The Rocks Off 200: Justin Nava, the Voice of thelastplaceyoulook
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.
Justin Nava with thelastplaceyoulook at Warehouse Live in July 2012
Photo by Marco Torres
Who? It's hard to believe that it's been eight freakin' years since Justin Nava started thelastplaceyoulook, but it's true. He's one of the hardest-working men in all of Houston music, always on the go and showing up where you least expect him. He also has a voice like a pagan god, and we are lucky to have him.
Right now TLPYL is going through changes. Guitarist Derek Young is moving on, and thelastplaceyoulook plans to proceed as a four-piece. The space he formally occupied in the creative process is to be filled by more programming from Nava, who says he's excited to see where that takes him. Again nominated for Best Modern/Alternative Rock this year, the band has graciously agreed to perform at this year's Houston Press Music Awards concert August 7 at Warehouse Live. In addition, Nava is pursuing an acoustic solo act, restarting his old project Black Sex, and working on remixes with BLSHS. Busy guy.
When it comes time to gigs, Nava has lots of experience. He's been on every stage in Houston except NRG Stadium and the Toyota Center. He even played the Astrodome back in his marching-band days. Out of all of those he's most fond of Warehouse Live for large shows and Fitzgerald's for smaller ones.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? "It's my home. Simple enough," Nava says. "Because I love this city and it loves me back. Someday I might go to Nashville 'cause my heart is in songwriting. But I've lived here for my whole life, give or take a year at the beginning. Elder Street Art Lofts helps me afford to live in downtown, and I just love being a part of the community."
Good War Story: "Some I can't say cause I'll never get on a tour again," Nava chuckles. "I actually have met more bands when I used to work at Dirt Bar than from being in one. I'll just toss you some headlines:
- Chino Moreno and I playing pool in a mansion with strippers
- Carding Lady Gaga trying to enter Dirt Bar
- Meeting Muse and their "Personal Shaman"
- Red Jumpsuit Apparatus bites the head off a mouse in Minnesota
- Aaron Lewis showing me pictures of his kids' Halloween outfits
There's just too many for me to figure out."
Story continues on the next page.
Music Scene Pet Peeve: An avid experimenter and road warrior, Nava hates it when people settle into their own little grooves and stop evolving. Don't just rest on your laurels drawing 40 people to a show. Spice it up, think big, go outside the box, leave the city every once in a while and go learn what others are doing.
Five Desert Island Discs:
- The Glitch Mob, Love, Death, Immortality
- The Neighbourhood, I Love You
- The 1975, The 1975
- Bon Iver, Bon Iver of You
- Heart, Dreamboat Annie
Best Show You've Ever Seen: "Probably Mutemath at House of Blues," Nava says. "Or every show Childish Gambino has ever done. People who really do something creative with production on a small scale always blows my mind."
First Song You Ever Fell in Love With: "'Shout,' Tears for Fears"
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.
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
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.