The Rocks Off 200: Jessica Perry, the Spice in Vanilla Sugar

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.

The Rocks Off 200: Jessica Perry, the Spice in Vanilla Sugar
Photo by Lloyd Hendricks/Courtesy of Jessica Perry

Who? Jessica Perry is a busy musician whose talent and ambition is too large for just one city, even if it is her beloved hometown. She sings, plays keys and samples for the all-girl, alt-electro-pop band Vanilla Sugar, as well as synth and backup-vocal duties for industrial-metallists ERASETHEVIRUS.

Perry also tickles the ivories for local R&B/pop singer Jess Walker, and when she can, grabs her guitar and heads west on I-10 to shred for San Antonio's Langton Drive.

She's been playing music since age four, including an array of instruments she says she has yet to work into an act: trumpet, French horn and bass guitar. With only a finite number of hours in a day, Perry has to save some time for other pursuits, like modeling, photography and videography. She and her team at MotionArts have not only shot videos for local bands, but recently released the full-length movie Mixed Emulsions.

The hard work is paying off. Vanilla Sugar recently signed with the entertainment/management agency Anger Management, Perry's first band to take such a step. It should prove helpful as the band completes its first full-length album this year and prepares to tour southeastern U.S. next spring.

Upcoming Events

Home Base: "I have three different Houston venues that I can call home [but] Scout Bar would be my main squeeze," Perry says. "Their sound and lighting cannot be beat, and their staff is all pretty much an extended family to me. Fitzgerald's is another place I like to frequent. They are in a great central location, making it easy for people from all parts of the city to access.

"Pearl Bar [now Pearl Lounge] can fit into that category as well," she adds. "Great location, eccentric vibe and an awesome staff."

Good War Story: "ERASETHEVIRUS played a show in Houma, Louisiana not too long ago," Perry recalls. "Supposedly, Lil Boosie was playing the same night and we ended up staying in the same hotel."

Boosie had a huge crew with him dispersed throughout different floors and rooms. One of the Boosie rooms happened to be our neighboring room. We ended up talking to a few of his crew members starting at 4 a.m. and came across one guy who started following my guitar player and me. He was telling us that he could rap really well and supposedly sang country...and asked if we could sign him. We had to explain that we, all decked out in black makeup, black clothes, etc., couldn't sign him and that we were there from Houston to play a show.

He eventually walked away after asking about 20 more times, but our singer brought him back downstairs to where we were, saying that he felt bad because this dude was rapping outside our hotel room door by himself for a good 30 minutes. My guitar player and I were like, "Oh, geez."

Lil Boosie's crew member started rapping, and singing really loud 'country.' So loud, that hotel staff members threatened to kick us out of the hotel if we didn't settle down. I told them that we weren't associated and peaced out and went to sleep. The next morning, my guitar player shows me pictures that he and my singer took of that same guy getting arrested on the hotel floor for who knows what.

It was a crazy and super confusing night! I just want to know why he thought we could sign him.

Why Do You Stay In Houston? "I stay in Houston because all of my roots are here," Perry says. "My bands, my family and friends, my experiences and my heart!"

Story continues on the next page.

 

The Rocks Off 200: Jessica Perry, the Spice in Vanilla Sugar
Photo by Blacksmith Photo

Music Scene Pet Peeve: "The biggest pet peeve I have about our music scene is the amount of local bands that leave right after they play," Perry says. "I have seen it happen to myself, as well as other locals that I've been out to see or shoot.

"I understand that some people have jobs that require them to wake up early, but at least stay for the first song of the band after you!" she continues. "We are supposed to support each other, and we can't if we are bailing on one another."

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • Emmure, Speaker of the Dead
  • Crystal Castles, Crystal Castles
  • Deftones, Around the Fur
  • Basement Jaxx, Rooty
  • Puscifer, "'C' is for (Please Instert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here)"

Best Concert You Ever Saw: "I have seen a lot of concerts throughout my life, but the one that stands out to me the most would be Lady Gaga's 'Fame Monster' Tour," Perry picks. "The live show was incredible and extremely entertaining. Gaga is very good about interacting with her fans, which kept the whole show fun. She was actually singing too!"

First Song You Fell In Love With: "I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the first song that really got me into playing guitar and wanting to do the whole band thing," Perry explains. "I was about 11 years old and 'All My Life' by Foo Fighters came on the radio while I was in my room. I immediately became obsessed and bought the album.

"Well, my dad bought it for me -- thanks Dad! -- which was like a gateway drug," she adds. "I started discovering other amazing bands and became more involved in our local scene."

See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and a link to the Rocks Off 100, on the next page.

  THE ROCKS OFF 200

Handsomebeast, Silver Jeans Starchildren Silver Blueberry, Garage Days Revisited DJ Squincy Jones, "If It Jams, I Play It!" DJ B*Ryte, From VA To H-Town With Love Jess Walker, the Pride of Pride Houston Phil Peterson, AR*V All-Star John Janatsch, Mayor of Houston Rock City Frank Ortiz, Synth-Pop Served Perfectly frank. Optimo Ram, Online Radio Jefe Meagan Chambers, Don't Gag Her Gorgeous Guitar Justin Nava, the Voice of thelastplaceyoulook Donnie Houston, Halftime Entertainment Chase Harris, Deep Cuts' Rather Deep Thinker Dave Callier, Grindcore Guitar God 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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