The Rocks Off 200: Chase Harris, Deep Cuts' Rather Deep Thinker
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.
Photo by Lauren Holshouser
Who? Props to Deep Cuts' Chase Harris. Not only does he have a pretty astute bead on what goes on around the Houston music scene (as far as we can tell), he's the first person we've asked to join the Rocks Off 100/200 to give us five Desert Island Discs we've never heard of. He's also solved the mystery of Cat Power's odd behavior at Free Press Summer Fest 2013 for us. Well played, sir.
Harris' right-hand man in in the two-year-old group (a current HPMA Best Pop Act nominee) is his best friend/co-founder/collaborator Zach Alderman, with whom he's been tight since the two were four years old. If their band name somehow isn't a clue, Harris says he's been into music since about that age as well.
"I've loved music since I was a kid," Harris says. "My parents said when I was little I would go nuts listening to CCR's 'Susie Q.'"
"I listened to anything I could get my hands on -- '90s Top 40 and radio-rock, my dad's classic-rock LPs, '90s rap," he continues. "My high-school years were spent touring the suburban venues of Houston in a grindcore band and reading pitchfork.com. Later I attended HBU where I got my Bachelor's of Music degree and now I'm living the dream -- paying student loans and playing guitar."
Photo by Amanda J. Cain
Harris does make a living playing and teaching music full-time, so that's something. Thus far Deep Cuts' recorded output has been somewhat limited; you can hear the Latin-sounding indie ballad "Slow Descent" on their Web site. But more is on the way. They've just wrapped an EP at Sugarhill Studios with producer/engineer Chris Longwood; Harris says a release date will be announced soon.
"We've been a band for a couple years now, and somehow managed to make it on everyone's radar with our live show alone," he notes. "I'm really excited to finally have a record -- like a "real band.'"
Finally, Harris has recently played guitar for recent Houston expat B.E. Godfrey and bass in Children of Pop. He says he also enjoys photography, chopping and screwing songs, and looking after his pepper garden. We like this dude.
Home Base: Harris mentions that activity at Houston House of Creeps seems to have let up lately, and sounds a little wistful about it. Come to think of it, now we are too.
"It was Deep Cuts' stomping ground since the start of the band," he says. "I've seen a living-room floor cave in underneath dudes, dudes punched in the face, dudes in a hot tub in a kitchen, dudes drinking 1,000 beers -- and I've seen those same dudes cultivate a DIY venue with its own niche and scene, outlast an eviction, throw big fests, reel in national bands to play in a living room, and drink 1,000 more beers. They always possessed a genuine love for music and a total disregard for fashion."
Other than that, Harris says Fitz is OK by him as well -- he digs the sound engineers, and the fact that it's down the street from his house. Both the venue and affiliated Free Press Houston became early supporters of the band when they played an open-mike night there in 2012, he adds.
Photo by Lauren Holshouser
Good War Story: "This could be hearsay, but when Deep Cuts played Free Press Summer Fest in 2013 one of our friends supposedly stole a massage from Cat Power," Harris swears. "Evidently she had arrangements made to receive a full-body massage backstage before her performance, and John, in his aloofness, managed to get on the table before she could.
"This effectively bumped her from her scheduled massage and made her sorta pissed during her show at FPSF."
Aha. So that's what happened.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? "My No. 1 reason is Tex-Mex," Harris admits. "Go to Taqueria El Jaliciense off Palmer in Texas City and we'll talk. My No. 2 reason is Houstonians. Most people I've met -- including music-scene bigwigs -- have been approachable and kind. When I first entered the music scene I was stunned by how chill everyone was. Maybe it's just what you get when you mix Southern hospitality with Houston's underdog spirit."
Story continues on the next page.
Photo by Brittany Burke
Music Scene Pet Peeve: "I think people's lax, humble attitudes often come at the price of professionalism," Harris says. "This has resulted in a couple blunders for Deep Cuts that we had to overcome by our own means and persistence. There are few musicians I know who are working THAT hard to make it, and the ones who are I keep close to my heart.
"It seems to be a necessary evil for a Houston musician to move away to take his or her career to the next level," he continues. "That said, I do think think the musical infrastructure is almost ready for a Houston band to break through and achieve a more national renown."
Five Desert Island Discs:
- Aldemaro Romero, El Fabuloso Aldemaro Y Su Onda Nueva
- Pure X, Pleasure
- Eddie Santiago, Sigo Atrevido
- Cough, Sigillum Luciferi
- Jesu, Conqueror
Best Concert You Ever Saw: "I saw Conor Oberst [of Bright Eyes] at Carnegie Hall the first time I went to New York City," Harris says. "Can't beat seeing one of my favorite songwriters at one of the best venues in the world.
