Stoney Burns, Co-Founder of Underground Paper Dallas Notes and Buddy, Has Died

Categories: Local Hero, Media
stoneyburns.JPG
Stoney Burns as seen in Mickey Grant's documentary about the so-called Lee Park Massacre of 1970
Angus Wynne just called with the sad news: Stoney Burns -- who, in 1967 co-founded The Dallas Notes and then The Iconoclast and would go on to publish Buddy Magazine -- died early this morning at Baylor of a heart attack.

For those who didn't know the Hillcrest grad, there was a time in the late '60s and early '70s when the son of a printer was as legendary as Dallas got. He was arrested repeatedly by Dallas cops, including during the infamous "Lee Park Massacre" in April 1970. He even made the pages of Time in 1974, when Burns (whose real name was Brent Stein) was looking at real jail time following a pot bust. His story ran beneath the headline "Getting Stoney Burns." Dolph Briscoe ultimately kept him out of prison.

Without Burns, hell, there probably never would have been a Dallas Observer. Here's an essential history of Stoney, then and almost now (up till 2008, anyway). Said attorney Fred Time, who represented Burns during the Lee Park legal battles,"Stoney was a quiet, mild Jewish guy. He had this underground paper and somebody labeled him king of the hippies. He was just a pot-smoking young guy trying to find a niche." In 1990, filmmaker Kirby Warnock chronicled for D a history of Buddy, which launched in '72 and which Warnock edited. Said Stoney, "Buddy Holly and LSD had the biggest influences on my life."

Wynne was plenty busted up when he called this morning: "Stoney and I were always friends, and kinda traveled along the same path at the same time," he said. "He'd gone through so much, between his public battles and privates ones, and turned into a sweetheart. He'd had a heart attack and cancer and whipped all those. They slowed him down, but he always looked great. He was just a great guy, one of the generalissimos of the so-called revolution back then. There was something real special about Stoney. He was just a sweetheart."
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47 comments
alexandertroup4
alexandertroup4

SAD too see the ole Allied Printing Company is now going down for the last count, a landmark in Deep Elm history..


.And soon too be an empty building, where Buddy and many other publications came to exist.....


My point is the many archives and photos of that age and era may have been hauled too the dump, lets hope that is not the case while strong evidence  suggest such did take place in the weeks of October 2014...lets try to Preserve Dallas History, of all race and color and religion....


and good luck Stoney,Thanks for having us come to the party...


indrag13
indrag13

I remember Stoney Burns but back in that day I was only 13 or 14 yrs old, I liked the hippie scene. Interestingly, at that age my Uncle had given me some of his records, one was a Buddy Holly and he also gave me the Dallas Notes paper! My friends and I use to hitch hike from North Oak Cliff to North Dallas to catch the midnight shows at the Festival Theater where Stoney Burns would be there presenting the films. Acid and weed were available from the folks in the crowd. What a great time that was! Thank you Stoney! I was a fan of yours.

jcompton
jcompton

Doug Baker founded Dallas NOTES from the Underground. Stoney Burns (Brent means burnt. Stein means Stone. So Brent Stein became Stoney Burns) came along later.

ferguson71
ferguson71

I read Mr. Wilonsky's and Mr. Richard's columns and Mr. Williams' posting with interest.  For historical accuracy -- Mr. Burns was in prison in Huntsville.  I was with him as one of the 800 marijuana prisoners serving time.  In 1973 , the penalty was a fixed sentence anywhere from between two years to life for possession of even a seed.  Mr. Burns's sentence may have played a large part in focusing attention on the "draconian penalties," but he personally played no part in the 1973 efforts to change the laws. Such an observation should in no way denigrate his actions and positive influence post-prison.  It sounds like he was a good man who did good things for many people.  However, when I met him on the Huntsville yard, he had been blown away by his experiences, he was extremely scared and he was definitely unwilling to be a part of any ongoing effort to change the marijuana laws.  My feeling then, and now, was that, faced with the harsh realities of changing the system, he had paid a price that crippled him and he was unwilling to do what was necessary to complete the change that needed to be done.

 

May Mr. Burns rest in peace, but may he also be revered for what he did do and not for what he never claimed -- to be a marijuana reformer who faced down the system until the system changed.

 

As for the Dolph article.  Any serious research would show that there were a very small number of marijuana prisoners who fronted the marijuana reform and the resentencing of prisoners effort.  Mr. Burns was the beneficiary of their efforts as his sentence was relatively mild compared to the unbelievable sentences for small amounts meted out to the longhairs of the 60's and early 70's.  Kudos should go to the National Organization of Marijuana Laws, the NORML founder, Keith Stroup, and many brave Texas legislators and citizens who spoke out against the madness.  While Rep. Ronnie Earle, then Dolph's assistant, made political hay with his STAR (Christmas 73) program to release prisoners whose possession crimes were misdemeanors under the new law, it was the bravery of many people who will probably remain unknown to history who were the true warriors. 

