The Suicide Commandos stretched their farewell shows over three nights at the Longhorn in 1978. At one point, Flamingo's Robert Wilkinson came onstage and grabbed Chris Osgood's guitar. Others sat in on drums and bass. "All three of us [Commandos] went back to the soundboard and watched ourselves play," Osgood reminisced. "It had sort of a Tom Sawyer-esque thrill to it."

Local bands typically got paid $150 to $200 to play the Longhorn. Big-name groups from out of town earned $750 — even the Police and Blondie. "I turned down Tom Petty 'cause they wanted $1,500," recalled Longhorn general manager Al Wodtke. "Joe Perry called from Aerosmith and wanted $1,500. It wasn't in the numbers. Liquor sales kept us going."

A top executive from the Private Stock record label and producer Richard Gottehrer, who had worked with Blondie and the Go-Go's, came to see Flamingo at the Longhorn. "They were very interested in signing the band," Wodtke recalled. "They wanted to go talk to them in the dressing room after the show but Flamingo's de facto manager said, 'We're not talking to anybody. We're working on our own thing.' They were that close to signing probably a million-dollar record deal."

Hypstrz drummer John Haga recalls a Longhorn show when he first saw Curtiss A perform. "I thought: I have to play with him. He was such a powerful force." Haga has backed Curt off and on for four decades, but his fondest Longhorn memory may be of Margaret Duval, who sold tickets and handled the guest list at the door. "She was a cougar long before it had a name," he said. "I thank her and her plastic pants. That was an awesome thing for a young man of 18."

Jon Bream