One of Houston's best bands, Kemo for Emo is back in the saddle and rocking this weekend after a breakup that saw Larry Fenix leave the band to join Mike Terror. Lead guitarist Jake Rawls sat down with us to do a brief interview about the reunification.
Rocks Off: What brought you guys back together again? Jake Rawls: Larry (Fenix, Vocals/rhythm guitar) and Brian (Gibbs, bassist) have been lifelong friends and still kept in touch post-breakup, and they started kicking around the idea of starting the band up once again shortly after Larry had left Mike Terror. They contacted Matt (Martinez, drums) asking if he wanted his old spot back and he happily obliged.
They contacted me last, and essentially said they were doing this thing with or without me. I could sense a renewed vigor in their attitude, without the negative feelings or pettiness that often permeated our last breakup. At the time we broke up, we knew we had a lot of unfinished business. But it felt like they had the drive to finally finish the songs we were working on when we split, and it got me excited again. I slept on it, and agreed to it the next day.
The K4E lineup is our "classic" lineup that recorded our What Happens In Omaha record, the lineup that has more or less held sway for the majority of the band's existence. Neither Matt nor myself are original members, but we have both been involved with the band (breakups aside) since 2005.
What sort of set can we expect at the comeback show? Anything new or just the old favorites? Our set will feature most of the old favorites plus five or six of our new songs. We definitely want to show appreciation to our original fans that haven't heard their favorites in ages. But, it's also important for us to show the world how much we've progressed musically, where we're at in 2014, and what they can expect from us in the future.
Any plans for an album, or are you just taking it easy? We definitely plan on hitting the studio for a new record in the near future. Right now we're looking up our options as far as viable studios go, and whether we want it to be an EP or a full-length album. Either way, something is coming down the pipe sooner or later.
What do you think the biggest difference is between where you were before as a band and where you are now? On a musical level I feel we've all improved. When we recorded Omaha I was barely 19 and very much a timid guitarist, and I think that record shows that sometimes. Now I'm far more confident as a guitarist, Larry's vocal range has increased, and Brian's bass runs have more complexity.
We've all changed except for Matt, since he's been one of Houston's top drummers since he came out of the womb. You can't fix that level of perfection. Our songwriting, both lyrically and technically have progressed and matured as well as how well we mesh together now as a band. We are a much more cohesive group now.
We've also definitely matured as we've aged. Two of the guys in the band have kids now and I'm the sole remaining band member in my twenties, so there really isn't room for the drama that there used to be. We have too many real problems to take care of than wind up in petty band arguments. We've missed out on too many good times as it is because of that.
Kemo for Emo plays tonight at Fitzgerald's with the Lotus Effect, The Trimms, and Fox & Cats. Doors open at 8 p.m.
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