 

It is well that casualties such as Mr. Burns were somehow recompensed in later life for the long, cruel nightmares imposed by neanderthal Texas in the 60s and 70s.  However, many of the real radicals were never touched by the spotlight as was Mr. Burns.  Mr. Burns' legacy should be as an individual, among many individuals, who were victimized by a system gone fantastically wrong.

 

 (By the way, there was a black prisoner doing life for a matchbox since the 50s during my four years in Ferguson-Huntsville. Talk about unsung casualties).  (The most damning comment I heard on what happened to the Texas marijuana prisoners was by the chief court reporter for the Nuremberg and Tokyo war trials -- "you know what happened to you was evil.")

Mark Kramer
Mark Kramer

And thus another pillar of the "Old Dallas" slips into the hereafter....  Stoney was a mentor  who gave me, via BUDDY, my first breaks as a writer....     Stoney was a mentor  who gave me, via BUDDY, my first breaks as a writer....    

HHS Hippie circa 70's
HHS Hippie circa 70's

Thoughts from a fellow Hillcrest HS hippie about the guy who probably originated a familiar exclamation oft heard back those daze: "Do You go to Hillcrest High? No, but I often come home that way" I attended HHS after Stoney but his legacy hung around like the pungent odor of pot smoke in the back hallways and "smoking circles" that pervaded the grounds at lunchtime.

On Stoney's lifestyle... to me an old Dylan lyric sums it up nicely...

"Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now"

It's a bitchin' tune. The rest of the lyrics appear below for those who would like to dig on it and trip out to the entire tune. The best version of which is the one done by Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Neil Young, Roger McGuinn and Tom Petty.

Right on, brotha'. Here's to those daze...

Crimson flames tied through my earsRollin’ high and mighty trapsPounced with fire on flaming roadsUsing ideas as my maps“We’ll meet on edges, soon,” said IProud ’neath heated browAh, but I was so much older thenI’m younger than that now

Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth“Rip down all hate,” I screamedLies that life is black and whiteSpoke from my skull. I dreamedRomantic facts of musketeersFoundationed deep, somehowAh, but I was so much older thenI’m younger than that now

Girls’ faces formed the forward pathFrom phony jealousyTo memorizing politicsOf ancient historyFlung down by corpse evangelistsUnthought of, though, somehowAh, but I was so much older thenI’m younger than that now

A self-ordained professor’s tongueToo serious to foolSpouted out that libertyIs just equality in school“Equality,” I spoke the wordAs if a wedding vowAh, but I was so much older thenI’m younger than that now

In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my handAt the mongrel dogs who teachFearing not that I’d become my enemyIn the instant that I preachMy pathway led by confusion boatsMutiny from stern to bowAh, but I was so much older thenI’m younger than that now

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threatsToo noble to neglectDeceived me into thinkingI had something to protectGood and bad, I define these termsQuite clear, no doubt, somehowAh, but I was so much older thenI’m younger than that now

