Tex Tucker: Dead At Age 60 – The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Three nights a week for 20 years, William Scott “Tex” Tucker could be found perched on a tall stool in the corner of the Haufbrau, plucking an acoustic guitar and singing for whoever made it out to the bar that night.
Tucker died Saturday at the age of 60. The cause of death was liver cancer, his wife, Joy Tucker, said Monday.
For decades, Tex Tucker was a fixture of Bozeman’s music scene, winning fans and inspiring young artists with both his skill and his love of music.
“He was the godfather of our little music scene here in Bozeman,” said Tom Cook, a local musician and friend of Tucker. “He touched so many lives. He’s been an inspiration to every musician in town I know.”
It was his passion that distinguished him from other musicians, said his son, Dustin Tucker, also a professional musician.
“There are so many talented musicians in Bozeman, but rarely do you see someone play with so much passion,” Dustin Tucker said Monday. “Every note came from the heart. That’s what drew people to him.”
Tucker taught himself to play music on his older brother’s guitar as a teenager growing up in Kellogg, Idaho. In 1972, he began touring with the John Colter Band, singing and playing guitar for the Bozeman group. Over the years, the band developed a country-music alter-ego during homestands in Bozeman, giving themselves names like Tex Tucker and the Twisted Twangers. Tucker never set foot in Texas, but the nickname “Tex” would stay with him the rest of his life.
Tucker played his first gig at the Haufbrau in 1988. That would turn in to a three-nights-a-week gig and turn the corner stage in the small, Eighth Avenue bar into Tucker’s own.
“Tex was part of the family,” said Don Frye, whose family owns the Haufbrau. “He was definitely a local legend.”
It was that regular gig that introduced legions of Montana State University students to Tucker, students he won over with covers of the Beatles, Johnny Cash and others along with his own music.
“When people cover a song he did, they try to do it more like Tex than the original version,” Dustin Tucker said.
“Anyone whose gone to college at MSU or been in or around Bozeman for the last 20 years knows Tex Tucker,” Cook said.
Tucker was diagnosed with cancer in April 2009, Joy Tucker said. He continued to play at the Haufbrau until March 2010, Frye said.
At the bar on Monday, the whiteboard that usually lists who will be playing at the bar in the coming week had become a makeshift memorial for the singer-songwriter.
“An icon of Bozeman has passed,” wrote one person. “Raise a glass to Scott Tucker.”
Another message paid homage to Tucker’s taste in music: “Thank you Tex Tucker. May you play with Hendrix, Lennon and not Karen Carpenter.”