The Houston Music Blog section of the Free Press Houston.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Born Liars, Guitars, Lazy Horse at Rudyard's 11/26/2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 7:42 AM

You know one thing that is great about Houston right now is the explosion of local labels; AG82, Artstorm, Cutthroat, Ditchwater, Esotype, Mia Kat, Phonographic Arts, Psycho Wolf, Team Science and so on. It's part of the local indie boom that's been happening for the last few year. Well, while waiting for Shane Lauder to arrive and do sound at Rudz, I spoke with Jaime of Giant Princess and he mentioned in passing that he and some others were starting a label. I, of course, had to prod him about it - the more, the merrier I say. So here is the scoop. The label is called Paper Stamp Record Co. and much like CIA records it will run as a collective of sorts with these bands all contributing to the fund - pretty smart. The schedule for releases is pretty ambitious so here is a rundown of their '09 release schedule:
Feb '09 - Giant Princess/BLACKIE Split 7"
Mar '09 - Giant Princess LP
Mar/Apr '09 - BLACKIE LP
Apr '09 - Giant Princess/Sings Split 7"
Jul '09 - Sings LP
Aug '09 - La Femme Politico LP
You'll note that this is all on Vinyl? Awesome!!!! I love it! That seems to be a big trend among local labels. Thank goodness the CD, with the advent of decent Internet music services, has been recognized as the glorified coaster it truly is. (Well, except for boxed sets which, when well annotated, are the one true point where CDs shine.) So good luck Jaime we'll be looking forward to all the releases in '09.

Oh and another thing I should mention about 2009 is that according to JD, even though JD and Stacey are moving, the Secret Saturday Shows at The Shady Tavern will still continue. If you have a free afternoon on a Saturday you should stop by.

By the way, while I'm rambling, I need to point out that Shane did show up and that, beyond from the excellent sound, he did something I've never seen at Rudyard's - he actually kicked up the lights. Geez, I always thought Rudyard's just had bad lighting but it turns out that when you use the lights it looks great. My reliance on flash was minimal as was my need to Photoshop the images. So, thanks Shane.

Lazy Horse started off the night. Unfortunately my notes are pretty illegible. "Sound like H????? meets a 60's teen party band." Hayden? Nope, Halford? Nope. Really, I don't know what the hell I wrote. But I will tell you one thing that I do remember and that was Charles' guitar work. Anytime he'd solo it was this wonderful loopy and loose J. Mascius tone that was fluid and expressive. One person in the audience even shouted "More solos!!" I had to concur.

Guitars followed with the lads dressed as Pilgrims, the ladies dressed as Indians, and JD dressed as the most frightening Turkey ever. (Stacey was quite proud of her seamstress skills on the Indian outfits). The music is a nice mish-mash of influences and the nice thing is that while the costumes were funny and cute they never overwhelmed the performance or the music - they added but they were never a distraction. It was energetic and fun stuff all around.

Born Liars closed the show and as usual brought the house down. No girl fights or broken bottles this year but still all the straight up rock and roll you'd expect from these guys and the typical audience reaction which was a lot of fists and drinks held in the air, shouting, dancing, and Christian of Hell City Kings unable to resist the urge to jump on stage and sing backing vocals. Kudos to new drummer (Josh is it?) of Homopolice who clearly is much more comfortable with the material than the last time I saw them.


ATTN: Lazy Horse "More Solos!"

Lazy Horse:
"I wear my Sunglasses at Night!"

C'mon Pilgrim, It's Guitars

Guitars doing a historically accurate
reenactment of the first Thanksgiving.


JD was likely the most
frightening Turkey I'd ever seen

Stacey made all the costumes.
Now how many bands can do that?


Joe Mathlete Art
Stop Doing That Thing You Hate

Can you pick out the new member
of
Born Liars who also plays in Homo Police?

Born Liars under the glorious
Shane Lauder Rudz lighting!


Scott firing on all rock and roll cylinders

Born Liars - It's a party!

Scott now in full Bataan Death March mode.

Cassidy (Cutthroat Records)
leads the Men's Room discussion.

Topic
"Who was the first Hardcore band?"
Go!
Links:
More Pics on my Flickr (Link)

Lazy Horse on Myspace (Link)
Guitars on Myspace (Link)
Born Liars on Myspace (Link)

Labels: , "Lazy Horse", ,

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of November 28th, 2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

This Week's spotlight is on
Hardcore Birthday Party - One Dolla'



Joey of El Desmadre and Eric of Humanicide's birthday!
Featuring
PLF, Dissent, El Desmadre, Battle Rifle, Last Rosary
@ The White Swan
One Dollar? How often do you to have your ass whooped for a dollar? Well here is your chance as some of Houston's most bone-crushing, heavy, and furious bands come together for...well a birthday party. Yeah yeah I know a birthday party doesn't sound very brain meltingly Hardcore but trust me, if these bands had an inflated Hello Kitty trampoline and my little pony balloons, it would still crush anything else you could possibly experience this week. Also, poseurs please note the poster: Absolutely No Drama! So, put on your party hat, bring a party horn, and come ready to jump in the circle pit!


ALSO THIS WEEK

Friday, November 28th


Jenny Westbury
On KPFT's Radioactive (90.1fm 2PM)
Awww we miss Jenny's good natured and happy happy joy joy enthusiasm. She's now in Seattle but KPFT recorded her at Sugarhill before she left. Listen in a find out why we're jealous of Seattle.

Golden Cities and or Room 101
On KTRU's Revelry Report (91.7FM 6PM)
Lance Higdon may be known as the manic drummer of Tambersauro but here is his more shoegazy side. They may or may not be playing (Ian you need to update your calendar) but Room 101 is definitely playing and he is a one man post-punk field of slaughter.

Little Joy, The Dead Trees, The Tontons
@ Warehouse Live

I believe Ton Tons is all I have to say. (Insert Mark C. Austin joke here)

GRRRL PARTS
@ The Mink
Tag Team DJ Duo

Wolves At The Door, HalffNelson, Desmond Zavala
@ Fitzgerald's
The wolves have a trumpet and they are not afraid to use it. Half nelson does the Reggae thing and Desmond Zavala's an instrumental band that plays some pretty and mellow melodic rock.

Secret Awesome Fest 9000, featuring Hollywood FLOSS, The Mermaids of Judaism, Ellypseas, Monoceros, Female Demand, Breathe In Your Neighborhood, Bear Kraft, Eddie T, Giant Battle Monster, ?//, Charger Fits, & Ryan Evans Jazz Oddysey @ 10553 Fisher Rd. (free!)
OK kind of a mixed bag here really but let me quickly run through these in order: Hip Hop, Low-fi Garage, meh, Monocereo's Nero Vs The State of Punk rock is probably the best Greg Ginn guitar cop I've heard in a while, Drum and Bass...no...I mean that's what this duo plays, your homework - listen to a bunch of spacemen three, smoke a lot of dope, then write a three page essay on why you shouldn't have to cram everything up-front in your mix, your assignment - build a myspace page, ATTN Eddie T- your name is too generic to Google, this band would make for a very good instrumental band, you really expect me to Google that?, they have a big ad for a tattoo shop and write songs like "My Girlfriend Rocknroll" and "Dust off the Leather", WTF?? Ryan Evans Jazz Odyssey you named your band Jazz Odyssey?



Saturday, November 29th

Sat., November 29 - The Riff Tiffs, The Eastern Sea, Piano Vines, Earnie Banks, The McKenzies
@ Walter's on Washington (8:30PM, $7)

With the expert shoe gaze of Houston's Riff Tiffs, the melodic sweetness of Austin's Eastern Sea and the awesome H-Pop of Piano Vines, Earnie banks and the McKenzies, this should be a pretty solid night of music. I know what yr asking. Isn't this on Friday? I saw this listed on Walter's website as being on Friday. No it's a fuck-up. This show is in fact on Saturday.


Do It Anyway You Want
Party/Art Show/ Ceeplus Bad Knives Sagittarius Birthday Bash
With The Mathletes
and DJ's Damon Allen, Dansparc, Grrrl Parts, PRKL8R, J. Calero, On Hiatus, Ceeplus Bad Knives
MC: Cornbread (of the Fucking Transmissions)
($10) 2210 Commerce St. (in back)
Here is the perfect way to start a message. "Hello all, your getting this mail because your rad." You hear that I'm rad!!! :P But seriously this looks to be pretty cool especially since the mystery band is now confirmed to be the Mathletes. Anyhow here is the rest of the message:

"Thanks to all you plan to make it out to the event this Saturday. To everyone who can't, you will be missed! If you guys and gals have other plans on Saturday, fret not, we will be rocking it till at least 4am.. :) Parking is cool on the streets Commerce and Saint Emanuel. Plus there is a pretty big lot at the warehouse space. Address is 2010 Commerce but entry is in the back on the Franklin side. We will have 5 kegs of beer and bottles. You can BYOB if you like as well. Art show starts at 8pm. Come out early to check it out."


Misfits, Shit City High, Focusyn, X-Pats
@ The Meridian
(Early In-store) Shit City High (5PM) @ Cactus Music
OK so with only Jerry Only left of the original line-up, calling this the misfits is pretty damn silly. Maybe Blackfits or Misflag would be more descriptive given the line up of Only with Black Flag Alumni Robo and Dez Cadena. Eh but who's splitting hairs not this "Goddamn son of a bitch. You better think about it baby?"

Tuesday November 4th

News On The March
On the KTRU Local Show (91.7fm 8PM)

Locals pop darlings play live on the local show as a preview to their EP Release.


Wednesday, December 3rd

Wilderness, Fertile Crescent, San Serac, Balaclavas, Guitars, TENSE, DJ Fredster/Psychedelic Sex Panther
@ The Mink

Echo bathed jangly guitars and emotive vocals are Wildernesses' stock-in-trade. It's good stuff but I'd still say that Balaclavas can out do them in terms of atmosphere, emotion, and raw dark beauty. If you've not seen or heard Balaclavas you really need to do so as they are one of the most unique and singular bands to walk the Earth. Also worth checking out are the ever fun and hummable Guitars and robot dancehall king Tense.