David Williams
David Williams

I’d like to pay my respects to my friend, Stoney Burns. My name is David Williams and I worked closely with Stoney from ’79 – ’83. I started by selling advertising, like everyone else, but found that if I sold enough ads, I could do anything I wanted. I “sold” my way all the way up to Associate Publisher, although titles meant little to Stoney. Even though I had moved to Dallas in ’74, years after Stoney first became a local icon, I heard or read all the stories or listened as he told me his side of them. Stoney LOVED being irreverent, thumbing his nose at conservative media, local authority and any rule he could find. I came to love it as well. BUDDY was at once, informative and audacious. Stoney’s sense of humor was well known and came across in the pages. Our famous column “BLAH BLAH” , written by all of us while the byline read “Bellicose Bullfeather” literally became a “must read” in the local entertainment scene, containing rumors, blurbs and innuendo you would never read anywhere else. It was “Entertainment Tonight” in print, decades ahead of the current TV hit. Sordid tales from backstage parties, photos and what really happened at a local concert could always be found in BLAH BLAH. Stoney was funny. One time, pissed because we got no advertising for a new LINDA RONDSTADT release, Stoney put a huge picture of her on the cover with her name in huge type. Just over the top of her huge name in tiny letters: “Absolutely nothing about”. Along with Kirby Warnock & our delivery guy Paul Matson, we formed the BUDDY BROTHERS band, playing such local haunts as Mother Blues, the Agoura Ballroom, Sneaky Pete's, GBG & Whiskey River and once opened for Stevie Ray Vaughn in Houston. Stoney loved the band & the chance to be on stage. He used to put a large rolled up sock in his pants to impress the ladies near the stage. We flew to Chicago and Anaheim for trade shows and most of what happened there remained unprintable, even by Stoney’s standards. When Kirby left, I had the chance to put together the Texas Music Awards with Willie Nelson as our headliner. Stoney & I were in Chicago when Willie agreed to play & celebrate we did. Stoney, a noted fiscal conservative, chose not to advertise the event, telling me that Willie will draw without advertising. The show was fantastic but not a sell out. Willie gave us our money back. I battled with Stoney about making the magazine larger because advertisers never had ad materials in the small BUDDY size. Stoney could be hard headed but he could be generous as well. He bought me a new Mazada RX-7 to use for my job. He would always try to help bands get more publicity. He was always a guy who would liven up ANY party and had more stories than anyone I knew. I left BUDDY at the end end of ’83 and moved to Los Angeles to work for Charvel/Jackson Guitars, then for BC RICH and also GIBSON Guitars, companies I first became introduced to during my time at BUDDY. I’ve been in LA for over 28 years now. Stoney gave me a chance and although he could be cantankerous and insecure, he was always larger than life to me. Years after moving to the “left coast” as he used to call California, I once saw Stoney sitting at the old Greenville Ave. Bar & Grille. We enjoyed a few drinks and remembering those incredible years. Like many rock stars I came to know, Stoney lived a big life, but he also lived a hard life, indulging himself in most of what life had to offer. I’m almost surprised he made it this far. But if there’s a party going on right now in heaven, I can promise you the guy in the corner, with a crowd around him listening to wild tales, is Stoney Burns. God bless you, brother.

Tex
Tex

Robert, thanks so much for posting this. The MTV generation has no idea who this guy was or what a debt they owe to him. I will miss Stoney a lot. We could use him now, more than ever.

Strawberri
Strawberri

Stoney....Much remembered , respected & loved!There you go zoomin' through the universe.Strawberri

eddyjames
eddyjames

I remember selling Notes and then Iconoclast on street corners back in the Day, Stoney will be misssed, It's been years since them but I still tell people about Texas's pot laws back then, when Stoney got 10 years and a day for a joint.

Marsha Hawkins Goodale
Marsha Hawkins Goodale

I was so sad to hear about Stoney. Unbelieveably, he was the first person I met when I moved to Dallas at 17 in 1970. I had moved from St. Louis to live with my Dad & his new wife Nancy. I felt like an alien landing on a new planet. I was from a dazed and confuzed hippie atmosphere in St. Louis which was one reason I was "relocated" for my own good by my Mom to live in Dallas as a fresh start. Nancy's Mom Mary lived on Travis Street near Lee Park. I spent a few weekends a month at her apartment. My Dad had warned me and forbidden me to go to Lee Park so that's the first place I went when I was on my own. I was sitting in the grass on a Sunday when Brent came up and started talking to me. We really hit it off. I think we may have split a joint and talked for hours. I was very interested in writing and shared some of my poetry with him. I was in awe of Stoney because he represented the underground hippie movement in Dallas and seemed to be a local guru. We shared a friendship for years. I worked at Melody Shop a Dallas music store in 1972 and started to see him at every concert I attended. I also met Angus Wynne around that time and we became friends. Later I met Curtis Hawkins who was running Budget Tapes and Records on Oaklawn. Curtis & I ended up getting married in 1975 and for many years were very involved in the music scene in Dallas. Stoney was always a good friend to our store and very supportive of local musicians. I knew Kirby and wrote a few columns for Buddy under several psedonyms. In those days I was always with my camera and took many pics of Stoney over the years. He was always invited to the wild parties Curtis and I had called, "Rave-Ups" that were costume celebrations once a year in October that grew more and more elaborate year after year. The last "Rave-Up" we had Stoney came dressed in some outrageous spandex outfit flanked by two built babes. It was typical of his personality. I live in Florida now and co-own a restaurant in Mount Dora. We serve British fayre as I am now married to a Brit. We were celebrating the "Royal Wedding" in grand fashion when I got a text from Curtis saying Stoney had died. I've been thinking about Stoney ever since. We shared many years of friendship and moved in the same circles of the music industry. He was a legend in the 1970's in Dallas and remained that way. He championed local music and promoted so many musicians into prominence, there are many that have a healthy career today because of his efforts. He did forge a trail in journalism that lead to the creation of the Dallas Observer. He was an icon and an iconoclast and I am grateful that our paths in life crossed, he always was an inspiration and will be missed. With love and much affection, Marsha Middleton Hawkins Goodale-- mkoalak@netzero.com

