The Rocks Off 200: Ryan Dickson, Laid-Back and Out Loud
Who? Earlier this year we took a look at Kevin Choate, the percussive half of The Snow Indian. Now we shine a light on his partner Ryan Dickson, who keeps the melody throbbing live and hard on guitar and vocals. He favors a '90s alternative method that calls to mind Weezer's more frantic moments when he plays, but that antagonistic sneer in his vocals is pure Alice Cooper. The team makes a potent mix.
Photo by Keith Hatch/Courtesy of Ryan Dickson
Before his current gig, Dickson played bass in a band called Zach Nuchols and the Madhatters, then moved on to lead guitar in the Jobe Wilson Band. All that time he dreamed of starting The Snow Indian, but just didn't feel that he had the experience and chops to set off in that musical direction until recently. The guitar has always had a hypnotic fascination for him, and making music has utterly taken over his life. Now he's just happy being able to perform and write with his best friend.
Home Base: For writing, Dickson has to be alone. It doesn't matter where it is as long as he has some space away from other people. For playing, he likes Mango's and Notsuoh for the kind atmosphere and the good bartenders.
Music Scene Pet Peeve: A fairly easygoing guy, Dickson doesn't really have any specific grievances. He just comes out to play loud, and hopes people dig that.
Why Do You Stay in Houston? "Well, I was born and raised in Baytown about 20 minutes east of Houston," Dickson says. "So I'm from this area, but growing up I hated Houston. When I started becoming a musician, my love for Houston grew. Cactus Records was my only reason for coming to Houston in the early days...Ha-ha, that was in 2008, and then I moved to Austin for about five months.
"I sorely missed Houston," he adds. "The city has a lot of heart, and a lot of really badass people!"
Good War Story: "The Snow Indian was playing a show in Baytown," opens Dickson. "We got to the show really early and it just so happened that there was a liquor store right next to the place we were playing.
So we started drinking early. I downed a lot of SoCo plus a bunch of beers and got so wasted that I had to lie in my truck till we played. I just sat there chain smoking and listening to Led Zeppelin till it was time to play.
Two hours later it was our turn, I got up there and gave the worst performance of my life. It just so happened that one of our buddies was filming it. So if you are on YouTube and want to see this, there are two videos of the show.
- Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, III/IV
- Neil Young, Zuma
- Rich Robinson, Paper
- Black Sabbath, Sabotage
- Voivod, War and Pain
Best Show You Ever Played: "Our last show at Notsuoh," he says. "The crowd was super into it, and we dedicated it to Ric Flair."
The Snow Indian plays Thursday, November 21, at Super Happy Fun Land with A Disco For Ferns, Blast Dad, Cornish Game Hen, Height, and Al Lover. See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.