- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 24, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Clifford Antone, owner of the namesake blues club credited with launching the careers of Stevie Ray Vaughan and other musicians, died May 23 at his home. He was 56.

Laura Albrecht, a spokeswoman for the Austin Police Department, said officers responded to a 911 call at Mr. Antone’s home. His death did not appear to be suspicious, and the cause was being investigated, she said.

Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker and B.B. King performed at Antone’s, which became famous as the home club of rising Texas stars Mr. Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Mr. Vaughan died in a helicopter crash in 1990.

Mr. Antone was 25 when he founded the club, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.

In 1987, he also started Antone’s Records and Tapes, a recording label that featured many of the club’s top acts.

Mr. Antone went to prison on federal charges of drug trafficking and money laundering in 2000 and was released in 2003.

The charges stemmed from a plot to distribute more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana and launder roughly $950,000 in drug proceeds. Dozens of conspirators pleaded guilty in the scheme.

Mr. Antone also pleaded guilty in the early 1980s to a marijuana charge and served time in a federal prison camp.


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