The Rocks Off 200: Ashley Worhol, Goth-Metal Queen of Katy
Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, 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 previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Photos courtesy of Ashley Worhol
Who? If you've been following our recent run of The Last VJ, where we look at the best indie music videos each week, you might have met Ashley Worhol of the titular Worhol. The video for her song "The Darkness" has held the title of top video of the week for two weeks running, now moving into a third, by being slightly cheesy and totally awesome. Houston has been without a really good goth metal act besides Silenced Within forever, and it's nice to have some new blood in the mix.
Music has always been a part of Worhol's life because she grew up listening to her father, who plays guitar in Worhol, play ever since she was old enough to crawl on the piano bench. She earned a music degree from University of St. Thomas, and since 2012 works constantly with her father in producing new music through their music videos. The two form an effective team in writing and producing.
We can expect the debut Worhol full-length album in January, recorded at the legendary SugarHill Studios with the one and only Chris Longwood. "The Darkness" has managed to spread them far and wide thanks to the charm of the video, and more and more options seem to come Worhol's way daily.
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Home Base: "I love to write behind the piano," says Ashley. "Most of the time I either write the piano part first and then add lyrics or the other way around. One little secret about me is when I am writing the lyrics I always keep what comes out first. I hardly ever erase anything.
"I figure if it came out while singing it was meant to be! Once I have the piano and lyrics down, then I bring [it] to the rest of the band members, and that is where the magic happens! Another form of writing that happens often is my father will write a song based off the guitar, then I add the lyrics to that. We actually rehearse in my parents' studio room and [are] currently looking for a bigger space.
Worhol goes on to say she's always wanted to play at House of Blues, because so many talented acts have performed there," but figures smaller venues and festivals are more her speed for now.
"A smaller venue allows us to be personal with the audience, and I love to be able to talk to the fans afterwards," she says. "The most recent festival we played was Texas Cancerstock, and I loved that as well because it was outside and it allowed our sound to carry very far! Outside venues are always a pleasure, because once again we can walk off the stage and relax with our fans the rest of the evening."
Music Scene Pet Peeve: In a somewhat sweet turn, Worhol's biggest gripe is that not every musician in the city can succeed. There's more talent than opportunity in Houston sometimes, and she wishes there were more fame to go around for everyone.
Interview continues on the next page.
Good War Story: "For a war story I would have to say that we are starting to really become known both in the U.S and outside," opens Worhol. "Times are hard these days, and this is a very expensive dream to have.
With struggles of trying to fund the album and shoot another video there comes a time when you have to sacrifice personal things to make your dream happen. My father actually just got rid of his favorite jeep just so we could have a touring van, but it was a step in the right direction!
Over a short period of time things are starting to evolve into the dream all of us have wanted. With my father being my teammate, there has been times when we have to set aside our personal relationship and make decisions for the band with no emotions attached, which has been hard. All of us want this to be our life, and sometimes we have to remember that there is a plan and timing is everything.
Since my father and I are so particular in our music we do butt heads every now and then, but being able to remain calm in stressful situations has brought everything closer and with all the new progress that has been happening within the group it makes all the hard times worth it.
Five Desert Island Discs:
- Evanescence, Fallen
- 30 Seconds to Mars, A Beautiful Lie
- Linkin Park, "Either one of their first two albums"
- "Any Within Temptation album"
- "And then a personal mixtape"
Best Show Ever: "I think my best show was our very first concert that we did for a give back to help raise funds for a music program. We had a professional lighting crew that made the concert whole! There is nothing like seeing different color lights all around you shinning into your fans. The sound was great and the overall excitement of the crowd made me want to tour immediately. Everyone came up to us after the show and wanted to take pictures with us which made me feel so grateful. There is nothing like shaking someone's hand or giving a child a hug and thanking them for coming. That face to face contact is so important because if it wasn't for our fans we wouldn't be where we are even today."
First Song You Ever Fell in Love With: Evanescence, "Bring Me To Life."
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.
