$12 for HPMA Ticket, Drink & T-Shirt

Categories: HPMA

Graphic by Monica Fuentes
Haven't bought your tickets the Houston Press Music Award concert yet? We'd say what are you waiting for, but it turns out you've been waiting for this. From now until Tuesday, we're adding some value onto the ticket: a drink on us and souvenir HPMA T-shirt.

Not bad, right? Remember, the concert is Thursday, August 7 (two weeks from today) and features HPMA nominees the Tontons, the Suffers, thelastplaceyoulook and Electric Attitude. Advance tickets are on sale now for $10, but those don't come with these extras.

Sign up here. Hope to see you there!

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The Houston Music Hall of Fame Class of 2014

Photo by Marco Torres
DJ Sun
There's an old saying in the music industry that you have your whole life to make your first album but six months to a year for your second. This is almost the reverse. Last year, when we started the Houston Music Hall of Fame to salute the 25th anniversary of the Houston Press Music Awards, the whole thing went from concept to finished product in about six weeks. This year we had an entire year to think about whom to induct.

That made it tougher in some ways, and easier in others. We kept our original rule of inducting only people who are still at least semi-active, but we expand our scope to include a former Houstonian still very much going strong at age 75 and a venue owner who is now a sort of godmother to two or three generations of local musicians. Other than that, our five inductees have little in common aside from the fact that their talents have seldom drawn widespread acclaim until now.

Besides the household name who last year put a song on the charts for his seventh straight decade, that is. But it is now our distinct pleasure to induct DJ Sun, Grady Gaines, K-Rino, Walters Downtown owner Pam Robinson (profiled separately) and Kenny Rogers into the Houston Music Hall of Fame.

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Walters Owner Pam Robinson Hangs Tough

Categories: HPMA, In Print

Photo courtesy of Zack Robinson
Pam Robinson is not going anywhere.

The outspoken owner of Walters Downtown -- and now an inductee into the Houston Music Hall of Fame -- has felt better, true. Recently her doctors discovered that the experimental drug that had been attacking her cancer was going after her heart just as aggressively. She had been on the drug since late April, and had even been able to give up the wheelchair she had been using since beginning chemotherapy last summer. But within just a few days of going off it, her pain was already coming back with a vengeance.

"By Monday I'll probably be screaming at MD Anderson," Robinson told Rocks Off a couple of weeks ago in Walters's small office. "I'm not real happy about it, but it was killing my heart, so I had no choice."

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HPMA Bassist Nominees Pick Best Bassists Ever

Categories: HPMA

Photo by Ian D. Keating/Flickr Commons
One nice thing about the Houston Press Music Awards is the opportunity it provides to root into the brains of Houston's more acclaimed musicians. Here's a ready-made list of folks with music-filled brains, ripe for the picking. But with so many nominees in so many categories, where to start and what to ask?

I figured I'd start in the simplest fashion, by asking people who play the instrument I'd play -- if I weren't sadly void of all musical talent -- about their influences. So here are this year's Best Bassist nominees reflecting on their bass-playing heroes, the bottom-enders who are the tops in their eyes.

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UPDATED: The 2014 HPMA Write-In Nominees

Categories: HPMA, On the Road

Graphics by Monica Fuentes
UPDATE (Monday, 2 p.m.): See new voting ballot info in third-to-last paragraph.

It's been an interesting week. Rocks Off would like to thank everyone who participated in last week's write-ins for the 2014 HPMA ballot. It says a lot that even after their favorite local artists were left off this year, fans cared enough to speak up for them and tell us we were wrong.

Of course we expected some criticism of our revised nominating process. But we still felt it was an improvement on the previous system, which sometimes rewarded acts as much for their self-promotion skills as the actual music they made, and excluded some deserving artists who were simply not interested in dancing to that particular tune.

That's why the people we asked to participate this year were the most knowledgeable about the local music scene that we could think of (and who wanted to participate; ultimately all but a couple of people we asked did). Furthermore, they are, in our opinion, all people capable of being as objective as possible about a survey that hinges on the use of the word "best." They will also all stay safely anonymous.

So that's our story and we're sticking to it. But like we said last week, it was never our intention for this whole thing to be a one-way street.

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UPDATED: The Best Acts Not on the 2014 HPMA Ballot Are...

Graphics by Monica Fuentes
UPDATE (Tuesday, 9 a.m.) to clarify a few reader questions about the write-in process.

(Wednesday, 10 a.m.): also updated in re: duplicate voting.

When Rocks Off announced the 2014 Houston Press Music Award nominees last month, some readers were taken aback by our new method of choosing the nominees. This time we asked a carefully selected panel of music-scene insiders for their suggestions, rather than relying on the public to choose the nominees as in years past.

We stand by our decision, because we know everyone on our committee follows the Houston scene closely and passionately. We trust their judgement implicitly, and think each and every one of the 2014 HPMA nominees deserves a spot on the ballot. But the last thing we wanted to do was to shut out our readers from having any say in the matter. Hardly.

That's why this morning, it gives Rocks Off great pleasure to announce the creation of a HPMA write-in category.

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Here's an Update on the 2014 HPMA Ceremony

Graphic by Monica Fuentes
We won't keep you long, but we wanted to pass along some information about this year's Houston Press Music Awards ceremony now that we have it.

The 2014 HPMA ceremony is set for Thursday, August 7 at Warehouse Live. The ceremony itself is invitation-only for nominees and their guests, but at 9 p.m. doors will open to the public for the HPMA concert. So far the Suffers and the Tontons, both multiple HPMA nominees this year, are on board; another few acts should be added in the next couple of weeks.

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The 2014 Houston Press Music Award Nominees

Graphics by Monica Fuentes
You've been wondering, and asking us, and lately offering up a few social-media suggestions. But it's time. Apologies for the delay, but the 2014 Houston Press Music Award nominations are at hand.

What took so long? To draw up the ballot this year, we consulted about two dozen individuals from all corners of the scene. They're all intensely connected to local music; many of them make it their livelihoods. Of course there were some tough calls, but overall we think this patchwork approach has produced about an accurate reflection of the past year's award-worthy achievements that a scene as sprawling as Houston's is likely to see.

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No, We Haven't Forgotten About This Year's HPMAs

Categories: HPMA

Poster by Monica Fuentes
Some people have been asking when we will announce the nominations for this year's Houston Press Music Awards. Hard to believe it's already the middle of June; seems like just the other day we were mopping the sweat off our brow from Summer Fest, and now it's almost time for fireworks. Actually, it's always time for fireworks.

But trust us, we haven't forgotten about the HPMAs. How could we? We've just been under the hood, fine-tuning the nomination process as the awards get ready to enter their second quarter-century in August. (Honestly, they're still getting used to being able to rent a car.)

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Our 11th Time Around, the Best HPMA Ceremony Yet

Photos by Marco Torres
Brand-new Houston Music Hall of Famer Jewel Brown
Tuesday was my eleventh foray to the Houston Press Music Awards, and it was certainly my favorite ever -- excepting maybe the time Molly of Molly and Ringwalds called me out from the stage to insist that her band was "not lame."

What made Tuesday night so special? Well, it started like this: I was hanging out with the bass player in my son's band at Mojeaux's across the street from Warehouse Live, where the awards were held. We'd gotten our heads about right, we decided, so at 7:15 p.m. we headed over to the venue.

As I crossed the street in 90-plus degree heat, I noticed a woman with a cane getting out of her car. I zagged back across the street just as she shut her car door. It was Hall of Fame honoree Jewel Brown, longtime singer for Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong's touring band.

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