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In open letter, Larry Joe Taylor tells Gov. Greg Abbott that musicians, bar owners deserve more.

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Larry Joe Taylor

Dear Gov. Abbott:

Timing is everything.

Last Friday morning some musician friends loaded up their van and trailer with musical equipment and newly bought merchandise.

They left Lubbock about 7 am headed for the Texas coast for a couple gigs over the weekend. They made it to somewhere on interstate 10 before they got a phone call that their gigs were canceled by you.

These musicians pooled their money to buy gas and merchandise to sell at their gigs that you canceled less than 12 hours before they were to take the stage.

Oh, and they had rented one motel room at their destination because that’s all they could afford. That motel has a 24-hour cancelation policy.

Twenty-four hour notice? Is that too much to ask for? Why not close on a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday? You could have saved a lot of money for the thousands of musicians who depend on the bars you closed at noon Friday.

Most of these guys haven’t had a decent paycheck in four months. Try that! These guys don’t get unemployment checks because they either don’t qualify or because your Texas Workforce Commission won’t answer the phone or return an email and they tell you not to contact them.

The bar owner on the coast that hired these Lubbock musicians is also a friend of mine. She had just received and paid cash for (per TABC rules) a large order of product in anticipation of a big Friday night.

Instead she spent most of her money on stock that the distributor can’t take back because your TABC says they can’t.

Twenty-four hour notice? Is that too much to ask for?

Speaking of the TABC...Their Motto: Texans helping businesses and protecting communities.

It’s on their website.

I believe the TABC should refund the portion of the license fee during forced closings by you.

It’s the only fair thing to do. Bar owners collect your 16% tax for you and send it to you every month, so you can fund the TABC.

Speaking of that why are you not laying off TABC agents and where is the money coming from to pay them?

I am a lifelong Texan, musician, bar owner and festival promoter. I am proud to be all those things but I think it’s time someone stood up for what appears to be now second class citizens.

Thrown aside as non-professions. I understand the serious climate of today’s situation and will do my part in the fight against COVID-19 but we as musicians, bar owners, bartenders and festival promoters can’t be singled out as “the problem.”

I will not address the elephant in the room or point a finger.

I read about something called “Unfounded Mandates” which I understood to mean that you can’t close a business and not offer compensation.

Yes, double negatives. Seeing a lot of those lately.

Thanks for your time and please do me and all the musicians, bar owners and bartenders a favor.

Before you make decisions that affect a lot of Texans. Please, please sir, twenty-four hour notice? Is that too much to ask for?

Please let us return to work or give us some support.

Larry Joe Taylor


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