My buddy, Todd Fox helped me film this. Today would have been Walt Whitman’s 201st birthday, so I decided to talk about what he meant to me at a younger age. I also read from section 32 of Song Of Myself and ramble on a bit with some personal thoughts. Ol’ Walt’s ideas were a bit different than the ideas I grew up around and I’m sure they were a positive influence on my young, developing brain. I’d like to claim that I’m not “demented with the mania of owning things,” but I do like my guitars and amps and Walt Whitman books. And therein lies the rub.
Thanks for giving a damn,
-Otis

A true story about Johnny Cash trying to shake my hand in a dark alley behind The Vogue in Indianapolis. Please help me spread the word by sharing this on social media and telling your friends about it.

Thank ya kindly,

-Otis

Hey friends,
I have some not so great news that I need to share with ya. My UK Tour that was scheduled for July 2020 is not gonna happen. We’d hoped upon hope that things would get better and we kept putting it off, but it’s time to face the facts. We need to do the right thing and cancel this tour.

I’m fortunate to have met so many wonderful people on these tours. Whether it’s the promoters in big cities and small towns or the people I get to chat with after the shows, I definitely get to see the best of folks every night. I can’t imagine doing anything to harm these people who have been so good to me. The reality is, it would be irresponsible of me to do this tour, so I’m gonna stay home for now.

I’m not gonna lie, this will put us in a pretty rough financial bind, but we’ll find a way to work it out. Almost everyone I know is without an income right now, so I know we’re not alone.

I look at it this way. It’s raining like hell, my family and I are standing in the middle of a field, huddled under a rickety umbrella. We’re trying to hang on the best we can. If we can hold out long enough, maybe we’ll find shelter under a tree, maybe we can even help someone else find cover. Until then, we’re gonna hunker down as best we can until the storm finally passes. And the good news is, the storm will pass. And when it does, I’ll jump on a plane and come sing some songs for y’all.

Here’s to better days!

Thanks for giving a damn,
-Otis

My earliest childhood memory is my grandpa playing music with his friends on New Years Eve 1969-70. Exactly 50 years later, I sat around and played that same guitar with my friends on New Years Eve 2019-20. Here’s to good friends and good music in 2020.

Thanks for giving a damn,

-Otis

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I went to a high school basketball game with my buddies, Dale Lawrence and Mike Crowder. Dale and Mike have been attending high school basketball games for the past 25 years and they’ve been to every high school gym in Indiana multiple times. Dale is the singer in my all time favorite Indiana band, The Vulgar Boatmen (I’ve seen them over 100 times) and he wrote a book about Indiana high school basketball. I first met Mike when he worked at Karma Records in Greenwood, Indiana back in the early 80s. That’s where I bought my first Ramones, Dead Boys, Butch Hancock and Devo albums and a lot more. Back in the days before the internet, these mom and pop record stores and the weirdos behind the counter were a lifeline to kids like me. I can’t imagine how bland my life might have been without these mom and pop record stores filling in the gaps. Indiana has some beautiful old historic gyms and I want to see them all while they’re still around. We took in Scottsburg’s home opener against their bitter rival, Austin. Two tiny schools that hate each other, what’s not to love about that? Mellencamp’s Pink Houses video was filmed in Austin, Indiana (FYI). The Scottsburg gym is called the Pressure Cooker. The school system only has around 800 kids, but a few thousand people pack into the Pressure Cooker for games. They take it pretty seriously. A reporter from a Louisville newspaper once wrote a piece about how the town takes it’s basketball too seriously, so the town had him burned in effigy in the town square. Supposedly the reporter laughed it off. It’s hard to describe how great the atmosphere was and it felt like stepping into a time machine. The crowd was unbelievably loud. It sounded like The Beatles at Shea Stadium every time Scottsburg hit a layup. It costs five bucks to get in and it was worth every damn cent. We’re gonna take in another game tonight and my buddy, Todd is gonna come along. I think I’m settling back into this Indiana groove quite nicely. . . . . . #hoosier #Indiana #indianapolis #history #ihsaa #basketball #recordstore

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We filmed this at Slaid Cleaves’ home in Wimberley, Texas. My old school Austin friends will enjoy hearing Slaid talk about Butch Hancock’s old store, Lubbock Or Leave It. If you have any stories about Lubbock Or Leave It, please post them in the comments because I’d love to hear them. Slaid also told a story about his father’s guitar. Slaid’s wife Karen, made us a seriously great breakfast. She even made homemade bagels and they were easily the best I’d ever had. She should get a trophy or something.

This is the second episode in this series. If you enjoy this or any other episode, please share it with someone. It’s not easy to get the word out and I need all the help I can get.

The short version: I made this video while visiting a few Robert Johnson sites in the Mississippi Delta. There’s a lot more to it than that, but this is the short version, after all.

