Clifford Antone (October 27, 1949 in Port Arthur, Texas–May 23, 2006 in Austin, Texas) was the founder of a well-known Austin blues club, record label, and a mentor to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan and numerous other musicians.
Antone moved to Austin in 1968 and attended The University of Texas at Austin. An arrest for marijuana led to his dropping out of school. Nurturing a passion for Chicago blues, Antone started a blues club at age 25. The namesake club, Antone's, became one of the first music venues on Austin's 6th Street, helped lead to Austin's reputation as a music city, and fostered the careers of a number of musicians. Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker, Delbert McClinton, Pinetop Perkins, Muddy Waters, Albert Collins, Jimmy Reed, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and B.B. King and many other legends performed at Antone's in its more than 30-year history. Along with keeping all of the existing bluesmen in business, Antone began the career of Stevie Ray Vaughan. At the time Stevie was only known as Jimmie's little brother but his dream had always been to play with Albert King. Clifford asked Albert if it would be ok for Stevie to sit in with him one night and (after much persuasion), it was agreed. Stevie sat in with Albert and gave an amazing performance that astounded King. Thus Stevie Ray Vaughan became increasingly well known and went on to bring the blues back into the mainstream.
In 1987, Antone founded a recording label, Antone's Records and Tapes. Antone served time in federal prisons for drug charges in the early 1980s and in 2000. On hearing of Antone's passing, Austin Mayor Will Wynn was quoted as saying, "One of the primary reasons Austin is known as the Live Music Capital of the World is because of Clifford Antone."
Today Antone's is located at 213 5th Street in Austin.