlines” containing various printed outlines for Sublett’s books titled Supercool & Never the Same Again
- folder titled “How to Fly - Wright brothers” containing materials in reference to the history of flight
- folder containing tear sheets from The New York Times dated September 16, 2001.  Features article in reference to attacks made on the World Trade Center
- folder titled “Warsaw & Warhorse” containing 6 pages of photocopies of article from the Austin American-Statesman dated September 12, 1992 titled “Skunds’ Sublett struggles to keep stage excitement alive” & 6  pages of photocopies of article from The Plain Dealer dated March 18, 1982 titled “Night life in Poland has all but vanished”
- folder titled “Correspondence” containing various letters of correspondence
- untitled folder containing various pages of handwritten and typed notes in reference to Supercool .
- folder titled “Essays to polish” containing various essays by Jesse Sublett.  Titled included are as follows: “A few facts about me, Jesse Sublett”, “06/25/01 It was a sad day in heaven”, “Me & LBJ & LBJ Country”, “Rip Mambo”, “Birds 02/01/00”, “The Devil Beats His Wife”, “Jamming with Mick”.
- untitled folder containing correspondence, typed notes and copies of various articles.
- folder titled “good, rough stuff, work on next” containing various notes, poems and other miscellaneous materials
- folder titled “How to fly” containing newspaper clippings in reference to professional bicyclist, Lance Armstrong
- folder titled “Last Kiss” containing numerous versions of Last Kiss & Words, Love & Death - both by Jesse Sublett
- folder titled “Supercool pitch package” containing outline for Anything Can Happen Land and various photocopies of newspaper clippings in reference to Jesse Sublett
- typed manuscript titled Love & Death & Rock ‘n Roll by Jesse Sublett, dated March 2003
- clean complete typed manuscript titled  How to Fly: Reflections on cancer & rock ‘n roll by Jesse Sublett, dated December 22, 1999.
- annotated typed manuscript titled Supercool by Jesse Sublett.   Manuscript has index attached to front page with reads “This is the May 2001 draft copy I worked from while recruiting and transforming it to Anything can happen land”
- annotated complete typed manuscript titled Supercool by Jesse Sublett, dated February 2002.
- complete typed manuscript titled How to Fly: reflections on cancer & rock ‘n roll by Jesse Sublett
- clean complete typed manuscript titled  Supercool by Jesse Sublett, dated March 2002
- incomplete typed manuscript titled Supercool by Jesse Sublett, May/June 2001
- annotated complete typed manuscript titled How to Fly: reflections on cancer & rock ‘n roll by Jesse Sublett
- annotated typed manuscript titled  Anything Can Happen Land by Jesse Sublett, dated June 2001
- various typed annotated drafts for manuscript titled Supercool by Jesse Sublett, dated Jan/Feb 2001
- final complete typed draft for manuscript titled  Supercool by Jesse Sublett, dated February - May 2001



Accession 2008-035


The majority of material consists of working drafts of Marathon, a collaborative work with Darden Smith. Also included are CDs Murder Ballads & Noir Capers Part One and Beat Love Samples and a poster for the Marathon Read-thrus held at University of Texas Performing Arts Center.
Few items were in folders; those titles appear in quotation marks.

Box 1020 folder 1
Letter addressed to assistant curator Steve Davis describing gifted material, postcards for Marathon read-thru and workshop, flyer with cast and crew list for Marathon, first draft of first chapter of Sublett’s latest novel and CDs Murder Ballads & Noir Capers Part One and Beat Love Samples

Box 1020 folder 2
Synopsis and notes on Marathon

Box 1020 folder 3
Marathon draft 8, 2/10/08

Box 1020 folder 4
Marathon draft 5.7 “the version from 1-13-08 reading with notes

Box 1020 folder 5
Marathon draft 7.0, 1/12/08

Box 1020 folder 6
Marathon draft 5.5, 1/08/08 with notes

Box 1020 folder 7
Marathon draft 6 “rewrite after reading, need to cut down 20 min.”, 1/15/08

Box 1020 folder 8
Marathon draft 1

Box 1020 folder 9
Marathon I, 5/01/07

Box 1020 folder 10
Act IV with notes 5/19/07

Box 1020 folder 11
“Transcripts” – notes from Marathon plus images of bulls and armor helmets

Box 1020 folder 12
Marathon draft 3, 6/19/07

Box 1020 folder 13
Marathon draft 3.2 (or 3.4?), 6/20/07
Box 1020 folder 14
“Workshop” – Marathon draft 4. rewrite (workshop draft) with notes

Box 1020 folder 15
Marathon draft 4.2, 9/24/07

Box 1020 folder 16
Marathon draft 4 rewrite “first revisions since the workshop”, 9/11/07

