The Rocks Off 200: Odd Hours and Back to Back's Hank Doyle
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, 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 previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? At one time, Hank Doyle was just a kid with a slab of wood. "I had a 2x4 that I had drawn guitar strings on," he explains. "Every morning before school, I would listen to Nirvana's Live: From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah and play my fake guitar and jump around."
Hank Doyle (far left) in Back to Back
Since he got a real guitar, Doyle says music has been his only real interest, from punk and hardcore to experimental and noise. He started booking shows around Houston and eventually formed an organization called Odd Hours, which currently handles booking as well as record distribution.
Home Base: Unfortunately, Doyle's favorite space to play is long gone. He laments the death of the old Mink, which is the Alley Kat Bar and Lounge these days. Otherwise, he says it really doesn't make a difference to him as long as "people are excited and the vibe is right."
Why Do You Stay In Houston? In short, Doyle admits he isn't totally sure. However, he explains that "Houston is one of the largest cities in the US. We have a great number of art museums here and lots of amazing free and permanent art installations around the city. We certainly have the potential to be a cultural hub of the USA. However, this potential is all too often pissed away."
As for why this potential is squandered, he took local publications to task for writing about "which local bands have the hottest girls in them" or "corporate music events which already happened" rather than focusing on upcoming shows or helping small promoters. He also called out bands for "too much competition and not enough camaraderie."
But Houston's potential still stands out in his mind, and he says he's willing to put in the work to make that happen. "I was born and raised in Houston, I grew up going to places like Rockin Robin, Sound Exchange, and Walter's on Washington," he says. "It's hard to want to leave all that behind because it made me who I am."
Story continues on the next page.