Ten Years After the 1997 Houston Press Music Awards

Where are the bands and nominees today?

Who They Were Then: Misnominated in the "Best Funk/R&B" category, the Keenlies' Brad Moore described his "goofy groove ephemera" band as more like "Emerson, Lake and Palmer — albeit with worse vocals and shorter songs." Despite "a dearth of new material," the Keenlies were still drawing "respectable crowds," all the while "practicing more and playing less." Despite claiming to be getting more serious, Moore went to great pains to retain his band's cred as "foolish scoundrels and bar clutter."

Where They Are Now: Moore remains as foolish a scoundrel as ever, tending (if not cluttering) bar at Rudyard's and at his own new venture, the Pearl Bar, where Mary Jane's once reigned.

Who They Were Then: Project Grimm, a "Zeppelified garage rock" outfit with a "drearily arresting debut CD" whose sounds constituted an "uplifting bummer."

Where They Are Now: Singer-guitarist John Cramer would release a couple more slabs of heartening tragedy before going solo and semiretiring a couple years back. His scathing criticisms of just about any band you care to mention can also be infrequently found in these pages.

Who They Were Then: Linus Pauling Quartet, a mélange of "jazz, rap, hard-core punk, bad college radio and classics from the '60s and '70s."

Where They Are Now: One of the only bands from these awards that both still exists and is still in town, they are also one of the only bands that made drastic progress from that description. Since then, the band has managed to fuse all those influences into one cohesive whole that can remind of you of everything from Black Sabbath to Mission of Burma. The band is a hidden Houston treasure.

Who They Were Then: Lima Sugar, a "groovish, appealing indie pop" band fronted by Liz Sowers, "the most appealing female voice to emerge from the Houston scene" in 1997.

Where They Are Now: The band broke up in 2001. You can relive the memories at

Who They Were Then: Seeds of Soul, a hip-hop group sporting funky-fresh "late-'80s style grooves." The band's deal with an Austin label had just fallen through when the label croaked.

Where They Are Now: The Seeds' MC Kwame Anderson and DJ Space Ghost went on to form Freedom Sold. Today, Anderson holds down a music writing gig at Free Press Houston.

Who They Were Then: Rusted Shut, an uncategorizable band that never practiced up to then and had no intentions of ever doing so. They were referred to as "one of those bands you either love or hate." "Most people hate 'em," the writer went on, "but Inner Loop musicians seem to love 'em."

Where They Are Now: Still, as one Willie D album title put it, "hated by many and loved by a few," Rusted Shut never did start practicing. And now they rarely if ever play, as the band's antics have gotten them banished from every bar between Almeda and Highway 6.

Who They Were Then: Linoleum Experiment, fronted by Thane Matcek, a guy who has been in billions of projects and bands over the years, including (but probably not limited to) Celindine, Sad Like Crazy, Trompedo, All Transistor and Thane Matcek and His Band. This one was described as a "full-fledged indie pop band with tons of promise," enhanced by Matcek's "fresh, emotionally direct" singing and appreciation of "a pretty hook."

Where They Are Now: Matcek and his collaborators have always been among the more enigmatic acts in town, equally capable of dross and splendor. Ten years on, Matcek remains full of promise. You can hear some of his more recent stuff at

Who They Were Then: Little Joe Washington, whose "smokin' blues guitar" was then gracing the stage at Blue Iguana (now the Proletariat) every Thursday night. One of Houston's "most peculiar treasures," Washington, whose playing was described as being as "unrefined and engaging as he is," was also "famous for soloing ad infinitum with his tongue."

Where They Are Now: After surviving a vicious beating earlier this year, Washington is still roving, tonguing and dry-humping wherever his trusty pint-sized Schwinn will take him — Leon's, the Continental Club, Boondocks and further afield. His status as a local treasure has only been enhanced in the last ten years by the deaths of virtually all of the bluesmen he grew up with in Third Ward.

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