The Rocks Off 200: Chase Harris, Deep Cuts' Rather Deep Thinker
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? Props to Deep Cuts' Chase Harris. Not only does he have a pretty astute bead on what goes on around the Houston music scene (as far as we can tell), he's the first person we've asked to join the Rocks Off 100/200 to give us five Desert Island Discs we've never heard of. He's also solved the mystery of Cat Power's odd behavior at Free Press Summer Fest 2013 for us. Well played, sir.
Photo by Lauren Holshouser
Harris' right-hand man in in the two-year-old group (a current HPMA Best Pop Act nominee) is his best friend/co-founder/collaborator Zach Alderman, with whom he's been tight since the two were four years old. If their band name somehow isn't a clue, Harris says he's been into music since about that age as well.
"I've loved music since I was a kid," Harris says. "My parents said when I was little I would go nuts listening to CCR's 'Susie Q.'"
"I listened to anything I could get my hands on -- '90s Top 40 and radio-rock, my dad's classic-rock LPs, '90s rap," he continues. "My high-school years were spent touring the suburban venues of Houston in a grindcore band and reading pitchfork.com. Later I attended HBU where I got my Bachelor's of Music degree and now I'm living the dream -- paying student loans and playing guitar."
Harris does make a living playing and teaching music full-time, so that's something. Thus far Deep Cuts' recorded output has been somewhat limited; you can hear the Latin-sounding indie ballad "Slow Descent" on their Web site. But more is on the way. They've just wrapped an EP at Sugarhill Studios with producer/engineer Chris Longwood; Harris says a release date will be announced soon.
Photo by Amanda J. Cain
"We've been a band for a couple years now, and somehow managed to make it on everyone's radar with our live show alone," he notes. "I'm really excited to finally have a record -- like a "real band.'"
Finally, Harris has recently played guitar for recent Houston expat B.E. Godfrey and bass in Children of Pop. He says he also enjoys photography, chopping and screwing songs, and looking after his pepper garden. We like this dude.
Home Base: Harris mentions that activity at Houston House of Creeps seems to have let up lately, and sounds a little wistful about it. Come to think of it, now we are too.
"It was Deep Cuts' stomping ground since the start of the band," he says. "I've seen a living-room floor cave in underneath dudes, dudes punched in the face, dudes in a hot tub in a kitchen, dudes drinking 1,000 beers -- and I've seen those same dudes cultivate a DIY venue with its own niche and scene, outlast an eviction, throw big fests, reel in national bands to play in a living room, and drink 1,000 more beers. They always possessed a genuine love for music and a total disregard for fashion."
Other than that, Harris says Fitz is OK by him as well -- he digs the sound engineers, and the fact that it's down the street from his house. Both the venue and affiliated Free Press Houston became early supporters of the band when they played an open-mike night there in 2012, he adds.
Good War Story: "This could be hearsay, but when Deep Cuts played Free Press Summer Fest in 2013 one of our friends supposedly stole a massage from Cat Power," Harris swears. "Evidently she had arrangements made to receive a full-body massage backstage before her performance, and John, in his aloofness, managed to get on the table before she could.
Photo by Lauren Holshouser
"This effectively bumped her from her scheduled massage and made her sorta pissed during her show at FPSF."
Aha. So that's what happened.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? "My No. 1 reason is Tex-Mex," Harris admits. "Go to Taqueria El Jaliciense off Palmer in Texas City and we'll talk. My No. 2 reason is Houstonians. Most people I've met -- including music-scene bigwigs -- have been approachable and kind. When I first entered the music scene I was stunned by how chill everyone was. Maybe it's just what you get when you mix Southern hospitality with Houston's underdog spirit."
Story continues on the next page.