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I'm the Local Gal in Richmond, Indiana, exploring my hometown and heart. I write about all thing local, sometimes global. It's a small world after all.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Richmond Native: Achilles Tenderloin, Musician & Artist

Joe Augustin AKA Achilles Tenderloin
This introduction is a conundrum. How do I introduce you to Joe? You probably already know him! He's that guy. Joe is the man who performs often at the "E" Street Pub. The air changes when he takes the stage. Everyone perks up; everyone looks up. His musical trance is magical. His enthusiasm and passion are catching. Everyone sings along. It's an uplifting, communal experience, almost like church, if church was a smokey filled pub scene and "I would Walk 500 Miles" was the hymn. Joe is a Joe of all trades: artist, musician, librarian and Mr. Pun. Here we go:

What is one person, place or thing that keeps you loving and living in Richmond, Indiana?

"The city's passion for locally produced art and music is a major factor in the daily decision to keep Richmond as my home base. It's true that support from businesses and institutions has been known to wane, at times, but not for lack of enthusiasm from Richmond residents. The city is packed with artists, musicians and their friends, most of whom recognize how important it is to foster friendly, sustainable relationships with businesses and among ourselves. Wherever new pockets open up for the arts, they can barely contain the rush of locals waiting to show their stuff.

Recent months have shown the largest spike in support for the arts among locally owned businesses that I've seen in more than five years--and with no shortage of local artists and musicians to meet the demand. It's exciting to see a fresh crop of business owners inviting art and music into their halls. My hope is that more local business owners have witnessed the recent surge of activity and will decide to follow suit.

New online resources, like Local Lady, have made a huge difference, by promoting awareness throughout the community at large."

Thanks, Joe! How long have you been playing your music on the Richmond scene?

"I've been performing my songs publicly in Richmond since 1997. At that time, there was an Earlham owned cafe, Java Jazz, in a small, house-like building across National Road West from Domino's Pizza. Java Jazz was an impressively popular cultural delta, where Richmond residents regularly mixed and shared ideas with Earlham sudents and faculty, forming relationships through book clubs and chess tournaments, as well as open mic music and poetry events.

I brim with excitement to see so many local businesses stepping up the plate, again. After Java Jazz closed in 2002, a string of local businesses carried the torch, but there was a period of about five years, from late 2007 and late 2012, when there were few, if any, avenues for adults and teenagers to freely congregate and inspire one another with original art and music."

Where did Achilles Tenderloin, your name come from?

"I started using Achilles Tenderloin for concerts and recordings in 2004, shortly before releasing a collection of ten songs called "The Bath." The name is a pun on the Achilles Tendon, the nickname for the notoriously vulnerable tendon behind the human heel. An Achilles heel can also refer to any fatal flaw or the sole weakness of just about anything. Achilles was a legendary warrior whose mother dipped him in the River Styx to make his body invincible. She held him by the heel though, so that was the only part that wasn't galvanized by the water. In the legendary battle at Troy, an enemy warrior killed Achilles by shooting him in the heel with an arrow."

What inspires you to create your drawings? Your music?
Augustin Original Drawing

"Self-discovery and catharsis motivate me to create. Art and music are how I get to know myself a little better each day. I rarely begin a drawing with any inkling of what it will turn out to be. It's similar with music. Although I often choose from the same crop of songs, I allow each performance to emerge organically, so the songs are always a little different (or a lot!) from the last time. Performance is a cathartic, expressionist activity, for me, and frequently delivers some surprising insight into my own thoughts and feelings."

Where can people purchase your art & sample your music?

"I frequently, about once a month, scan my latest drawings and upload them to my Achilles Tenderloin, Ink Facebook page. If you see something you like and want to purchase the original, or a print, you can contact me via facebook, or by email: achillestenderloin@gmail.com . If you want the edge on my newest drawings, I encourage you to show up at any local music event and look for the bearded guy bent over his spiral bound sketchbook.

My musical performance style varies widely, from one context to the next, so I prefer to share my music in a live context. My Achilles Tenderloin (music) facebook page is the best way to stay on the lookout for upcoming performances. That said, I do have some audio and video recordings available online on my YouTube Channel and some MP3 recording here.

Joe, renaissance man, what are you gonna do next?

"One goal for this summer is to expand my performance circuit to include more venues in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Cincinnati. A related goal is to find more venues where I can exhibit drawings for sale during the show. I have a handful of other projects in the works, too, so please stay tuned--I'm not a hard man to find!"

You have gotta see this guy live!

Disclaimer: Photos of  live Achilles Tenderloin performances were provided by the interviewee. Great Shots by Joseph Halberstadt Photography!


  1. That's my Joe! Although I found not a single deftly-placed pun in this interview. I came for the puns, I stayed for the insights.

    1. There are still more puns to discover, Jack!

  2. Read again. I promise there is at least one! One Free coffee to the person who finds it!

    1. Hahaha, glad I saw this before I pointed it out to Jack :)

    2. It's kind of a tough one, though--will give away the answer for one free coffee ;)

  3. Don't spoil the contest Joe! :D

  4. I brim with excitement for free coffee!

  5. Ian! That's one pun. Send your e-mail contact information, and I'll get out your free coffee to you ASAP.

    However, it wasn't the pun I was looking at. First person to find the second pun also gets a free coffee! Then the contest is closed. Previous winner and Joe, please shhhh! ;)

  6. Inkling-less drawerings? Organic crops?

  7. I'll take inkling! Still not the pun I was looking for- so I'll keep the contest open for one more coffee!

  8. Free Coffees go to Ian, Melissa and Achilles Tenderloin whose sole weakness is coffee! Pun search closed!