Deerhunter, Times New Viking
@ Warehouse Live

The bright clean indie rock of deerhunter meets the more noisy and immediate indie rock of Times new Viking.


Thursday, December 4th

Spain Colored Orange/Airon Paul Dugas (with Paris Falls)
@ The Continental Club

The other band with a trumpet who isn't afraid to use it. Is dugas playing with Paris Falls as a back up band? I don't quite follow that.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Music with Jameson & Lone Star: Bright Men of Learning and The Gary @ Rudz 11 Nov 2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 6:15 AM


Yeah, as you can tell by the picture above, I wasn't feeln' too well Saturday. Likely I was ill from running around all day and not eating properly. I'd actually planned on running down to the White Swan early and catching some of the metal showcase but thought better of it given my state. Nevertheless, I did run by Rudz to catch a last minute show. You know those shows where for some inexplicable reason there is an open date on a bar and a few bands jump on the opportunity to play outside the rehearsal space. They're always dodgy affairs given the short notice and more often than not they become glorified rehearsals. The charming thing about these type of shows is the bands can be pretty loose and laid back. They aren't worried about knocking it out of the ballpark in front of a big crowd. It's just intimate and chill.

Austin's The Gary (with Trey of Sad Like Crazy) opened with a nice set. The bassist's vocals were a nice baritone with a talky/singing style that reminded me of those Minutemen songs where Mike Watt would talk through a song. It was a nice juxtaposition with the melodic bass and guitar lines. Good stuff. Then Bright Men of Learning followed. Third guitar slinger Chris wasn't there (this was a last minute show after all) and I, for one, missed what he brought to the band. BMOL isn't about one person after all but the collective unit and what they each bring to it and Chris does help in filling out the canvas. That small quibble aside, it was nice to hear the BMOL songs live for the first time in a long time. The rythm section is great, Marshall Preddy's vocals are always wonderful and horribly under appreciated, and Ben Murphy's lead work is one of the best in the city. Perhaps because the sound was more sparse with Chris' absence or just because this was a last minute show, Murphy even got a bit free-form and noisy with his guitar work at one point which was kind of a surprise and admittely fun to watch. But in the end, was it a wild and woolly night? Nah, but I did get to catch two solid bands play it loose and laid back which was great and more importantly I didn't throw up.

The Gary from Austin
showing off some nice guitar and bass work

No, it's not a short-scale bass.
I'm 6 foot 5.

Bright Men of Learning's Marshall Preddy
rocking the Rudz living room


BMOL's Ben Murphy
channels his inner Thurston Moore


Links:

More pictures on my Flickr (link)

Bright Men Of Learning on Myspace (link)
The Gary on mysapce (
link)

Labels: , , BMOL

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of November 21, 2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

[Warning this is being put together during our next issue's deadline so this is pretty bare bones. My apologies if I miss anything or if my descriptions are brief.]

This Week's spotlight is on
Thanksgiving Insanity


Wednesday, November 26
Born Liars, Guitars, Lazy Horse
@ Rudyard's

OK what are we thankful for? Well if it's broken bottles and girl fights then the Born Liars' pre-Thanksgiving show at Rudz last year's must have made you think that maybe there is a God and God orders whiskey straight. I'd be lying if I were to say I wasn't hoping that this year proves just as insane, rowdy, and fun. Go for the possibility of insanity and mayhem, yes by all means do, but I think you'll find the music will be just as awesome. The Born Liars straight-up rock and roll mayhem never outshines the music which is dirty gritty garage rock at its best. Then there is also the Monocles, Lenny Briscoe, Alarma super-group Guitars whose new EP is like every great Indie rock trope you love condensed into three songs. I've heard some pretty bad ass reviews of Lazy Horse live from people I trust pretty well and I've been diggin' their myspace songs even if they did take off my favorite track. So, long story short, you will have much to be thankful for.


ALSO THIS WEEK

Friday, November 21

The Suspects, The Neptones
@ The Continental Club
Ska and surf. Sure, why not?

Wolves at the Door, Ozeal, Studemont Project, Yoko Mono, Juzcoz
@ Dan Electro's Guitar Bar
Wolves at the Door put on a good show. It's a pretty primordeal band but still not bad.

The Caprolites, The Delta Block, The Hangouts, 500 Megatons of Boogie
@ Notsuoh
Notsuoh possibly closing in the near future and a solid line up, how can this not be on our list.

Abominations of the Earth VIII, featuring Condemned, Dark Sufferance, Throne of Odin, Brutally Mutilated, & Necrotic Void
@ The White Swan

Damn it, there is a band called Throne of fucking Odin! How could this not rule!

George Jones
@ Arena Theatre

Damn it, George fucking Jones! How could this not rule!

Don't Fight It, featuring Dave Wrangler, Piss Heavy, & Young Squaddy
@ Boondocks
DJ's Boondocks. Nuff Said.

B.B. King, Shawn Pittman Band
@ House of Blues
(Friday and Saturday)
B.B. is so bad ass he could whoop your ass Friday night then have you come back for a second ass whoopin on Saturday.

Giant Battle Monster
on The KTRU Revelry Report (6PM 91.7fm)

Ian and Matt bring you some of the best local music and news every week here.


Saturday, November 22

Via Colori: A Street Painting Festival
benefiting The Center for Hearing and Speech,
featuring Arthur Yoria, Bourbon Street, Cafe Khytaro and DelEspadin Flamenco, Flying Fish Sailors, Jerk Store, Two Star Symphony, Corian Ellisor with Alex Abarca & Kristen Frankiewicz, Jason Spencer, & Brian Kalinec Band
@ Sam Houston Park (Allen Parkway & Bagby; 10AM-6PM)
Nice little idea for an outdoor festival. Have artists paint the sidewalks and have a nice line up of bands. Plus it will benefit the Center for Hearing and Speech. It being a free event how could you not just swing by to take a gander?

Torche, Black Cobra, Clouds
@ Walter's on Washington
Get your super duty heavy on! This will be a sweet show. Miami's Torche are hella fun metal.

The Gary , Bright Men of Learning
@ Rudyards
The Gary is Trey Poole - Ex-pat Houstonian best known for also playing in Sad Like Crazy - and looks like they just threw this show together at the last minute with black violence-metal masters Bright Men of Learning. Led by Marshall Preddy (you may have read the tattoed ex-heroin junkie's New York Times best selling rock and roll memior) the band is not for the weak.

Pong, Lick Lick, Foot Patrol
@ The Continental Club

Dig it -> Pong = silly ass-shaking fun. Lick Lick = absurdist ass-shaking fun.

Destroying Texas Fest III, featuring
Inquisition, Blood Storm, Necroholocaust, Baphomet's Horn, Obeisance, Gnostic, Nodens, Adumus, & To Scale The Throne

@ The White Swan
OK OK OK. Let me just say it again. Metal band names Rule!!!!!

Helstar, James Rivera
@ F.B.I. Rock Club #1
OMG - How can you not love Helstar. Jeez, just look at the awesome artwork! Is that not brain bursting stuff???? I mean... I dunno which I love more - the little skeleton dudes frying on the bottom or Satan asking for a beer and TV remote from his Lazy-Boy. Man, metal is sweet.


Ruby James (1PM)
Mechanical Boy (4PM)
@ Cactus Music

Free St. Arnold's beer. Woo.


Prince Klassen, DJ Orion, Dayta
@ Boondocks

More DJs at Boondocks

Secret Saturday Show
@ The Shady Tavern

Oh you know the deal sun, music and beer - what better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.



Sunday, November 23

Via Colori: A Street Painting Festival
benefiting The Center for Hearing and Speech,
featuring Moses Guest, Carrie Ann and the Apocalyptics, Scott Krippel, Sideshow Tramps, The Wild Moccasins, The Texas Toast, & The Neptones
@ Sam Houston Park (Allen Parkway & Bagby; 10AM-5PM)

Day two of this street painting with music outdoor festival. the Sideshow Tramps and the Wild Moccasins alone should be worth the price of admission ... errr which did I mention is FREE?


3rd Annual Jerry Lightfoot Memorial Concert,
Benefiting Big Walter The Thunderbird
W/ Trudy Lynn, Sunset heights, Charlie Prtichard, The Shadowcasters, Steve Kase, Rock Romano, Tommy Dardar, Texas City Slim, Mojoifrompolis, Curtis King, Norma Zetano, The Blue Threads, George Kinney, Johnny Smith, Pee Wee Stephens, Brother to Brother with Sandy Hickey.
@ Fitzdown (Early 2PM $10)
OK I have to plead total ignorance here to Big Walter Price until I came across this but holy shit his stuff is awesome. The old straight up boogie woogie piano stuff is a blast (though admittedly the later stuff sounds weird
in comparison with organ and cheesy organ beats or dated synths) and there is some great footage of him singing in a wheelchair that rocks out there on youtube. Here is a really good bio on the guy whose history includes stints with Peacock records, T-N-T records, and The Upsetters (Link)


Monday, November 24

SAVE THE AXE
Warren Hatfield benefit
With Golden Axe (Free downstairs)
@ Rudyard's
When you were attacked by a bear and needed a rock riff to beat back the beast, who was there for you? When you were trapped under that car and needed and fast arpeggio guitar lick? Who was there? That's right Golden Axe. Well, now the axe needs you! Will you turn you back on the axe in it's time of need? By all that is good and ass whoopin in metal, I hope not otherwise how could we as a nation move forward? Yes, that's right. If you don't go, the terrorists have won.

Sad Gorilla, Benjamin Wesley
@ Boondocks

Not sure who Sad Gorilla is but the hairy ape will be much happier to know that it's playing with the hyper talented Benjamin Wesley (Fucking Transmissions and the late great Basses Loaded)

Tuesday November 24


Young Mammals Golden Axe
on the KTRU Local Show (8PM 91.7fm
)
OK you know what's funny is the Young Mammals, one of Houston's best H-Pop bands are considered elder statesmen by some of the younger bands. Man, 21 is the new 40; this scene is getting younger!

