The Rocks Off 100: The Vocal Force That Is Kam Franklin
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.
The Suffers at the 2012 HPMA Showcase
Photo by Marco Torres
This Saturday night, Houston's The Suffers play the Continental Club with the Bandulus and Wilroy Black and The Boss on board as support.
Widescreen ska/rocksteady act The Bandulus is also releasing a new album, The Times We Had, that night as well. You can give it a listen right here over on Bandcamp.
The Suffers are known for their sultry ska passages, due in large part to singer Kam Franklin, and the band's excellent players, including Houston ska familiars Patrick Kelly and Nick Zamora.
The band has also announced that next month they will be opening for '80s greats The English Beat at Austin's Mohawk, and are also putting the finishing touches on their first album.
For this edition of the Rocks Off 100 -- wherein Rocks Off picks the brains of some of Houston's biggest musical influencers -- I reached out to the always fun and warm Franklin, whose laughter can fill up a room. She's also one of the most badass women in town.
Who Are You? "I am Kamerra (pronounced camera) Franklin, but everyone knows me as Kam," says Franklin. "I've been singing since I was 5 years old, and I joined my first band at age 16."
Franklin occasionally moonlights with Los Skarnales and the Sideshow Tramps as well. She got her start in the Houston scene singing with various bands, the Gritsy folks, and even promoting hip-hop shows for Matt Sonzala.
Why Do You Stay in Houston? "I stay here because I love it here," Franklin says. "It's the middle of December, and I'm wearing flip-flops right now. I know that Houston isn't my forever home, but it's where I'm supposed to be right now."
Home Base "My home base sways back and forth between Fitzgerald's and The Continental Club. I've played elsewhere over the years, but those are the two places I'll always come back to," Franklin says. It's true, that is where you will see her fluttering to and fro at most every weekend.
Top 5 Desert Island Discs
1. Selena, Ones 2. RX Bandits, In Her Drawer 3. Prince, Purple Rain 4. Erykah Badu, Erykah Badu: Live 5. UGK, Ridin' Dirty
Music Scene Pet Peeve "Entitled artists, who don't want to do any work, but want constant recognition really irritate me," says Franklin. "It's annoying, but it happens so often that I've just learned to ignore it."
She relates a tale from a few nights ago:
Just the other night I went to support my homies, The Tontons, at the Flavorpill event at the Sony store in the Galleria, and I heard multiple people hating on them while they were grubbing hard on some free sandwiches and sipping on free drinks!
I say, if you're gonna be a hater, go home, get in the studio, or book your next show. Don't waste my time or anyone else's, griping about how upset you are that you aren't the indie-music darling of the week. The Tontons work their asses off and so do I.
Laziness and talking shit never did anything good for anyone. Except maybe Beavis and Butt-head. Work and keep on working until people start to pay attention. In my experience, as long as you put in the time, eventually, people will start to listen.
Good War Story "At the final Heptic Skeptic show, a guy that had just been fired from the venue we were playing at drunkenly decided he was going to get on my mike, and start yelling at the audience," she recounts. "I kindly asked him to get the hell off stage, but he lunged at me as if we were going to hit me."
"Before he even got the chance, the kind fellas from Peekaboo Theory came onstage and um...handled him for me," adds Franklin. "We finished the rest of the show without a hitch."
Best Show Ever "That would be Anthony Hamilton at Verizon Wireless Theater in 2005," she says.
The Suffers perform with the above-mentioned bands Saturday at the Continental Club, 3700 Main. They'll probably be on late.