The Rocks Off 100: Kevin Choate, Drum Like You're Screaming
Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? Kevin Choate partners with Ryan Andrew Dickson to form The Snow Indian. While Dickson makes with the catchy Jack White drums, Choate attacks the drums with the rage of the possessed, but with a mechanical precision that allows him his fair share of vocal duties. The combination is engaging and punchy, more than enough to dragon-kick the frown off your face.
Choate started out as a bass player, having picked up the instrument at the age of 12. He served the Jobe Wilson Band in that capacity along with Dickson until the group went on hiatus while their singer prepares for a second child in the home.
Now he's switched to the drums and struck out with his partner in a brand-new direction that's got some serious swinging balls. They're working on an EP, and looking to get into the festival scene a bit before striking out and trying a tour. Look for them soon as a part of White Linen Night in the Heights this year.
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Home Base: Choate and Dickson write and rehearse way out in Anahuac, where the Jobe Wilson Band has always called home. The 50-mile drive out of town usually means they have to use the time available to its fullest potential. They rehearse all day, and write songs on the fly base don brainstorming sessions held earlier in the week.
For performances Choate likes Notsuoh and Dean's, who have booked them before in Jobe Wilson and invested slot space in their new project. Choate is also very fond of Rydyard's. The songs you can hear from The Snow Indian were all recorded live there as Rudz usually offers a pretty nice setup for live recording. The low-key bar atmosphere is also a big check in Choate's plus column.
Why Do You Stay in Houston? "It's rough," Choate admits. "We love Houston, and I've been here all my life, but Dickson has tried to run a few times. We talk about going sometime, but in truth, we're here to stay. This city fits us, and I feel like everything we ever needed is right in our backyard.
"Don't hold me to it, but I could see us staying as a Houston band for a long time before we up and leave," he continues. "As long as there are places to play and people listening, we're cool. For now, Houston has that."
Good War Story: "One time I set my drum set up backwards," Choate says. "The thing was sliding all over the stage and I couldn't figure out why. Like I said, I'm new to drums. Then the time Dickson drank too much SoCo and we slip-sloshed drunk through the whole thing, tuning and sweating.
"That was a first and last time," Choate swears. "Let's say it went as well as it could've."
Five Desert Island Discs:
- Ryan Adams & the Cardinals, III/IV
- Phil Collins, Hits
- Nobuo Uematsu, Final Fantasy X Official Sound Track
- George Strait, Pure Country soundtrack
- Black Sabbath, Sabbath Bloddy Sabbath
Music Scene Pet Peeve: Jobe Wilson was a much more country outfit than Snow Indian, and that scene's occasional dick-waving sometimes got to Choate. He likes the more complimentary and laid-back atmosphere of the more experimental groups they're lumped in with now.
Best Show Ever: "I think the best show so far was at Mango's on Westheimer," Choate opens. "We played for Pushing The Limits (PtL), a group of artists and musicians helping each other get exposure, and even got to have our buddy Puppet jump on stage and rap a verse with us.
"I say this show was the best because when I looked up and saw everyone standing that close, some people even on the stage with us, everyone was singing the chorus to 'I'm Allowed' right along," he continues. "We're brand-new, they never heard it. It's just a cool feeling when you see people singing your song even if they don't know the words. We got a lot of love that night."
First Song You Fell In Love With: "Tanya Tucker's 'Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone),'" he says.
The Snow Indian plays Saturday, July 20 at Notsuoh with Sonny Vincent.
See who else has joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.
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