The Rocks Off 200: Justin Nava, the Voice of thelastplaceyoulook

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.

Photo by Marco Torres
Justin Nava with thelastplaceyoulook at Warehouse Live in July 2012
Who? It's hard to believe that it's been eight freakin' years since Justin Nava started thelastplaceyoulook, but it's true. He's one of the hardest-working men in all of Houston music, always on the go and showing up where you least expect him. He also has a voice like a pagan god, and we are lucky to have him.

Right now TLPYL is going through changes. Guitarist Derek Young is moving on, and thelastplaceyoulook plans to proceed as a four-piece. The space he formally occupied in the creative process is to be filled by more programming from Nava, who says he's excited to see where that takes him. Again nominated for Best Modern/Alternative Rock this year, the band has graciously agreed to perform at this year's Houston Press Music Awards concert August 7 at Warehouse Live. In addition, Nava is pursuing an acoustic solo act, restarting his old project Black Sex, and working on remixes with BLSHS. Busy guy.

Home Base: Nava does his writing over at the Elder Street Lofts. The atmosphere is most welcoming to new and weird things. Thelastplaceyoulook has a space over at Francisco Studios for practice.

When it comes time to gigs, Nava has lots of experience. He's been on every stage in Houston except NRG Stadium and the Toyota Center. He even played the Astrodome back in his marching-band days. Out of all of those he's most fond of Warehouse Live for large shows and Fitzgerald's for smaller ones.

Why Do You Stay In Houston? "It's my home. Simple enough," Nava says. "Because I love this city and it loves me back. Someday I might go to Nashville 'cause my heart is in songwriting. But I've lived here for my whole life, give or take a year at the beginning. Elder Street Art Lofts helps me afford to live in downtown, and I just love being a part of the community."

Good War Story: "Some I can't say cause I'll never get on a tour again," Nava chuckles. "I actually have met more bands when I used to work at Dirt Bar than from being in one. I'll just toss you some headlines:

  • Chino Moreno and I playing pool in a mansion with strippers
  • Carding Lady Gaga trying to enter Dirt Bar
  • Meeting Muse and their "Personal Shaman"
  • Red Jumpsuit Apparatus bites the head off a mouse in Minnesota
  • Aaron Lewis showing me pictures of his kids' Halloween outfits

There's just too many for me to figure out."

Story continues on the next page.

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