Touring has yet to pick up after the holiday lull. We're sick of holidays and holiday parties, football season's winding down, and the long, bleak winter months stare us in the face. We feel your pain. And so, to kill a few minutes until pitchers and catchers report in the spring and this year's crop of next big things blaze through on their way to or from South By Southwest, we've come up with this quiz. So get out your Scantrons and No. 2 pencils -- it's time for the Return of the Bayou City Music Mindbender.
1. Which of these singers was not born in the Houston area?
a. Chris Whitley
Local music lore
b. Devendra Banhart
c. Barry White
d. Marques Houston
e. Billy Preston
2. Which of the following was not a real Houston venue during the hippy era?
a. Love Street Light Circus & Feelgood Machine
b. The Catacombs
c. The Sonic Equation
d. The Living Eye
e. La Maison
3. Which of the Monkees was born in Houston?
a. Peter Tork
b. Davy Jones
c. Micky Dolenz
d. Michael Nesmith
e. Peter Noone
4. Which of the following was one of Fifth Ward-bred blueswoman Sippie Wallace's racy signature tunes?
a. "Come Play with My Poodle"
b. "Shave 'Em Dry"
c. "Let Me Warm Your Wiener"
d. "I'm a Mighty Tight Woman"
e. "Two Old Maids in a Folding Bed"
5. What was the name of the Fifth Ward pianist whose recordings of "Suitcase Blues" and "The Fives" are regarded as the blueprints for boogie-woogie music by such later practitioners as Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons?
a. Robert Shaw
b. Jelly Belly Johnson
c. Tuts Washington
d. Roosevelt Sykes
e. Hersal Thomas
6. Which of these contemporary rock bands has never had a Houston-bred member?
a. Dillinger Escape Plan
c. The Flaming Lips
d. The Arcade Fire
e. Rogue Wave
7. Which of these acts has never written a unique song called "Telephone Road"?
a. Rodney Crowell
b. Townes Van Zandt
d. Steve Earle
e. Mark May
8. Billy Bob Thornton was once the singing drummer in a Houston-based ZZ Top tribute band. Which Top album furnished Thornton's band its name?
a. Tres Hombres
d. El Loco
e. Rio Grande Mud
9. What sport was Texas country singer Cory Morrow involved in at Memorial High School?
c. Cross country
10. Which of the following things has Houston's Johnny Nash never done?
a. Been the first black performer to be regularly featured on Houston television.
b. Caddied at River Oaks Country Club.
c. Popularized reggae in the UK and the U.S. with the smash single "I Can See Clearly Now."
d. Owned a rodeo arena.
e. Starred in a film with Dennis Hopper.
11. Over the past decade and a half, who has taken home more Houston Press music awards than anyone else?
a. Carolyn Wonderland
b. Shake Russell
c. John Evans
d. South Park Mexican
e. Blue October
12. Match the Houston rapper with his real name:
1. Lil' Flip
2. Lil' Troy
4. Bushwick Bill
5. Fat Pat
6. Paul Wall
8. Big Moe
10. Willie D
11. Bun B
12. Pimp C
14. Slim Thug
15. Big Mello
16. DJ Screw
17. South Park Mexican
18. Baby Bash
19. Chingo Bling
20. Mike Jones
a. Brad Jordan
b. Mike Jones
c. Stayve Thomas
d. Willie Dennis
e. Paul Slayton
f. Wesley Weston
g. Ronald Bryant
h. Bernard Freeman
i. Miguel Gomez
j. Pedro Herrera III
k. Robert Earl Davis Jr.
l. Hakeem Seriki
m. Joseph McVey
n. Curtis Davis
o. Carlos Coy
p. Chad Butler
q. Patrick Hawkins
r. Kenneth Moore
s. Richard Shaw
t. Troy Birklett
13. Bonus: True or false: David and David's 1986 mini-hit "Welcome to the Boomtown" was written about oil-bust Houston.
1. D. White was born in Galveston. Banhart, Preston and Whitley were all born around here but left as children. The fact that Whitley died here also was merely an eerie coincidence. As you might have guessed, only the guy named Houston is not from Houston.
