Byrd Light Show
is Jay Ashcraft, in 1967 I started Jay Byrd Light Show (JBLS)
and performed with many bands particularly Gold
Rush mostly I was the only light show in South Texas
circa 66-70. Also worked the Austin, Houston Corpus circuit.
In the 60's I think I was the first to perform live light show
on television at the Arcadia Theater in Harlingen Texas with
the Band Thirteenth Hour Dream
on KGBT to the Eric Burdon and the Animals
cover of Sky Pilot. It was quite a trick to use the TV stations
huge bulky Back and White tube cameras to get enough video signal
with the available light. But we did it and it was great. We
timed the show to start and they turned the house and extra
TV lights off and then I turned on the stage lights, and several
overheads, slide projectors and
The bands I worked with wrote light parts to songs just as the
other players had their parts to their songs. I was part of
the band though I always was plugged in posters and ads as Jay
Byrd Light Show but know as and nicknamed JBLS or just LS or
I was lucky to study and perform with Jim
Franklin at Vulcan Gas Company
with Johnny Winter. We would crawl
up the latter and pull the later up and be up there and getting
high off the chemicals. The light booth was cool cause once
you pulled the later up no one could get up there so you could
party. And right above the light booth was a hole into the attic
or upstairs where you could crawl in and Jim
Franklin crashed up there and it had mattresses all over
the floor and was a trip. So you could sneak up to the light
show pull the later up play lights to Johnny
Winter then go up into the level above and get high in
a chill space
that no one could get to and et high and still listen to Johnny
Winter downstairs playing live all tripped out on speed
playing riffs so fast you cant even hear them, I still can't
believe it, but it was real. And the Light Show was part of
I was also lucky to play and study with Jelly
Wall Eyes Pack at Love Street Light Circus in Houston with
the Moving Sidewalks, Gold Rush
and the Shades. I wonder where
Granny is? She was a trip at Love Street. And those stairs at
toting equipment or coming down after a night at the club. Love
Street Light Circus and Feel Good Machine with Jelly
Eyes Pack was the coolest club ever with a stage right there
in your face and intimate with mattresses right in front with
several rows of folk laying down to Shiva's
Headband or Moving Sidewalks
and zonked on LSD. The sides had tables with bars in front and
upstairs was the trip room and it was.
One time I remember at an old Air Force Base in Harlingen in
an old Movie Theater playing the lights with Vicky Compton (Todd
Potter of Bubble Puppy ex-wife
) and the band stopped after a long jam song and I literally
fell back on my back in the balcony.
We used old clock faces on the overheads and blow dryers and
straws and smaller clock faces to move the colored oils and
colored water We would flapping the output lens strobing between
several overheads to the music. Also used multiple slide projectors,
movie projectors, strobes, color wheel boxes I built, and lights
that would mix to the tempo and pitch with red being hottest,
then yellow, then green, then blue for the lows. I would mix
my oil colors ahead of time and the water I used food coloring
when I mixed the colors. My base was mineral oil.
The only premixed commercial oil I used was red transmission
fluid It would mix well with the other grade oils and would
change as time went by and would work well under the glass clock
faces when they were pressed together. I had some creative sources
for supplies. I had tons of films and surf films old war films,
tons of weird slides I would make painting
on films burning them etc.
I even communicated with Stan Brackage as my mentor when I was
16 when I was developing images. He would write me from his
neat dome light show home in Stoney Point NY. at that time and
he would give me pointers on how to do weird stuff with film.
He literally had a dome home that he projected all over the
ceiling. Definitely someone that should be in the creative influences
of Light Shows.
He sure taught and inspired me and I was lucky to have had him
as a teacher at 16. Stan just passed this year too in Canada.
I was impressed that he would care to write a 16 year old making
light shows as an instrument of the music. But I think he was
just as excited that a 16 year old would be writing him to further
the Art of Light, he really started it all with his avant-garde
films in 1952. He started when I was born and he was 19 and
If you don't know him study him. Ironically Brackage films were
void of sound. Like I said we would choreograph the images to
the music just as another instrument. Also
enhanced the audience with chemicals:)
It was a trip and anyone there remembers it.