Whoops looks like Ian updated his calendar after I checked it for the preview. No worries this will rock hard too!!



Wednesday, November 26

JUST ADDED!!!!
Zach Hill, Golden Axe, Caddy Whompus, Sings
@ Walters

OK so Zach Hill is from Hella, Caddywhompus is Sean and Chris of The Riff Tiffs, and Sings is Brett Taylor is from By the End Of Tonight. Got That? Yeah and Golden Axe needs no explanation.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Noise & Smoke 2 - Less Smoke, More Noise

posted by april5k @ 11:48 AM

Festival promoter Liz Molina returns to Houston with a scaled back version of last year’s successful Noise & Smoke festival, this time around joining forces with local magic makers Rosa Guerrero and Anna Garza. Paring down to one evening at two adjoining spaces the efficiency of pure face-rockage has been brought to levels unseen in the slowly-awakening giant that is Houston’s music scene.



not pictured Liz Molina, pictured Chris Ryan


So, to start things off, let’s meet our DJ’s. On deck at Dean’s we’ve got local standby CeePlus and self-proclaimed catlover PRKL8R spinning dance jams. Over at Notsuoh Coach Springer is showing good hustle with his solid line-up of rock & roll crushers.







Kicking off the night? Appropriately, it’s Teenage Kicks on stage at Dean’s. These sharp dressed young men have been delivering their tight power-pop/punk tunes to Houston audiences over the past year. With an obvious nod to power-pop godfathers The Undertones, these boys lead the charge locally (along side fellow popsters Something Fierce) in the return to the pop-punk heyday of the Houston scene, albeit in a more sophisticated and stylish manner than their predecessors of a decade prior. Drummer, John Baldwin expressed his gratitude to the early crowd whose number was merely an indication of the frenzied mass that would be swarming these two venues by night’s end.





Heading next door to the Notsuoh stage we find the battle of the century, the rumble in the former department store! It’s U.S. Grime pioneer B L A C K I E taking on Chemical City pot-stirrers Cop Warmth in a full-on aural assault. These fellas have been having a knock-down, drag-out all over town recently and deliver a KO by decision to any audience that happens upon their path of destruction, and tonight was no different. Cop Warmth vocalist Bryan Jackson swapped the mic with B L A C K I E over the course of their physically provoking set, though it wouldn’t be his only work out of the night…






It’s been a little over a year since The Takes took to Houston clubs, injecting their hardcore-tinged pop-punk into the simmering garage rock scene, opening for much-hyped touring acts like Jay Reatard and The Points. Many a local band has been stoked to share the stage with these up-and-comers, just as many an audience has been equally as stoked to see them. Delivering an explosive set of their quick-hitting jams, The Takes melted faces all over Dean’s in one of the most rocking sets of the night, even being joined by the drummer from Cop Warmth who dealt out some shouts of his own.





San Antonio’s proudly lo-fi, low-life experimental trash punks Patsy take the stage next at Notsuoh, and their parents are out of town and they have cigarettes. Going into this set all I knew was that they had gotten kicked off the stage in Austin of all places for keeping it a little too weird. I also gleaned from their myspace that they are fiercely DIY, which may be a result of no one else wanting to lend these ear-splitters a hand. But hey, no one liked Sonic Youth in the beginning, either, right? I might claim this set to be the most thoroughly enjoyable surprise of the night. You never know what you’re going to get when it comes to experimental noise rock, and Jake and Matt went above and beyond my expectations. They even threw in a cover of “Where Eagles Dare”, which caused me to wonder for the rest of the night if it was an homage to Liz’s stints in Lizifuge and Lizfits.





Removing your ears soundly from the vice-like grip of the preceding noise, Vincent Trails lulls the crowd into a false sense of security with his profane brand of country-folk. His songs go down like a sugar-coated razorblade, sweet to the taste yet filled with barbs sure to upset your tummy…if your brain is the digestive system of the ear, that is. Keeping with Patsy’s thing, Trails also gave a musical shout out to a certain Mr. Danzig. I also learned that is very hard to take pictures of a band when you are standing directly behind them.





After a short break due to a timeslot swap, Gulfcoast Hardcore stalwarts El Desmadre brought their down-home thrash to Dean’s, pledging to “rip [the] face off” of the tough guys with their jock bullshit and “throw it in the middle of the circle pit”. And rip off faces, they did. Their set was cut short when a cop got HOT and as a result the final Dean’s set of the night, Homopolice, was moved over to Notsuoh. EL DESMADRE! H-TOWN POR VIDA!





Marking a legendary moment in recent Houston music history, the reunited Mydolls take the stage at Notsuoh. Formed in 1978, Mydolls are the quintessential Houston indie band. Nevermind The Judy’s whose hype overshadows their collective catalog, and nevermind The Hates, whose longevity has carved their niche as a local institution. Mydolls blazed the trail that many a Houston band has tread. Prolific in their recording and ambitious in their touring, even appearing in the Wim Wenders film Paris, Texas, Mydolls could not avoid the all too familiar fate of sinking into the Houston swamps of musical obscurity, disappearing from the radar of even the most knowing of indie music enthusiasts. The recent release of the career retrospective A World Of Her Own has found Mydolls back in the local spotlight for a new generation of initiates to dive head first into their still-relevant political post-punk. And if anything, their set reinforced that relevance. The band absolutely beaming, gave it their all as they were showered with enthusiastic love from the adoring crowd. At one point the band was joined by the wife of the bassist, Dianna, who has been recently rehearsing with the reformed band, and singer, Trish, gave a quick call to action on the reversal of everyone’s least favorite ballot item Prop 8. All four members brought it hard and kept bringing it as the audience pleaded for multiple encores. I can only hope that this marks just the beginning of the Mydolls return to the live music limelight.






As we leave the midnight hour behind us, the slinking and sensuous Balaclavas mount the stage at Notsuoh, filling the air with anticipation and dread. Inflicting the crowd with their vicious death-dirge of post-punk nihilism, the band is perfect for this witching hour set. Unfortunately, my camera was not doing me much good from my outside vantage point as the audience overflowed onto the sidewalk, but rest assured it was nauseatingly beautiful.



Not Balaclavas.

Winding down (up?) the evening are the new Beau Beasley/Josh Wolf/Chris Ryan/Tom of Montrose sensory-rape-team, Homopolice steaming hot out of a backalley Lola’s hatefuck. I’m almost thankful that this set was moved to Notsuoh, as I don’t know that Dean’s would have survived the assault. I first noticed that Beau had traded his bass for a trash can and a stick and then just as the set was about to begin, traded spit with frontman Josh Wolf. Sex and violence hung (heh heh) heavy in the air. In a second physically involved set of the fest, Homopolice literally assaulted the audience with dives and kicks and punches and the oft-hurled metal trash can. From my vantage in the DJ booth the boys looked and sounded FANTASTIC. I am always thrilled by the officers performances and I can’t get enough. However, my husband told me that the scene was very different for those actually in the audience, most people were terrified for their lives and simply wanted to survive. Um…sounds like a good show to me.





Closing out the second annual Noise & Smoke Fest are the best looking band to come off the streets of Montorse, Born Liars. The Liars are the sure thing. If you are ever in doubt about the funness-factor of any given bill, the presence of this down and dirty foursome is the satisfaction guarantee. The addition of the busiest man in Houston this side of Beau Beasley, Josh Vaughn (aka The Wolf) on drums only cranks the good times meter to astronomical heights. With a threat (or a promise) to do all of your coke, and to rock straight to the top of the Houston music scene, the Liars ignited the crowd into a rock & roll orgy that’s seen more often upstairs at Notsuoh than on the actual stage. It was at this point in the night that things became a blur. Now I was safely in the DJ booth trading flasks with a faceless stranger (how did I not see his face?), I looked out upon the ocean of bodies as the waves of sweat crushed the shores of the stage. I saw a camera being held aloft as a certain little lady struggled not to be sacrificed to this Noise & Smoke Carousel (bonus Logan’s Run reference). Tonight wasn’t a good night. It was a legendary night, one that few in attendance will ever forget, certainly not me. As the Liars wound down their set, I saw Coach who was now at the bar he gave me a nod and I knew what I had to do. I followed the cables from the back of the decks, not finding the right knobs to crank “White Light/White Heat”, I relented, hoping for the best and pushed play on the CD player and said goodnight.





A thank you to Ramon for asking me to cover this (and for the beer), Meg for letting me borrow your camera when mine was being a jerk, Pope Jon for bringing me my camera charger, and an extra special thanks to Liz, Anna, and Rosa who made this all happen.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Take Five with The Mydolls

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:02 AM

Contrary to what some people think, the punk revolution wasn't just in London, New York, and LA but it was something that spread everywhere at the time, including Houston. One of those bands, The Mydolls (Dianna Ray, Trish Herrera, Linda Younger, and George Reyes), are reuniting to perform at Noise and Smoke this Saturday at Notsuoh and, lucky us, we got Dianna, Trish, and Linda to play five questions with us. They were all super nice but we must admit that we were starting to worry about them, a Houston band, being the first band to fail the ZZ Top quiz but thankfully Linda came in and saved the band from eternal disgrace. Way to go Linda!

1)
How did y'all come to together and how did the Mydolls compare to your original vision?

TRISH: It was a happening. We happened upon each other. Meeting in a series of events.. Mainly Dianna and I met Linda through her then husband U-Ron and we started looking for a drummer. My cousin George joined us and wow, he and Dianna really connected and it was fun fun fun!

My vision of being in a band was to have fun, but also we wanted to see more girls on stage in Houston. There were a lonely handful, but now there are more women’s voices saying it too. In the 80s it was all about having a voice and yelling it, squeaking it, whatever, to get it out and loud.

