Seven Come Eleven

After crapping out with Arista, Patrice Pike hits the creative jackpot with the Blackbox Rebellion

Her new music is dramatically different from the stuff on Tiny Matters -- more diverse, yet equally assured. The most obvious change is Pike's decision to write more storytelling songs rather than songs that express multiple layers of situational emotions. Though at times it seems that she's trying too hard to stretch her singing in new directions, Pike still oozes confidence. On "Ms. Ramona," she's all spit and snot, the Texan Chrissie Hynde, even unconsciously emulating Hynde's quirky trademark of piling a bucket of words in between lines.

Her band -- members both new and old -- sounds energized as well. Drummer Michael Hale breathes life into the live songs, especially with the syncopated rhythm he lays down for "Jackknife Girl," which has the feel of a song Guy Forsyth would write. And Sutton's guitar, is, thank goodness, still Sutton-like.

Pike is still Pike-like as well. She's always been one of Texas's most literary rockers. One day soon, she hopes to delegate more of the running of the band to outsiders to make room in her life for writing fiction -- short stories, at first. "I like to do a lot of different things. I'm not one to sit in a room five or six hours a day playing guitar, which I used to feel guilty about sometimes." Pausing, she pulls out her wallet and digs out a wrinkled strip of fortune-cookie paper. Sometimes to do two things at once is to do nothing at all, it says. "For a while I was getting several fortunes pointing to the idea of not spreading yourself too thin."

Pike-Zain hopes to take up short-story writing soon, and why not? Her life is much stranger than fiction.
Pike-Zain hopes to take up short-story writing soon, and why not? Her life is much stranger than fiction.

But back in the spotlight, Pike doesn't look like she's spread too thin as she spreads the word of her new Rebellion. The singer who nearly saw her fortunes fade to black after the bloody coup d'état at Arista, has quite literally buried her past so she can focus on the future.

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