There also must be mention of Love Street in San Antonio next
to Hemisphere. I met Tiny Tim there one night and partied with
him and his old lady. The club was cool. It was an old Movie
Theater and had seats going up with a stage and a dance floor
in front of it, then the tiers
of seating going up all around it. Stage right there was upstairs
a restaurant bar with more air conditioning and glass that looked
over the stage with sound reinforcement in the bar, but a little
different atmosphere with tables where you could talk but still
look over to the
theatre and stage.
The light show was unique in that it was rear screen projected
in two floors of six or eight cubes with dancers silhouetted
and they would change each individually or together, not much
different than the stacked big screens in concerts today It
was a cool club. I
think Love Street at Allen's Landing was the best but Vulcan
Gas Company in Austin and Love
Street San Antonio are definitely worth study and documentation.
All were unique in their design as a club for the environment
at the time as well as were the light shows part of the design
In the 70's I studied Radio, TV, Film in Austin at UT, produced
and directed films and video, and in the 80s studied computers.
I later did a film on the History of Austin Music with Tara
Veneruso called Janis Joplin Slept
Here, available for rent at Waterloo in Austin or purchase at:
It covers the history of Austin music from the 40's to 90's
and has interviews with over 120 people including Jim
Franklin and poster artists and musicians. Might check
it out. Perhaps soon I will have it on InterneTV. It is the
best video chronicle of music in Austin and the 60's I have
seen and is two hours long.
I also have done some light shows in the 90's at the EARS concerts
at the University of Texas at Austin part of their experimental
music department and interdisciplinary arts lab. I also worked
with Cyberspace Architect Marcos Novak, choreographer, Yacov
Sharir, and graphic artist, Diane Gromala at designing and performing
the first Virtual Reality Environment with new dance, projecting
Virtual Reality and experimenting at integration of video and
computers into dance, movement and performance as well as in
immersive worlds that you can navigate with 3D headsets trackers
and hand like VR mouse's.
The project was with a $600,000 grant from Banff Centre for
the Arts and performed from
Singapore, to Paris to Utah, and included in the Guggenheim
Museum in NYC.
I also have done several collaborations using video projection
and computer integration with Yacov Sharir and Russell Pinkston
in the 90's.
I also was lucky to study with Linda Montano in performance
art and did several performance art pieces using light shows,
performance, and industrial strength audio mixes, which was
more fun with light shows in the 90's. I also must mention the
privilege to be a friend to Sandy Stone and her ACTLAB and been
able to explore environments and virtual
communities and 3D Chat on the net.
In the early 90's I took my light show stuff further and commercially
to the internet and invented InterneTV and was the first to
commercially broadcast on the net with Much Music and KVR-TV
at UT Austin, TV station I built. We programmed with Much Music
USA now fuse and the Austin Music Network.
We also did some neat live programs on the net and also was
the first to program live shows from the internet on TV too.
I love it.
Today I also and exploring artificial intelligent bots and integrating
voice and video on the internet and over phones and for home
Fun stuff and an extension of the Light Show.
Jay Ashcraft Management (my original music and light show company
since 67 now 36 years old) has had InterneTV.com
a music related internet broadcaster. That has been a fun trip
in itself, got tons of press, and I am proud to changed the
world from the sixties to the 21st century as we know it. I
even coined the term "Explorer" now a household common
Might check out http://www.InterneTV.com
to see the light show of this century. Have 7 live music TV
channels now from around the worlds and lots of videos and audio
and mixes.... Enjoy I been lucky and still think light show
I have a link on there of Gold Rush
with some old cool songs and a nice mix under psychedelic too.
Great Thing you have done. My fav pastime today is making mixes
like I am listening to know old yardbirds with dazed and confused
and zone out on the visualizations. Have fun and keep in touch.
If anything I can do ask I will. I have a house in Austin but
now I am in Missouri trying to turn pig shit into electricity.
Later and thanks for your work keeping it alive and cataloging
light shows. I still have my stuff and can perform :-)
Jay Ashcraft aka JBLS - August 2003
PO Box 175
Lucerne, MO 64655
204 W 44th St
Austin, TX 78751