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.
Who? Dylan Bryson is a native Houstonian and singer-songwriter who has played with various local groups -- including the Southern Backtones -- in addition to writing, recording and performing his trademark bluesy rock as a solo artist.
His project du jour? Recently he launched Russian Doll Effect, which Bryson sums up succinctly: "It's rock and roll, and I like it."
It was not very long ago that Bryson really had a reason to sing the blues. After a traumatic accident left him with a severe head injury, Bryson underwent a procedure called a decompressive craniectomy -- essentially the patial removal of the skull, intended to relieve dangerous brain swelling and pressure. Bryson describes the experience in harrowing detail, explaining that essentially one-third of his head was frozen for a total of three months, during which he spent considerable time hospitalized and undergoing intensive therapy to recuperate.
"I was very, very lucky in that I didn't die, become paralyzed, suffer from speech problems, or severe memory loss," Bryson says, adding that it was his connection to music that served the most therapeutic role of all. "I was brought my guitar in the hospital," he remembers, "When I could play and sing my songs from memory, I knew I was going to be all right."
Home Base: Bryson says he is currently frequenting local open-mike nights, in an effort to "keep [his] chops up," and can frequently be found at AvantGarden, Fitzgerald's or the Mucky Duck -- on the appropriate respective evenings, of course.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? Ever the matter-of-fact kind of guy, Bryson credits his ample group of friends and industry contacts with keeping him grounded in his hometown.
"Everyone is generally pretty friendly [here]," he adds.
Good War Story: Bryson recalls a touring incident that occurred while on the road with the Southern Backtones, during which a tire blowout very nearly caused a major accident. Fortunately, he boasts, Houston's resident tornado-hunter saved the day.
"Thank God, Hank Schyma was at the wheel," Bryson recalls. "The moral there, kids, is to make sure the storm-chaser is the driver."
Music Scene Pet Peeve: Bryson laments the lack of kindred talent the city has to offer, elaborating that even a simple Craigslist search evidences how few fellow locals share his style and taste.
"If I search -- entering, for example, a band like [Black Rebel Motorcycle Club] -- it will come back with maybe two or three results in Houston," he explains. "Whereas a search in, say, L.A. returns 15 to 20 results."
Although he plans to stay put for the time being, Bryson admits that finding artists to collaborate with would likely be easier elsewhere. "I tend to think I'd meet more musicians with my influences on the East or West Coast," he concedes.
Five Desert Island Discs: (No particular order)
- T. Rex, Electric Warrior
- The Smiths, The Smiths
- Big Star, #1 Record
- The Beatles, Revolver
- Depeche Mode, Violator
Best Concert You Ever Saw: "I randomly walked into a show by a great Canadian singer-songwriter named Sam Roberts at SXSW," Bryson recalls. "It was a small club, and the sound was great."
First Song You Fell In Love With: "That's a tough one," Bryson muses. "Probably the version of 'Johnny B. Goode' in Back to the Future."
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.
THE ROCKS OFF 200
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
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
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!