TABLE OF CONTENTS
Tim Kerr Papers
An Inventory of the Collection
Tim Kerr was born March 11, 1956, outside of Galveston, Texas. His father was an elementary school principal and his mother was a school librarian. Kerr was the youngest of three siblings and spent his adolescence surfing and playing guitar. In 1974, he moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas where he earned a degree in painting and photography. Also in 1974, he performed at the Kerrville Folk Festival playing original acoustic material. He was awarded a Ford Foundation Grant while studying under street photographer Garry Winogrand at UT.
After college, Kerr became involved in the DIY (Do It Yourself) punk movement. He had started skateboarding when he moved to Austin and in 1979, he and his skater friends formed the Big Boys. The band, which included Randy “Biscuit” Turner on vocals, Kerr on guitar, and Chris Gates on bass, is credited as being largely influential to the hardcore punk scene of the 1980s.
In the mid-1980s, Kerr played in blues/punk garage band Poison 13, and then in the funk band Bad Mutha Goose and the Brothers Grimm. He has been a member of several bands on such record labels as Touch & Go, Estrus, Sympathy For The Record Industry, In The Red, Sup Pop, and Kill Rock Stars. Additionally, Kerr produced and recorded bands for those labels and others, both in the United States and abroad.
He also worked for nearly three decades at the University of Texas Libraries as an audio/visual technician, retiring in 2010. His wife Beth has been working for UT Libraries since 1980 in various roles, most currently as the Theatre/Dance Librarian at the Fine Arts Library.
Kerr was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in 1996. The Big Boys were inducted in 2017.
Kerr is also a visual artist and his paintings have been exhibited internationally. He has been involved in painting murals in Texas, Nashville, New York, Alabama, and California. In 2015, he had a solo show at the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery that traveled to other cities throughout Alabama. He still lives and works in Austin, where he has been actively painting and playing old-time fiddle and Irish music.
Powell, Austin. “Your Name Here: Tim Kerr’s revolution.” The Austin Chronicle. https://www.austinchronicle.com/music/2011-02-25/your-name-here/ (accessed September 12, 2018).
Kim, Eric. “Self-Expression Comes From Within: Interview with Street Photographer, Artist, Musician, and Skater Tim Kerr.” Eric Kim Photography. http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2014/04/25/self-expression-comes-from-within-interview-with-street-photographer-artist-musician-and-skater-tim-kerr/ (accessed September 12, 2018).
Kerr, Tim. “Kerr-o-graphy.” http://www.timkerr.net/biography.htm (accessed September 12, 2018).
The collection is arranged into two series, documenting three of Kerr’s bands through posters, clippings, and memorabilia, as well as documenting skateboarding, music, and punk culture through Kerr’s collected materials from the 1980s and 1990s. The Bands series contains materials that document the Big Boys, Poison 13, and Bad Mutha Goose and the Brothers Grimm.
The Big Boys materials are partly chronological with original folder titles describing the materials. Most of these original groupings contain news clippings and zines from that time. The rest of the materials documenting the Big Boys are arranged alphabetically. Included is an article Kerr wrote for Thrasher Skateboard Magazine’s 100th issue in 1989 about the history of the Big Boys. Posters, record designs, royalty summaries and t-shirts comprise the rest of the materials.
The posters and t-shirts date from 1980-1985. Of interest is a 1980 poster illustrated by Kerry Awn for Armadillo World Headquarters when the Big Boys played with Uranium Savages (qAR Box 031/025). Also of note are multiple t-shirts and posters designed by Austin poster artist NOXX (Michael Nott) that document the live recording sessions with the Big Boys and the Dicks at Raul’s Club in 1980. Randy “Biscuit” Turner also designed many of the Big Boys posters.
The Poison 13 documentation consists of clippings, memorabilia, posters, and t-shirts dating from 1984-1995. Of interest is a poster that Frank Kozik illustrated in 1987 for a Poison 13 and Agony Column show at the Texas Tavern. The poster, which depicts a barbequed baby Jesus, resulted in controversy and the Texas Union management eventually canceled the show. Articles about the response to the poster are included in the news clippings. The memorabilia consists of various zines that Kerr kept with Poison 13 material, a small amount of correspondence, and promotional material from record labels.
Material documenting Bad Mutha Goose and the Brothers Grimm dates from 1985 to 1991 and largely consists of news clippings, though also contains lyrics, set lists, posters, press material, and t-shirts. Of note is a t-shirt made for the 1988 King on Campus MLK Statue Aid event. Bad Mutha Goose played with Javelin Boot and The Lithium Poets during a lengthy campaign to raise money for a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. to be erected on the University of Texas campus. The press materials also contain information about fundraisers Bad Mutha Goose took part in, along with backstage passes, Bad Mutha Goose and the Brothers Grimm Official Fan Club documents, tickets, and promotional material.
The Collected Materials contain clippings about music, film, local venues, punk culture, and more dating from 1981 to 1993. An undated assortment of collages and/or single pages for zines is included in the collected materials as well, as it is uncertain who created them. There is a very small amount of fliers for other bands and events, as well as a t-shirt created for Texas Shut Up and Skate in 1984.
The bulk of the collected materials consists of zines and magazines dating from 1980 to 1996, mostly created during the 1980s. The zines are arranged geographically by where they were created - in Austin, other Texas cities, national zines, and international zines. The Austin zines are listed out in the detailed description of the collection. Nine issues of the Los Angeles produced Flipside Fanzine are arranged separately and were kept to document Kerr’s interests in punk culture and music. Likewise, copies of music magazines and Thrasher Skateboard Magazine help in documenting Kerr’s interests as well as the events of that era.
Open to all users
The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
Tim Kerr Papers (AR.2002.004). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/2002/017
Donation Date: 2002, 2003
Collection arranged and finding aid created by Kelly Hanus in September 2018.