The Rocks Off 200: Joshua Allan Vargas, Metal-Video Maestro
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? Regular readers will recognize Joshua Allan Vargas as the visionary filmmaker bringing the story of Houston's greatest monster, Dean Corll, to the silver screen in the upcoming In a Madman's World. Making movies has been his dream since he was a kid, and one of the best ways to stay in shape and generate revenue is to make music videos.
Vargas has become a highly on demand hand on the camera for some pretty big names. He's worked with Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals, Down, Soil, Oceans of Slumber and God's of Death Screw, among others. He's a master of capturing a band's performance energy, whether onstage or on location. Vargas is a huge supporter of both the local and national metal scenes, and sees crafting music videos as a way to be involved that doesn't come with the hassle of having a band himself.
Currently, he's gearing up to work with ERASETHEVIRUS and the one and only Marzi Montazeri's band Heavy as Texas. Vargas and ERASETHEVIRUS bass player Mangy James go way back -- ask James about the stack of porno magazines in the woods if you want to hear a good story, says Vargas.
Home Base: Well, Vargas goes where the bands go, so the point is kind of moot. From a shooting standpoint, most Houston venues are the same to him: they have walls, and the lighting is always so bad you have to fix it in post-production. Still, his favorite place both to shoot and to see a concert is Warehouse Live. He gets miffed about their confiscating lighters at the door now, but other than that he's had the most fun there.
Good War Story: "Shooting a video for Down at Philip Anselmo's house was easily one of the most fun shoots I have ever been on," he says.
I was only a cinematographer on that one, so my only job was to smoke the copious amount of pot that was floating around make it look cool. That, and Down is comprised of members of bands that I really love, so it was really cool working with them.
Philip is also one of the most naturally hilarious people one could hope to work with. He made up a song on the spot about my partner, Chance Allen, called "The Wise Houstonian Metal-Guy" while they were geeking out over all of the old Houston metal bands they loved. 14-year-old me would have been shitting himself.
Story continues on the next page.
Music Scene Pet Peeve: "The term 'support local music' and how it's essentially a way for shitty bands and shitty promoters to guilt-trip people into going to see their band that's completely devoid of any sort of identity or the show that the promoter didn't do anything for besides spam Facebook and expect people's conscience[s] to pick up the slack."
Five Desert Island Discs:
Pantera, Far Beyond Driven
Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
Steel Panther, Balls Out
Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral
Triptykon, Melana Chasma
Best Show You've Ever Seen: "It's a tie between Rammstein or Pantera, for completely different reasons."
First Song You Ever Fell in Love With: "When I was a toddler, my parents said that I loved 'Stairway to Heaven' and 'Highway to Hell' so much that I wouldn't go to sleep without them playing," Vargas says. "So those, I guess. Haha."
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.
Tim Ruiz, La Mafia's Master of Technics Jessica Perry, the Spice In Vanilla Sugar 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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