Footage: SRV Rips “Cold Shot” in ’85 – 12 Months Before Rehab

by Peter Wendel
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Stevie Ray Vaughan [photo: Scott Newtown]

He was a torch-bearer for the blues – a keeper of the flame. Although his brilliant career spanned only seven years, Texas-born Stevie Ray Vaughan is considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time and the single biggest force behind the “blues revival” of the ’80s.

SRV steeped himself in rock, jazz, and of course, the blues. His influences included legendary bluesmen like Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf, Albert King, B.B. King, Freddie King, Otis Rush and Muddy Waters. Stevie was also heavily influenced by rock musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Chuck Berry and Lonnie Mack.

Rolling Stone ranked SRV #12 on its list of greatest guitarists of all time. Tragically, he would die in a helicopter crash on August 27, 1990, at the tender age of 35.

In the footage below, we get a glimpse of Stevie Ray in the fall of 1985 as his decade-long dependency on cocaine and alcohol was reaching its apex. Reportedly, at the height of his addiction in 1986, Stevie drank a quart of whiskey and ingested a quarter ounce of cocaine every day. And if that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is.


SRV’s hero, Buddy Guy

Vaughan’s personal assistant, Tim Duckworth, remembers: “I would make sure he would eat breakfast instead of waking up drinking every morning, which was probably the worst thing he was doing.”

In September of 1986 – one year after the performance (below) – SRV became deathly ill following a performance in Germany with his band Double Trouble. He was taken to the London Clinic where he was treated for extreme dehydration. When he returned to the United States a week later, he checked himself into rehab at the Peachford Hospital in Atlanta. He left the facility clean and sober.

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
September 1985 at The Capitol Theatre

Peter Wendel is a journalist and PR consultant. He's attended hundreds of concerts and festivals, including the Peach, Mountain Jam, the All Good and Lockn'. He's ridden legendary Grateful Dead runs from Ventura County Fairgrounds to Irvine Meadows (CA) from the Nassau Coliseum (NY) to the Boston Garden (MA). Peter is a former U.S. Marine who – after running into trouble with every last one of his commanding officers – received an honorable discharge and a direct order never to return. Born in California and raised in New Jersey, Peter lived in Boston and Joshua Tree (CA) before settling in the nation's capital. Find him on tour at