Bright Men of Learning have been around for a long time, especially in Houston years. The band has already topped a decade, and that's not counting the members' various permutations prior to settling down in BMOL. That notion of settling down is an apt way to sum up the self-proclaimed dad-rockers, who released second LP Fired in September.
This is a band comfortable in its own skin, both in its halting performance schedule and in the fact that its sights will likely never sit higher than simply playing music with each other (and occasionally for other people). Chatter harried front man Marshall Preddy for a few weeks, hinting at a possible story, before throwing some questions at him at the last minute.
Pretty apropos, if you ask us.
Chatter: What's with the hermetic rock-band shtick?
Marshall Preddy: The marginal returns of playing a lot of frequent local shows aren't so great. And since we only play shows in Houston, we decided years ago that once every two months was a good target to aim for. Scheduling is an issue, too. With four of us having kids now, doing weeknight shows isn't something we want to do all the time.
C: What keeps you guys going after so many years in the same scene?
MP: Honestly? Laziness. I mean...a band can get burned out on a lot of the promotional homework. We don't spend so much time on it that it's not fun anymore.
C: How have you seen Houston's musical landscape shift over the years?
MP: I think two things have happened that have made things more vibrant and fun and relevant. First, HandsUp Houston, then SuperUnison and more recently Pegstar have helped create a market for small and midsize touring shows. Second, social media and Web publishing have helped identify a lot of people who previously might not have been turned on to local music. It's not as big as it once was, but things seem more connected and organized. Sustainable.
C: Why so long between albums, and is that ever going to change?
MP: Four years is too long. We're going to try and put another one out next year. We might not make it, but it won't be another four-year wait like the last two.
C: Best part of being in a band in Houston?
MP: You can be any kind of band with your own voice, and still be friends with all the other bands. The noise and the metal shall lie down with the stoner pop and indie-rock, and everyone is very nice.
C: Worst part of being in a band in Houston?
MP: We see all the people who come downtown for Wilco and My Morning Jacket. But they don't make it to local shows. I want to shake people and say, "There are local bands playing the music you're into. You should go see them." Well, there's at least one local band doing it. And we should probably be out sticking flyers on locally parked hybrid vehicles.
Last week the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced the first four entertainers for its 2011 season, scheduled for March 1-20 at Reliant Stadium: Sugarland (March 3), Selena Gomez (March 6), the Zac Brown Band (March 17) and Brad Paisley (March 19). Besides the full season-ticket package starting at $336, the rodeo is again offering two mini-packages: Package A, including Sugarland and Paisley, starts at $154; Package B, with Gomez and Brown, starts at $148. (The price difference reflects the two "Value Wednesdays" included in Package B; Package A has one.) Complete ticket information is available at www.rodeohouston.com, and the full lineup will be announced in January.
Vinal Edge Records
13171 Veterans Memorial Dr., 281-537-2575
1. The Orb feat. David Gilmour, Metallic Spheres
2. Mogwai, Special Moves
3. The Black Angels, Phosphene Dream
4. Legendary Pink Dots,
Seconds Late for the Brighton Line
5. Circle Pit, Bruise Constellation
6. Boris & Ian Astbury, BXI
7. Slayer, vinyl box set
8. Blonde Redhead, Penny Sparkle
9. Neu!, box set
10. Nels Cline, Dirty Baby
1. Beverly Crawford, "It's About Time for a Miracle!"
2. Forever Jones, "He Wants It All"
3. Mississippi Mass Choir, "God Made Me"
4. Marvin Sapp, "The Best In Me"
5. James Fortune & Fiya, "I Believe"
6. Youthful Praise feat. James Hairston,
"Resting On His Promises"
7. Vanessa Bell Armstrong, "Good News"
8. Gladys Knight, "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me"
9. George Benson, "The Ghetto"
10. War, "The World Is a Ghetto"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)
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