Ayala left mark on local music scene
By Jim Beal, San Antonio Express-News
The gunshot slaying of Ram Ayala at his fabled Taco Land early last Friday and the shooting of bartender Denise "Sunshine" Koger and "Gypsy" Doug Morgan have cast a pall over most of the live music scene, a pall that won't be lifted for a long, long time, if ever.
Ayala was a real-deal, unvarnished character with a heart of gold, the patriarch of his own family, kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. Ram also was the patriarch of an extended family that includes the most motley of motley crews, fresh-faced teen musicians and grizzled music vets whose own families think they're nuts to still be playing rock 'n' roll in bars; generations of college students, each of whom believes he was the first to discover the bar at the corner of Grayson and Elmira streets; and homeless people who seek refuge under the ancient oak tree on the patio; the walking wounded, the childhood friends, the curious, the committed, the artists, the fans.
Ram Ayala also was a music fan who supported myriad musicians and other venue owners, even those who could be viewed as direct competitors. His personal tastes ran the gamut from big band jazz to West Side R&B, from conjunto to raw punk, from the experimental to the established. Music will go on. The rock won't stop. People will gravitate elsewhere. And there'll always be a void at the center of the music scene. The small, immediate blessing is there won't be three.