Tyler "T.D." Bell



Tyler "T.D." Bell

Name: Tyler D. "T.D." Bell
Location of Birth: Rockdale, Texas
Profession: Band leader, East Austin business owner
Instrument: Guitar
Vocalist: Yes
Bands: T. D. Bell and the Cadillacs, T. D. Bell, Erbie Bowser, and the Blues Specialists
Collaborators: Erbie Bowser
Styles: Blues, R&B

Guitarist/vocalist Bell is a local legend, the leader of the hottest band on the East Side, T. D. Bell and the Cadillacs, during the heyday of the Victory Grill in the 1950s. Bell, who came to Austin in the early 1950s, provided early performing experience in his bands for many of the blues and jazz players on the East Side of Austin.

Bell's bands, which generally featured Erbie Bowser on piano, backed up virtually all of the touring blues and R&B acts to come through Austin in the 50s. He had a long association with Victory grill owner Johnny Holmes. One of the few older musicians in town to work full-time during his early years, Bell did not take on outside work until later in life. He now has a small trucking business and had essentially retired from music until Erbie Bower asked him to reform their band for the Victory Grill reunion in 1987.

While Bell has some touring experience, he never worried about making the big time and has been happiest as an Austin musician. Bell, who has lived in the same neighborhood for over 40 years, knows intimately the history of the East Side's decline.