The Rocks Off 100: Ash Kay, the Freakouts' Punk Vocal Head-Butt
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? Ash Kay is the mouth of The Freakouts, who have a new 7-inch dropping this weekend. She brings the thunder and the glory to the stage with a screaming rage that nonetheless offers a kind of primitive elegance to the whole affair.
It's the way she takes each long note to its final breaking point each an every time that just leaves you aching after each high energy number. In a city where so many of our female lead singers prefer to haunt, she's a vocal poltergeist that would rather throw bricks through windows.
Kay started her creative life as a theater kid in high school with a little film on the side, but also grew up idolizing Joan Jett, Joey Ramone and Freddie Mercury. Two years ago, she and guitarist Porter Smith began to seriously start looking for an outlet for the songs they had been working on for a while, and are now finally putting those early efforts out on a real release.
Home Base: Kay and Smith tend to work on their songs at home until they have enough of a skeleton to present to the band as a whole. Once that's ready, they head down to Rhythm Room to hammer out the wrinkles. Like a lot of the rock and punk acts, Kay likes Fitzgerald's the best once gig time comes around for its quality sound, ambiance and storied history.
Good War Story: "I remember one show we played at the Jerk Store that went horribly wrong. Meg [Cambern, bass] and I were cutting out and getting shocked, Porter and Steven [Jones, guitar] were cutting out and I think Steven got completely cut off at one point, there were so many people packed in there moving around that a couple of us fell over.
"Haha," she continues, "and our drummer at the time, Allen, cut his hands up on a cymbal. There was blood on the ceiling, the floor, the drums... Still, a memorably fun show!"
Music Scene Pet Peeve: The thing that grinds Kay's gears is the lack of touring bands that come through Houston and play smaller, more intimate venues, though she admits this has gotten better in recent years. She's big on getting the right pairings of local and national acts to ensure a good show.