St. Martin’s Press
Today marks the 19th anniversary of the death of Stevie Ray Vaughan. The legendary guitarist died in a helicopter crash at the tender age of 35. Now, the co-author of Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan — a recently-published New York Times bestseller — says Stevie Ray’s stellar musical legacy has been eclipsed by something even more legendary: his sobriety.
“Somebody asked me, ‘If you could go back and have one conversation with Stevie Ray Vaughan right now, what would you ask him?’” Texas Flood co-author Alan Paul tells Billboard. “I said, ‘I don’t think I would ask him anything musical — I would tell him that, 30 years later, people are still inspired by him to change their lives.’”
Paul says that while researching for the book, a Vaughan family member who was just “a toddler” when Stevie Ray died told him, “I like his music, but I’m a recovering alcoholic…in AA. Stevie is an icon of recovery and the program and we talk about him a lot and we listen to some recordings of his talks.”
Paul says that kind of input changed the focus of the book, which — while certainly paying homage to Vaughan’s musical legacy — chronicles his decades-long struggle and ultimate victory over drugs and alcohol.
Indeed, in 2015, when John Mayer inducted Stevie Ray into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he said in his speech, “Because of Stevie, I grew up proudly turning down every drug and drink ever offered to me because in my mind, that could bring me closer to being like the man I never met and never could.”
Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan is available now from St. Martin’s Press.
Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.