Six Types of People You Might Meet at a Guitar Store

Categories: Local Motion

Photo by H. Michael Karshis
Fact: all American guitars made before 1968 are magical, and were blessed by wizards. Paying $25,000 for one makes total sense when viewed in that light.
Any guitar player will occasionally venture into a guitar shop or musical-supply store that specializes in guitars. They can be wonderlands to anyone who likes to play guitar and wants to see firsthand what kind of gear is available. Like a comic-book store is a playground for comic fans, a guitar shop is a similar experience for guitar players.

But these paradises of gear-lust are also weird environments with their own social order and rules of conduct. There are also quite a few characters you're likely to encounter if you spend much time there. Some of them are fun people to be around, and others will make you wonder if they have a secret doll-themed torture room in their homes. Proceed carefully.

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Gabe Bravo Drums Up a Comedy Career

Photo courtesy of Gabe Bravo
Gabe Bravo, asking you to please check the drummer jokes at the door.
A funny thing happened to Gabe Bravo on the way to a successful career in music: He found out he was funny.

More precisely, others are finding out Bravo is funny. The well-known and highly regarded Houston musician is notably an outstanding drummer known for his time in acts such as Shotgun Funeral and The Trimms. But since early 2013, Bravo has traded his place at the back of the band for front-and-center as a stand-up comic.

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A Few Things Local Bands Should Know About Opening for National Acts

Photo by Clever Cupcakes via Flickr
As close as a typical opening band might get to meeting KISS.
Your band has been playing shows for a while, and seems to be getting popular. Perhaps you're still just rising stars on the hometown circuit or have hit the road a few times to try your luck at touring. Eventually, the day comes when you get a dream gig opening up for a big national act -- a band with a certain amount of fame and success that you've always looked up to, or at least respected.

Does this gig mean Death Hippie has finally made it and superstardom is around the corner? Can you and your bass player finally quit your jobs cleaning up "accidents" at the porno theater where you both work? Will you at least make industry connections and become friends with your rock and roll heroes after your band opens for them?

Probably not. But as with most things involving the music biz, you'll probably learn some lessons along the way. I certainly did.

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These Bands Know Mental Health Is Serious Business

The Walk for Mental Health Awareness Houston is a nonprofit organization that hosts events to, as the name implies, raise awareness for mental-health issues in the Houston area.

This is an issue that is close to my heart, so I'm happy to report that The Walk will be hosting a benefit show called Rockin' For a Cause tomorrow night at Fitzgerald's featuring Mellow Riot, Cassette Tape, Soul Creatures, Handsomebeast and the Trimms.

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Will H-Town Acts Impress Mile High City Fans?

Nick and his new CD, straight from Houston
My ongoing commitment to the young adults I parent is strong. Occasionally, it leads to weekends like one late last month, which included 30-plus hours of driving to and from Denver to help my daughter, who lives in nearby Boulder.

Errands aside, my wife and I had about six waking hours in the Mile High City, which wasn't much, but was enough to check out the music scene. It was a perfect weekend for that, since the Denver Post was holding its annual Underground Music Showcase. Better known as "UMS," it brought together dozens of Denver's best local acts, plus regional and national artists, like People Under the Stairs and Blonde Redhead.

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The Deep Roots of Houston House Music

Categories: Local Motion

Photo by Carlos A. Martinez, courtesy of Extended Play
Extended Play: the re-mix
About six weeks ago, I met with some notable figures to get the real story of Houston's house-music scene. And, as I've learned since the first half of this blog ran, still others are waiting to tell their stories and fill in the blanks even this trio of respected artists missed.

For me, this all started with an article about two Houston brothers who were entirely new to producing house music. They wanted to find and maybe learn from some of the city's EDM talent, especially artists who were producing original house music.

It didn't take long for Josh Dupont, Eddie Spettro and James Reed to step forth. They collectively bring music to the masses at regular gigs at Boondocks, Jet Lounge, Royal Oak, The Davenport and elsewhere. Outside the city they've played major shows too, most recently the Denver 2014 Winter Showcase, hosted by Beatport's Beta Nightclub.

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Houston House Music 101: An Extended DJ Summit

Categories: Local Motion

Photo courtesy of Extended Play
L-R: Josh Dupont and Eddie Spettro of Extended Play
Recently, I blogged about two brothers who are professional accountants by day and amateur electronic dance music producers by night. It was a story about doing something outside the box and finding and fostering the creativity within us, no matter what we do to pay the bills. It was about how music brings people together, which should generally be celebrated.

I was a bit surprised when my quaint little blog brushfired with heated vilification normally reserved for stuff like Mein Kampf and that poetry book Jewel wrote. Some people were unnecessarily rude in their critiques of the brothers' work. Some were at least funny -- no, the McFadden Brothers aren't my coke dealers. And at least one offered a serious invitation to learn more about EDM in Houston.

That invitation came from Josh Dupont, a fixture in the local dance-music scene. He agreed to arrange a summit of sorts, a sit-down with some of the city's most successful DJs and producers. Since I'd already covered the exploits of a pair of upstarts, I agreed it would be good to know more about the people who have toiled to establish Houston's electronic-music scene.

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Look Out, Boy DJs of Houston: Here Come the Girls

Photos courtesy of Here Come The Girls
At their first gig ever, a funny thing happened to Here Come The Girls.

The boys came running.

"It was a bit hectic getting all of the gear set up and we had guys coming up to us all night fixing our levels on the mixer," says co-founder Darenda Weaver. "We thought it was really funny because if it had been a male up there DJing, people would likely expect him to know what he was doing or tell him to fix the levels rather than touching his gear. It was just all in all a fun night, so we decide to book some more shows."

Since then, Houston's all-female DJ group has cut out the kinks and built up an audience from shows at MKT Bar, Eastdown Warehouse, Big Top Lounge and the like. This Sunday the group kicks off their second year together with a noon-5 p.m. showcase at Pop Shop Houston, 1657 Westheimer.

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Children of Pop at Cactus Music, 3/1/2014

Photos by Alyssa Dupree
Children of Pop
Cactus Music
March 1, 2014

One week removed from their album-release pizza party at House of Creeps, Saturday Houston's Children of Pop welcomed a sizable crowd to a mid-day Cactus Music in-store amid rows of music merchandise and the infamous keg of Saint Arnold.

The band kicked off by working through the noise of the latter half of debut full-length Fiesta/Drift before truly finding their bearings on "Power From the Sun." Because the song structures of Fiesta/Drift balance rock and electronica so carefully, it's became evident that it's going to be hard to pigeonhole them as one thing or another. It's not easy to balance two genres as bold and diverse as those two, but Children of Pop found a way to work through dreamy synth parts before jumping head-first into heavy, intricate guitar playing on songs like "I Know" and "Build a Home."

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Children of Pop Is Throwing You a Pizza Party

Last year was a busy year for Houston's Children of Pop. So busy, in fact, that the act never had time to host an official release party for its latest album, Fiesta/Drift, which was voted one of Rocks Off's top local albums of 2013.

But that's all about to change when Children of Pop hosts the official Fiesta/Drift Tape Release Pizza Party tonight at Houston House of Creeps. So it seemed there was no better time to sit down and find out more about this local act that has been making waves on a national scale.

Of course, getting to know Children of Pop means checking expectations at the door. Though the act can be considered a "band," it's actually the brainchild and persona of one Houston local who prefers to remain nameless in the press. When asked why, his answer is simple enough.

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