The Rocks Off 200: Mister Insane, Host of The Insane Show
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.
Images courtesy of Mister Insane
Would you watch a program called The Insane Show? No? Are you nuts?!
Up in Crosby, of all places, is the base of operations of (it's safe to say) the Houston area's online music-oriented TV show that kicks the most ass. Very much backing up the claim "supporting local music worldwide," The Insane Show is a take-no-prisoners repository of videos, live performances and interviews with underground bands that fall along a wide metal/goth/industrial/hard-rock curve.
In other words, if you've ever fallen under the spell of the three Ms (Ministry, Manson, Metallica), you'll probably flip out about The Insane Show. Episodes can stretch past an hour in length, and don't exactly skimp on the T&A. Produced "roughly biweekly," it's like Austin City Limits with a lot more piercings and occasional plugs for midget-wrestling bouts; it's also fucking cool, and unlike anything else we've ever seen around here.
Rocks Off made creator/producer Mister Insane's acquaintance a little more than a month ago, when he wrote in to let us know about the show and asked that we check it out. (Our response? Damn.) The show debuted in late October, and the most recent episode -- subtitled "Spank Me as Hard as You Wanna" -- premiered March 22, featuring videos by Houston's Downfall 2012 and Worhol, Pennsylvaians Only Flesh and Madison Rising, Japan's Babymetal, and lots more. If you'd like to possibly be on The Insane Show yourself, reach out at 1-832-543-3314 or hit him up at Insane@TheInsaneShow.com.
Right now Mister Insane and his crew are gearing up for Insane Fest 2014 June 28 at BFE Rock Club. We can only imagine what kind of musical carnage will go down there.
Who? Before he was a TV host, Mister Insane -- he didn't volunteer his government name, and we didn't ask -- has been a musician, promoter and manager who says he's now been connected to the music business for more than 30 years. The Brooklyn native he grew up in Staten Island not far from Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, the former Gambino crime family officer who dimed out the head of the family, John Gotti, to the FBI.
"It was a great, safe neighborhood for some reason!" he grins.
He played around New York and Virginia Beach, Va. ("which had no music scene even mentioning") for several years until moving to Crosby in 2007 to work in Web development and graphic design. He kept playing drums in Dogz on Parole and Buddy Costlow & the Chambers Country Band, but eventually decided to retire as a musician and work behind the scenes and wound up booking bands at BFE, Rudyard's and The Mink under the Insane Entertainment banner. He started The Insane Show as a music-news Web site before it morphed into the video/interview rockfest that is The Insane Show.
"Sometimes what you start doing changes into something you feel at home doing," he says.
Home Base: Insane sets up shop at BFE, where he films many of The Insane Show's performances and interviews with right-hand woman Laura Allmon, who began as a volunteer writer for the news site.
"She's doing a great job with it, considering this is completely new to her," he says. "BFE is my home because of the great staff [and] friends I've made there and they have the best sound in the area that I know of. Great place to play if you have a crowd up north in Houston."
Good War Story: Before he shares a tale from his musician days, more than 25 years ago, Mister Insane wants our readers to know a few things about him.
"I am easygoing, quiet at first until I get to know you, after that my sense of humor and being a smart-ass comes out," he explains. I was never a fan of performing onstage. Recording is what I love most. I am a bit of a perfectionist, even though I know nothing will ever be perfect. I want to be in control of things so that I can get it as close to perfection as I can.
"Push me and I will explode," he cautions. "It takes a bunch to get me mad, but when you do, you'll never do it again. I try to avoid situations that get me there because I know what I am capable of."
Now, on to the story:
I was in a glam/hard-rock band in New York City at the time called Krash Diamond. It was our first show at a venue called "Atlantis." It was an underground venue, not in the traditional sense, but being underground in New York City in a basement.
They provided one of the worst house drum kits to play, and anyone who knows me knows that I am a hard-hitting drummer. That kick-drum would not stay in place while we performed; I don't know how many times I pulled it back in the middle of songs. I just snapped!
Wrecked the drum kit, throwing it all over the place. I terrified the staff and even security, who wouldn't come near me. I remember my fellow band members in shock at what just happened and eventually broke into "Summer Lovin'" from the movie Grease just providing some awkward entertainment until they figured out the show was over.
Needless to say after that, the venue started allowing bands to bring their own drum kits, which I did for several more shows there.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? For starters, Mister Insane says his salary doubled when he relocated here and increases every year. Other than that, "although I like the quiet and small-town life I have in Crosby, it's nice to be able to travel a short distance to enjoy the music scene here," he says. "I believe that a city without local music is a city without a soul."
Story continues on the next page.
Music Scene Pet Peeve: Two pet peeves, Mister Insane says. One is promoters who don't pay bands.
"Every show I've booked in the past, it was my main goal as a promoter to make sure bands got paid for their time and talent," he says. "This meant giving my take of the door for the night if needed. Which happened many times, because I always had room to have a new band on the show or bring in one from outside of Houston.
The second, Insane continues, is "bands who think they are rock stars already, yet won't promote their shows and then complain about nobody coming to their shows or blame the promoter of venue."
Five Desert Island Discs: "This one is easy because it is rare that a band has an entire album out that every song is a keeper on it," he says. "Those are the bands I fall in love with. Those are the discs I need to get through life."
- Black Kennedy (Houston), Something Wicked
- Eden Burning (San Antonio), Banged Up N' Dirty
- Pretty Boy Floyd (Hollywood, Calif.), Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz
- Chickenfoot (Cabo San Lucas, Mex.), Chickenfoot
- Led Zeppelin: "Anything by them," vows Mister Insane. "John Bonham is why I started playing drums and my style is the same...not skill!"
Best Concert You Ever Saw: A tossup between KISS's "Revenge" tour or the painted rockers' "Hot In the Shade" outing, says Insane: "I saw them two times on each tour, in the New Haven Coliseum [Connecticut] and Giants Stadium in New Jersey," he recalls. "I've always been into a big stage show. If I wanted to just hear music when I see a band perform I would just stay home and listen to the album instead.
"If you're onstage staring at your shoes performing you have no place being onstage ever," warns Mister Insane. "Also on those shows were Warrant, Poison, Dokken, Winger, Faster Pussycat...yeah, '80s metal and hard rock is in my blood forever!"
First Song You Fell In Love With: "I can't remember the first song I fell in love with - too many songs!" Mister Insane admits. "I do know that my favorite song in the last couple years is 'Go' by Black Kennedy. The song is a ballad but rocks. It's a roller-coaster ride of emotion. I love to play drums to it even though it's a simple song.
"I can't say enough about the songwriting done within Black Kennedy," he continues. "Some of the best stuff out there in the scene right now, and I think they are one of the most underrated bands that people should check out."
Black Kennedy, Crank Case, the Steve Satchel Band and Children of December play the MWF (Micro Wrestling Federation) bout this Friday, April 4, at BFE Rock Club, 11528 Jones Rd. Catch up with The Insane Show at theinsaneshow.com.
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.
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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