The long version: For the last few months, I’ve been secretly working on a new project called Old Weird America. After much consternation, I’ve decided today is the day to set it lose into the wild. It’s a video journal of my travels, featuring some of the people and things I care about. Like most everything else I do, this is a completely DIY project, held together with duct tape and good intentions. My buddy, Todd Fox, helped film this and I’m doing everything else. (Neither of us know anything about any of this.) It’s a ton of work, I’ll probably lose a lot of money and maybe even make a fool of myself. That’s usually a recipe for something worthwhile.

Look for one episode a week for the first five episodes and then settle into one episode a month. If you dig it, please share it with somebody. I’m gonna need a lot of help getting the word out. I’ll post more info in the comments down below, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’ll do my best to tell some good stories and keep you entertained.
Thanks for giving a damn,
-Otis

The tour ended last night with a sold out show in San Sebastian, Spain. Thanks to everyone who came to my gigs over the…

Posted by Otis Gibbs on Saturday, July 1, 2017

Otis Gibbs -Sputnik Monroe (Official Video)

This is the story of how a professional wrestler fought to desegregate a Memphis auditorium. Sputnik Monroe was a "bad guy" or "heel" who wrestled in Memphis in the late 1950s. It was his job to make wrestling fans hate him so much, that they would lay down their hard earned money to see him get beat by the "good guy." He was so good at his job, that thousands of people paid to see him wrestle every Monday night at Ellis Auditorium. When he wasn't wrestling, he was hanging out with his friends in the cafes on Beale Street. Sputnik was one of the few white people that you'd find on Beale Street and his friends were all black. He was often arrested for the crime of being a white person who would dare to drink in public with a black person. This was scandalous at the time. When his day in court arrived, he was the first white person in Memphis to be represented by (his friend) a black lawyer. This was even more scandalous. It became common knowledge among the African American community of Memphis that Sputnik Monroe was alright. When his black friends came to see him wrestle, they were forced to sit in the balcony, while the whites sat in the good seats down below. When Sputnik entered the ring, a huge round of cheers would rain down from the balcony. This would make the white folks hate him even more. Sputnik one day confronted the promoters and told them that he would refuse to wrestle unless they allowed his black friends to sit anywhere they wanted. The promoters realized that Sputnik was making them a ton of money, so they gave in to his demands. This lead to the very first desegregated sporting event in the southern part of the United States. All of that because a professional wrestler was willing to take a principled stand. Imagine what the rest of us might be capable of.I think more people should know about Sputnik Monroe, so I wrote this song. Please share this with anyone who might be interested. I need your help to get the word out.Thanks for giving a damn,-Otis

Posted by Otis Gibbs on Friday, February 3, 2017

This is the story of how a professional wrestler fought to desegregate a Memphis auditorium. Sputnik Monroe was a “bad guy” or “heel” who wrestled in Memphis in the late 1950s. It was his job to make wrestling fans hate him so much, that they would lay down their hard earned money to see him get beat by the “good guy.” He was so good at his job, that thousands of people paid to see him wrestle every Monday night at Ellis Auditorium. When he wasn’t wrestling, he was hanging out with his friends in the cafes on Beale Street. Sputnik was one of the few white people that you’d find on Beale Street and his friends were all black. He was often arrested for the crime of being a white person who would dare to drink in public with a black person. This was scandalous at the time. When his day in court arrived, he was the first white person in Memphis to be represented by (his friend) a black lawyer. This was even more scandalous. It became common knowledge among the African American community of Memphis that Sputnik Monroe was alright. When his black friends came to see him wrestle, they were forced to sit in the balcony, while the whites sat in the good seats down below. When Sputnik entered the ring, a huge round of cheers would rain down from the balcony. This would make the white folks hate him even more. Sputnik one day confronted the promoters and told them that he would refuse to wrestle unless they allowed his black friends to sit anywhere they wanted. The promoters realized that Sputnik was making them a ton of money, so they gave in to his demands. This lead to the very first desegregated sporting event in the southern part of the United States.

All of that because a professional wrestler was willing to take a principled stand. Imagine what the rest of us might be capable of.

I think more people should know about Sputnik Monroe, so I wrote this song. Please share this with anyone who might be interested. I need your help to get the word out.
Thanks for giving a damn,
-Otis

The day Ernest T. Bass terrorized Nashville. Howard Morris came to town on Nov. 22, 1986, to celebrate Ernest T. Bass…

Posted by Otis Gibbs on Friday, May 19, 2017

You can listen to Mount Renraw in it’s entirety on the player below. Please help us spread the word by sharing this with your friends and/or including Mount Renraw on your next Spotify playlist.

This is my love letter to the back roads and byways of old, weird America. From my new album, Mount Renraw (released January 13th, 2017). Thank you kindly for sharing this with your friends and helping me get the word out.  -Otis