The Rocks Off 200: John Janatsch, Mayor of Houston Rock City

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.

That's Janatsch on the right
That's Janatsch on the right
Photos courtesy of John Janatsch

Who? We're never quite sure just how much our inner-Loop readers are aware of this, but people out in suburbia like to party. Like, you might catch a wicked cabernet buzz in the Heights once in a while or need a cab after a few craft beers too many at Hay Merchant, but out in the 281 some people don't stop until losing control of their bodily functions. Sadly, we just can't handle that shit anymore, which is why it's so nice to have people like John Janatsch Jr. around.

Janatsch, 45, is our man on Jones Road, and calls into the office every so often to let us know what is going down at BFE Rock Club, pound for pound our choice for the hardest-rocking venue in the Houston area. Some of its neighbors up north give it a pretty good run for the money sometimes, but BFE also tosses in a wrestling night here and there, so it's really not that close.

The Rocks Off 200: John Janatsch, Mayor of Houston Rock City

Besides helping promote shows at BFE, Brooklyn native Janatsch -- a big fan of local jocks Outlaw Dave and Col. St. James who has lived in the area since his single-digit years -- also has a show for the Ampz family of online stations, where he's known as "DJ The1," and a gig as a host and producer for GSP TV Houston, available online or on digital-antenna channel 43.3. Peep him in action at this link; Janatch shows up a little more than six minutes into the clip.

"I personally can't ask a band to sell a show on its own without my going out and being willing to do the same thing," Janatsch says. "As far as interviews, to me it's a treat because not only am I the host of the show, I am also a fan."

Home Base: Easy. BFE, where Janatsch works with in-house promoter Frankie Aluotto to bring in the heaviest shows on the market, such as Mississippi's Saving Abel tomorrow night. His acquaintanceship with the BFE ownership's previous establishment, the excellently named Forget About It, led to his current gig. Best of all, BFE books not only better-known acts like Podunk and Lillian Axe, but groups whose names would work just as well for adult films: Shaving Susie, Primal Impulse, our old pals Bozo Porno Circus, and so forth. Love it.

"Me growing up in the Bear Creek area since '76, it seemed like the perfect fit," he says.

The Rocks Off 200: John Janatsch, Mayor of Houston Rock City

Good War Story: Janatsch was once hosting a concert featuring Houston hard rockers Hindsight, who are part of Friday's Saving Abel bill, when things got a little messy.

"I was asked by the club to remove someone from stage," he begins. "While removing her from the club she literally shit herself in the parking lot then dropped her pants to finish."

Oh, but he's not done.

"If that is too dirty (lol), there was a time hosting Inner Image where a drunk went up onstage with a prosthetic leg and passed out," Janatsch recalls. "While removing her from the stage, she almost lost her leg while I carried her off stage!"

Good lord.

Story continues on the next page.


A BFE crowd salutes the camera.
A BFE crowd salutes the camera.

Why Do You Stay In Houston? Janatsch was a kid when he moved to the Glencairn/Highway 6 area from New York, and has since accrued a lot of rockin' memories. He was part of the first classes to graduate at his elementary and middle schools, as well as Langham Creek High School.

"I became part of a lot of firsts and made a ton of great friends growing up," he says. "That area has always been home to me, so I wanted to continue the incredible growth of the area with incredible shows."

Music Scene Pet Peeve: Janatsch has a few issues with the Internet.

"When I was coming up we didn't have Internet -- concerts would have to be street team-spread thru things like flyers, newspapers [and] radio," he says. [I] always looked forward to turning on the radio, meeting people as they put flyers out to let people know great concerts are coming, or reading it in the newspaper. Today the surprise element is gone a lot, and people have come to depend on [the] Internet for success."

The Rocks Off 200: John Janatsch, Mayor of Houston Rock City

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • KISS, Alive!
  • KISS, Alive II
  • Nonpoint, To the Pain
  • Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast
  • "Anything Elvis that includes 'Suspicious Minds'"

First Show You Ever Saw: The Texxas Jam, June 1982, featuring Journey, Point Blank, Santana, Joan Jett and Sammy Hagar: "As a kid this was something I couldn't miss!", Janatsch says. "[It] had anyone my age sitting at the edge of their seats listening to the radio waiting to see who was coming."

First Song You Fell In Love With: Kiss, "Detroit Rock City" -- "[To this day] it's a song I can't stop listening to," he says. "I remember hearing [it] everywhere and thinking it should be 'Houston Rock City!'"

See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.


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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