Sibling Revelry: Houston's Bands of Brothers and Sisters

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Photo courtesy of The Dead Rabbits
The Dead Rabbits
It's not unusual for siblings to be in bands together. The Beach Boys, Jackson Five, Heart, Radiohead... the list goes on and on. Brothers and sisters have regularly joined forces to create incredible music. One kid finds a musical niche and his or her siblings voluntarily follow. Or, the group is one member shy of a band and some sibling gets dragged in (usually to play bass -- sorry bassists) and stays on for the ride.

Here's an ironic one: maybe the kids are driving you crazy. You send them to music lessons to get a single hour's peace once a week and they buy into it big time. They then create one or several bands, which end up loudly practicing at your house for the next ten years. That didn't work so well, did it?

Here in Houston, we're fortunate to have tons of emerging music acts, so it should be no surprise that some are built from bands of brothers and sisters. Here are a few families making your music scene better:

Josh and Micah Raught, The Dead Rabbits
I've been an admirer of the songwriting talents of these Pasadena-born-and-raised brothers for awhile now. Their former band, HaHa 90!, was an infectiously melodic and wildly funny pop-punk band. Today, they are core members of Houston Press Music Award-winning band, The Dead Rabbits.

"There's me, Micah and we have two older sisters. Both of our sisters sing, and my oldest sister went to college for music for the longest time," says Josh. "When we get together at family gatherings all of our siblings sing together."

That might seem a bit Von Trappish, but the Raught men don't just sing. Josh plays guitar, drums, accordion, piano and mandolin, which is his primary instrument in The Dead Rabbits and has earned him the nickname "Mando' Commando." Micah plays guitar, bass, trumpet and banjo (his band pet name? "BanJovi").

They're self-taught on most of the instruments they play, Josh says. "Our parents had a strong appreciation for music growing up and I think it made us active listeners to the music we were hearing."

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Josh (top) and Micah Raught

Their influences are broad -- everything from 1970s prog-rock to NOFX to Gogol Bordello and Green Day. All those sounds and a lot more of what the Raughts bring to The Dead Rabbits should be evident on the band's approaching first-ever album, Tiocfaidh Ar La.

Josh says the writing process starts with an idea that he, his brother and bandmates Seamuis Strain and Danny Aschenbach build on until a song is formed.

"When Micah and I write, it's definitely as a team," he explains. "Even if one of us frustrates the other at some point due to too much beer or just a clash of ideas, we always end up coming back to the same song later and finishing it up," said Josh.

"The best part of having a sibling in the band with you is they can't blow you off like a lot of people seem to," Josh says. "I mean they're family, they're stuck with you for life."

Good thing, Micah chimed in.

"I always get drunk and leave my stuff behind at shows, and he's always the one who grabs it for me. Win!" he says.

Micah, ("22, I like long walks on the beach and a lot of whiskey,") says having his brother alongside is comforting because they have the same sense of humor.

What they're doing now is serious business, though. Their debut album drops mid-September, and the Raughts and their adopted band of Rabbit brothers are excited for fans to hear it in its entirety.

"I'd say the creative process is definitely enhanced by being brothers," Josh says. "We had no choice but to grow up around each other, due to having the same parents. I believe that gives us similar ideas musically."


More sibling revelry on the next page.


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