Guitar Player magazine called Jimmie Vaughan "a living legend." He's one of the most respected guitarists in the world of popular music. He started playing guitar when he was 13, and his mother said of his immediate adeptness, "It was like he played it all his life." His fans aren't just "fans"; they include other guitarists and musicians of significant renown, including Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and his brother, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.
He is that good. But he's more than a musician. He is a classic-car builder and restorer. He is also a sounding board in the entertainment industry, beating a persistent S.O.S. about the fate of our country if we don't limit government and abide by the Constitution. He tries to convince other performers to join his tune so that everyone can hear. Of our country's slide into globalism, this Grammy Award-winning blues guitarist says to fellow musicians, "If we don't reclaim constitutional government fast, we may wake up to find that only government-approved musicians will have a gig to play!"
THE NEW AMERICAN: What is your background?
Jimmie Vaughan: I grew up in Dallas, and began playing in different bands in the mid-'60s. I ran off from home when I was 15 and decided I wanted to be a blues guitar player, which was the other side of the universe in terms of reality, but that's what I wanted to do and it was the best thing that could have happened. I was forced to be on my own. I went to San Francisco and Oakland playing guitar and looking for gigs. Then I came back to Dallas and got a job in a lumberyard, trying to get enough money to move to Austin. Austin back then was like San Francisco, wide open, lots of opportunities to play music. You could get gigs in clubs and play the kind of music you wanted. I moved to Austin in 1970 to play the blues full-time. I had big, crazy dreams of being a blues guitar player. I didn't know it at the time, but I learned that dreams come true. They don't always come when you want them, but with determination and hard work, they do come. That's why I have hopes about this constitutional government thing we're all chasing here.
TNA: How and when did you first become aware that something was wrong in America?
Vaughan: Well, I was in grade school in Dallas when Kennedy was assassinated. I was just down the road. That set the stage and had a big impact on my curiosity and my ability to trust "official" stories. And I remember thinking something was wrong around the time Clinton was going out and Bush was coming in. Before that, I didn't pay much attention to these things. I was ignorant and uninformed. I saw Michael Badnarik on television warning about the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto; he went through the Bill of Rights, and then said "if you want a copy of this, call me," so I did and that's what started it. Then I read Common Sense by Thomas Paine. It's a great book; everyone should read it. Then I got Ron Paul's "Republic If You Can Keep It," and I started going to Constitution classes. After a while I realized it wasn't really as complicated as I thought it was.
TNA: What are you reading now?
Vaughan: I just got The Mystery of Banking by Murray Rothbard. I stay informed and read the news on the Internet, and I watch The Simple Truth (a local cable-access TV show) and Alex Jones. When you figure out what they're up to and why, it changes the way the headlines look. You can see it coming — there it is! You know what's behind it. I'm reading the new Ron Paul book and I keep re-reading Common Sense.
TNA: Did you find that what you'd been taught in school was different from what you were now learning?
Vaughan: I had a teacher in junior high who read the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. I didn't go to high school, remember, I ran off. But in a way, it was good because I didn't have the usual brainwashing from the government training camp they call school. Now when I'm interested in a subject, I research it and come to my own conclusion.
I had also never understood the Federal Reserve System, and asked a banker friend about it, but he couldn't explain to me how it works. I then read G. Edward Griffin's Creature from Jekyll Island, and there you go. It's not really federal, it's private. It creates money and debt, then charges it all back to the taxpayer. It's inflation and a hidden tax. It's slavery! I knew something was wrong, though — everybody knows something's wrong. But people just don't want to talk about it. They don't know how to put it all together. It's really not difficult though. After I began to understand the history of our country and the reason for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, it all started making sense and showed just how off track we really are. It just made sense. You just know in your knower that it's right.
TNA: How did your new understanding affect your career?
Vaughan: Seems like a lot of musicians here and all around the country, just like most people, are still caught up in the fake left-right thing. They'll jump on the bandwagon with whoever is popular. It's "Democrats good, Republicans bad," or "Republicans good, Democrats bad," that sort of thing.
They are like I was with the first Bush campaign. Who knew what was ahead? Well, a lot of Constitution-loving, well-informed people did, just not me! I will never let this happen again. A lot of the entertainment business people say, "Yeah, healthcare, or free gas!" or whatever it is. But if you don't understand the way it's supposed to work, and that we live in a republic, not a democracy, then you don't understand how you're being manipulated to support socialism and not constitutional government. If you don't know how it's supposed to work, you'll go for anything.
TNA: What is it like to be a constitutionalist in the entertainment industry?
Vaughan: It was wonderful being with the Ron Paul Revolution and those who participated, but I don't really know anyone else who even knows what I'm talking about in the entertainment business. I have very few industry friends who understand this or even think about it. I'm sure there are other people who feel the same way I do. I don't know them yet, but I'm looking.
TNA: What do you do personally to take action? Do you contact your representatives?
Vaughan: I speak out in my arena. I hope I can influence people around me to think about the issues. And I play benefits for different organizations if I think it will help, like Ron Paul. I played for the Texas Motorcycle Rights Association. I support what they do because they are all about personal responsibility and liberty. I write songs that hopefully make people think about liberty or the lack of. I also contact my representatives. That's what I do.