"He played a lot of old songs I'd never heard before, one of which was 'Waste of Paint,' and I sat there wide eyed and mystified the whole show," he continues. "Stefan Mach (By the End of Tonight/Lisa's Sons), Chase DeMaster (Deep Cuts/childrenofpop), Shelby Hohl (Funwunce/Free Press Houston) and I had a box to ourselves and it was one of the wildest nights of my life."
First Song You Fell In Love With: "Feel So Good," Mase -- "I had it loaded on a pre-iPod-era MP3 player and I listened to it over and over."
Deep Cuts performs Thursday at Walters Downtown with MIlezo, the Marmalakes and the Wiggins. Doors open at 8 p.m.
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page
Mlee Marie Mains, the Heart of Hearts of Animals DJ Navo, Bombón's Boundless Body-Mover Breelan Angel, Dirty Little Secret Keeper Michael Dauzat, Sr., a Rabbi and a Hate Nick Greer, a G Among G's Chingo Bling, H-Town's Own Versace Mariachi Quenton Rockwell, Melody Man in the Shiny Darks Southerland Nights, An Army of Accolades Stacy Hartoon, Rudz's Punk-Rock Heir Apparent Bowen Lyons, Keeper of the Trimms' Groove Chris Gore, Electronica Guru of BLSHS John Alton, the Madness of Cosmic Bug Loaf Reko Trill, of the Almighty Trill Brothers Jo Bird, Bow-Caster of Fiddle Witch & the Demons of Doom DJ Nando1, Who Fights to Keep the Party Poppin' Randall Hopkins, Featherface Drummer and Brilliant Video Director Roby Deaton, Open-Mike Pocket of Cool Nosaprise, Hurrah! for the Blushing Bridegroom Tony Vega, the Big Easy's Barnburner Leslie Krafka, Onward Through the Fog Michael Anthony Shanks, Houston's Merry Shankster DJ Baby Roo, Vegetarian Hip-Hop Veteran Rachel Bays, Filming Them Softly Punk-Rock "Newcomers" Screech of Death Erin Rodgers, the Keys to Glass the Sky Alex LaRotta, Crate-Digging Fistful of Soul Brother Alycia Miles, Triumphant Soul Singer DJ Piam, Poison Girl's Bacon-Fat Funk Specialist Mister Insane, Host of The Insane Show Jake Rawls -- Kemo For Emo Is Back Santos Pastrana, Sound Engineer and DJ Ninja Heading Upstream with RIVERS' Chris Tamez DJ Dayta, Keeper of That Good Good Matthew Davis Buehrer, Runaway Sun's Globally Thinking Bassist Fat Tony, Third Ward to "BKNY" Noon, Rapper With a Lot on His Mind Matt Cash, Clear Lake's Cassette Tape Wailer Jason Smith, Alkari's Space City Rocker DJ Penetrate, All Lit Up in "Neon Lights" Catch Fever Is Catching On Renée Jonard, Princess of Noise Pollution Junior Gordon, Big Man With a Big Sound Chad Smalley, Blaggards' Barse Player Damien Randle, K-OTIX Man of Action Kevin Anthony, 45 Southbound Man DJ Good Grief Knows How to Have Fun Robert Kuhn, the Well-Traveled Islander Gunnar Cushway, Insko's Feel-Good Utilityman Mario Rodriguez, Tax the Wolf/Bang Bangz's Wonky Power Monger John Smith, Goodtime Continental Club Manager Dwayne Cathey, A Good Man to Scare People With Walter Carlos, Guitar-Punisher of Funeral Horse Ryan James, Putting Up a Good Fight John Cramer, Guitar Apostle of Project Grimm Big Gerb, Houston's Hongree-est MC Steven Higginbotham, Hard-Working Wheel Worker Alisha Pattillo & Her Swaggering, Soulful Sax Brandon Ray, Punk Rocker Turned Filmmaker/Animator The Excitable Boys of Another Run Flash Gordon Parks, DJ as Funky Professor DJ Main Event, Kratez Crew JumpOff Man Odd Hours and Back to Back's Hank Doyle Legendary K-OTIX Producer Russel "The ARE" Gonzalez Dylan Bryson Sings the Blues (Rock) DJ Damon Allen, R.O.C.O. Fellow Tom Lynch, New Kid On the Block Ashley Worhol, Goth-Metal Queen of Katy 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
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