Bassist Rozzano Zamorano's Death Leaves Huge Void in Music Scene

Photo courtesy of Greg Davis
L-R: Fondue Monks Denver Courtney and Rozzano Zamorano
Houston's music community is still reeling after popular bassist Rozzano Zamorano was found dead in his Montrose apartment late last week. Friends say Zamorano failed to show up for a gig with Vince Converse last Friday night at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar, leading police officers alerted by his family to break down his door and discover him unconscious in his bed. Zamorano had just celebrated his 44th birthday the previous weekend at a gig with his band the Fondue Monks, also at Dan Electro's.

"Rozz to not show up at a gig -- that never happened," says Fondue Monks singer Denver Courtney, who had been Zamorano's bandmate since the group formed in 1991. "I've been onstage with Rozz when he had a 103-degree fever and was puking off the back of the stage."

After that birthday gig, Courtney says he and Zamorano had lunch the following Monday, and the bassist was excited for the future. The two had been talking about making another Fondue Monks record, he says, which would have been the R&B/funk-rock band's first new release in a decade. But that was the last Courtney says he ever saw of Zamorano, whose death cuts straight to the quick of an old-growth ring of the modern Houston music scene. This is a big loss.

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Why the Everly Brothers Still Matter

Categories: Miles-tones

The first thought that came to mind when word got out that Phil Everly had passed away Friday was just how long it's been since the Everly Brothers' harmonies topped the charts -- more than half a century now. The second was just how easy it is to spot their influence in a wealth of music right here in the 21st century. The more you learn about the duo's immense legacy, the more it feels like peeling an onion: an especially sweet onion, but one that could easily bring on a few tears.

The Kentucky-bred Everlys' most important innovation is simple, and just as profound: before Phil and his older brother Don (who survives him) hit it big in 1957 with "Bye Bye Love," rock and roll was dominated by solo acts: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Elvis. Although the Everlys' close fraternal harmonies were commonplace in country music and bluegrass back then, they were unprecedented in rock and roll. But not for much longer: four of their most devoted disciples, one duo in New York City and another in Liverpool, were Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel and John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

"The Everly Brothers were the Beatles' Beatles," VH1's Bill Flanagan said yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning, explaining that even the late Dick Clark had once dismissed the Fab Four as mere Everly wannabes.

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RIP Lou Reed: Streetwise Rock and Roll Icon Dies at 71

Categories: Miles-tones

Lou Reed, the tragically hip, eternally cool songwriter and musician whose friendships, collaborations and rivalries with the likes of John Cale, David Bowie and Iggy Pop helped define, expand and elevate rock music from the mid-'60s to the present, has died. Reed's death was confirmed to The New York Times by his literary agent, who said he had died earlier Sunday on Long Island. He was 71 and had received a liver transplant earlier this year.

Along with Cale, Sterling Morrison -- who much later became a UT-Austin professor and tugboat captain in the Houston Ship Channel -- and drummer Angus MacLise (quickly replaced by Morrison's friend Maureen Tucker), Reed founded the Velvet Underground in 1964 in New York City. Although not a great commercial success at first, their streetwise narratives and relentless experimentation helped sow the seeds of a form of rock that would see much greater mainstream popularity starting in the late '80s. The band's 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico also made them the most iconic New York band until the Ramones came along a decade later.

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At Age 15, Watching 50 Cent Upstage Jay Z In Houston

Categories: Miles-tones

Photo by Marco Torres
50 Cent at the Austin Music Hall during SXSW 2012
When I went back to Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion last month, escorting two women to see Kid Rock, nostalgia had begun to set in. I work as a chauffeur, and have driven plenty of driving people to concerts over the years; taking kids to see Ke$ha felt like I was committing a sin. On the way to One Direction, the pre-teen girls in the car fawned over Harry Styles and begged me, "Do you have any hip-hop?"

Pre-teen girls are the worst at that.

But my first-ever visit to CWMP occurred ten years ago this month. You see, long before Jay Z married Beyonce, he had to be wed to 50 Cent for about three months. Not in the literal sense, but the two were then co-headlining their own tour, were both bedfellows with Reebok and had a mini-Cold War going on stemming from 50's inclusion of Jay on 1999's "How To Rob" and Jay's retort, "I'm about a dollar, what the fuck is 50 Cent?" at Summer Jam later that year. It made for one interesting night.

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Pimp C's Mom, Weslyn "Mama Wes" Monroe, Passes Away at 66

Photo by Marco Torres
Rocks Off has learned that Weslyn Monroe, mother of rap pioneer Chad "Pimp C" Butler, passed away over the weekend after suffering an undisclosed illness. She was admitted into intensive care a few days ago, but she sadly lost her life in a Port Arthur hospital on Sunday. She was 66, according to the Beaumont Enterprise.

