Wednesday, September 09, 2009

r.i.p. tad gaither

very sad tonight to report that tad gaither, proprietor of the old black dog tavern, was found dead in his home. details are sketchy, but the cantankerous old yank apparently shuffled off this mortal coil two weeks to a month ago, after suffering a seizure at lola's, for which he refused medical attention. the peace corps, u.s. army (he was an officer in vietnam), and publishing industry vet's watering hole, in its original downtown and terminal off-7th-street locations, offered a venue for left-of-center entertainment (spoken word poetry, jazz) when nowhere else in his adopted home town would, and provided a place to grow for bands including bertha coolidge, pablo & the hemphill 7, confusatron, and, um, stoogeaphilia.

former black dog bartender billy wilson says that tad's friends and family members will be gathering to remember him at lola's 6th street this sunday at 3pm (time subject to change -- i'll post more when i know more). he will be missed.


Blogger lbush said...

Hi, Stash: You don't know me, but I'm one of the publishing vets that Tad worked with at Dryden Press. I was very sad to hear the news. Tad was a great resource for me when I first came to Texas. His caustic wit and pride in his outsider credentials masked a gentle soul. I had a fantasy for years that I would come to Fort Worth for a weekend visit and surprise him and Bailey. Just another reminder that we need to carry out our little dreams instead of waiting until it is too late.

lynne bush, san diego, ca

8:14 AM  
Blogger RogerK said...

Tad was onetime best friend during NY publishing days and his death leaves a gaping wide hole in the past for me. No, I hadn't seen him in years but he was never far from conscious thoughts. I would appreciate history, anecdotes of Texas years.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Stash, you may get several comments from folks you don't know: your blog was linked from Mariani's obit in FW Weekly, where I tried to post the following:

Yes, was glad to see mention of Harcourt/Holt Rinehart because that was where many of we Funkytowners and book-people imports first met Tad. He loved books, not only reading them but also making them. He did not suffer fools--gladly or otherwise--and editors, designers, members of his own production staff as well as other managers and execs were subject to his sometimes stinging comments. But behind it all were a desire for quality and a peppery sense of humor.

That the Black Dog would become sequel to his book-production career was a surprise to many, yet very fitting: the club was eclectic to be sure but also friendly and anti-hip because of the genuine embrace of diversity. The Sunday night jazz sessions will be long remembered by musicians and music lovers alike.

Taylor Gaither: Long live integrity and a truly inquiring intellect.

11:26 AM  
Blogger moneyblows books and music said...

What Mike said!

12:46 PM  
Anonymous MarieD, Chicago said...

As another publishing as well as just-ordinary friend from two of Tad's 'reincarnations' (his term for the various jobs, posts, careers he had), I'm stunned and deeply sad. I now shall go bake an apple cake of mine that he always enjoyed--and serve it on the antique glass platter he gave my husband Cas and me on our wedding day that reads, "'Tis pleasant to labor for those we love." We'll have a long drink to reminisce and wish him well in his next reincarnation.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Cindy Chaffin said...

Wow, this sucks. Tad was one of two of the first venue owners who gave me (and The Lonelies) a shot when the we were all unknowns. I loved that original Black Dog.

I didn't really know him well, but I sure as hell respected what he created and accomplished.


2:00 PM  
Anonymous Omar Khayyam said...

And as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted, "Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more."

Lo! Some we loved, the kindliest and best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
Have drunk their Cup a round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to rest.

And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas — the Grape!

And this I know: whether the one True Light
Kindle to Love, or with Wrath consume me quite,
One glimpse of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.

Alas, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Life's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the Branches sang,
Ah, whence and whither flown again, who knows!

As then the Flower for her daily sup
of Heav'nly Vintage from the Soil looks up,
Do you devoutly do the like, till Heav'n
To Earth invert you — like an empty Cup.

And when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scatter'd on the Grass,
And in thy joyous Errand reach the Spot
Where I made one — turn down an empty Glass!

* * * * *

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Cliff Crouch said...

I did not, alas, keep up with Tad in his post-Harcourt incarnation. But hearing of his ownership of the Black Dog jibes absolutely with my pleasant memories of him. (I wonder only if his Black Dog was the same black dog that Churchill knew.) I would like to imagine that Tad is having a long, cool drink right now with Mark Hobbs. Isn't it pretty to think so? May you rest in peace, Tad. +

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tad will be missed @ his 50th H-S reunion May, 2010. we'll raise a glass or 2 in his honor VF

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Shaggy McCormack said...

I'm Shaggy McCormack, I worked for and with Tad Gaither for 10 years during the entire life-cycle of Black Dog Tavern, 1997-2007. He bought me with the package when he & former partner Ed Noyes took over the old Blarney Stone Pub, I stayed with him when they parted ways in 2000 and when the bar moved in 05-06, and I locked the door the last nite we were open. Tad was a great friend and mentor during a formative period of my life, he was like family to me. Were it not for his influence and encouragement, I would be much less interesting person today. I'll miss him forever, but in a way I do try to carry on his mission to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable, and value all that is unique and ecclectic. ;-)

11:19 AM  
Anonymous LouM said...

It's now January 2012 and only this past week did I learn of Tad's death. For 15 years we lived in the same NYC buildings, much of that across the hall from each other, spent innumerable nights enjoying the city's pleasures in the early years and lamenting our misspent "salad days" over boilermakers in the later years. He danced at my wedding and my wife Barbara knew him nearly as long as I did and cared for him greatly. Our last visit was a brief one at the airport on a layover I had in Ft. Worth. Shame on me for letting so many years go without contacting him. This past Christmas I found a "Bah Humbug" hat I bought years ago as a gift for him but never delivered. I wore it one evening and for a second could not help wondering what it portended. Good-bye friend.

7:56 PM  

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