Inquiring Minds

Ian Moore: When Good Record Deals Go Bad

Ian Moore had both the good fortune and misfortune to be a young, good-looking Austin guitar hero who came to prominence shortly after Stevie Ray Vaughan's death created an opening for the position. Joe Ely drafted the native Austinite for the recording and touring cycle behind 1992's Love and Danger, after which the eponymous group Moore founded with bassist Chris White, keyboardist Bukka Allen and drummer Michael Villegas became one of the top draws at legendary venues such as Steamboat and Antone's, rooms Vaughan had trod himself not too many years before.

That was enough to pique Capricorn Records' interest, and the Georgia-based label added the Ian Moore Band to a roster that, at one time or another, also included the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band, Wet Willie, Cake and 311. Capricorn released two albums, 1993's Ian Moore and '95's Modernday Folklore, both of which got heavy rotation on stations such as Austin's KLBJ and Houston's KLOL, sending a handful of songs ("How Does It Feel," "Nothing," "Muddy Jesus") into Billboard's Mainstream Rock Top 25. Soon the band found itself sharing stages with the likes of Bob Dylan, ZZ Top and the Rolling Stones.

But Moore never wanted to be the next Stevie Ray Vaughan. Fiercely intelligent and equally strong-willed, he had always been interested in power-pop and roots-rock, and when those sounds dominated the third album he handed in to Capricorn, Walden hit the roof. As Moore told Rocks Off in this week's print issue, the musician and the label owner even came to blows. That was the end of Moore's tenure on Capricorn, as well as the Ian Moore Band itself.

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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