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The Rocks Off 200 Mario Rodriguez, Tax the Wolf/Bang Bangz's Wonky Power Monger

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.

Rodriguez performs at the 2012 Houston Press Music Awards Ceremony
Rodriguez performs at the 2012 Houston Press Music Awards Ceremony
Photo by Marco Torres

Who? His full name is Mario Alberto Rodriguez Beltran, and he is 25 years of age. A proud Houstonian whose parents hail from Mexico City. Mario was blessed with one sister and three brothers. He credits his Mexican culture and family roots for giving him the backbone to pursue his passion for music and art for the past ten years.

His love, time and entire soul is solely directed to his growing family, his girlfriend Elizabeth, and his musical endeavors. Rodriguez is known for his roles in Tax the Wolf and Bang Bangz, but what many people may not know that he is also a producer and audio engineer. He plans to launch a new record label by the end of 2014 titled Wonky Power Records.

Home Base: "I currently practice at my home or my studio, which are both near downtown Houston" says Rodriguez. "I've performed at various venues around the city such as Warehouse Live, Fitzgerald's, Boondocks, Mangos, and Walters."

Why Do You Stay In Houston? "Houston is home to me and it always will be," he says. "All of my beautiful and horrible memories are here, and I'm sure that if I leave this place, the smell would be strange and they wouldn't have my mom's home cookin' or even Moontower Inn. I'd just rather stay here."

Music Scene Pet Peeve: "Our city needs to more support our music scene somehow," offers Rodriguez. "Maybe there could be a nice tax break for professional musicians or more city wide festivals that can include our music scene's efforts."

Story continues on the next page.

Rodriguez does the Velvet Underground at Walter's on Washington, November 2010
Rodriguez does the Velvet Underground at Walter's on Washington, November 2010
Photo by Marco Torres

Good War Story: Mario tells a tale from his teenage years:

The fellas and I [Tax the Wolf] had a our first show in Austin during SXSW many years ago. We were so excited about this concert that we went to go buy all the liquor and food we needed for our trip. We even decided to sleep in our rehearsal studio overnight to catch an early drive to Austin.

Alan's mom had let us borrow her red Chevy Suburban. We had our fresh clothes ready, our awesome-exclusive-new set list ready for the masses to hear, and new limited tees to sale that we had gotten the night before. Everything was set and ready for our first explosive out of town show.

We ended up drinking all the liquor that same night. We all had an hour of sleep and the only things that were explosive about that trip was Adrian's vomit, forgetting all of our new merch in Houston, locking ourselves out of the truck in Austin with no spare key, and the 10 people in the audience. We lost that war.

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • Dungen, Ta Det Lugnt
  • The Beatles, The Beatles ("White Album")
  • Radiohead, Amnesiac
  • The Doors, Strange Days
  • Jeff Buckley, So Real

Best Show Ever: "Atoms for Peace at the ACL Moody Theater," Rodriguez says. "$10 entry and first in line after the cancellation of ACL. Waited nine hours with Elizabeth out in the rain but we made new friends and we watched our favorite artist [Thom Yorke] sing a couple of feet away from us. It was a very emotional show to say the least...unforgettable.

Bang Bangz performs next Friday (January 24) at Fitzgerald's, a free show and their first concert with a full live band, Rodriguez says. Beyond that he says Tax the Wolf and Juzcoz are presenting a new project that will debut March 29 at Fitz: "It's going to be a very twisted surprise," he smiles.

Wonky Power Records will have its launch and showcase in late 2014, he adds: "We are currently finishing up Gio Chamba's debut record and are expecting a March release."

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

THE ROCKS OFF 200

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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