Started From the Bottom

Rap superstar Drake performs in his spiritual hometown.

"Now," she continues, "we get to travel on planes and see different parts of the world we'd never thought we'd ever see, all because people are enjoying our music. It's pretty ­incredible."

Lauren Mayberry is admirably fierce in her activist thought.

Mayberry speaks softly and sweetly, her Scottish accent thick. She couldn't stand much taller than five feet, yet her opinionated voice belies her unassuming appearance.

A band "born on the Internet," Chvrches have always taken a hands-on approach, managing their publicity, checking their own e-mails and responding to Facebook messages — until recently, that is.

Bun B takes a bow after his Houston Symphony performance last Thursday.
Marco Torres
Bun B takes a bow after his Houston Symphony performance last Thursday.

Fed up with the amount of sexually abusive messages she was receiving, Mayberry valiantly took a stand against "online misogyny," and penned a wisely worded editorial for The Guardian to speak her mind.

"Is the casual objectification of women so commonplace that we should all just suck it up, roll over and accept defeat?" she wrote. "Objectification is not something anyone should have to 'just deal with.'"

Mayberry, who earned a degree in journalism and a graduate degree in law, highlighted the dichotomy of the Internet age in her article — without an online avenue, Chvrches likely wouldn't have attained this level of success; with it, the band has opened avenues for explicit objectification, thanks to some grotesquely bad apples.

"We no longer directly e-mail with people anymore," she says, ruefully. "I liked having that direct connection with our fans, but [the abuse] was something that was happening all the time, on a day-to-day basis," she reveals. "It exists, so I'm glad I wrote the letter at the end of the day."

Mayberry, who cites blogs like Feministing and The F Word among her favorites, draws inspiration from past feminist movements in music.

"We should harness what was happening in Riot Grrrl," she says, referring to the '90s ideology, "like working from the ground up, starting dialogues and getting people to share their opinions."

She's admirably fierce in her activist thought, but Mayberry keeps her cool day-to-day — especially while touring, which is its own stress.

"We have a 'No Complaining' policy on tour," she laughs. "We don't succeed all the time, but we try."

After nearly a year of constant touring, Chvrches is eager to begin their next album, and already "kicking some song ideas about," says Mayberry. But first, the Scots will make their way down South, and they'll play Houston for the first time on Sunday.

Mayberry is particularly excited about one of Texas's finest culinary offerings.

"There are a lot of tacos in Texas," she notes, brightly. "And I can never eat too many tacos."

Chvrches plays House of Blues, 1204 Caroline, Sunday, November 24, with Basecamp. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Screwston, Texas

Higher Office
Could beloved Houston rapper Bun B feasibly be a future mayor?

Chris Gray

Earlier this month, Houston voters re-elected Annise Parker as the city's mayor by a wide enough margin that no runoff was necessary. According to the Los Angeles Times, Parker defeated her main rival, attorney Ben Hall, by 57 percent to 27 percent, which even apolitical types recognize as an old-fashioned country ass-whuppin'.

But this was also Parker's third time to be elected to Houston's highest office, and thanks to term limits she'll be well on her way to a ­senatorial or gubernatorial campaign in a couple of years, some think. Meanwhile, Hall, an attorney whose tax troubles were successfully exploited by the Parker campaign, hardly emerged as her heir apparent, despite his words "you haven't seen the last of Ben Hall" in his concession speech.

So to whom might the Bayou City turn for leadership through the latter half of this decade? The field is literally wide open, with only the usual allotment of ambitious policy wonks and green City Council members eager to move up in the municipal ranks being mentioned at the moment. It might even be time to consider an outsider — indeed, someone whose nickname is already "Houston's unofficial mayor."

How does Mayor Bun B sound?

Laughable, according to the popular Houston rapper, whose latest album, Trill O.G.: "The Epilogue, came out November 12 and who performed at the Houston Symphony's "Houston in Concert Against Hate" Anti-Defamation League gala last Thursday at Jones Hall.

"Too many skeletons in the closet, lol," Bun told Rocks Off recently via e-mail.

But what about those skeletons? Certainly Houston voters have proved they can be a tolerant lot, and Bun B the OG rapper now has plenty of company in his bio, sharing space with Bun B the Rice University comparative-religion professor, Houston Symphony collaborator and trusted friend/adviser to Houston's current mayor, who asked Bun to sit on her task force against texting and driving in April. People have certainly run for mayor with fewer credentials than that.

UGK's lyrics frequently criticized the guns and drugs that were rife in their hardscrabble neighborhood, while Bun and late partner Pimp C were never shy about celebrating the psychotropic indulgences that temporarily removed them from their grim surroundings. But they also never backed down from a fight, and never, ever rolled fake. Surely many voters would flock to a candidate like that, not to mention someone who understands the finer points of grippin' grain and switchin' lanes.

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Shit, i was hoping this would be a dismantling of  a performer's work i hold as paraphrase another HP contributor, "amiwrong"? 

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