1steveg6
1steveg6

funny how no body gives a hoot about u till your gone

Carolesque
Carolesque

This "old hippie" is wallowing in memories, at least the ones that can be remembered. Worked with Stoney in the old house on Live Oak and selling papers at concerts, being chased away by the "pigs", We ended many a late night at Phil's delicatessen counting the change. When we got busted and they confiscated all the equipment, we put out the next issue from some friend's office working all night. Many of "us" were also working for the "man" during the day and rabble rousing and raising consciousness by night. What hasn't been mentioned was what a great photographer he was. I'll never forget the first time I saw the makeshift darkroom and that nasty stained tub in the bathroom upstairs.......ya know? He was definitely the catalyst for freedom fighters in John Birch Dallas. So sorry we lost touch over these many years. See ya on the other side old friend.

Chuck Flores
Chuck Flores

I've been with Buddy magazine since around 1989, right after moving from Austin. I have to thank Stoney and his magazine for the opportunity to develop as a music writer and photographer. Being associated with Buddy helped open doors for me, not just as a rock journalist (something that would probably get a smirk from Stoney) but also as a musician. It always astounded me how many people I would come across who had a "Stoney story." It's my opinion that they were all true, even the lies. Thanks for everything, Stoney - we'll see you down the road.

Michael Insuaste
Michael Insuaste

Buddy Magazine will be running a story about Stoney Burns in the next issue. Buddy is looking for photos of Stoney that would be considered for publications. If any one would like to submit photos of Stoney for possible consideration, please email a small jpg of the image(s) to Michael Insuaste at insuaste@sbcglobal.net or by phone at 214-546-0430.

We will contact you with further details.Thanks\m/

Freddie Brooks
Freddie Brooks

Along with fellow White Panther Party member Jim Smith, I was proud to have purchased the Dallas Notes franchise from Stoney for a dollar and two joints over Thanksgiving dinner, in what I recall was 1970. (The dollar only came in to play when someone pointed out the purchase's legalities required at least a minimal cash transaction.)

Stoney was an inspiration during those wild times in Texas, innocent fun-loving teens being radicalized by intense, hard-core police repression in an insanely downward spiral. We moved the paper to Fort Worth, changed the name to Outlaw Times and soon found ourselves under gun as well, enduring a never-ending succession of police raids and trumped-up 'drug' busts.

Thankfully we all didn't end up dead but that was certainly not for lack of (police) initiative.

I grew tired of having my life consumed by police harassment, as it seems Stoney did, and finally bailed on Texas, moved to Detroit in 1972 and never looked back. Never reconnected with Stoney but took note of his success with his later publishing endeavors and was happy to know he was a survivor and had a long run doing what he loved.

R.I.P., my brother...

Carolpolk
Carolpolk

Well, rats! Long years, long memories, but too short a stay.

Pamela Compton2
Pamela Compton2

Also, does anyone remember his yearly Pajama Parties?

Pamela Compton2
Pamela Compton2

I first met Stoney in '71. I was still in high school he was just too cool! I worked for Buddy off and on for years.. mid '70's to early 80's. He was allways there for anything ANYONE needed. I agree with knoncolleen that he was the best curmudgeon in the world. When I married in '86 he gave us the sweetest set of tapes on all these different subjects. I will listen to them tonight. From "The Massacre' to The Mother Blues Reunion Party....he was and will allways be a Dallas legend. For everyone to knew him well (and for many that maybe just hung out with him for an evening) Boy, do we have some stories to tell! Love and Peace to You Good Friend, Pamela (Landrum) Compton

Dick
Dick

Brent Stein and I were friends in high school ... we played our guitars at his house while our parents played canasta or talked politics. Brent went a different way than I did. I went into law and law enforcement with the Dallas Police Department. I heard my friends name often while working and it hurt to know that he was on the other side at the time ... it hurts more now that he is gone. RIP old friend. Dick

Kkmolberg
Kkmolberg

Rest in so-called peace, Stoney. We could really use about 400 more of you now. I am honored to have met you in the early 70s and to have run into you occasionally since. Thank you for what you did for this town.

