San Antonio has lost one of its fiercest music advocates. Blayne Scott Tucker died suddenly on Friday, Dec. 30, at age 42 while with friends. The cause of death is unknown. Tucker’s mother, Camille Gray, said Emergency Medical Services responders attended to him quickly but were unable to revive him. 

Tucker co-owned The Mix, an indie music venue on the St. Mary’s Strip, and was a managing partner of Floore’s Country Store in Helotes. He co-founded the Maverick Music Festival in San Antonio and recently helped found the independent music touring network D Tour

As Texas precinct captain of the National Independent Venue Association, Tucker helped push through the Save Our Stages Act and the resultant Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program providing $15 billion in federal relief funds to businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns and restrictions.

Tucker advocated for provisions in the program that would direct $2 billion specifically to “mom and pop” venues that employ 50 or fewer full-time employees.

‘Brilliant and prolific’

Tucker was ​​born in Clovis, New Mexico, and earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating from the Texas A&M University School of Law. The whole process took only five years, Gray said.

“He was just brilliant and prolific in any kind of literature, biographies, philosophy, religions — there isn’t a subject you can think of that he was not well versed in,” she said. “He immersed himself in learning, he was so curious. You just couldn’t fill him up, with his desire to learn more and more and more every day.”

Tucker practiced as an attorney in Grapevine for several years before he moved into entertainment law. He became the manager for Austin musician Gary Clark Jr., a role that took him all over the world on tour meeting vaunted figures Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Barack Obama when Clark played at the White House in 2012. 

“He knew thousands of people, literally,” Gray said, yet Tucker was low-key about his famous associations.

“He was extraordinarily genuine,” said Chad Carey, owner of the Paper Tiger on North St. Mary’s Street, and a close associate and friend of Tucker’s. 

And though the music business is tough, Carey said, “there was a certain sort of calmness to the way [Tucker] conducted himself. He wasn’t ever super interested in splashing his name everywhere, he just had this really cool, humble workmanlike attitude … And he never was concerned about what was in it for him. [He was] a total rarity in that way, just a good-spirited guy who wanted to make good things happen with music in San Antonio.”

Carey said, “I don’t know anyone else in this industry who goes about their work like that, and I’ll miss him very much for that reason.”

Tucker recognized the emergence of the St. Mary’s Strip as an important music sector in the city and started the North St. Mary’s Business Owners Association in 2015. Carey took over as director during the pandemic, in part to help Tucker focus on his advocacy for federal relief.

Devoted to family and friends

Throughout his career, Tucker remained devoted to those close to him, Gray said. “He was completely devoted to his friends, his family, his nieces, and he was very involved in their lives,” she said.

He recently arranged a California trip for Gray, and she said the two ate their way through L.A., “up and down the coast and more oysters, more seafood and every restaurant that you can imagine.”

Blayne Tucker (center) poses for a photo with his sister Jennifer Yantis, & nieces Lili, Thea, Grace.
Blayne Tucker (center) poses for a photo with his stepsister Jennifer Yantis and nieces Lili, Thea and Grace. Credit: Courtesy / Camille Gray

They flew back home and he drove her to her home in Dale. Later, he arranged for the extended family to stay together during the Thanksgiving holiday. Gray has only one regret: “I was always fanatic about getting pictures, and we didn’t get a family picture this year.”

Tucker was looking to move his mother closer to Helotes where he lived and worked so the two could spend more time together, she said, but an impending deal fell through. 

“​​There was such intensity on trying to be together, spending time together” making gingerbread houses with his nieces and playing fantasy football with his nephews, she said, “he just was cramming everything into each minute.”

Gray said she will remember the many different dimensions of her son’s personality: “loving, affectionate, wonderful, fiery. He was very passionate and could be ferocious too — but just strong and tender-hearted.”

Tucker is survived by Gray; father Tom Tucker; stepmother Gail Tucker; maternal grandmother Jane Wootton; sisters Shelby Cochran and Valerie Cullipher, stepsister Jen Yantis; brother Greg Kalb; and several nieces. A memorial service is planned for Feb. 11, with venue and further details to be announced.

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Nicholas Frank

Senior Reporter Nicholas Frank moved from Milwaukee to San Antonio following a 2017 Artpace residency. Prior to that he taught college fine arts, curated a university contemporary art program, toured with...