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Raking In the Chips

Denton's Riverboat Gamblers know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em

An incident on tour in New York earlier this summer demonstrates the pitfalls of Weibe's willingness to bring it to the people. "I fell on a pint glass, it broke, and I ended up getting 15 stitches," he remembers. "They took me to Bellevue hospital where the crazy people are, there was this guy who had burned his top lip off with a crack pipe. There were just crazy people all over just freaking out. It took like six hours for them to stitch me up, and all the while the rest of the band is at Manitoba's, the bar owned by Handsome Dick of the Dictators, who was there that night and then the cast of The Sopranos came in. I've always wanted to go there and instead I'm stuck in Bellevue. That was my first time ever in New York City and I'm physically and emotionally scarred from it."

Somewhat surprisingly, given their five years of hard work and their copious buzz, the band hasn't quite been able to quit their day jobs. Given the amount of time, talent and energy involved, it's not unexpected that the band would get discouraged from time to time, and while Weibe may have had a few doubts, keeping the big picture in mind has helped dispel them.

"Anytime you start feeling negative about it you just have to start thinking back about what I'd be doing at home, which is working a horrible job which doesn't pay in any way," he says. "Even though this rock and roll thing doesn't pay either, it's better to be happy in what you're doing than to be unhappy in what you're doing and not be making any money. It seems like it could possibly get to where we could do it full time. In the past couple of years it's all been kind of baby steps but it's getting incrementally better with each tour and each record. I don't know how we'll make it in the meantime. A goal would be to make a living off of it, keep putting out good records, do good tours, keep doing a good job. We don't have any MTV aspirations. We want to be successful, but we're not going to do anything deviant to a record executive" to get there.

The Riverboat Gamblers treat a groupie to a romantic picnic.
The Riverboat Gamblers treat a groupie to a romantic picnic.

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Wednesday, August 27; call 713-529-5296 for more information
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The elements are all there for the band to hit the big time: legendary live shows, good distribution, studio records that do justice to their raucous performances, their own distinctive sound and a literal and figurative hunger to take it all the way. While they're working to reach superstar status, they're providing one hell of a reason to be proud of being from Texas, unlike certain political figures of late. Don't be foolish enough to bet against them; the Riverboat Gamblers are dealing from a marked deck.

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