By Taylor Rexrode
Many Texans, particularly in younger generations, view Austin as the music capital of Texas with its eclectic music scene and the nationally recognized South by Southwest festival. However, one Baylor alumnus shows in his documentary that Dallas, not Austin, used to be the hub for music in the southwest.
Alumnus Kirby Warnock attended Baylor during the early 1970s, a time when Dallas pulled major rock artists from across the country. His documentary “When Dallas Rocked,” which will show at 7 p.m. today in 101 Marrs McLean Science Building, is free and open to the public.
The film focuses on how Dallas was a popular and influential city for contemporary music during this time period.
Warnock said much of his inspiration for the film came during his years as a Baylor undergraduate. He said many of his peers began listening to KZEW or “The Zoo,” a contemporary music station that began broadcasting from Dallas in 1973.
“There was nothing else like it on the air,” Warnock said. “It was considered an underground FM station because it played more obscure bands and we were listening to it all the time.”
This piqued Warnock’s interest in the Dallas music scene. He would often attend concerts in Dallas since, he said, “there were a lot more concerts in Dallas than in Austin back then,” and during one concert visit, he picked up a copy of Buddy magazine. Buddy began publishing material on the Texas music scene in 1973 and when Warnock graduated from Baylor in 1974, he began working for the magazine, which made him available to the hottest rock artists at the time.
One of Warnock’s favorite memories as an editor for Buddy magazine was getting to hang out with the B-52s, a new wave band from Atlanta that came on the scene in 1976. He also was able to meet and photograph artists such as Eric Clapton and Freddie King, both of whom were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“Myself and everyone else didn’t realize at the time how neat it was,” Warnock said. “We took it for granted. We didn’t realize at the time how fleeting it was.”
Warnock said much of his reason for creating the film came from the realization that his experience in Dallas was fleeting.
“When you’re young, you think the good times will last forever,” Warnock said. “We had no idea how good it was. I wanted to capture that moment because that was a story that wasn’t really told.”
He began creating the film in the summer of 2013 and finished in September. It premiered on Sept. 26 in Oak Cliff, a suburb of Dallas. Baylor will kick off the films traveling showings.
Warnock contacted Dr. James Kendrick, associate professor in the communication department, about showing the film on campus.
“I was more than happy to make that happening,” Kendrick said. “We always love screening films made by alumni.”
He said he thinks students will be interested in the film and that it would still apply to students today though its subject is based on the 1970s.
“College students tend to inherently be interested in music,” Kendrick said. “It’s interesting to see how artists get started. It was different obviously in the ’70s, but a lot of it is still the same today.”
Warnock said he wants students to take away from the film a sense of enjoying the moment while it lasts.
“Don’t always be looking for the next big thing because sometimes the next big thing is in your hometown,” Warnock said. “Take a look around and appreciate what you have, and try to get out and listen to live music as much as you can. It’s one thing to listen to it on your stereo or iPod and another thing to be in the same room as the artist.”