Artist of the Week: Proud Member of the "Overeducated Underclass" The Cocker Spaniels

Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to introducingliston@gmail.com.

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The three coolest guys of all time are as follows:

1. Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke

2. Allen Iverson circa 2001

3. Jesus Christ

Jump down the list a bit and it looks like this:

14. Brad Pitt in Fight Club

15. Brad Pitt in Snatch

16. Fredro Starr from the rap group Onyx

17. Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds

Jump down a bit more though, and at the the 23rd spot on the list sits:

23. Drunk Craig Hlavaty

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Craig Hlavaty is an editor here at the Press. Sober Craig Hlavaty is a pleasant enough guy. But Drunk Craig Hlavaty is amazing. After hanging out with him for a few hours, we were inspired to start a thicket of Drunk Craig Hlavaty-themed Twitter feeds. (Stuff like "Drunk Craig Hlavaty's Beanie," "Drunk Craig Hlavaty's Barrel Chest," "Drunk Craig Hlavaty's Half-Open Flannel Button-Up," "Drunk Craig Hlavaty's Wayward Smile" and so on.)

Which is why our ears perked up when he passed along some music from a Houston/Austin musician named The Cocker Spaniels. That's the kind of stuff that Drunk Craig Hlavaty does, email you early in the morning about bands that have a plural name but are really only one person.

The Cocker Spaniels' sound is a mash of bouncy indie-pop/rock that, honestly, defies any classification beyond that. It makes you feel hip when you listen to him, and that's just about the only other thing we can say about him.

We linked up with the Spaniels, aka Sean Padilla, for an interview and talked about pitbulls, Beaumont's terrible economy and how he needs someone to give him $2,000 so he can release his brilliant album. Read on.

The Cocker Spaniels, "Gimme Back My Red Pen"

Rocks Off: So we read about how you came up with the band name, how the females at your house were calling you that because you're all cute and lovable and whatnot. That's good that they had something nice to say about you, but wouldn't you have rather them picked something like a Pitbull or German Shepherd or something? We can't remember a time that we saw a cocker spaniel and thought, "Man, that is a really intimidating, virile dog right there."

Sean Padilla: I'm an educated Black man in America. Therefore, my very existence is enough to intimidate a large percentage of the people I encounter. Having said that, nothing I do is done with the intent to intimidate. It's just not what I base my masculinity on. I'd rather be adored by women than be feared by men anyway. Besides, I wouldn't be able to put on the kind of show I do if I wasn't physically strong.

RO: Your "Overeducated Underclass" song has a fly premise. Let's have you explain that everyone a bit.

SP: After I graduated from college, it took me five years to find a job that allowed me to apply what I learned in school, paid me a wage that allowed me whittle down student loans and live comfortably and didn't put me under the supervision of mentally ill micromanagers.

This gap in gainful employment is partially due to my stupid decision to move back to Beaumont, whose economy is perpetually piss-poor. However, as more time passed, I noticed that more and more of my friends, even those who lived in bigger cities, were having just as much trouble making a living after they graduated.

As far as I'm concerned, college is supposed to teach students how to think critically and prepare them for the job market. I don't know many peers who can honestly say that about their undergrad experience. Thus, we have all become members of the overeducated underclass.

The Cocker Spaniels, "Steal My Guitar"

RO: I have a degree in psychology and I teach science and write about music, so there. You commute pretty regularly between Austin and Houston, is that correct? We assume that's so you can gather intel so as to trash them more intimately. So, go ahead, trash Austin.

S: Austin needs more black people, a better hip-hop scene, less mediocre alt-country and garage-rock bands, more cross-genre and cross-cultural collaboration, and less cliquish booking agents. Houston's independent music scene is kicking the ass of Austin's as far as the quality of its bands, the diversity of its participants and the autonomy of its infrastructure is concerned.

RO: Here, here.

S: However, Houston needs to get its transportation situation together in the most major way. The roads suck, the highways suck and the public transportation sucks. If I had a car, though, I'd be having backseat makeout sessions in the parking lot of the IndieHouston house as you read this.

The Cocker Spaniels, "You Are My Favorite"

RO: One of your influences is Prince. We have to assume then that you saw him at the Vikings game two weeks ago. How unsettling was that? And why did he make that terrible, terrible fight song for them? Why didn't they just use "Purple Rain"? That would've been way better.

S: Seeing him at the Vikings game two weeks ago wasn't unsettling to me at all, as I've known for a while that Prince is a sports fan. Have you not seen the legendary Dave Chappelle skit about his basketball prowess? I'm sure that Prince's decision to compose a fight song for the Vikings instead of just tweaking an old song of his is motivated by a desire not to dwell in the past.

I respect it, but that doesn't mean I have to listen to it. Having said that, "Purple and Gold" reduced me to fits of convulsive laughter when I first heard him, and I devoted an entire post on my personal 'blog to lovingly mocking it.

The Cocker Spaniels finished Sometimes You've Got To Fight To Get a Bit of Peace last year. Padilla/The Cocker Spaniels is/are saving up the $2,000 needed to release it proper. If you would like a promo copy, you can get it at the February 13 show at Notsuoh or you can order some homemade cookies from The Cocker Spaniels. The Cocker Spaniels include a promo copy of the album with every cookie order. Contact The Cocker Spaniels at seanpadilla@gmail.com. The Cocker Spaniels are not kidding about any of the this.

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