What's Wrong With The Houston Music Scene? Anything?
Rocks Off has wanted to ask our esteemed little group of Houston musicians this question from the first time we birthed this still-new blog series. Maybe it only gets asked in the smoking section in front of some venue after a couple of drinks and smokes, but it's still a valid pressure point.
We're not saying Houston sucks, because it doesn't. The music scene here, local and touring bands alike, keeps Rocks Off busy almost seven days a week. If we didn't need our beauty sleep or "special gentleman time," we could live in venues non-stop seeing bands.
But if you ask anyone involved in Houston music - bloggers, musicians, bartenders, club owners, promoters, even the guitarist's girlfriend - he or she will no doubt have a beef with something, be it personalities, cliques or something less subjective.
Some of them will say nothing at all is wrong, and paradise exists in your own universe. You make your own reality. If you think the scene is bad, it will be bad. Like Billy Bob Thornton said in U-Turn, "You think bad, and bad's what you'll get."
So what grinds your gears, Houston?
April Patrick, Girls Rock Houston: I used to waste my time trying to impress people that were boring me to tears. But I finally realized that they were the ones with the shitty scene and I didn't have to participate in it.
So I started caring about having fun with my friends. We play music almost every night, we book our own shows, have our own parties, and work on our own non-band projects. If someone wants us, they know where to find us, and they do.
It doesn't matter that we don't get asked to play with bands, that we don't really like anyway, at clubs we hate going to. We can just book the bands we want to see at venues we like. Does it sound like there's anything wrong with that?
The sooner the "scene" can let go of the criticism of itself and just focus on having fun the sooner it'll be boys, beers and burgers for everyone.
Joe Ortiz, Clockpole: My only complaint is watching people stand still instead of dancing, jumping, screaming or acting like fools. About the only guy I see consistently going nuts is Jose Pineda from Gnome Chomsky. I love that guy.
John Sears was another guy you could see jumping around but alas, he has moved away from our wonderful city. I'll look around at shows and see people looking like they want to get loose but don't.
It always helps when the bands open up and allow interaction. The best examples of this are Somosuno (people on stage at the album release), Muhammadali (playing in the middle of the audience and letting the fans sing along into the mics), B L A C K I E (plowing through the audience and making you pay attention), Sideshow Tramps, Cop Warmth and, not to yank my own chain, Clockpole.
We literally hand instruments to the audience, force people on stage [and] force musicians off stage.