DIANNA: I can't say that I had a vision for what we should sound like. We probably had a better idea of what we didn't want to sound like. Trish and I were best friends and we spent nearly every night at the Island watching bands. One night we were listing to a band that we must not have thought too highly of and we said, "We can do this." We loved listening to music, but heck, why not write it and play it too?

LINDA: It was serendipity...divine providence. My vision for being in a band was to be able to express myself even though I had no formal training in music. My dad was such an inspiration. Ever since I was a little girl I listened to him play in his 16 piece swing band. He was the band leader and played alto sax. He taught me to appreciate music as an expression. Having Trish and Dianna as friends first and band members next was such an awesome experience. I guess being a woman gave us even more to sing about. I enjoyed writing and playing our own music, expressing our own feelings and frustrations and not playing cover songs.

2) You guys got a lot of international attention. Appearing on John Peel's show, Wim Wenders' Paris Texas, and now post-mortem French director Claire Denis (one of my favorite coincidentally) has you in her latest movie soundtrack. Can you elaborate on those experiences and on the value or irrelevance of that kind of recognition to your sense of success?

TRISH: John Peel LOVED Texas. He told us he had a Texas girlfriend who used to beat him up and he really dug her. Bands from all over the world had been standing in line outside the BBC for months trying to get to see him and he just asked up to be interviewed within 20 minutes.

And Wim, He is amazing. We just happened to hang out with Wim, when he was here in Houston showing some of his student films at he MFA I had no idea he was famous and he fell in love with our music. Claire was his assistant director and we fell in love with her and she in love with us. Years later we get to celebrate in her success. She is a hard worker and committed so completely to her creative work and her political view.

DIANNA: Our sound was probably more aligned with the music coming out of the U.K. and Europe because many of the bands we listened to were from there. I guess I've never really thought of us as successful using the standard model. I think we were successful in writing some really good songs, bonding as friends, entertaining others, being dedicated to working at the music and having an all around good time by not just watching from the mosh pit.

Getting on the John Peel show was a bit of a fluke of naiveté. All of the members of Mydolls were in London together on a holiday/self promotion trip. We showed up at BBC radio when he was on the air and told the receptionist that we wanted to be on the show. Us and dozens of other bands that were waiting, she was quick to point out. It was like a casting call in New York. She sent word to him that we were here from Texas and he said send one of 'em up. He had apparently had a girlfriend from Texas at one time. So our getting on his show was not as much about our music as it was our geography. The password is: TEXAS


LINDA: Getting to meet and be interviewed by John Peel was serendipity..divine providence. We were so naive and that's what was so refreshing to him in the interview. He was genuinely interested in the Houston scene. Months after that interview, people who heard it in Ireland..the Pendre' Punks, came to Houston looking for us. I guess it's then that I realized how many people were listening and how incredible it was to be able to meet and talk to John in person. It was almost as naive as us going to Rough Trade records to meet Pete Townsend...and missing him by minutes.

Meeting Wim Wenders, Claire Denis, Nastasha Kinsky, Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell and having our music in the soundtrack for one of the most incredible movies ever made..Paris, Texas.....that was serendipity and divine providence squared! Not to mention the spinoff opportunities recently realized with Claire's new movie.

3) With bands such as Really Red, Legionnaires Disease, AK47, Culturecide, The Judys, D.R.I., The Hates, and the Party Owls to name a few – the late 70's and early 80's seemed to be a pretty vibrant scene. Can you elaborate on the people, music, culture, and scene in that era?

TRISH: We were like family recognizing each other with hair badges clothing and a tip of the hat and nod of the head brought us all together intrinsically. It's like we all belonged and it was natural. We sought each other out at shows. We experimented with clothing, with instruments, with hair, with a look that defined the era

Not real different from other eras in the sense we had a uniform of sorts. However our uniform was like a deconstruction uniform.

For me being in fashion as a hair dresser the era broke down fashion as a whole. No more would I be pegged into doing Farah Fawcett/Jennifer Anniston hair, because it was in fashion.

People these days are not defined by what's in style, but what looks good on them.

Every era has a punk.

Elvis was punk.

Janis Joplin was a punk.

Thomas Jefferson was punk.

It takes strength to be different and have a voice, but that is what makes us all so beautiful.

So what I'm trying to say is

All the bands were different, but the same in our "family" sense and most of us were intelligent with a message. The message may have been lodged deeply in our roar, but we were speaking out!

Grrlz speak out!!

Boyz too!!!


DIANNA: The early punk scene was so much fun! It wasn't self-conscious yet. I think the current political climate had a lot to do with it. In my opinion Reagan was the first Republican to really align his party to be the party of the wealthy. I feel like the real division in the classes in America had its genesis with his administration. And it also felt really repressing. Like having a strict father in the White House.

There were so many really good people in the scene. I think it's kind of funny that your average American at that time would probably have frowned on punks, yet I know several people (all in their early 20's) in the scene back then that were already taking care of ailing parents and contributing to them financially. Ooooooh, we're so scary!

The D.I.Y. spirit of punk is one of the things I like best about it; self-taught, self-financed, self-distributed and self-promoted. Now, that is not to say we didn't all work hard to help each other. Take C.I.A. records. Bob Webber did a lot of work with bands to be sure they made quality recordings (thank you Sugar Hill Studios) and worked together to get them out into record stores.

TRISH: We played in San Antonio and had heard of bands called Kung Fu bands, Marching Plague, Butthole Surfers were part of that San Antonio scene. When we got to SA Butthole Surfers were on the bill with us.. I thought “Hmm, what is this, river tubing band or what??” Then they were magnificent and we invited them to play with us in Houston at the Island and that was their first show in Houston and it was amazing!!!

LINDA: I can't say it any better than Trish and Dianna....it was real and it was fun. Friendships established then stay strong today...years and miles separate us, yet when we run into each other at a Todd Rundgren or Laurie Anderson concert 30 years later, it's like we never missed a beat and pick up right where we left off.

4) There was a story I heard about one of you guys getting hurt pretty badly (losing a tooth maybe?) because some punk kid saw you as new wave and not punk. Is that story true? If so what actually happened and what does that story say about some people's ideas of what punk?

TRISH: That was Dianna. She got pushed down by a suburban fake punk kid who was slumming. He pushed her down trying to act what he thought was punk and called her a "waver" hahahah

She is a little gal and went down hard. She lost her two front teeth and our punk "family" gave her a benefit to raise money for her teeth at the Island. Wally Shannon, Kevin Jackson and a few others and I formed the Mamas and the Dadas, a one night band.

I played drums in a tutu. It was crazy fun.

DIANNA: So I think that might be part urban legend. It was my birthday and we were at the Island watching, I think, the Big Boys. There was a mosh pit pulsing in front of the stage. I had be skanking around the edges of the mosh pit and then stepped back several feet to rest. All of the sudden I was face first on the floor thanks to a giant shove between the shoulder blades. I spit out my front teeth, went into the bathroom and discovered that I suddenly bore a striking resemblance to Gibby Hanes. Even Gibby thought so. I don't recall anyone yelling anything at me, calling me names or having any particular agenda when they shoved me down. If you find the culprit, be sure to ask him/her why they did it. I'm curious too.

As Trish said in her answer, it lead to us forming a one night stand band, The Mamas and the Dadas and we, along with several other bands including Butts with Teeth, playing a benefit show. We raised enough money for my two crowns and dinner to boot.

TRISH: Awww shucks ..Two Teeth was urban legend.. ????

LINDA: Ah, yes...the infamous Two Teeth Benefit! I still have my one of a kind t-shirt!

5) How has getting back together to rehearse feel and how do you know that you are reuniting for the right reasons?

TRISH: It has been difficult remembering our songs. Rehearsal took a long time and since our drummer George lives in Austin it made it more difficult, but for the love of each other and our adoring audience we work hard. It is body memory, music the language with out words. Well except for lyrics. hahaha

Our show is going to be great fun.

DIANNA: There have been times during rehearsal where I feel like I'm 20 again and then there are times when I feel like my fingers refuse to follow the instructions my brain is sending them. It has been great to be able to play with George again. He makes me a better bass player; he is as fine a drummer as they come. Spending time with my mates has been really special. Our friend and my wife, Kathy Johnston, has been rehearsing with us and helping us out on several songs. So that has been a blast for me too.

I don't know what "the" right reason to reunite is. We were asked, it seemed like a reasonable request, and so we said yes! I will say I am a bit surprised at all of the attention, but very flattered.

LINDA: It's serendipity and divine providence....we are playing because we were meant to do it...to be there for each other for some pretty incredible experiences...to laugh and cry together as we grow old together...Old friends are like bookends..so true.

Our sound has changed, but we are the same. I do miss Phil Davis, our incredible sound man and dear friend. Also, my Hiwatt and Marshall amps are long gone....some of the special effects and layers are missing.... But it's going to be really neat getting out there and playing again.

Bonus ZZ Top Quiz: What was the name of ZZ Top's First Album?

TRISH: Gee honestly I don't know fandango comes to mind. I used to go see Dusty Hill play at Miss Irene's in the 70s before fame. Miss Irene's was on the overpass of Montrose and Allen parkway.

I was kind freaked by ZZ Top's beards and the fancy cars, but I liked Dusty's jam like crazy.

DIANNA: A-Her-her-her. I have no idea...eponymous perhaps?

LINDA: ......ZZ Top's First Album......what's so hard about that?!

[WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!!]

See the Mydolls Saturday November 15 at the 2008 Noise and Smoke Festival with featuring Teenage Kicks, B L A C K I E, Cop Warmth, The Takes, Patsy, Vincent Trails, El Desmadre, Balaclavas, Homopolice, & The Born Liars @ Notsuoh/Dean's Credit Clothing

P.S. Trish wanted to add the following postscript to the Noise and Smoke organizers: "also just want to say thanks Rosa and Anna and Liz for being the strong voices that they are.. Power in gentleness."

