Black Leather Jesus marks two decades of amplifier vampirism.
Black Leather Jesus marks two decades of amplifier vampirism.
Courtesy Richard Ramirez

Back to the Dead

Richard Ramirez isn't just a member of Houston's Black Leather Jesus — he is, with Jovan Hernandez, the co-founder of the not-quite-annual Dead Audio Music Festival. The event celebrating experimental and noise music will be held for the third time, and first since December 2002, this weekend at Super Happy Fun Land. Acts and artists include Sweden's Sjalvhat, Chicago's House With Laughing Windows and locals like Rusted Shut, Concrete Violin and Goat. Chatter dropped Ramirez a line to learn a little more.

Chatter: How did the festival come into being, and what was its underlying goal/purpose? Prior to the first one, was there any comparable event staged in Houston?

Richard Ramirez: I used to do Noisefest in the early '90s, mid-'90s here. I did a few of them at Catal Huyuk/the Axiom and the Abyss. The goal was always to have an event that pertained to experimental/noise artists, mostly local. When we did Dead Audio Music Festival, we incorporated out-of-town artists as well. This year we have the least local acts, compared to previous Dead Audio Fests.


Dead Audio Music Festival

Dead Audio Music Festival, 3 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at Super Happy Fun Land, 3801Polk, 713-880-2100,

There were no festivals really devoted to noise. There was an ambient fest that was short-lived, but that was not my interest. I wanted to focus on the more extreme end of experimental music. Dead Audio Music Festival was co-founded with my partner, Jovan Hernandez.

C: How did you decide on this year's lineup? One thing that jumps out about this bill is how many acts are local.

RR: The lineup came together after I placed an online ad for experimental/noise artists that were interested. I know most all of the performers and most immediately replied. There are a lot of established experimental/noise artists on the bill like Jason Crumer, TwoDeadSluts OneGoodFuck, Rubbish, Tissa Mawartyassari, Is, Climax Denial, Goat, Rosemary Malign, ze'r0-sum, Awen, Steel Hook Prostheses, Concrete Violin and my band, Black Leather Jesus. It's also Black Leather Jesus' 20th anniversary — we thought it would be a great way to celebrate it.

 C: Dead Audio draws a large crowd, I imagine — any significant lessons learned from previous festivals, in terms of bathrooms, food, water, scheduling, etc?

RR: We didn't have any issues at the previous ones. We had good turnouts, but no issues with food, water, bathrooms. We did have some fights break out, but that shit happens at any festival. It was not anything major. Then you have bands who bitch about their place in the lineup, but we worked it out. I would like to begin to do the fest annually, but we will see what happens next year.


Houston's Pacifica radio outlet, KPFT (90.1 FM), instituted some major programming changes July 22. The station brought back longtime DJ Roark Smith to spin two hours of music, mostly classic rock, weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon, and resumed airing the syndicated music program World Cafe weekdays at noon. Several KPFT programs, such as the BBC News, Democracy Now! and Open Journal, were moved to new time slots, and local news and public-­affairs programming were moved to morning and afternoon drive time. See for more information.

Don't miss the Press's guide to our annual Houston Press Music Awards showcase, which takes place at several downtown venues Sunday evening, elsewhere in this issue. This weekend is your absolute last chance to vote. See the ballot on p. 6 of the pullout section or online at


Top Sellers
Cactus Music
2110 Portsmouth, 713-526-9272

1. Wilco, Wilco (the Album)

2. Son Volt, American Central Dust

3. Chase Hamblin, A Fine Time EP

4. LL Cooper, Tucson

5. The Jayhawks, Music from the North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology

6. Johnny Winter, Johnny ­Winter: The Woodstock Experience

7. Levon Helm, Electric Dirt

8. Charlie Robison, Beautiful Day

9. Drive-By Truckers, Live from Austin, Texas

10. Benjamin Wesley, Geschichte EP


The Gulf Coast Rocker
KACC, 89.7 FM
Selections from the station's July 16 log, 7-8 p.m.

1. Electric Light Orchestra, "Do Ya"

2. Stevie Ray Vaughan, "Crossfire"

3. ? & the Mysterians, "96 Tears"

4. Wall of Voodoo, "Mexican Radio"

5. Banana Blender Surprise, "Royal Crown and a Moon Pie"

6. John Mellencamp, "Pink Houses"

7. AC/DC, "Cover You in Oil"

8. Foo Fighters, "Monkey Wrench"

9. Rossington Collins Band, "Don't Misunderstand Me"

10. Led Zeppelin, "The Ocean"

(lists compiled by Chris Gray)


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