Known as "Mama Wes," she was often seen at local rap concerts dressed in her signature red outfit in full support of her "babies," the rappers and artists she loved so much. She truly carried on the legacy that her son initiated through UGK, and made sure that Chad Butler Jr. was exposed to the positive side of Houston's rap world.

Friends and family took to social media on Sunday with the hashtags #RIPMamaWes and #RIPMamaC, all remembering her as kind, supportive, and loving. Bun B, the other half of UGK, released the following statement:

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R.I.P. Elroy Boogie: Popular Kracker Nuttz DJ Passes Away at 27

Sad news this Sunday: Elroy Boogie, a member of popular Houston DJ collective the Kracker Nuttz who had been battling cancer for the past few months, passed away earlier today, according to a statement on Kracker Nuttz co-founder DJ BabyJae's Facebook page.

"I am truly at a loss for words," BabyJae said. "A genuine soul taken too soon. We are all lucky to have had you in our lives. I will sincerely miss you my friend, my brother. Until we see each other again."

In tribute to Elroy, who was only 27, Rocks Off is reposting our profile that ran as part of our Rocks Off 100 series this past February. Our condolences to his many friends and family; we will pass along his memorial information as soon as we learn.

Photos by Marco Torres
Who? Elroy Boogie of the Almighty Kracker Nuttz, is also a principal of popular Boondocks night Top Notch and NanaChill, the party/collective he runs with Dayta. The Filipino native says he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1996 and Houston a year later, and as a DJ, has been "killing the game since 2007."

Home Base: Elroy says he practices in his living room in the Montrose, but "you can catch performing me everywhere."

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Don Daily, Founding Partner of Cactus Records, Passes Away

Photo courtesy of Glad Music Co.
Don Daily, a founding partner of Cactus Records and member of Houston's legendary Daily family, passed away July 31. He was 81, according to his Houston Chronicle obituary, which indicated a long struggle with Parkinson's disease but said Daily had died "peacefully."

"Don was a tremendously sweet and caring person with a truly wonderful sense of humor that was very dry in a manner not unlike Bob Newhart," says current Cactus Music partner and general manager Quinn Bishop, who worked for the Dailys from 1987 through "tying up loose ends" after the old store at Shepherd and Alabama closed in early 2006.

Daily's nephew Wes of Glad Music Company remembers Don as "very creative," with a keen ear for music. Bishop says sometimes Daily would ask him to help him evaluate songs that had been sent to Glad, which still controls the rights to many of George Jones' and the Big Bopper's better-known songs.

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For Robot: Daddy, Why Is Numbers Called Numbers?

Note: This article originally appeared on Rocks Off on February 27 of this year. To pay our respects to Robert Burtenshaw, the club's owner, DJ and video artist known as "Robot" who passed away over the weekend, we're posting it again as a tribute.

NUMBERS then Babylon 1st Laser club .jpg
Numbers, then known as Babylon
One thing has always bothered me whenever I attend concerts and dance nights at Numbers, and that is, "Why the hell is it called Numbers, anyway?" Now, I know that I have something of a fixation on the meaning of names in the music scene, but I've also had several readers ask me to look into it over the years.

Well, I finally did so, and what I got back was something strange and wonderful to behold. The source of this information wished to remain anonymous so as not to reveal his or her age, but was vouched for by Numbers owner Robert Burtenshaw. I present it to you unedited, except for spelling and grammar in the name of hilarious awesomeness.

"Dad, why is Numbers called Numbers?"

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RIP KCOH Disc Jockey Stevie Goodtime T

Photos courtesy of KCOH
Longstanding KCOH radio personality Steven Reginald Talton, known on-air as Stevie Goodtime T, passed of cancer complications this past Sunday. While Talton had kept his long battle with prostate cancer quiet, details became known after his passing.

Talton was most widely known for his nightly program "The Passion Zone," which was filled with the best torch songs in soul music as well as Talton's pointed and often funny observations on couples and relationships. Filled with the likes of Isaac Hayes and Barry White as well as with dial-in requests and bits of listener participation, the program often felt like a late-night party.

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30footFALL Celebrates 20 Years of Christmases and Converse

Back in the day: 30footFALL's Butch Klotz
Photos courtesy of Media Riot/30FOOTFall
With due respect to the Hates, Really Red, Spunk and all the bands that have come before and since, for a certain generation of fans, 30footFALL is where Houston punk begins and ends. Thanks to years of nonstop touring, a string of uptempo albums, and high-profile compilation contributions, perhaps no one has done more to spread snotty Houston attitude from coast to coast.

Even those who missed out on the band's late-'90s heyday have heard tell of countless sweaty Christmas shows at Fitzgerald's, where 30footFALL has been holding court every December since the Clinton Administration. Next week, the band returns to its traditional holiday roost in the Heights to celebrate 20 years together. It's a major milestone that few groups reach, particularly in the weird and wooly world of Houston punk.

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