Links and credits:
Mydolls on Myspace (
Link)

Paris Texas T-shirt design by Sound Exchange's Kevin Bakos.
All photos uncredited from the band's myspace.
ZZ Top's First album 1971 London records.

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The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of November 14, 2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

This Week's Spotlight is on...
Noise and Smoke II!


Saturday, November 15
Noise and Smoke Festival 2008, featuring
Teenage Kicks, B L A C K I E, Cop Warmth, The Takes, Patsy, Vincent Trails, El Desmadre, Mydolls, Balaclavas, Homopolice, & The Born Liars
@ Notsuoh/Dean's Credit Clothing

Wow this is hand down this week's big show. A while back Noise and Smoke #1 was just incredible and a hella lot of fun. The thing was that two nights left everyone pretty beat so this time around the folks putting this together put it all in one night by booking it at Dean's and Notsuoh. Hey they're next door to each other; how smart is that? So get ready to Ping Pong between venues and catch some great bands. Hell a reunion of the seminal Houston Mydolls alone is worth the price of admission. The rest of the line-up reads like a who's who of awesome local bands with a few San Antonio favorites thrown in for added ass whoopitude. Plus, look, Notsuoh may be closing soon so this would be a perfect time to go so you can then say "Ahh yes, Notsuoh! Man that place was cool too bad you missed out!"


ALSO THIS WEEK

Friday, November 14th

The Scrips, Something Fierce
@ Fitzgerald's

Generally speaking I can't get into most of what gets booked ta Fitz. That's no dis against the venue, especially as it's really gotten nicer over the years, but simply acknowledging the fact that their booker's taste and my tastes are quite different. Given my endless admiration for Something Fierce and the endlessly good garagey soul of LA's Scrips it looks like this is one show where our tastes seem to agree.

Forsa Pink's Almost Famous Fashion Show,
featuring Glasnost, The Tontons, SerJ, & Grrrl Parts
@ The Mink

The always phenomenal Tontons are playing - need I say more?

Bigfoot and the Bear, Broman, Tiziano Dominico, Steve Eck, Cory Derden, Baby Hurricane, Airon Paul Dugas
@ Stitched Tire House (1506 Caywood Ln.; 7PM, BYOB)
Wooo! It's a Hootenanny!

The Invincible Czars
@ Rudyard's

Austin's Invincible Czars rock and roll take on The Nutcracker is pretty amusing stuff. Not sure what they have planned for this show but it should be a lot of fun.


Saturday, November 15

Woozyhelmet (CD release), The Jonx, The Wild Moccasins
@ ArtStorm (Caroline Collective; 6:30PM, all ages free)
Man, this is going to kick ass. Why the hell is everything crammed on the same day? Woozyhelmet has a new album (we're psyched!!!) and if you've not seen them live they are a blast. Toss in the muscular punky-prog of the Jonx and the high energy party time Wild Moccasins and you have a sure-fire hit.

Nameless Sound Presents: The Thing
(Mats Gustafsson, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Paal Nilssen-Love)
@ Christ Church Cathedral (1117 Texas)
$13 / students $10 / under 18 free
Man I love Mats Gustaffsson's playing from loud and skronky to soft and nuanced his shows are always brilliant. If you love Free Jazz and want to see three guys rip some skulls live this is your show. I just wish they'd have picked another day because it's ridiculous how many great shows you have to choose from this night.

Two Star Symphony, listenlisten, Golden Arm Trio
@ Rudyard's

See this is what I mean? Why is there all this cool shit going down in Saturday. Two Star are some of the brightest spots in the Houston sky, listenlisten's folk has been raising quite a folky stir around town, and Austin's GAT are no slouchers either.

Ray Wylie Hubbard
@ McGonigel's Mucky Duck
Hubbard most famously wrote Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother. Check him yack it up about the song on this youtube clip; it's horribly endearing (link).

Local Artist Showcase, featuring
Studemont Project, Magnetic, Electric Attitude, Hueman, & Desmond Zavala

@ House of Blues
Well good for the HOB for featuring some local bands.

Drew Smith's Lonely Choir (1:30PM)

Johnny Falstaff (4PM)
@ Cactus Music
Free Free Free! Yes! Cactus Rules!

Secret Saturday Show

@ The Shady Tavern
The always tight lipped SSS is a perfect way to spend this Saturday afternoon.

Miguel Zenon Quartet
@ Cullen Theater
Oh sure Mr. Genius here with is McArthur grant. OK, I kid. Zenon plays some pretty cool jazz that's goin' pretty well with my late night mental state.


Sunday, November 16

DJ Melodic Benefit
DJ SUN, DJ Chicken George and Nick Cooper
@ Block21 (2420 Washington Ave.)
EARLY SHOW!!! 1-4PM Tickets $10,
Raffle Tickets $5 each or 5 for $20.
If you listen to KPFT's Soular Grooves I'm sure you are familiar with the work of Ben "Paco" Jennings AKA DJ Melodic. Sadly, earlier this month, he suffered a cardiac arrest - shocking news especially given how young the fellow is. The good news is he recently came out of his coma. Unfortunately, there is the matter of the medical bills. Thankfully, some of his friends are putting together this benefit to help him and his family out. We want to extend our best wishes and sympathy to him and family and hope to hear him back on the air and around town soon. Try to make it out for this one but, if you can't make it, know that you can chip-in by making a contribution on line at djmelodic.chipin.com.

Bearfoot
@ McGonigel's Mucky Duck
Hey what do you do if you are a Bluegrass Camp counselor? Why start a Bluegrass band. And that's what the young whippersnappers in Anchorage, Alaska's Bearfoot did. Nice stuff really.

Teens For Teens Charity Rock Concert,
featuring n
elo
@ Verizon Wireless Theater

From the TFT website: "The concert will feature the Austin rave band, nelo. It will benefit teenagers impacted by the horrors of Hurricane Ike and the teens at Camp For All who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses and special needs."


White Album for Purple Songs
Benefit for Purple Songs Can Fly Project

featuring Love Street Light Circus
@ Rice Hotel (Crystal Ballroom)

From the LSLC website: "Enjoy open bar drinks, unique auction items and delicious appetizers and Savoy Truffles from some of Houston’s top restaurants as The Houston Symphony Orchestra’s Brett Mitchell serves as Master of Ceremonies of this ...Gala Evening celebrating the music of The Beatles and the magic of giving to children in need. Created to support the Purple Songs Can Fly Project at Texas Children’s Cancer Center, the evening will honor special guests Mayor Bill White and artist David Adickes and showcase the art of Don Bertram’s Celebrate Imagination. See...bands come together to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Beatles’ White Album, performing it live on stage, in its entirety, accompanied by a live orchestra."

Madonna
@ Minute Maid Park

Celbrate Madonna's 50th birthday (well 50 and 1/4 to be exact).


Monday, November 17

The McKenzies, The Gold Sounds
@ Boondocks
Double your ass whoopin' power with two of Houston's finest. The Mckenzies do that light nimble pop that you can't help but love and Gold Sounds is no less melodic and hook riddled but they do it with a bit of havy lifting muscle; check out "Two Ways" on their my space - freaking brilliant!

Tuesday, November 18

Dragonforce, Turisas, Powerglove
@ House of Blues
Lets face it Dragonforce can't write a good song to save their lives but lucky for them they are so over the top that moments like the classic guitar duel at 3:21 in this song (link) makes the rest of the crappy song almost forgivable.

Black Sheep, Nice & Smooth, Orgone, J. Period
@ Warehouse Live (free!)
One sheep, two sheep, free sheep - Well free is you RSVP here is my undersatnding (Link)

Dave Alvin
@ McGonigel's Mucky Duck

The younger Alvin of The Blasters (not to mention stints in X, The Flesheaters, and the Gun Club) hits the Duck.

Coldplay
@ Toyota Center
I like a few Coldplay songs...I'm not proud of it.

Da Camera of Houston
Hommage à Max Ernst: A Musical Collage
@ The Menil Collection

Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg tossed this little program of Satie, Schumann, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Puolenc, Antheil , and Cage insipred by Menil's Max Ernst exhibition. Neat.


Wednesday, November 19


Danielson, Cryptacize, The Mathletes
@ Walter's on Washington

Ha! So here I am listening to Danielson and thinking man this should be paired with The Mathletes and, sure enough,...ding...they are! OH OH and NAP did a nice interview with Cryptacize this week (check it).

Method Man, Redman, Termanology
@ House of Blues
I'm sure by now How High is seen as an American cinematc masterpiece on par with Citizen Kane.

Flosstradamus, Le Boom
@ Numbers
Take two DJ's from Chicago with a terrible name like Flosstradomus and the result is a whole lotta booty shakin sillyness


Thursday, November 20

Mad Happy, Tha Fucking Transmissions
@ Boondocks

I make no bones about the fact that I about as un Hip-hop as they come so I hope that the fact that I think Tha Fucking Transmissions are a phenomenal live band doesn't hurt their street cred.

Augustina, Tody Castillo, Antarctica Starts Here
@ Walter's On Washington
I can't say I really dig the headliner here but the local openers are pretty rock solid Americana and shoegaze.

The Black Crowes, Buffalo Killers
@ House of Blues
OK so I have to admit a soft spot for Atlanta's resident stoners.

Metallica, The Sword, Down
@ Toyota Center

OK so yeah Metallica hasn't really made me make a Dio Metal sign since "...And Justice for All" but they do have that elder statesman of Metal thing going. The Sword, on the other hand do get the Dio sign in spades.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sad News - Notsuoh will be closing soon.

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 1:50 PM


If you were on the fence on seeing Noise and Smoke Saturday, I suggest you get off it right now as Notsuoh posted a blog on their myspace today where they announced they will be selling the building.

It may not be touted by the city tourist bureau, but to many of us Notsuoh is/was/has been a vital part of this city's culture and this city will lose a great deal with the loss. Our best to Jim Pertle and his family who have done such a great service to this city over the years by running this downtown cultural oasis. Like Pik-N-Pack, the Axiom, the Proletariat, and the original Super Happy Fun Land it will soon slip into mere memories and I pity those of you who missed out on what it had to offer us.