2. C. Love Street was near Allen's Landing downtown; the Catacombs was at 3003 South Post Oak until it moved to the corner of Kirby and University and changed names to Of Our Own; the Living Eye was at 1493 Silber in Spring Branch; and La Maison moved back and forth from a house in Midtown to a church on the corner of Bagby and McGowen to a building in the 1400 block of Richmond. As for the Sonic Equation, that was the name of a fake band my friend Steve Uecker made up in order to score chicks while he was skiing one year. In his tale, he was the Sonic Equation's oboe player. The lineup also included a bassoon and a harmonica. (Believe it or not, some snow bunny swallowed that line.)
3. D. Bonus Nesmith trivia: His mother, Bette, invented Liquid Paper. (And no, Peter Noone wasn't a Monkee at all.)
4. D. After some six decades away from Houston, Wallace returned here to play the Juneteenth Blues Festival in 1985. The octogenarian singer was still very ribald -- I recall her crowing that "A hard man is good to find!" between songs from the stage.
5. E. The brother of blueswoman Sippie Wallace (see No. 4), Thomas was a child prodigy and could perhaps have become a star on the order of Fats Waller, with a few breaks. By the time he died in Detroit of food poisoning at the tender age of 17 in 1926, he had already recorded with Louis Armstrong and influenced American pop enormously, if obscurely.
6. B. Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist James Love was formerly in Torches of Fury, Act of God and Fenix*TX; the Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd was born here and played in local polka bands with his father, Vernon; the Arcade Fire has Woodlands products Win and Will Butler; and Rogue Wave has Gram Lebron, formerly of Schrasj.
7. B. All four of these disparate salutes to the east side's hookers 'n' honky-tonks hot spot came out in a four-year span. Earle was first to release his -- it was on El Corazon and came out in October 1997. A little over a month later, May released his on the album Telephone Road, Houston, Texas. Culturcide's came in June 1998, and Crowell, whose song is probably the best of the lot, released his in February 2001 on his H-town song cycle The Houston Kid.
8. A. Thornton later recalled that the band released an album called Gunslinger on Trigger Records that sold "probably 100 copies." They could be worth a fortune now, and most of 'em are probably floating around town.
9. D. Morrow was a cheerleader for Memorial the same way he cheers for Texas today in his songs. And, all right, it was a bit of a trick question. Cheerleading is not a sport -- it's a parasite of other sports, the suckfish of the athletic world.
10. This one's a real stumper. As a featured singer on Channel 11's Matinee, Nash broke the local TV color line, for all intents and purposes. And until recently, he did own a local rodeo arena, though he has since converted it to a BMX track. "I Can See Clearly Now" may not have been the first reggae hit in America and the UK, but it was the first huge one, and Nash co-starred with Hopper in the 1960 film Key Witness. (This came after an appearance alongside Burt Lancaster in Take a Giant Step.) So the correct answer here is (B). While Nash was a caddy as a kid, he humped golf bags in Hermann Park, not River Oaks.
11. A. We're not sure how many she's won, but trust us, it's more than anyone else.
12. 1-f, 2-t, 3-i, 4-s, 5-q, 6-e, 7-l, 8-r, 9-a, 10-d, 11-h, 12-p, 13-m, 14-c, 15-n, 16-k, 17-o, 18-g, 19-j, 20-b.
13. False. Despite the urban legends that were going around at the time, "Boomtown" was not about Houston.
Scoring: Give yourself three points for each correct answer, including each component of the matching question, and add in five points for the bonus.
90-100: If your knowledge were a band, it would be headlining at the Toyota Center.
80-89: Score here, and you're more at Verizon Wireless level.
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70-79: Headlining at the Meridian.
60-69: Wednesday night at the Proletariat.
50-59: Opening for karaoke singers at a Shakey's Pizza in Channelview.
49 and below: Sound Exchange in-store, baby! (Just kidding, fellers.)