Houston has become a cornucopia of musical talent. With so much goodness going on, it would be selfish to wish for more. So here's us, being a selfish ass and daydreaming about what could be Houston's greatest supergroups.
MR. X Surf/Spy
The first group we imagine would sound sort of like a cross between Dick Dale, Man... or Astroman?, and Henry Mancini with a little Shirley Bassey thrown in. Surf-style guitars and slinky, sultry melodies would combine to form a spy band the likes of no other, crafting the soundtrack for any underwater speargun fights you may get into while wearing a tuxedo.
Of course, vocal duties would be shared by The Ton Tons' Asli Omar and Umbrella Man's Nick Gaitan. Gaitan would handle the upright bass as well, and on guitar we'd have The Suspects' Alan Hernandez. The Luxurious Panthers' Red Man would round out the list with some fierce up-tempo drumming.
Oh yeah. Put the guys in dark suits with skinny ties and glam Asli up like a Bond girl, and this act could really go places.
Asli Omar (The TonTons) - vocals Alan Hernandez (The Suspects) - guitar Nick Gaitan (The Umbrella Man) - upright bass, vocals Red Man (The Luxurious Panthers) - drums
THUNDERHEAD Grind/sludge metal
We've had this idea for a while. There are some good hard-rock and metal acts with two drummers - ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Kylesa, The Dirtbombs - but we've never seen an act with just the rhythm section, doubled. That's right: Two drummers, two bassists, and no other instruments.
If done right, can you imagine the primitive, tribal power such an arrangement could wield? One guy working high on the bass neck, one guy hitting the lowest notes possible, and on the drums one guy keeping the beat while the other pounds the toms. We could even set up a bunch of random detritus onstage like pipes and metal posts and crates and have one of the drummers bash that shit up in time to their craziest song.
It would be a hell of a live show indeed. We'd need bass players of supreme competence, yet who also know how to rock, so we're thinking Cason Sicking from Floorbound and Alan Garza from Tax the Wolf. As far as drums go, we'd need a couple of metalheads working the kits, so let's go with Metavenge's Brandon Galvan and Omotai's Anthony Vallejo. God, somebody please make this happen.
Alan Garza (Tax the Wolf) - bass Cason Sicking (Floorbound) - bass Brandon Galvan (Metavenge) - drums Anthony Vallejo (Omotai) - drums
DOWNED MOUNTAINS Massive Americana folk band
Houston has a massive folk-revival scene that calls for its own massive folk supergroup. We're not talking a mediocre vanity project like Monsters of Folk; we're thinking more along the lines of a Broken Social Scene-type deal where 20 or so people get together and raise their voices like they're at church.
Pick up any instrument you'd like and get to work on it. Think you can handle that sitar? Go ahead. Want to play that child's xylophone toy we picked up at Value Village? Do it. Anybody who doesn't have an instrument in your hands, stomp your feet and clap along. We're doing this old-school, no studios, no engineers.
We're meeting in a park with five or six microphones and the oldest piece of recording equipment you can find. Feel free to enlist any passing strangers. Pass the okra. The humongous list of personnel would look something like:
Sergio Trevino (Buxton) - guitar, harmonica, piano Tyagaraja - guitar Frank Freeman - guitar Taylor Lee (Finnegan, The Literary Greats) - guitar, bass Sara Van Buskirk (Finnegan) - guitar, harmonica Benjamin Wesley - guitar Ben Godfrey, (ListenListen) - guitar Uncle Tick (Sideshow Tramps) - trash-can bass, banjo, gutbucket, cigar-box guitar, saw Rag Tag Mack (Sideshow Tramps) - mandolin, guitar Melissa Lonchambon (Omotai) - bass, drums, percussion Marc Brubaker (Prairie Cadets) - piano, Wurlitzer, autoharp, guitar Justin Nava (The Last Place You Look) - trombone, bass, guitar Ralf Armin (Dead Roses, Balaclavas) - saxophone Gustavo Roman (The Manichean) - violin Brandi Belle Clark (Blaggards) - fiddle Val Young (Finnegan) - cello Everyone in Two Star Symphony
PITCHFORKS & TORCHES Houston-style cowboy punk-metal
Part Reverend Horton Heat, part Motorhead, part Guns 'N' Roses and all beer-stained, broken-nose, fuck-you-up glory, Pitchforks & Torches would chase you to the edge of town, kick the shit out of you, then slam tequila shots with you all night before passing out at sunrise on the roof.
We're talking hard, screaming guitars chewing those solos to pieces, and drumming propelled by Satan himself. Loud, fast, and rude as hell. And here's the cool part: Shared duties. Switching instruments around. On half of the vocal duty we'll put Roky Moon and his guitar, for that true glam edge. On the other half of the vocals we'll put Robert Ellis for the cowboy overtones.
Ellis can switch guitar and bass duties back and forth with Bill Fool of the Born Liars and the Hell City Kings, since both guys are fantastic at both instruments. Finally, we round out the set with Bongo from Venomous Maximus committing aggravated assault on the drums.
Roky Moon (Roky Moon & BOLT) - vocals, guitar Robert Ellis (Robert Ellis & the Boys, Grandfather Child) - vocals, guitar, bass Bill Fool (Born Liars, Hell City Kings) - guitar, bass Bongo (Venomous Maximus) - drums
NAME TBD garage rap
We just couldn't think of a name good enough for this act, so we'll leave it to them. We've only heard rap coupled with punk rock done right a couple of time. Sage Francis' last album had a couple of great songs. A Gun Called Treason does good work, too. And call us crazy, but the Mudhoney and Sir Mix-A-Lot team-up on the Judgment Night soundtrack was one of the best things on that album.
We firmly believe Houston has the personnel to finally put together a rap-rock act that does it right. Far from nu-metal, these guys would sound more like your favorite garage band playing backup for your favorite rappers.
On vocals, we'd have shared duty between Fat Tony and B L A C K I E. Fat Tony's love of punk rock is no secret, and B L A C K I E is practically a one-man powerviolence act anyway. As far as the band goes, we'd put underrated punk rockers The American Heist's Tim Blackout on guitar.
Local music-scene fixture April Brem Patrick of Vivian Pikkles and the Sweethearts Uber Alles (and, true, Rocks Off's own Prairie Cadets) would be great on bass, and Tank Lisenbe from The 71's would provide the quickstep drumming to keep pace with the rapid free-flow.
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Fat Tony - vocals B L A C K I E - vocals Tim Blackout (The American Heist) - guitar April Brem Patrick (Prairie Cadets, Vivian Pikkles and the Sweethearts Uber Alles) - bass Tank Lisenbe (The 71's) - drums
So. Guess you guys had better start talking to each other and working out the details. Get to it.