Thanks Jim

Goodbye Mitch Mitchell

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 5:46 AM

Could you imagine the Jimi Hendrix Experience without Mitch Mitchell? I sure as hell can't. His distinctive flourishes and his playful style were the perfect compliment to Jimi Hendrix's unparalleled guitar work. Sadly, Mitch passed away this week. I know that's not new news and I'm certain that his contributions are covered in better and in great detail elsewhere but for this morning I say let's just enjoy Jimi, Mitch, and Noel on the Lulu show. (I've always dug the Lulu performance because of the sloppy jump into Sunshine of Your Love. It may not be the band's most professional moment but I always found it charming.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

B L A C K I E Q&A;

posted by Free Press Houston @ 2:40 PM


By Omar Afra
Photo by S. Theriot


B L A C K I E has taken to the local music scene with a vengeance in recent months. His self-release of Wilderness of North America has been getting quite a bit of attention, and for good reason. We had the chance to ask him a few questions and his responses were as enigmatic as his music and character. He, thus far, is the only person I have interviewed that has responded in ‘flow’. (See #5) Ultimately, copy-editing the responses was doomed to be an exercise in futility. So, here is the raw and real B L A C K I E.



1. Tell a little bit about the evolution of your sound and what gear did you begin with?

I started with two tape decks in 9th grade. I went to college at 16, with accolades. BLACKIE failed out, now he gotta get paid=night shift at Whataburger flipping burgers and serving lemonade. I started using computers now and somehow. Everything I was making had Li’l Jon sounding like Wayne Brady.

2. Your album title is 'Wilderness of North America' and I feel like I am the only one who gets it. This is an obvious reference to Elijah Muhummad's groundbreaking work. I have a similar distaste for white people as him. Particularly hipsters. How do you feel about these people latching on to your work ?

AHA! NAW! I LOVE ALL PEOPLE! The title is an inside joke. Anyone who wants to latch on, needs to latch on and grasp the humour. But understand, its funny but I. AM. NOT. JOKING. HaHa, I do not know any hipsters though? Are they really latching on my ish??? That is dope! GOTTA LAUGH TO KEEP FROM CRYING

3. Who are some of your favorite local Houston musicians?

Pink Cloud/FUTURE BLONDES got this track "Joi 2" that is my SHIT!
Close personal alliances = Giant Princess, Buxton, Cop Warmth, S.O.S., FatTony+SmashBro. Insect Warfare, DJ CEEPLUS, and By The End Of Tonight [and all their side projects].

4. Tell us about the massive rig you drag to shows that is unprecedented in hip-hop: Marshall stack, 2 8x10 Ampeg cabs, 2 subs…elaborate please.

FIVE KILO-WATTS MY MAN. Four PA cabs, two 8x10s. BEATING DOWN YOUR BLOCK KNOCKING PICTURES OFF YOUR WALL. I had a dream I was riding a wave of sound and so I decided to assemble this to live my dream.

5. Your ‘versus’ performances with Cop warmth have become legendary. How did this start?

Lemme explain: Call us "THE ALSACE LORRAINE". I would play with a live drummer and played at Alvin Bowling Alley one night. Hol’ up dog, that shit was a bummer. I met Warmth comma Cop and we got it popping through mutual hoes, literally. Playing mutual shows, physically/ ill with our flows/ my drummer bailed out, I said, "You already know."/ There ain’t no stopping/ It’s BLACKIE all caps and./ Cop Warmth got his back and./we ready to smash and crash that/ if them shots is warranted black.

6.
What is next for B L A C K I E?


Split 7" w/ Giant Princess on The Paper Stamp Record Company.
Limited Edition BLACKIE tape on AG82 Records. (Insect Warfare)
Multi-Colored COP WARMTH Vs. BLACKIE tape on Dull Knife Records.
AGUANTE COP WARMTH.
AGUANTE CHEMICAL CITY.
AGUANTE FREE PRESS.
AGUANTE OMAR!


B L A C K I E performs November 15th at the Noise and Smoke Festival at Notsuoh

www.myspace.com/blackieblackieblackie

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sugar Shack Yesterday

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 10:28 AM

Classy Motherf%*@#s Sugar Shack ripped-it-up yesterday at the Continental Club. Circumstances were such that I only saw three songs but, thankfully, in this Internet age there is YouTube and someone going by timjo62 was good enough to post quite a few videos. Here is one of them (you can see the other three videos here. Thank you timjo62...whoever you are.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

The Music Crumudgeon's preview for the Week of November 7th 2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

THIS WEEK'S SPOTLIGHT IS ON...
The Shack is back for one show!!!


A Tribute to Johnny Romano,
featuring Sugar Shack, Teisco Del Rey, The Neptones, Luxurious Panthers, Uncle Charlie, surf/skate art auction, & more
@ The Continental Club/Sig's Lagoon (EARLY SHOW 1-6PM $10, kids free)
PLUS!! Hear Sugar Shack yack it up on The Revelry Report on Friday 6pm on KTRU 91.7fm
If you didn't read our article on Sugar Shack this month in the Free Press, we invite you to go back and read it here (link). The Shack had been one of Houston's most valuable exports and here, for a damn good cause, they are re-uniting. Drummer Stephanie Paige Friedman explains the reunion in the article:
“Our son does surf contests in Galveston and we found out through a blog last summer that one of the kids (Johnny Romano) had Leukemia...I gave blood but what they needed was money. So we thought what can we do? We thought this would be a good reason to get back together and it just snowballed from there. Unfortunately, Johnny passed away on September 23rd. Then Ike hit Galveston and his family and friends' homes were demolished. All these events just sunk these people into a depression and we said Let’s do this to give a break to the misery around these people who are surrounded by grief and tragedy."

It's gonna be quite the afternoon of garage, rockabilly, and (appropriately enough) surf!

ALSO THIS WEEK

Friday, November 7


Parts & Labor, UME, Black Congress
@ Walter's on Washington
OMG! This is an amazing line up. First off you have Parts and Labor who are so good live that, to me, the records just pale in comparison. The of course there is UME - Ex-pat Houstonians now residing in Austin - who I swear have one of the most jaw-dropping "Dio Metal sign worthy" guitarists in the Lone Star State. Then you have the incomparable ass whoopin' Black Congress opening? That's non stop awesomeness.

Los Llamarada, Balaclavas, Future Blondes
@ PJ's Sports Bar (614 W. Gray)

PLUS!!! Hear Los Llamarada & Balaclavas on the Revelry Report at 6PM on KTRU 91.7fm
OMG! OMG! Los Llanarada kicks out some crazy-ass psychy / post-punky / low-fi shit for Mexico that will make your head implode! Then throw in the ever brilliant Balaclavas! Seriously, if you've not heard this band you are missing out on one of Houston's most amazing and original bands. As for Future Blondes, I think the name of international jetsetter Domokos is all I have to say.

The Cynics, The Ugly Beats, Guitars
w/DJ Black Slacks, Psychedelic Sex Panther, Andrew Lee
@ Rudyard's
OMG! OMG! OMG! This is also going to be great. Cynics had me weeping from laughter on last week's Mutant Hardcore Flower Hour in a prerecorded interview. Hopefully that will be podcast in it's entirety sometime. But seriously this is going to be Garage rock sweetness. From the insanity of the Cynics, to the more groovy Ugly Beats, to the more mellow laid back Guitars whose 3 song EP is spinning right as I type this in all it's jangly goodness.

The Art Guys Silver Jubilee Show, featuring
Two Star Symphony, Glenna Bell, Brave Combo, Ralph Carney, The Dark Bob, Dave Dove/Lucas Gorham, Jad Fair, Kanude, Loreta Kovacic, Deborah Moore, Jimmy Pizzitola, Rockmore, Sonny Smith, & John "Red" Trower
@ Discovery Green (7-11PM)
OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! Two Star Symphony, Brave Combo, ave Dove/Lucas Gorham... Holy crap Jad Fair!!! That's some awesome free outdoor show stuff!

C-Town, Fixture
@ Boondocks

I'm gonna venture to guess we're talking DJs

Buckethead, That 1 Guy
@ The Meridian
That reminds me the new Guns and Roses single sucks much more than I could have imagined.

Pepi Ginsberg, Airon Paul Dugas
@ The Mink

Pleasant background music is how I'd describe Ginsberg's folk music. Local favorite APD opens.

Lordi, Lizzy Borden, Stolen Babie
@ House of Blues (6PM)
Remember that terrible metal band in GWAR-esque outfits that won that Eurovision Award a few years back? Well, they are playing Houston tonight. Sure, like GWAR, the music is god awful but I somehow would think this is more about spectacle than music.


Saturday, November 8


Secret Saturday Show
One Year Anniversary
@ The Shady Tavern (12-7PM)
Hooray SSS turns one year old. Shhhh..OK, It's not so secret this week. Gig it! Welfare Mothers, the McKenzies, Judas Bear,Darwins Finches, Nosaprise, Awake,and a few surprises


Patt Todd & the Rank Outsiders, Hickoids, Born Liars, Stevie Tombstone
@ Rudyard's
PLUS!!! Hickoids & Stevie Tombstone
@ Cactus Music (1:00 PM)
Patt Todd (Ex-Lazy Cowgirls), the cow punk masters the Hickoids, and our own ass whoopin' Born Liars will mean one insane evening of bad ass rock and roll! Kick out the jams motherfuckers! You can also kick off your day with an early performance of half the bands over at Cactus. Ahh, Free St. Arnold's beer at 1PM! Yes!

Jad Fair
EARLY @ The Art Guys Big White Room (5757 Knox) (1-5PM)
LATE @ The Mink (8PM)
It's like Jad Fair is everywhere! Damn! Thankfully, Jad Fair is still making weird wonderful music and did you know he will record a song for you for $300? I kid you not. (I wonder if Joe Mathlete hasn't considered a similar idea?) Check it out on the linked website along with free album downloads and his Jaddy Fairy art.

