The Rocks Off 200: Quenton Rockwell, Melody Man in the Shiny Darks

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.

Matt Garza/Solid State Photography
Who? Now, if you asked me who had the best rock-star name in all of Houston I would definitely have told you Quenton Rockwell. But does the man who provides guitars, bass, and vocals for The Shiny Darks live up to such an awesome moniker? The answer is most definitely.

Rockwell worked for different promoters doing everything from passing out flyers to talking to radio stations to picking up people at the airport to getting water to helping do sound and security. The radio-station relationships led to working in local radio, then to national. While doing that, he met the people who would become the initial incarnation of the Shiny Darks. At first he was primarily a manager, but after the loss of a drummer and some reshuffling Rockwell wound up a full-time member on the guitar.

After other members moved on, Rockwell soldiered on and picked up drummer Chadwick "Chavi" Boswell, whom he had met in tour. The two clicked, and Rockwell manages all the non-percussive elements through foot pedals onstage. The setup places them well into the Top 5 music duos in Houston, and their EP Stab at Love is well-crafted piece of alternative high-powered rock.

Home Base: Rockwell says he crafts all his best work in his bedroom hooked up into his computer. His garage is converted into a studio for the times when Chavi comes out to play. For playing, like a lot of locals, he praises the sound quality of Rudyard's. He thinks that Warehouse Live has the easiest load-in setup.

Good War Story: "We were doing this Christian tour that was the tour from hell (and inspiration for our song 'Holiday (to Hell),'" he says. "We kept getting threatened with getting kicked off, lied to, lied about, cheated, whatever, by the tour manager.

One night after a successful show that we secured for the tour, the 'manager' pulls us aside and starts accusing us of all sorts of crap. He then says that we act like a gang. Which is funny, because we're nice people. Really nice. Too nice, in this instance.

I had enough. To give you a visual, I had hair down to my waist (sweat-soaked), a beard, and I'm big. I stood up and looked at this prick through my luscious mane straight into his soul and growled, 'Mess with them and I'd beat your ass.' Then I laughed (probably sinisterly). You could see the fear wash over him.

After thinking about the situation and everything that happened, I do think that was a WWJD moment. I think Jesus would've at least slapped him.

Music Scene Pet Peeve: Rockwell thinks that local support of the scene is still lacking, especially when it comes to getting acts on the radio and into the clubs. Still, he admits it seems like it's getting better.

Story continues on the next page.

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Dillon Robert Howland III
Dillon Robert Howland III

Holy crap, I didn't know these guys were still around and doing so well. We used to play coffee houses and other small venues on the north side of town with them back when they were very much a punk band.

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