The Rocks Off 200: Silver Blueberry, Garage Days Revisited

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.

Photos courtesy of Silver Blueberry
Who? The Houston scene got a little groovier (man) earlier this spring with the arrival of Silver Blueberry's Twin Reverberation, one of 2014's more appealing and tuneful local debuts. Chunky and riffy in spots, fragrant and meandering in others, to us it recalls the Paisley Underground, the largely L.A.-based subclass of '80s college-rock that attempted to cross-breed the Byrds' swirling jangle-pop with the Velvet Underground's garagey art-rock.

Some groups were more successful than others, but Dream Syndicate, Green on Red and the Long Ryders continue to have their share of admirers, and the Bangles were loosely associated with the movement before they found their way onto the pop charts and started walking like Egyptians.

Anyhow, like the Breeders, Bee Gees and Tegan and Sara before them, Silver Blueberry features a set of twins, Tyson Rinker and his brother Shaun. The Houston natives have been musicians for most of their adult lives -- "to sit with my guitar, ponder my thoughts, and write songs has always been my favorite way to escape," Tyson affirms -- but didn't join forces until late 2012, after he admits both of them realized "forming a band with like-minded, compatible people was difficult to do."

Nevertheless, it wasn't long before the brothers met Phillipp Kleiner, a drummer and German emigrant who was in Houston working for the German consulate. They hit it off and started hanging out and jamming, and at one of the shows met Jasmine Martinez, a bassist who would shortly become the fourth Blueberry.

"She is a real bright young bass player who shared all the same interests as we did," Tyson says. "We knew we wanted her in the band, and as a friend."

Silver Blueberry, the name, comes from a street the Rinkers once lived on, Tyson explains. The foursome began rehearsing last summer, and played their first real gig at AvantGarden in August. Today, besides Twin Reverberation, "we have tons of great memories from shows, and were excited to see what the future has in store," he says. Silver Blueberry's future is on pause at the moment while business has called Kleiner back to Germany, but they'll be back in action and ready to rock next month.

Home Base: Between the three of them, Silver Blueberry enjoy hanging out at and playing most local venues open to indie-ish bands on their way up: Fitz, AvantGarden, Rudyard's and Mango's, while Tyson tosses in the warehouse-style parties at House of Creeps. Appropriately, Shaun says he also enjoys hanging out in his garage, and Jasmine prefers Silver Blueberry's rehearsal space.

"We like to throw keggers there, which have been known to get pretty wild," she promises.

Good War Story: Tyson recalls something that happened to him at a show one of his previous bands was playing, opening for a group called Jeffree Star:

The average age of that concert was about 16. I guess the thing for all these kids to do at those kinds of concerts is to take ecstasy. While playing, I saw at least five girls flop to the floor having full-on seizures! It was insane! That must have been how the Beatles felt when they arrived to America.

Shaun, meanwhile, reflects on an early AvantGarden gig.

We had so many obstacles just to get down to the gig. We eventually got there and when we started playing we then had a lot of technical difficulties on the stage. It was packed, very sweaty, slippery and loud. Right before "JV Girls," Tyson slipped off the little stage and landed on the ground.

A lot of people rushed to help him up but he just grabbed the mike and sang from the ground, and we all jumped off the stage and went crazy. It was just really awesome to see how much the energy rose in the room. We took whatever was thrown at us and just kept it going!

Music Scene Pet Peeve: Jasmine says she's annoyed by cameraphones "all up in my view of the stage," while Shaun says he can do without the cliques and "elitism" he sometimes encounters.

"It's all Rock n' Roll to me!" he says.

Story continues on the next page.

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