After-ween benefit fro Baby Ramsey Featuring Fredster, Bobby DJ, Damon Allen, Grrrl Parts and More
@ Bootleg Studios (2301 Commerce)
11PM $10

This was just posted on Hands Up Houston:
Ramsey was diagnosed at his 6 month appointment with a cranial disorder called plagiocephaly. Although it is not a life threatening disorder, it has life altering effects. Not only will he have cranial and facial deformities but also vision impairment, life long-jaw issues, and learning disabilities – to name a few. If left untreated he will eventually have to undergo risky cranial surgery. This can all be prevented with 10 weeks of treatment with a Doc Band. Ramsey was diagnosed with severe right plagiocephaly and Congenital Muscular Torticollis and after several months of physical therapy being ineffective, it was determined by experts in the field that this condition will not "fix it self" as my insurance has indicated and it is also not a "cosmetic procedure" as indicated also by my insurance as reasoning why they are not covering his treatment. The Cranial Doc Band has had great results without invasive cranial surgery but it will only work during a short period of time during infancy, after a certain time the doc band will be ineffective in correcting the disorder. The benefit hosted by BOOTLEG STUDIO is to attribute funding towards Ramsey treatment. Any contribution towards helping Ramsey is greatly appreciated. Please come out, show support, and have a great time.


Bird Peterson, Go Go Garcia
@ Boondocks

DJ's! Boondocks! Now Dance!

Minus The Bear, Annuals
@ The House of Blues
PLUS!!! Annuals
@ Cactus Music (4PM)
Oh sure, you could see Annuals tonight with Minus The Bear at the House of Blues but will House of Blues provide free Saint Arnold's Beer? I thought not. Who loves ya baby? Cactus, that's who.

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Lee Boys
@ Warehouse Live
One of NOLA's finest grace the warehouse.

Houston Metal Fest, featuring
Pinhed, Nhuvasarim, Cerebral Down, Epic, Surrealism, Blind Sanctity, Green Shoe Polish, Cerebral Rot, Ninth Kingdom, Lamb To The Slaughter, 28th St., Anguish In Exile, Chaos With A Smile, Krank Shaft, Rated E The Band, Vehement, Dismembered, The Forbidden Vista, Virus, What Lies Beneath, Bloodvoid, Brutally Mutilated, Burn The Sky, FleshHook, Bludstreem, Lycophile, Temple Of Wrath, Last Rosary, Cain Was Able, Insidious Decrepancy, DeadTrip, Predominant Mortification, In The Trench, Obsidian Throne, Paegan, BloodRequiem, Burn The Wicked, & more
@ The Meridian
OK this is a lot of bands. I'm gonna guess (since that new music player on Myspace is so freaking slow) that there has to be at least one good band in all of this.


Sunday, November 9

Agent Orange, Dickey Hands, Crows Feet, Riot Up Front
@ The Meridian
Old school Cali Punkers...with one original member.

Monday, November 10

The Western Civilization, Cedar Boy Bailey, Gretchen Schmaltz
@ Boondocks
Oh Boondocks' Monday Night's are so awesome. This week Indie Pop sweethearts The Western Civ. (which includes Gretchen Schmaltz) return from the glorious tour. And you may wonder who is Cedar Boy Bailey? Well, it's none other than Sergio Trevino of Buxton and I'll say I'm both thrilled at hearing the tracks up on his myspace and annoyed. Thrilled because they are wonderful songs and it's great stuff that makes you admire how overflowing with ideas the Buxton lads are. Pissed because damn it, where is that follow-up Buxton album! If this is any indication, it's gonna smoke!

SBach, Motion Turns It On, Stove Blow
@ The Mink

Fans of Hella may get a kick out of Spencer Seim Video Game music alter ego SBach. If that's not enough there's the musical gymnastics of Motion Turns It On.


Tom Gabel/Chuck Ragan/Ben Nichols/Tim Barry/Kevin Seconds
@ Walter's on Washington

PLUS!!! Tom Gabel
@ Cactus Music (2PM)

Read the details about this show on Superunison's website. I'm sure if you've never heard these guys before; this extensive and exhaustive write-up of these artists is sure to get you running out of the house. (Link)


Tuesday, November 11

Via Audio, The Factory Party, The McKenzies, Grrrl Parts,
@ The Mink
Mckenzies! For the love of god, if there was ever a band that needs to get some serious studio time it's the McKenzies. Board mixes do their pop bootie-shaking goodness no justice!

Wednesday, November 12

Of Montreal, Icy Demons
@ Warehouse Live
Of Montreal still suck huge Outback sized balls in my book but some of you people really like them so I figure I'd mention it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Music Crumudgeon's 2008 Presidential Endorsement!!

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 5:42 AM

A Message from the Free Press Houston Editorial Board:
Before the Music Crumudgeon makes his endorsement we'd like to address the error in yesterday's post. In it, Mr. Medina made an egregious error - misidentifying Dannzig as consisting wholly of Jonbenet members. I'd like to assure you that we here at the Free Press strive for the highest in journalism standards and that our editorial board fastidiously checks all the facts that are stated in this blog. With rare exception, one will slip though the crack. Yesterday's error was one such anomaly (though I will add that my esteemed colleague, Ann Sexton, did in-fact catch the error but her e-mail did not arrive in time). Therefore, on behalf of myself Phillip Roth, Anne Sexton, and the rest of the Free Press Board we'd like to offer our sincerest apologies for the error and will vow to you, our readers, to assure that writers like Mr. Medina do not sully our good name with such sloppy and misinformed articles.

Thank You and please enjoy the following thoroughly vetted article on today's election,
George Plimpton
(Free Press Editorial Board)

Thank you George. Readers, here it is 2008 and we are facing one of the most important elections facing this country and therefore I, after careful consideration to each side's stances and character, would like to endorse

Ulysses S. Grant (left) for president.

Sure Greely a nice guy and all but after watching Grant knock back every single bottle of bourbon at Poison Girl last week and then score some serious points on pinball, I thought "That's who I want in the oval office!"

So remember when you go vote today vote U.S. GRANT!

Election Day Polling Locations on the Chronicle site (Link)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Music with Jameson & Lone Star Part II: Anarchitex and Room 101 at Rudyard's 11/01/2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:02 AM

OK ladies and gentlemen let me say this right now - Room 101 is likely the best shit you can possibly check out right now! Holy crap! Here I was muddling over whether to go-out a second night and I figured, yeah I'd been wanting to go see the Anarchitex, why not just go for a bit and make it an early night. I'm sure glad I got off my ass - thick yellow phlegm or not - because the second I walked past the Rudz curtains I was hit with a rush of "Holy shit! What the fuck is that?!!!!" On stage was this one guy playing with a drum machine, backing tracks, and projections. He shook and jerked in fits while he played some of the most refreshing aggressive post-punk angular guitar lines I'd heard in ages. Holy crap this stuff was good! My first thought was "Hey remember when Steve Albini didn't suck? You know, before he became predictable and boring?" Sure, Room 101 borrows from the Big Black/Gang Of Four model but it's clearly its own thing which is always the sign of anything good - take the old and reinvent it in your own image. And this guy performs like he's in some eternal battle against his instruments with little hint of which may be winning the struggle. It's noisy in-your-face shit that you need to see. In a city with a list of brilliant solo musicians with an affinity for drum machines and backing tracks like the Wiggins and Hearts of Animals, I say add another to that list! Room 101 will surely be on my list of best new bands in Houston for this year if not the best! *

Following Room 101 was the Anarchitex who I'd actually seen ages ago back in the day. But unlike Room 101 - I knew what to expect from them - great songs, clever lyrics, and sharp performance. And their set was indeed great. Tory Mercer's guitarwork was excellent, Scott Ayers on bass for most of the show reminded me just how freaking good a player he is regardless of what instrument he touches, Bob Weber's rock-solid drums sent me as many goosebumps as when he played with the seminal Really Red, and John Reen Davis' always weird stage presence, as he delivers his lyrics with a nasally Jello Biafra snarl, is always brilliant. It immediately reminded me of how truly weird Houston's independent music was at one point and it's nice to see that weirdness raise it's head again in the bayou like a punky smart assy Nessie. I bow to the masters.


Room 101
A good visual metaphor for the music.

Attention Wiggins and Hearts of Animals:
The list amazing one person bands
just got a little bigger!

Anarchitex -
they...are more...IntelligentThanYou.

Anarchitex -
All Star Power Up!


Links:
More Pictures on my Flickr (
Link)

Room 101 on myspace (
Link)
Anarchitex on myspace (
Link)

Labels: , Anarchitex

Music with Jameson & Lone Star Part I: Dannzig, Monocles, News on The March, & Young Mammals at Walter's 10/31/2008

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

OK folks, let's get one thing out of the way here. If you go to a hardcore show there is this thing called a circle pit. People run in a circle that's very much like the running of the bulls where, if you jump in, you may get hurt but, if you stay out, you will likely be less likely to be hurt. I say less likely because, of course, you'll sometimes get pushed, shoved, or even elbowed but that's not done on purpose but is the result of a simple accident that goes with the territory. Let's face it, generally speaking, Hardcore kids are about community and not about banging heads. So why the fuck is it at a JonBenet show like Friday's Dannzig performance do you occasionally get a small group of mentally deficient meatheads who probably just drove in from the suburbs to play a game of hardcore for a night? I'm not saying this is reflective of all the JonBenet fans in any way but all it takes is like 3 or 5 morons to be a bother. Seriously, this same shit happened at the Hallow Men show last year where the band (as they did Friday) had to tell some morons to chill. Sorry, I know you THINK this is how hardcore is supposed to be but what you are engaging in isn't a circle pit - it's a circle jerk; put your tiny dick back in your pants, go home, and play in your little boy's only clubhouse. Not cool, not punk, not hardcore, just self-absorbed poseur bullshit from a bunch of thick necked apes.

