One of Houston's more accomplished homegrown acts, Pure Rubbish rode an eight-year wave that commenced in 1995 and came to an end in 2003. Even then, the group's two founding members, Derek and Evan Dunivan, had yet to reach the age of 20.
Yes, you read that right. The Dunivan brothers, self-taught musical wunderkinds, started Pure Rubbish at the ripe young ages of 11 and 9; Derek ripping through guitar riffs and Evan pounding away at his drum kit. Assisted by their father Willie on vocals and a borrowed bassist from Willie's band Personality Crisis, their first gig was a KISS tribute show.
After finding a permanent bassist in 1996, and a brief hiatus due to Derek's broken arm, Pure Rubbish resumed playing in 1997.
From there, the accomplishments start piling up. In 2000, an impressive SXSW showing landed the band some opening dates for a Motörhead/Nashville Pussy tour. Lemmy Kilmister dubbed them the "best band he'd heard in 10 years." They played on the Ozzfest 2001 tour, flew to Paris to open for AC/DC, and were signed to Ozzy Osbourne's Divine Recordings record label.
As is the case with many bands, influences and tastes change, and the music shifted. Glamorous Youth, which was to be the band's debut on Divine Recordings, had been shelved and never saw the light of day. A subsequent deal with Roadrunner Records soured after the band changed directions, and the group eventually split in 2003. Evan and Derek formed Penny Royal, and Mike and Jarrett started the Urgencies.
Tonight, though, the group will reunite for a special show at Fitzgerald's. Rocks Off got ahold of Pure Rubbish drummer Evan Dunivan to ask some questions about the band and the reunion.
Rocks Off: What sparked this Pure Rubbish reunion show? Is there any particular reason that this will be your dad's "farewell show" with the band?
Evan Dunivan: My dad (Willie D.) is moving out of Houston to Seattle next week. We figured a one-off Pure Rubbish show with my dad on vocals would be a great way to send him off.
RO: Does that mean that Pure Rubbish might play additional shows in the future?
ED: This is just a one-time deal for fun: a party for my dad, not a precursor to other shows.
RO: Which incarnation of the Pure Rubbish lineup will take the stage this week?
ED: We are playing songs with my dad on vocals, my brother playing guitar, me playing drums, Jarrett ("JT Trash" Gardner) playing guitar, and Mike (McWilliams) is flying down from New York to be there on bass.
RO: You and your brother started this band at a very early age and enjoyed a pretty significant level of success for a pretty young group. What was that like? What sort of lessons did you pick up from touring so early?
ED: Growing up early definitely has its perks. I learned plenty from touring around and experiencing all kinds of crazy things at a young age - mostly how to not roll as you grow older. By the time I was 18, I had experienced more than enough of that world to see how little I cared for it. I like to think my brother and I saved some time in life by growing up so fast and moving on.
RO: Derek and I are the same age, and while I was busy with finishing high school, you were on tour with Motorhead and playing Ozzfest. Do you have any favorite memories from that time?
ED: Yea touring around with "rock legends" for summer breaks during school was a pretty interesting way to grow up. There were plenty of memorable times. Going to Europe and playing with AC/DC was a highlight at that point. It was something we talked about doing and it happened. So at that age, it kind of seemed like a dream come true.
RO: Did Lemmy give you any advice?
ED: Lemmy was always a great guy. [He's] really smart and obviously has lived every scenario imaginable. So I think he said something to the extent of, "Stay away from needles, kids." It seems like a given, but it had a lot of weight coming from Lemmy.
RO: Whatever happened with Glamorous Youth? Will that or the following demos ever see a release?
ED: Glamorous Youth was the record we recorded with Mike Clink back in the day when we were on Sharon Osbourne's record label. No, that won't ever be released. I mean, we have no plans of making that available to the public.
But honestly, I don't even know who owns that record now, so I can't really say what has become of the masters. We did record plenty of other stuff during that time and thereafter, but once we decided Pure Rubbish had run its course, that was that.
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It isn't one of those rummage through the back catalogues and release some old material type things. It was all part of that chapter and were some great experiences, but to be honest, that seems like a million years ago.
8 p.m. tonight at Fitzgerald's, with Personality Crisis, Chase Hamblin, Ragged Hearts, Gasoline Alley, and Those Charming Devils. Free.