Hey Augie! ¿Que Paso?
Grammy winning, Texas music legend, Augie Meyers, has made a name for himself here in his home town & worldwide. Some of Augie’s hits include "She’s About A Mover" (1964) and "Mendocino" (1969). My favorite Augie tune, “Hey Baby Que Paso” (1990), has been called the San Antonio National Anthem. I sat with the 73 year old as he shared his stories, a few jokes, and his next move as the musician we all love.
Tell me about growing up in San Antonio and the music industry.
I was raised by my grandparents in St Hedwig— no stove, an outhouse & a well. It was a great upbringing. I had polio for 10 years & couldn’t walk so I learned to play the piano. Doug Sahm and I were friends at the age of 12 and in 1965 we became the Sir Douglas Quintet. We cut a hit record “She's About a Mover” and that started our musical career. In 1990, me & Doug started the Texas Tornados with Freddy Fender & Flaco (Jimenez). I can’t play just one kind of music. I got an accordion & started playing conjunto in the 70s. I wrote “Hey Baby Que Paso” and it got recorded in 14 different languages. When you’re in a crowd of 10,000 people & they’re all singing your song it just makes you feel great.
What keeps you going?
My philosophy in life is I do whatever I have to do to be able to do what I want to do and what I want to do is whatever comes to mind. I want the most, I expect the least, I appreciate what I get and I run like hell with it. I’m 73 years old & it’s not your age that matters it how you matter it.
I had a kidney transplant 4 years ago & was on dialysis for 13 months—9 hours a day. We went on tour to California & New York and we’d plug in the machine on the bus & prayed that nothing happened. It became our routine. We went through 22 donors before we found a match—a stranger who called into a Dallas radio station thanks to my son. I had 8 operations before my 15th birthday, cancer in ’98, my colon ruptured in ’99, and last June I had gallbladder surgery. I figure Heaven wasn’t ready for me and hell’s afraid I’d take over.
The secret of life is having angels. Everybody has angels. My grandfather told me years ago, “Anytime you fall, brush yourself off & start over.” I fall a lot and people say “Oh you tripped” and I reply, “Yeah it was the only one I could afford!”
What are you working on now?
I’m writing a book called “Augieisms. Thoughts to Think About.” You’ll read these one-liners & say “Hey! That’s true.” I’ve got another book I’m writing about an old couple “Velma and Otto.” She’s an 88 year old retired hooker & he’s 91. I want to do a comedy album & I’m working on a song “You used to be on my mind now you just get on my nerves.” I want to do everything I can before I go. I don’t know how long I’ll be here but I’m gonna do as much as I can while I’m here. I’m doing what I want to do and I’m thankful to the good Lord for letting me do it.
Editor’s Note: This article was written by Genevieve Muniz of Senior Directory. Special thanks to Augie Meyers and his wife Sarah.