Ahhh OK now that I've addressed that idiocy can I get to the rest of the evening? It was actually a pretty good evening and, mind you, the morons I speak of couldn't ruin it.

I missed the always fun the Wild Moccasins but got there in time to see Young Mammals who were looking to bat 300 with this - their third - performance as The Pixies. Jeff of Bowel/Brian's Johnston filled in on the drums dressed as The Hulk (pretty hilarious as he'd grimace like Lou Ferrigno while holding his sticks). But his stage presence and antics aside, my one small quibble for their performance was that his drumming style is a better fit for some plodding sludgy metal than the upbeat driving pop of the Pixies. Again that's quibbling as, despite that "Is my turntable running just slightly slow?" feeling at times, the band hit the songs solidly and had the crowd singing and dancing. I mean you can't fail with Cley Miller's guitar work and guest Mlee Suprean handling Kim Deal's parts.

News On the March followed with a good performance but not their best. They had a blast on stage with some silly Halloween bit where this was supposed to be a News On The March reunion twenty years in the future where we got to see see what will have happened to all the members . It was funny and cute to be sure but, in hindsight (and having seen the band at Walter's before with impeccable sound), the antics got in the way of the music and the performance. The humorous asides and silliness simply seemed to stall any momentum the band had built up. That's not to say that people weren't amused and having a good time, but I'd wonder what, if any, impression News on the March would have made to those not already familiar with their work. Is that quibbling? Maybe it is, as the songs were played well, but there is a reason why bands dread things like breaking strings and that's because building momentum and keeping a flow is so crucial. Still it's Halloween the important question is was it fun and that was a resounding "Yes!" so let's not over analyze.

The Monocles meanwhile didn't bother with skits (though Jeoaf was sporting a dashing police uniform). No, fuck that, just start her up, grab the wheel, and put the pedal to the floor. Damn straight, you don't need any frills, just straight up garage with the pop pop pop of drums, an overdriven guitar, a driving bass and a whole lot of sweat. Not just any sweat - rock and roll sweat - the kind that has you dancing and shouting "Monocles! Monocles! Monocles!" Well done lads.

Dannzig (the always brilliant Jonbenet) closed the night with a pitch-perfect tribute to Glen Danzig. For my taste, I'd have liked to have heard a bit more Misfits material in the mix but, again, I'm in a quibbling mood this morning. You know the score - shirtless blood-soaked men playing loud - and that's exactly what you got. People were packed at the front of the stage with their fists up in the air and singing along. Sure there were the handful of meatheads I mentioned in the beginning of this review but even their idiocy couldn't mar the performance and the audience's revelling in all things Danzig. I'll bet you any amount of money that if you saw the real Glenn Danzig on Wednesday at the House of Blues, you probably got a shittier show for more money. Ironically, this was the real deal.


Young Mammals Going 3 for 3 as the Pixies


Cley Miller
(insert Rod Stewart's Hot Legs Here)


Mlee Suprean reprising her role as Kim Deal


Nobody had the guts to tell Jeff Bowel
that the Hulk was never in the Pixies


Cris Cascio crashes the party


News on the March were all smiles


Austin in his finest Hugh Hefner


"Hey Joe, I got a Snickers and M&Ms. What did you get?"
"I got Rocks!"


Don't ask. Really, you really don't want to know.


Say it Say it!
Monocles! Monocles! Monocles!


That's not sweat...


...That's Rock Juice!

Dannzig playing the soft feel-good hits


Nothing will get the boys more excited than
a shirtless dude flexing on stage.



Bow to my rock!


Dude, Warren Buffett is so into Danzig!


Links:
More Pictures on my Flickr (
Link)

Young Mammals (
Link)
News On The March (
Link)
The Monocles (
Link)
The Jonbenet (
Link)

Hearts Of Animals (
Link)
Bowel (
Link)
Bryan's Johnston (
Link)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sugar Shack

posted by Ramon Medina - LP4 @ 12:01 AM

Photography by Rosa Guerrero

Over three separate decades, Sugar Shack seemed to be a name you couldn’t escape. From its primordial beginnings in the seminal Texas-party-punk of the Party Owls, to its early long-hair-punk / Grunge years, and on through the garage Rock years, the band has been one of Houston’s best exports. While the list of drummers and bassist could likely fill this entire page, the 10th* and final line-up of the band (Andy Wright - guitar, Mark Lochridge - vocals, John Gibson - bass, Kyle G. Otis – guitar, and Stefanie Paige Friedman – drums) was no less impressive and passionate as any other. That final line-up is reuniting this month and their reasons for doing so are hardly the standard litany of money, recaptured glory, or other self-serving reasons you see so many times with aging Rock musicians but, instead, show a group of friends with a clear idea of what is truly important.

At Sugar Shack’s rehearsal space, Stephanie explains how the reunion came about, “Our son does surf contests in Galveston and we found out through a blog last summer that one of the kids (Johnny Romano) had Leukemia – a nine-year-old kid. His cancer had gone into remission but then relapsed and then he got an infection. As parents, we'd look at our son and immediately want to help. We can all relate to this. Johnny just had a baby. We all surf, skate, and have kids. I gave blood but what they needed was money. So we thought what can we do? We thought this would be a good reason to get back together and it just snowballed from there. Unfortunately, Johnny passed away on September 23rd. Then Ike hit Galveston and his family and friends' homes were demolished. All these events just sunk these people into a depression and we said ‘Let’s do this to give a break to the misery around these people who are surrounded by grief and tragedy.’ And these people are excited to have something to celebrate. So we're having a silent auction, surf artists from as far away as Hawaii, a surf car show…it's a big weekend. Before this, we'd never met them but we just felt we'd better give back in one way or another.”

Kyle adds, “It's better to get together for someone else; it's cooler that way.”

Andy points out another reason why this isn’t that hard a decision, "See, Sugar Shack never officially broke-up."

"Yeah,” says Kyle, “we were just taking a break. Our last show was January 2004 and that was a good show so we can't muck-up this show."

Johnny scratches his head and says, “I thought we had a bad show and that's why we broke up."

"No,” insists Kyle, “it was a good show! Remember that girl that kept picking up men and throwing them onto the stage?" and suddenly the band trails off in a string of amusing details about that show. After a while, Kyle returns to his point that "We actually did plan on having shows after but our schedules never worked out.”

Stephanie jokes, “Getting Andy to do this was like pulling teeth.”

“I still don't want to do it!” laughs Andy. “Last week, Mark arrived late and Johnny had to leave early - basically NOTHING has changed.”

But this is a band that has been through a lot of changes in everything in personnel and music styles over its lifetime, so I ask them about everything from their forming on the ashes of the Party Owls to the early heavy sound to their stylistic shift to garage.

Andy takes the first question, “When Robbie [original Party Owls singer] left, we realized that Mark could actually sing, so we changed the name of the band and kept going.”

Kyle continues, “Early pre-grunge Sugar Shack was kind of "long-hair-punk" style music, like Tales of Terror. The guitars in Sugar Shack were tuned down because of the sax that the Party Owls had used which added to the perceived ‘heaviness’ of the band.”

“Then,” says Andy, “Grunge came about and we rode that wave but we still liked and played 60's punk style music, having been inspired by Poison 13 and other similar bands of the time.

Kyle and Andy explain that “Ultimately, we felt it was more fun to play higher energy garage rock type material. Charmer [1992] has both heavy tunes and more garage Rock tunes on it. Shortly after that album, we dropped most of the heavy tunes.

Mark adds, “Grunge got so commercial and hair metalish we just wanted to distance ourselves.”

Stephanie makes it clear that this wasn’t strategic; “It definitely wasn't a career move. It seemed to alienate most of our fans and it took quite awhile to build-up a new following. It was just what we were into at the time and had the most fun playing.”

Given that the band then went on to tour nationally and see a spate of releases with Estrus, I ask them about how they see their success and how that success measures up with what’s expected of bands these days.

Andy explains the big cultural shift in terms of how some people viewed a band’s success, “In our time Punk bands weren't being signed to majors and now you're gauged on having a major deal.”

“I always thought we were very successful.” says Stephanie.

“We were spoiled.” says Kyle. “We didn't do anything to promote our shows and still people would show up.”

“Every tour was successful.” boasts Andy. “We'd play for 500 in Chicago on a Sunday. But we never made the big push and quit our jobs. We'd tour while on vacation and afterwards we'd head back to work. We were too old to care but we were old when we started.”

That’s not to say that major labels weren’t listening. Andy remembers one call Sugar Shack received from a major label, “I came home and there was this message from some guy from Geffen…on my machine! I didn't call back…we came from a background where that wasn't done. Any advance they could have offered was likely less than our combined salaries. I think we were realistic about how popular our kind of music could be and that we weren't going to get on MTV.”

Stephanie, for one, wasn’t one to abide by the restrictions of a major label deal. “I was in King Sound Quartet and there was this list of restrictions [a major label] gave us like I couldn't play in other bands but I was having too much fun so we didn't do it.”

Andy shakes his head at all this discussion and adds, “All the talk about major labels…the thing is we were totally stoked with all the labels that did put out our records because those were the labels putting out the records of the bands we were into.”

Before I leave them to their rehearsal I ask them about playing music now compared to when they were young and Stephanie replies, “Honestly, I don't have that anger – that young angst anymore. I don't spit loogs anymore. But you see that all the time; older people putting on ‘a show’. We've all seen that. We're not like that. We're just good friends whose Rock came from a love of the music.”

You can see Sugar Shack at the Johnny Romano Tribute on November 9th with Tiesco Del Ray, The Neptones, Luxurious Panthers, and Uncle Charlie at the Continental Club**




*Gunnen Rocks: http://www.grunnenrocks.nl/bands/s/sugarshack.htm
** Space City Rock: http://www.grunnenrocks.nl/bands/s/sugarshack.htm

Labels: