BAND DETAIL: The Pictures
Ain't to Proud to Beg
I Will Survive
Performing regularly in Dallas, this Austin-based party band is the
perfect addition to your corporate or private event! The Pictures Band offers a variety of
cover songs from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, Top 40, Disco & Funk, and Country.
Musicians welcome Bush presidency in person
By Stephanie Dunaway Odessa American
President George W. Bush wasn't the only West Texan in the Washington,
D.C., spotlight last weekend. Odessa natives Byron and Robin Smith, with
their band, The Pictures, provided the musical entertainment at one of
the president's inaugural balls.
Dream come true
After performing in Austin at Bush's gubernatorial inauguration in 1996,
the brothers said they hoped the connection to the politician would one
day pay off.
"The governor's (inauguration) was such a big honor for us," Byron said.
But amid the honor, members of The Pictures joked about one day getting
a bigger honor.
"We joked around that (Bush would) probably be elected president," Byron
It was the band's guitar player, Bret Anderson, who made the biggest
mockery of the potential to play for Bush if he became president.
Anderson told talent booking agent Dennis Grub, "Man, if you can make
this thing happen, I'll wash your car for the rest of your life."
"So two or three weeks ago, Grub called me and said, 'Tell Bret to get
his washing mitt ready because y'all are going to Washington,' " Byron
Since there wasn't much notice for The Pictures to arrange the trip,
details and performance dates had to be maneuvered quickly.
"It was very short notice, and we had a lot of work to do. It's a major
ordeal to transport heavy equipment and instruments that far," Byron
The Pictures also had a previous engagement scheduled for the same
weekend at the Ohio Ball. Needless to say, they canceled those plans and
headed to the nation's capital.
It was hectic and stressful planning, but the trip was worthwhile for
They flew to Washington on Friday, and hospitable Bush aides greeted
them. The band members partied at the Black Tie and Boots Inaugural
Ball, rubbed elbows with celebrities, saw many monuments, stayed in
top-notch hotel rooms and were chauffeured around the city in their
personal tour bus.
"They treated us really, really good," Byron said. "We met Wayne Newton
and Naomi Judd and Clint Black."
Perks aside, Byron Smith said the ultimate highlight came during their
performance at the Ohio Ball. A Secret Service agent told them that once
Vice President Dick Cheney was about to appear on stage, a bugle call
would interrupt the band as a cue to stop playing.
"Next thing we know one of the Secret Service guys comes running out on
the stage and says, 'Do you know how to play 'It Had to Be you,'" Byron
The band didn't have the sheet music for the classic 1946 song but they
agreed to try the tune.
"During the campaign, it was the Cheneys' trademark song so they wanted
to continue the tradition," Byron Smith said. "The Secret Service guy
told me, 'If they (the Cheneys) look at you, start playing that song.'
So Vice President Cheney finished his speech and looked at us and we
started to play as they danced. It was really neat."
For sentiment's sake, Byron Smith said he was glad he had bought a
camcorder for the trip and placed it on the stage with him. Now, he has
a tape of the band's most memorable performance of "It Had to Be You."
Party all night long
Along with meeting the demands of the Cheneys and the Secret Service,
Byron Smith said the performance was a success. He went so far as to say
it was the most successful 2001 inaugural ball because it lasted the
"As most of the other balls wound down, a few of the people from those
balls wandered into ours and kept us playing until 1:30 a.m.," Byron
They packed the equipment up, parted ways with the hosts of the event,
comedian Drew Carey and country music artist Linda Davis, and The
Pictures left their dressing room in the wee hours of the morning.
"After we finished and everything was such a success we walked out of
our dressing room and snow was beginning to fall. We just felt like we'd
won the world. We'd done it all and I started to think about my dad,"
Byron Smith said. "It probably meant the most to my father and I'm so
proud that he's so proud."
Byron and his brother, Robin, were thankful to make their parents proud.
While the band was in Washington, the Smiths were dealing with a grave
situation. The brothers' mother, Margaret Smith, lay in an Odessa
hospital awaiting surgery to have her second leg amputation due to
"With my mother in the hospital, this was just a really special thing
for us to be able to do," Byron said.
From West Texas to Washington
Once the inaugural performance was complete, the band traveled back to
their homes in Austin, but the Smith brothers had another trip to make.
They returned to Odessa Tuesday to be with their mother.
The westward trip is familiar for the brothers because each lived in
Odessa until age 18.
"We lived in Odessa on Moss Avenue and we were doing the same thing
we're doing now," Byron said. "Our band was called Fantasy Star and we
played at about every school function back then."
Once the band left Odessa they changed their name to The Pictures in
1980, and a local connection provided a chance to work.
"Herb Graham connected us with an agent who put us on a tour, and we
ended up playing all over the place," Byron said. "Since then we've
played all over the world."
Along with the name, the makeup of the band has changed since the days
on Moss Avenue. Robin plays guitar and Byron is the drummer, but the
other members have been plucked from other towns. Bass player Chuck
Fuson is from Andrews. Vocalist Chris Schacherer is from Houston.
Soundman Steve Dunphy and Bret Anderson, who plays guitar and keyboard,
are both from Austin.
Together, the band is able to spit out almost any song requested. They
play everything from country music to rock to classic dance songs.
"Who would've known that we'd still be (playing in a band) now and be
called upon to play at the most prestigious event in the world," Byron
Smith said. "It just doesn't get any bigger than that."
Click here for The Picture's Song List.