Ken Molberg

Phyllisrocher
Phyllisrocher

Stoney and my mother, Lucy Rocher Redding, were good buddies in the 1960's. My mother worked for the Local Draft Board as well as the Dallas Committee for Peace with Stoney. Stoney burned his draft card as a protest at one time, and by some miracle when the police showed up, he had a new one. I guess I can talk about it now, they are both gone. What a great time I had as a teen ager in Dallas during the 60's, politics and hippies and people like Brent (my mother always called him Brent). The world is a little less now with them gone.

Michael Insuaste
Michael Insuaste

Candle Light Vigil for Stoney Burns at Lee Park. Saturday April 30 at 7 pm. Come join us as we remember Stoney and share thoughts of his life.

refried
refried

probably would never have been an observer, huh? fucking pity!!

Josh Alan Friedman
Josh Alan Friedman

He was the first guy who showed me a computer, how it works, and recommended I switch from the typewriter.

Crystal1885y
Crystal1885y

You will be missed Stoney. Thanks for the Birthday Tape.

frank
frank

Stoney was a great guy and will be missed. I recall first meeting him when I worked in the darkroom at Rush Art supply in the late seventies. He liked my work and gave me a couple of covers to do for Buddy. At the time I thought I had hit the big time meeting and getting a break from this enigmatic Dallas legend. Through the years we became good friends to the point of him trusting me to paint whatever I wanted to on the side of Allied Printing in 2009. He mentioned he was ill w the big C but said he'd die of natural causes before the cancer could catch up with him. One can only hope that he's in a better less painful place now.

LaceyB
LaceyB

Many thanks to Stoney, without whom I would still be reading the DMSnooze, and (even more) clueless about Dallas, than I am today.

Darin
Darin

I remember Buddy in it's small print heyday and always knew the name Stoney Burns. But I knew "Stoney" as my neighbor, a cool guy, always smiled and waved and kind of shook his head when he'd see me lugging musical gear in or out of the house. You will be missed..

Bigjondaniel
Bigjondaniel

This man was living proof that 60's activism did not actually "bypass" Dallas. His fingerprints are still all over this city

Jeanne3wish (((*_)))
Jeanne3wish (((*_)))

I WILL MISS YOUR SMILE AND HEARING YOUR VOICE... Rock Heaven!!!

LOVE ETERNAL... Jeanne3wish (((~_~)))

@awakeningaimee
@awakeningaimee

Stoney, was the best guy. I love you. Rest in Peace, My love. Love, Aimee ( @awakeningaimee )

Mark
Mark

damn, you will be missed brother, but you will always be in the hearts of those that were there in those times.

Knoncolleen
Knoncolleen

I got to know Stoney when I wrote for Buddy, and later became Senior Editor. It's been said he was difficult to work for, but not in my opinion. He was a fascinating and lovable curmudgeon. Buddy remains the longest running Texas music publication, and would not be here if not for Stoney. He will be missed.

Michael Insuaste
Michael Insuaste

Stoney can be listed with many credits to his name, an accomplished writer, editor and publisher but the one I hold dear is a great friend. I personally will miss is humor, his candor and his company. Stoney was a cherished friend of mine.

chevytexas
chevytexas

This is the sort of day when some of us feel, well... old. And yet again, as Angus says, he didn't look or act old, didn't seem to (when he wasn't sick) FEEL old, so maybe as I'm writing this I'm feeling a little younger, and recalling a few brash moments and maybe I'll go cut down one or more of those effing new trees encumbering Lee Park and, oh, I don't know what I'll do that reminds me we need some touchstones to when Angry and Positive could be combined.

Peterpaulsacco
Peterpaulsacco

are you the same Pam Landrum that used to manage a metal group named 'Empire'? peterpaulsacco@gmail.com

Heather
Heather

I actually have access to a picture of him burning that draft card.. I also have a picture of He and I along with my sister and baby brothers sitting on the porch in the middle of the afternoon .. All five of very appropriately dressed, in our underwear.. I was five, I am not sure what his excuse was.. LOL So glad I got to talk to him last week, will miss him forever.. Peace

refried
refried

is that when you wrote "blacks & jews"??

Willow1966
Willow1966

OMG, I so remember Stoney in the Oak Lawn area in the late 60's. He was a true icon for us old hippies. God speed Stoney and God Bless,,,,you in a much more peaceful place now and can look down on us and laugh!

refried
refried

how is that even possible?

Phyllis Rocher
Phyllis Rocher

Heather I am Phyllis Rocher and Lucy replaced his draft card.  I would very much like a copy of that picture for my mother's history.  He held a very special place in my mother's heart and they worked on the world together, lol.  I was in high school and what a tremendous time growing up in the 60's and 70's in Dallas.  I will thank you in advance,  my email is phyllisrocher@hotmail.com.  

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