Joe Ortiz, Clockpole's Master of Nonsense Marzi Montazeri, the Man Dimebag Darrell Called a Bad Motherfucker John Salinas, the Beat Beast of Only Beast Homegrown Cowboy Crooner Charles Peters Adam Bricks, NYC Expat Metal Journeyman and Blasé Bassist Alan Hilton Kyra Noons, Houston's Reggae Sunsplash DJ AudiTory, the Maestro of LuvItMane The Nephilim Terror's Death-Metal Growler Danny Carroll Tommy Grindle, Guitarist of Square and Compass The Bailout Bureau's Mysterious "Bob Bovary" DJ Twinkle-Toes, Won a "Dick-Measuring Vinyl Orgy" With Two iPods Beanz N Kornbread, Gmail-Loving Production Duo You(genious), Party Crasher Turned Musical Auteur Daniel Alexander, Klein's Backyard MC
THE ROCKS OFF 100 2013 ALUMNI
Crystal Toliver, Source of That Yello Echo You Hear Mr. Castillo, Song-Sniping DJ DJ Big Reeks, The Chief Waxaholic Melane Gutierrez, The Coffin Queen Folk Descendent Kevin Taylor Kendrick Eloy Contreras, Deathrazor's Sharp Thrash Vocals Robert McCarthy, Guitarist From Beyond Justice Tirapelli-Jamail, The Manichean's "Quiet One" Charlie Horshack, LP4's Guitar Warrior Kathryn Hallberg, Little Girl Gone Tessa Kole, PuraPharm's Voice and Vice Richard Griesser, Vintage Camera Hound With Enviable Archive Downfall 2012, Sci-Fi Metal Storytellers Kevin Choate, Drum Like You're Screaming DJ Rockwell, Booth Pimp and Party-Rocker Ash Kay, the Freakouts' Punk Vocal Head-Butt Pat Kelly, The Godfather of the Suffers Michelle Miears of BLSHS, Siren In the Machine DJ Remix, Genre-Hopping Mix Maniac Kahna, Brutal Nation's Metal Booking Queen DJ Ill Set, Enemy of Wack Tracks Shane Tuttle, Updog Owner and Album-Cover Designer Electric Attitude, Renegades of Funk Sama'an Ashrawi, Trill Gladiator Recon Naissance, A Rap While Matt's Guitar Gently Weeps DJ Klinch Asks, "Can You Dig It?" Jose "Chapy" Luna, Percussionist Con Corazón Love Dominique, Wicked Heart R&B Chanteuse Chris Gerhardt, Mastermind of Giant Battle Monster The Jobe Wilson Band, the Boys From Chambers County Kimberly M'Carver, Missouri City's Nightingale DJ Panchitron, Stirring the Cumbia/Moombahton Melting Pot D.R.I's Kurt Brecht, Thrash Zone Supervisor Sloan Robley, The Last Houstonian Banshee Jack Saunders, Dealer of Grit & Jangle Richard Ramirez, Noise God and Black Leather Jesus Mike Meegz, Scoremore's Houston Lieutenant Jacqui Sutton, Houston's "Jazzgrass Lady" Robin Kirby, Silk and Sandpaper Songwriter Billy Dorsey, Grammy-Winning MARATHON Runner David DeLaGarza, Don of Tejano Stars La Mafia Jason Puffer, Your Psychedelic Sex Panther Tobin Harvell, Fitzgerald's Unflappable Floor Manager Walter Suhr, the Straw That Stirs Mango Punch! Tony Garza, La Orquesta Salmerum Founder OG Ron C, Chopstar King of the Purple Dome Football, etc., Giving Emo Back Its Good Name Angela Jae, Renaissance Artist Shellee Coley, Voice of the Northern Woods Blaggards, Houston's St. Paddy's Day House Band DJ Meshak, Hongree Records' Sound Selecter K-Rino, South Park Coalition's Southside Maven DJ Candlestick, One Niceguy and a Very Busy DJ Danielle Renee, Only Beast's Destroyer of Walls Felipe Galvan of Los Skarnales Kristine Mills, Houston's Brassiest Voice Brian Davis, Punk Drummer, Horror Composer Elroy Boogie, Top-Notch Turntablist Sean Ozz, Wizard of The Abyss Alyssa Rubich, Angel of Instability Alphonso "Fonz" Lovelace, Righteous Drummer Frank Zweback, Funkmaster General OG Bobby Trill, Bombon Beatmaker Beau Beasley, Organist for the End of Time Rapid Ric, Mixtape Mechanic Dwight Taylor Lee, the Wandering Bufalero Coline Creuzot, Soulful Pop/R&B Singer Cristina Acuna, Cactus Music's Twitter Fingers Clint Broussard, Blues In Hi-Fi Man Now Back On FM Nortnii Rose, Houston Ska's Greatest Hope Ramblin' Chase Hamblin, the Man Who Will Be Paid Chris Alonzo, Bringing Night Flight to Facebook
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