Box 1020 folder 17
Marathon draft 3, 6/21/07 with numerous notes

Box 1020 folder 18
Marathon draft 2.6, 6/11/07

Box 1020 folder 19
Hand written notes on yellow legal pad

Box 1020 folder 20
Marathon draft 2/ 6/02/07 with handwritten notes

mapcase drawer 21
one 20” x 30” poster for Marathon “read-thrus” at University of Texas Performing Arts Center; poster has a few creases and a small black stain near the bottom edge



Accession 2014-054


SWWC Box 1819, Folder 2

Skunks ephemera:

15 handbills (some mounted on scrapbook pages)
Advertisement for “can’t get loose”
Invoice for Inner Sanctum Records
“The Drag Patrol” cartoon
The Skunks newsletter, September 1982
“Public News” issue for May 26, 1982 with a Skunks interview (portion cut out)



Accession 2015-032


BOX 1954 (1 of 1)
1954/1-2: Proofed Manuscript of Broke, Not Broken: Homer Maxey’s Texas Bank War, Dated February 13, 2014
1954/3-4: “Transcripts—Austin Gangster” of Interviews
1954/5-6: “Austin Underworld 2014—Chapters” Dated November 2014



Accession 2015-116


Small Manuscripts Box 1673 Folder 5

152 page draft of Eddie Wilson’s “Armadillo” memoir, revised by Jesse Sublet in red ink. The manuscript is the first half of the draft manuscript.



Accession 2016-141


Author Jesse Sublett’s collection of works including his research on his book 1960s Austin Gangsters: Organized Crime That Rocked the Capital; research on a book about gangster Timmy Overton; and a preliminary print of his book Armadillo World Headquarters which was co-written by Eddie Wilson. Also included are posters for his band, The Skunks, and various other posters to events where Sublett appeared, 2003-2016.

Box 2490 (Box 1 of 3)

Box    Folder

2490    1    Typeset proof of 1960s Austin Gangsters by Jesse Sublett, including page proof corrections,         
2490    2    Tim Overton notes pages 1-107 with copies of pictures and articles from primary                 sources, 2003-2004 (1 of 2)    
2490    3    Tim Overton notes pages 108-219 and correspondence to an archives, 2003-                2004 (2 of 2)
2490    4    Edited typescript and correspondence regarding book Armadillo World                     Headquarters by Eddie Wilson and Sublett, 2016
2490    5    Drafts of Timmy Overton book chapters 1-10, 2013-2014 (1 of 3)
2490    6    Drafts of Timmy Overton book chapters 11-18, 2013-2014 (2 of 3)
2490    7    Drafts of Timmy Overton book, various chapters, 2013-2014 (3 of 3)
2490    8    Draft of Esther Follies, 2016
2490    9    Edited version of “Stayin’ Alive” by Sublett first published in Texas Monthly in                 December of 1999, 2002
2490    10    Photocopy version of January 1964 Time Magazine, 1964
2490    11    Notes and correspondence for Broke Not Broken: Homer Maxey’s Texas Bank                 War, 2014
2490    12    Texas Monthly with article “Stayin’ Alive” by Sublett, December 1999 (1 of 2)
2490    13    Texas Monthly with article “Stayin’s Alive” by Sublett, with article “Forget the                 Soprano’s Meet the Binions” by Gary Cartwright, 1999 (2 of 2)
2490    14    4 Editions of Texas Observer, 2008-2009
2490    15    3 Copies of the New York Times Magazine, August 26, 2001
2490    16    A Celebration of Texas Writers Month, a booklet, March 7, 1996
2490    17    Supercool by Jesse Sublett, selected chapters from his memoir, 2001
2490    18    3 postcards for Boiled Concrete by Jesse Sublett, undated

Box 2491 (Box 2 of 3) Oversized Box

Box    Folder

2491    1    Poster for Tough Baby on foam board, undated
2491    2    Poster on foam board of meet the author of 1960s Austin’s Gangsters, undated
2491    3    3 posters for the Skunks debut album, undated  

2491    4    4 posters for the Skunks reunion and CD release, undated
2491    5    Poster for event for Jesse Sublett’s book, Marathon, at the UT Performing Arts                 Center, undated
2491    6    Various posters for Howlin’ Wolf birthday tributes with Jesse Sublett, undated

Box 2494 (3 of 3) Telescope Box

1    Large poster for Never The Same: A Rock ‘n Roll Gothic by Sublett, [2004]

Map Drawer 7

1    Poster for Never The Same: A Rock ‘n Roll Gothic by Sublett, [2004]