The Rocks Off 100: Danielle Renee, Only Beast's Destroyer of Walls
Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there, too. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? Drummer John Salinas and guitarist Peter Bernick spent several years working together in various instrumental bands before deciding to try working with a vocalist. Who they got was Danielle Renee, a waify ball of fire with a huge voice able to match Bernick's Cure-ish guitar wail and the progressive thunder of Salinas's drums.
Mario Cantu/Photos courtesy of Only Beast
Only Beast is still working toward their first album, and the only way to get a good look at them is through YouTube videos or, you know, actually going out to see them, but the band clearly has some rock potential and an ability to shine through amateur recordings.
Onstage, Renee is a whirl of motion, dashing toward an audience with a mess of hair in her face, voice always on the edge of a break but never quite going over it. Even in slower numbers like "90 Minutes," she uses every beat in a dance-like gesture while waltzing through her range in a style resembling Linda Perry on questionable substances.
It'll be a real treat to hear her in a studio setting rather than just conducting the riot in front of her.
Home Base: Only Beast, a three-piece, has the honor of renting the smallest space available at Rock Center. You can catch them live onstage at Rudyard's, Fitzgerald's or literally any place they can find a place to load in.
Good War Story: "Well, the guys immediately voted for 'The Time a Wall Fell Down While We Were Onstage,' so I guess we'll go with that one," says Renee.
For this particular show, the boys had set up on either side of me, so we were all about the same distance from the crowd. We had just started playing the last song of the set when an entire panel full of rusty electrical junk fell over and pinned me to the floor.
So you know, John jumps over his drums, Pete throws down his guitar and they have it off of me before anyone in the crowd can react. I'm told I was unconscious for maybe 15, 20 seconds at the most? So it really wasn't a big deal at all. I collected myself, assured everyone that I felt fine and we finished the set. I think we started the song over.
I actually don't remember a whole lot about that night, but I remember getting a tetanus shot the next day. The doctor was looking at me kind of funny, checking me for concussions or whatever. 'Where did all this bruising come from?' 'Oh, my band had a gig last night.'
It was something that I was sure would be forgotten in a week, but every time we play that venue, someone always brings it up. Usually it's the bartender. That guy is never going to let me live it down.