Back in 1976, some pixie made what was, up until the time (and probably still is), the only concerted effort to concisely sum up a place that embodies more contradictions, soured hopes, flights of fancy and filigrees of whimsy and madness than any other four acres of earth on the globe. That nameless chronicler wrote:
“We’re a beer hall where you can see a ballet and a honky-tonk that’s wired for video. We’re a hundred barkeeps and musicians, audio engineers and lighting specialists, cooks, waitresses, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, artists, bouncers, maintenance people, stage hands and even several folks whose functions have never been determined, but who are still considered indispensable.
“We are at the center of a community that has, however implausibly, embraced an ancient, hairy-footed mammal as the symbol of the harmony we all want to bring to our lives. We are something that has never happened before. We are Armadillo World Headquarters.
“To list our accomplishments would offend even our own sense of modesty. To detail our failures would be too Dickensesque.
“…The Armadillo is more than just a local symbol. It is the center of the music industry in Texas, the premiere showcase for the rest of the nation to look at Texas talent and the spot where Texas audiences get to see national acts at their best… In the vision of Texas we want to communicate, the nine-banded Armadillo is more important than John Connally or the oil industry. It’s a vision the rest of the country hasn’t seen yet.”