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The Taxman Cometh

Pearl Bar runs up a hefty tab with the comptroller's office as once-hot Washington Avenue sings the blues.

Jack Gilbert: "Apparently, one-size-fits-all trendiness is no longer trending upward."

Jimi Austin: "Bad area for an entertainment district. Not near enough parking, narrow streets, and not a single hotel."

Chris Dunaway: "Answer: Washington Avenue has been terrible for a while now."

Stanley Smith: "Washington has grown past the capability of the neighborhood('s) too many bars, not enough anything else."

Adam Castaneda: "Now THIS is what comptrolling is really all about. Thumbs up."

Stanley Smith: "You'd think with all the additional tax revenue generated by the Washington Ave businesses, the city would encourage improvement."

NewRider Ivan: "Wonder what took so long. That part of Washington has been dying since The Lot started slowing down. Sucks, I used to really like the Lot. The staff was freaking great there too. Pearl Bar, I always thought it sucked. Was cool when they had the music awards shows up and down those bars, though."

Austin Cooley: "The place used to be Mary Jane's, the site of many a cool show. There was a time when that stretch of Washington had a number of great music venues — not anymore. Don't worry, when the douchebags finally completely abandon that area, those sorts of venues will return."

Roland Gonzalez: "Where are all the HOUSTON DOUCHEBAGS going to be at on weekends?? hopefully not on the Westheimer/Montrose area... WE DONT WANT THEM THERE!!!"
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Only in Houston

The Wandering Bufalero
Dwight Taylor Lee joins our musical fraternity The Rocks Off 100.

Craig Hlavaty

Who Are You? "I'm Dwight Taylor Lee, singer/songwriter/producer," Lee introduces himself. "Member of Lazlo (RIP), then The Literary Greats and Finnegan, currently Don't Poke the Bear." He has also recently started another group, the Wandering Bufaleros, with a revolving lineup that performs only songs by Lee and his fellow Houston musicians.

Why Do You Stay in Houston? "I'm a native Houstonian," he explains. "I went to Sharpstown High School and the University of Houston. I have lived elsewhere, but Houston has always been home to me.

"I think there are a lot of opportunities here and I prefer to be plugged into the cultural growth of a city, rather than move to a place where that growth is established," Lee continues. "Why be part of a tourist city when you can be part of making a city tourist-worthy? This city has so much to offer besides art. Now is the time to get plugged in."

Music Scene Pet Peeve: "Passive or insecure interactions," Lee says. "Not that I haven't been guilty of this myself, but sometimes it's a lot easier to be onstage with a microphone in your hand than it is to see other artists at the grocery store, to stop and have a normal conversation with them.

"Sometimes acquaintance interactions are strange," he adds. "I used to take it personally, but then I realized I just don't care."

Best Show You Have Ever Been a Part of or Seen: "The best big show I've been to is a tie between Arcade Fire at ACL in 2007 or Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band at what was the Summit back when. Both spanned the spectrum of being very intimate at times and then larger-than-life at others.

"The Arcade Fire show was borderline spiritual," he adds. "There was a connectivity in the atmosphere. I've only ever felt that onstage while playing with Finnegan. That group of people and the music has something in it that tugs at the heartstrings."
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Classic Rock Corner

Biding Their Time
Pink Floyd's five best pre-Dark Side of the Moon songs.

Corey Deiterman

In anticipation of the upcoming 40th anniversary of Dark Side of the Moon, originally released in March 1973, we here at Rocks Off would like to remind you all that Pink Floyd existed for some years before that monumental album. That doesn't make those earlier recordings any less valid, though.

As any hardcore Floydian can tell you, some aspects of the pre-DSOTM years were, dare I say it, more endearing than their more familiar later work. The band was more experimental and more psychedelic, the production was rawer, the jams longer, and Floyd was far from a critical or commercial darling. They were like a punk band in the early '80s: reviled by critics, a failure in the eyes of record labels and gods to their cult following.

So here we'll take a look back at five classic Floyd tracks that many readers and casual fans may have never heard before. These songs are special and eminently important in their own right, but you sure won't find these tracks on that Echoes greatest-hits compilation.

5. "Biding My Time": This song was originally known as "Afternoon," and was part of Floyd's early experiment in doing a conceptual live show, The Man and the Journey. "Biding My Time" presents itself at first as a slight blues track, before bursting into a rousing horn section and eventually an epic rocking outro with a massive guitar solo on the part of Gilmour.

4. "Moonhead": A classic trippy Floyd instrumental, "Moonhead" is especially significant because it was played during the BBC's coverage of the first moon landing in 1969. Even though Floyd wasn't well-known then, the producers of the program made the right choice for the soundtrack.

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