Recently, Rocks Off gifted the interwebs with a riddle and a moral. We jotted down a list of activities, proclivities and personality disorders and asked our readers to guess who exactly owned all of the traits and was, therefore, the most hated musician in Houston. Now we'll tell you. No one. And everyone. Contrary to popular assumption, getting Houston's musicians, DJs, sound engineers and promoters to rant about their least favorite business associates was quite hard, and most spoke only on the condition of anonymity. A post on the Hands Up Houston message board soliciting nominees was met with great hostility. Eager to put our sources at ease, we instead took the general facts of their tales and crafted a legendary figure, an avatar of douchebaggery who would stand as an example of what our local heroes should avoid. Sort of a Goofus without the Gallant. But like all good legends, the Most Hated Musician in Houston is based on the exploits of many of our hometown rockers.
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A good many of the bon mots were provided by legendary Houston music scene mainstay David Sadof, whose career has included a stint as Houston's premier radio DJ and a current music journalism gig at the Houston Music Examiner. Sadof spent much time talking about the role of girlfriends in bands, and how often such mixing of the romantic and the creative end in failure. Sadof declined to site specific examples, but indicated that many of the bands he's run into over the years commit the folly of involving their lovers in their musical lives. Fellow musicians chimed in as well. Our friends from San Antonio, Hyperbubble, told a tale of a peer of theirs they likewise declined to name, but who toured through Houston regularly and would forget parts of his songs. "He would fake microphone problems whenever he forgot the words, then give the soundman an exaggerated 'what's wrong with my mike?'" look," said the band. "He'd even feign giving the mike a test-hit with his palm, actually stopping just short of impact. What he thought was a brilliant trick became pretty obvious when the sound man would pump the volume up on his mike, resulting in feedback." Some of the most unprofessional behavior came to Rocks Off from the people who see musicians at their best and their worst: Studio sound engineers. Jeffery Armstreet of Red Tree and Allen Corneau of Essential Sound both had much to say on the subject of unprofessional behavior in the studio. Though they as well would not call out the principals in their worst experiences, the message they were trying to send is clear. This is somebody's job, and his or her time is money. This is the time to straighten up and fly right. What we should take some comfort in is the fact that as a whole, the community of musicians, DJs, producers and engineers in Houston felt that any attack on one, was more or less an attack on all. There really is a sense of community and camaraderie here, and most of all a desire to truly create a movement and a scene to be proud of. And while many were quick to bring specific behaviors to light, few felt that naming individuals would do anything but harm. The purpose of a cautionary tale is to help people avoid making bad decisions to the ultimate benefit of us all. If you would like to help us continue to fight the fight of common courtesy, please send examples of Bad Musician Behavior to firstname.lastname@example.org. You need not be quoted.