TNA: Do you see that you are having an effect?
Vaughan: Hopefully I'm like a farmer planting seeds. People have posted a couple of songs that I wrote on YouTube like "No Shackles On Me," about RFIDs, Big Brother, and all that. ["Got the blues about my freedom, got the blues about tyranny ... shame on Big Brother, no more slavery."] A couple of musician friends are starting to look at things differently. I hope more entertainers start waking up, or there's not gonna be a gig! If these government controls keep happening like they are, they're gonna be telling us what to play or sing, if we are able to play at all. At the very least they will tell us what we can't say. I have to sing and play what I feel — it's mine.
TNA: Does your public expression of your political beliefs affect your audiences or the way you perform?
Vaughan: No, it doesn't. My music has always been about entertainment. Music should be about having fun, even if sometimes it can be political. I understand when a musician takes a political stance, it can be a turn-off. But my political stance is about freedom, and hopefully that is something that brings folks together. My career has always been completely selfish, musically speaking. I figure if I don't like it, I can't expect anyone else to. No one can tell you what kind of music to like — that's also freedom!
TNA: Do you have a particular issue that concerns you?
Vaughan: For me, the Trans Texas Corridor [the Texas portion of the NAFTA Superhighway] got my attention. The TTC is not so much about bringing stuff to the United States as it is about taking it out — minerals, jobs, and everything we've got — for their pleasure. You know, "them!" The globalists! They're building it anyway, and telling us it's not happening! The elections have been a big distraction for a lot of things, and the globalists know that. And then there's immigration, the Patriot Act, 9/11, the war, the bailout. Where do I start? And the same goes with the environmental message. I don't deny there's pollution, but if there's global warming, it's coming from the sun. I didn't do it! As a family, an important issue for us is home schooling.
TNA: Tell the readers about home schooling and what's ahead for America's children.
Vaughan: We are home-schooling our children. We won't send them to public school. Austin's a great place for this. What I understand is that central Texas has one of the largest groups of home-schoolers in the nation. I hear there are almost 400,000 in Texas alone. There are lots of classes and resources; we have several curriculums. They'll learn to read from McGuffey's Readers and all that. They are already ahead for their age, as young as they are, but right now, we want them to be kids and go outside and eat some dirt!
TNA: How about the North American Union?
Vaughan: How 'bout that! It's a bad deal, of course. This NAFTA SuperHighway is part of the North American Union, and I learned a lot about it from reading The New American. We have a little place with some acres and a farmhouse, and I was, and still am, concerned that the highway will encroach on my property, but we still haven't been told anything. We went to speak out against the Trans Texas Corridor at a couple of the public meetings that were held. At the meetings, too many speakers on the TxDOT [Texas Department of Transportation] panel were not even from Texas! The speaker at one meeting had a barely intelligible foreign accent. You couldn't tell what he was saying. Some people attending had been living on the land owned by their families for hundreds of years. TxDOT was explaining how they were gonna take the property, the process of "buying" it, and state troopers were stationed around the back of the room! The meeting wasn't "people talking to people" — it was designed to be intimidating. They had their fancy charts and all that stuff, and they didn't want us to face the audience when we spoke. We were to face the panel, and they weren't allowed to answer any questions, and they recorded everything we said. I left mad, and so did everyone else. They were telling us stuff that didn't tell us anything! I didn't learn anything except that they were gonna steal the land. They asked, "Who's against the road?" and everyone in the room raised their hands. Then they asked, "Who's for this?" Only one guy from TxDOT raised his hand. That was my experience at this particular meeting. I don't think there's anyone who is for this road.
TNA: How does your faith play a part?
Vaughan: I now realize that God has been with me my whole life. I didn't always know that. God's been pushing me along, guiding me, directing me, and protecting me, and so why would He bring me along and show me this information and then drop me like a hot potato? I know how scary all this can be, but for me, I have faith that God won't drop us. He wouldn't lead us to the scary part and then leave. I'm a student of liberty and of life, and I'm still learning.
TNA: What about this war?
Vaughan: I'm anti-war. I like what the Founding Fathers said. We should defend ourselves and take care of business if we are attacked, but invading sovereign countries is absolutely ridiculous, horrifying, un-American, and wrong. Who could have imagined that it would be like this? We shouldn't police the world.
TNA: What is the solution?
Vaughan: Turn off the television! For people to wake up, read the Constitution, and hold our elected representatives accountable for their actions. It's pretty simple. I remember when I was a kid, I didn't understand about war, the money system, and government. But I'm here to say that you can find the answers. Read, speak out, get away from the mainstream media, think for yourself. All this stuff about "the Constitution is outdated and we're in the high-tech, global this and that" is just talking points for them.
For me, I'm just a guy who loves his family and his country, plays guitar, and wants to make art, not war. I have hope, and I have faith that we will have constitutional government again. It's not over.
Kelly Taylor Holt is an Austin-based writer and filmmaker, and the producer of a politically based TV talk show.
Photo: Bob Dacy