The Rocks Off 200: Homegrown Cowboy Crooner Charles Peters
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 courtesy of Charles Peters
Who? Charles Peters is a Texas boy, born and bred. With a charming, chivalrous and almost innocent cool about him -- reminiscent of John Travolta's iconic lead role in Urban Cowboy -- it's easy to see why Peters has maintained such a notable presence in Houston's local rock scene.
Peters spent the first decade of the 2000s fronting the much buzzed-about and misleadingly named indie-rock quartet Three Fantastic, who released two albums, amassed an impressive touring roster and garnered national-scale attention before disbanding.
Currently, Peters is reunited with once-defunct Kenny the Spider and preparing to release the band's first demo. He also regularly performs with his solo project, which he says, "changes names [with] my name usually in it or around it."
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True to his good ole boy form, when not writing and playing music, Peters is a professional horse trainer and also helps run his family's Conroe-area ranch.
Home Base: While hanging around Conroe, where he recently moved back to from the Heights, Peters frequents neighborhood joints like the Corner Pub and Red Brick Tavern. When inside the city, he says he has prefers Main Street staples like the Continental Club and Big Top.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? Peters is emphatic about Houston's many "talented musicians and good music people," who he believes "fly under the radar." He cites the fact that the city is "so spread out" as the main problem, explaining that "it's hard to cover that much ground."
But he also openly concedes a lacking of proximal authority on Houston's insular scene. "I'm outside the loop," he says. "So don't ask me -- I don't even live here."
Story continues on the next page.
Good War Story: Like any good cowboy, Charles Peters is a storyteller, both onstage and off. He divides his collection of touring tales -- poetically -- into two descriptive categories: comedy and tragedy.
On the latter end, the story of his best (or worst) faux pas opens as Three Fantastic is preparing take stage ahead of Blind Melon: It's a "dry show," meaning alcoholic drinks were entirely prohibited...
I understood this completely, as their former singer apparently had died from drugs he bought in Houston, and this would be their first time back; no problem. Well, my girlfriend did not get the memo and got ridiculously drunk during the evening, which would be perfectly fine, who-gives-a-shit kinda material, except that when we were done and I had loaded my gear up, I couldn't find her.
I eventually tracked her to Blind Melon's bus, which she had climbed into in order to pet their dog. Both guitar players are sitting at a table inside, not looking amused. Great...
So, as I'm trying to convince her to come along, the bus driver comes up behind me and proceeds to ask me what I'm doing there and basically threatens to kick my ass. She immediately whips around and starts telling him how I'll kick his ass and that he's a dick and so on and so forth.
I try to defuse the situation and drag her along to the car with no success. I let go of her hand and quickly go to my car and wait. After a moment she hops in, and we drive off. But as we're driving along, she proceeds to tell me how she has cleverly exacted her revenge on [the band] for being such dicks--she has unhooked the safety chain on their trailer.
So, 7:30 the next morning: I get a phone call from the guy who booked us, basically saying that Blind Melon and the William Morris Agency is going to sue us. Apparently, they had a camera on the back of their million-dollar bus... shocking. She writes a half-ass apology letter, my friend who booked us somehow fixes things, and we survive without a lawsuit but are most likely blacklisted for all eternity from all big Houston shows.
Music Scene Pet Peeve: Peters laments a personal grievance with his own past and "all the bridges burned." He also expresses distaste for what he describes as the "rampant" trend of cover bands, "people [who] talk during shows," and the scene's "clique-ish" nature.
"Anything remotely good is either immediately squelched or completely ignored," says Peters. "The good die, and the shit rises to the top -- I don't know, honestly..."
Five Desert Island Discs:
• The Beatles, "White Album"
• Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Acme
• Middle Brother, Middle Brother
• Leonard Cohen,, Songs of Leonard Cohen
• Bach, Cello Suites
Best Concert You Ever Saw: Peters credits the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion for his most memorable live experience, at the tender age of 17.
"It was just special at that time," he remembers. "They were really intense and manic and just kept fucking playing until it looked like they might all just die right there --awesome. No badass lights or anything--just rock."
First Song You Fell In Love With: "The first song that I really grabbed onto entirely, I think, was 'Two of Us Cannot Be Wrong,' by Leonard Cohen," Peters says. "The words are so dark, and then at the end, it sounds like someone just losing their mind -- I connected with that [and] still love it."
Charles Peters plays Conroe's Red Brick Tavern on Friday, November 15. See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.
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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