SA Vibes: Anthony Prater sings San Antonio’s history

SAN ANTONIO – It’s rare to hear a song about the last man who was ever hanged at the old Bexar County Jail, but “Guerilla Historian” Anthony Prater covers that and more in his very unique style of songwriting.

Anthony Prater is a singer/songwriter born in San Antonio and raised a few miles south in Somerset. He has been writing songs and telling stories since forming his first band at the age of 14.

A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, he spent his teens and 20s writing and performing with numerous D.I.Y. bands, most notably ska/punk trio, ¡Nada Más Basura! from 2009 until 2015.

In addition to his solo pursuits, he spends his time researching obscure historical events; sometimes using them as inspiration for his music. He also fronts the Irish Folk/Rock/Americana group The Naggins and is the rhythm guitarist/lead vocalist for the Indie/Alternative band Hotel Torgo.

I first saw Anthony Prater perform with his ska/punk band ¡Nada Más Basura! in 2011. I’m pretty sure it was at The Mix (it’s been so long) and I couldn’t get the songs out of my head for days.

After that, I went to almost every one of the band’s shows. Soon, I was able to see Prater start working on solo music with more of a folk sound and it was just as powerful to me as his full band’s music. ¡Nada Más Basura! no longer performs but I’ve heard songs from both of his newer projects along with his solo music and his songwriting really shines through.

For this SA Vibes set, Anthony Prater performs “Margarito,” “Germantown“ and “Bluebird.”

Prater’s next show will be at the American Legion Post 443 in Somerset, TX on Saturday, July 27th for a BBQ benefit for his aunt and cousin, who are both battling cancer.

We asked a few questions about his songs and more – see his answers below.

What’s the story behind one of your songs?

A little background on the song I played, “Margarito.” It was written about a guy who grew up here in San Antonio. His name was Margarito Guzman Jr., and in 1970 he was a high school senior at Churchill. He was going through some problems and one day he got it into his head that he wasn’t good enough. He wanted people to remember him so he went down to Hemisfair Park and went up the Tower of the Americas. There used to be a second observation deck up on top that people could access and he committed suicide in March of 1970. So since that, that second observation deck has been closed to the public. It’s a little historical tune that I wrote.

What’s your favorite part about the SA music scene?

It’s always changing. It’s always evolving. Right now, it’s kind of like I’m starting over again after the pandemic. Playing around [San Antonio] for like 23 years, you get to know people, people know who you are, relationships when booking and stuff. And then that kind of just like wiped the slate clean. So it’s like people moved to different jobs, different careers, things like that. It’s kind of like, starting fresh. Venues are starting to book more and just getting back out there and it feels like I’m a young musician again starting but it’s fun. I spent part of the pandemic writing and producing an album. I tried to make use of my time off. I released that in February 2023 and just been kind of writing and preparing for the next release.

You can find more information and music from Anthony Prater on his website or his Bandcamp.

About SA Vibes

San Antonio is well-known for its culture, but the local music scene has always seemed a bit hidden.

Unless someone takes you to a local show — at venues like The Lonesome Rose, Hi-Tones, The Mix, Paper Tiger, 502 Bar — chances are you’ll never even know our music scene even exists. That’s what made me decide to launch this passion project that we’re calling “SA Vibes.”

My name is Valerie and I’m a video editor at KSAT. I’ve been attending local shows for over a decade, and I want to put a spotlight on the great talent that San Antonio has to offer.

Each month we’ll be releasing a new “SA Vibes” video across all KSAT digital platforms and our YouTube channel showcasing a local musician performing live versions of their songs from the KSAT garden.

If you’re a San Antonio musician and would like to be a part of this project, please send information about your next show to our SA Vibes email.

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