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Christian Country Singer + Cowboy Hat + Amarillo Diner = Beating

In about 45 minutes, Rocks Off will publish the first in our series of musical guides to post-secession Texas (you know it's gonna happen, y'all). Today we're focusing on the Panhandle-area state of "Palo Duro." This as-yet fictional state includes the city of Amarillo, about which - as our guide John Nova Lomax points out - Billy Joe Shaver once wrote "ain't worth passing through" and Bob Dylan simply called "the land of the living dead."

No doubt God-fearing country singer Dean Strickland would agree. Strickland, whose fondness for hitchhiking from gig to gig has understandably earned him the nickname "The Hitchhiking Guitarman," sent out an email this morning describing how he was allegedly assaulted at Amarillo's Golden Light Cantina Monday evening. Shortly after he and his friends sat down, Strickland says, the Golden Light manager approached them and asked them to leave. When Strickland asked why, the manager said "We don't let douche bags in here."

On their way out the door, he alleges, the manager punched Strickland in the back of the head and proceeded to beat him in the street until one of Strickland's friends pulled him off. Read Strickland's account of the incident after the jump.

"My friends and I went to the Golden Light Cantina on 6th Street in Amarillo, Texas on August 10, 2009, and seated ourselves for dinner at about 7:15 p.m.. The manager approached me, tapped me on my shoulder, and told me I had to leave, saying that he was following the orders of Angela, the owner in telling me to leave.

"I said to my friends "I'm being told to leave let's go." As my friends and I were leaving, walking out the front door I asked the manager, "Why am I being told to leave?" He replied, "We don't let douche bags in here." With one foot practically out the door I looked back at him in the eye, and replied "What are you talking about? There's a douche bag right there."

"Then I turned my head looking outside, continuing walking out the door when the manager then hit me in the back of my head, which caused me to begin falling to the ground, and my cowboy hat rolled down the sidewalk. When I fell to the sidewalk the manager continued punching on me as I held my right arm up to block those punches, and in my left hand I was holding my guitar case.

"After being punched by the manager several times in my head, and once in my nose, he continued beating on me me until I had moved forward off the sidewalk, and was lying down in a large puddle of water in the street, due to a heavy rain earlier that day, and my friend grabbed him, pulling him off of me, and telling him to stop, that enough was enough.

"Afterward, I immediately called the Amarillo Police Department, and when they showed up I filed a written complaint for assault against the manager."

"I asked [police] to arrest him and they did not," Strickland, who appears on KPFT's Night Sounds October 16, says via email. "And I told them I wanted to charge him with assault [a Class C misdemeanor], and they said the report was the charge."

As you'll see shortly, this would never have happened in Lubbock.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray