Buddy is really glad to be back. The last Buddy issue was printed and distributed in March 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, and we are excited to finally put this print issue into your hands as proof of our non-demise.  

My name is Rob Garner, and I am the new publisher of Buddy Magazine. I want to thank my dear friend (and former Buddy publisher) Ron McKeown for his support, advice, and help in learning the ropes of running the magazine. My entire professional and educational life has been involved with music performance and digital publishing. I have been a voracious reader of Buddy since the late 70’s, and was inducted as a Texas Tornado bassist back in 2002. I was co-featured on a cover with my younger twin sisters, Beth and Linda Garner, on an issue that same year. I’ve been fortunate to get a few press hits in my time as a bassist and digital publisher, but the Buddy coverage with my sisters has always been the most cherished. 

Don’t expect a lot of big changes to the magazine format in the near term. We want to preserve what founder Stoney Burns, Ron McKeown, Kirby Warnock, and many others have built. What you can expect to see is a new website with regular coverage of the original Texas music scene, past, present and future. We are also working on a few unique web features that we think you are going to like. As we near our 50th year of publication in 2023, we believe that Texas music coverage is more important and needed than ever, and our key purpose is to bring it to you in both print and online.

I couldn’t be more pleased that the Buddy staff and volunteers are sticking around to help produce and distribute the magazine, as well as contribute to the new website. I would like to thank everyone, especially Chuck Flores and Ron McKeown, for making this issue possible.

We have had discussions on whether or not to continue with print issues, and instead focus on the website. At this time, a monthly print publication is not an option. We are initially shooting for two issues a year in the near term, and with the right support, our goal is to publish on a quarterly basis. If we had it our way, we would publish every month, or even bimonthly (twice a month), as we did for a period back in the 1970s. 

We have also begun the largest printing initiative in the history of Buddy. Out of more than 550 issues printed since 1973, we have 240 scanned PDF files at this writing. The challenge to completing the mission has been cost and time. Universities have offered to help with this process, but at a cost of up to $40,000, with the project timeline of 2-3 years. Fortunately, we have found a much cheaper and faster solution. We are still working to pay for the cost of scanning the remaining 310 issues. Once we have scanned all copies, we will be making many individual copies and individual content more accessible to Buddy’s longtime readership. Again, this is the largest publishing effort in the history of Buddy, and we will succeed in making Buddy live for the ages in the digital medium. And to also mitigate against future Texas tornados that may again attempt to destroy the archive.

One other thing that will not change is our focus and dedication to showcasing the world-class work of our photographers. Chuck Flores, James Bland, and Ron McKeown have arguably shot more iconic music images than any other group in Texas in the last 50 years. The very images that were first published in Buddy have found their way into major music documentaries, international news coverage, museums, galleries, and on and on. Head curator of the Hard Rock Café and Country Music Hall of Fame curator Warwick Stone has said that Ron McKeown’s collective photographic coverage of the Outlaw Country / Progressive country scene in the 1970s is unparalleled amongst the top music photographers in the country. So just as we all knew about SRV, Darrell, Eric Johnson in Texas before the rest of the world, the same can be said for Buddy photography – created and documented first for Texans; now appreciated by Texas music fans all over the world. Again – thank you for supporting Buddy, and stay tuned – we look forward to many great things to come.