music pictures by Pat Blashill

Inner Sanctum Records was the fount of secret music wisdom in Austin in the early eighties. They had all the newest, coolest, weirdest records, and perhaps more importantly, the staff there knew everything about everything they had in stock. The guys at the cash register would always pass judgment on whatever you were buying, and it was often not cool enough. They also hosted in-store appearances by touring bands and concerts in their parking lot. For all these reasons, Inner Sanctum had a huge influence on underground music in Austin.

Chris Gates, the Big Boys: I started going there in Junior High, probably not long after it opened. Bought a ton of used records there. In the fall of 1978 I saw a flyer on the Drag for a radio show on KUT called the Reverend Neil X Show that Neil Ruttenberg was doing. I tuned in on Sunday night at 10pm and the first 5 songs he played were by the Buzzcocks, The Clash, Stiff Little Fingers, Generation X and the Stranglers. After that I was hooked. At some point during the show he mentioned Inner Sanctum, and I made a bee-line down there after school on Monday. I started asking about the Buzzcocks song "Breakdown" and someone pointed me to Neil. The radio show on Sunday nights was the ONLY place to hear any punk or underground music in Austin and Inner Sanctum was the only place to find the records. I also believe that it was ground zero for the folkie/cosmic cowboy movement earlier in the 70's...

Sammy Jacobo, fan: My favorite in-store was the first time X came to Austin. I brought a folded, plain white 45 sleeve & they all signed it. [Guitarist Billy] Zoom looked me up and down, and he sneered, but he signed it anyway, without saying anything. Exene did this arty mirror image signature on the fold, which was just beautiful. But the best was [drummer] DJ Bonebrake. We actually talked for a while, & he mentioned his aunt. His autograph read: Sammy! My Aunt is sick in Baltimore!!!

Ricou Browning, fan: The in-stores could also be difficult. I was psyched to meet Squeeze when they appeared there. I was babbling to [keyboard player] Jools Holland and within seconds, I had revealed my utter ignorance of all things rockabilly. Major disapproval.

Jeffrey Liles, Artistic Director, The Kessler Theater, Dallas: My favorite lingering memory from Inner Sanctum is walking in one day and seeing the very first Motley Crue album cover (Too Fast For Love) nailed to the wall (with a nail literally right in the middle of Vince Neil's crotch) and a handwritten sign beneath it that read, "The Next Big Thing."

Sammy Jacobo, fan: None of us can be faulted for having a crush on Ant Girl. She was kind of gorgeous. All tall, long dark hair, dressed in black, always. Alabaster skin. The prettiest eyes. The perfect stripes, always. She could take a punch: "You know Adam Ant sucks, don't you?" The perfect eye-roll and sigh. Very mysterious. We'd invite her to hang, but she never did. Was she gay or straight? Doesn't matter. She was a wonderful, amazing woman. I hope she is happy and loved, no matter what.