The Rocks Off 200: Quenton Rockwell, Melody Man in the Shiny Darks
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? Now, if you asked me who had the best rock-star name in all of Houston I would definitely have told you Quenton Rockwell. But does the man who provides guitars, bass, and vocals for The Shiny Darks live up to such an awesome moniker? The answer is most definitely.
Rockwell worked for different promoters doing everything from passing out flyers to talking to radio stations to picking up people at the airport to getting water to helping do sound and security. The radio-station relationships led to working in local radio, then to national. While doing that, he met the people who would become the initial incarnation of the Shiny Darks. At first he was primarily a manager, but after the loss of a drummer and some reshuffling Rockwell wound up a full-time member on the guitar.
After other members moved on, Rockwell soldiered on and picked up drummer Chadwick "Chavi" Boswell, whom he had met in tour. The two clicked, and Rockwell manages all the non-percussive elements through foot pedals onstage. The setup places them well into the Top 5 music duos in Houston, and their EP Stab at Love is well-crafted piece of alternative high-powered rock.
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Home Base: Rockwell says he crafts all his best work in his bedroom hooked up into his computer. His garage is converted into a studio for the times when Chavi comes out to play. For playing, like a lot of locals, he praises the sound quality of Rudyard's. He thinks that Warehouse Live has the easiest load-in setup.
Good War Story: "We were doing this Christian tour that was the tour from hell (and inspiration for our song 'Holiday (to Hell),'" he says. "We kept getting threatened with getting kicked off, lied to, lied about, cheated, whatever, by the tour manager.
One night after a successful show that we secured for the tour, the 'manager' pulls us aside and starts accusing us of all sorts of crap. He then says that we act like a gang. Which is funny, because we're nice people. Really nice. Too nice, in this instance.
I had enough. To give you a visual, I had hair down to my waist (sweat-soaked), a beard, and I'm big. I stood up and looked at this prick through my luscious mane straight into his soul and growled, 'Mess with them and I'd beat your ass.' Then I laughed (probably sinisterly). You could see the fear wash over him.
After thinking about the situation and everything that happened, I do think that was a WWJD moment. I think Jesus would've at least slapped him.
Music Scene Pet Peeve: Rockwell thinks that local support of the scene is still lacking, especially when it comes to getting acts on the radio and into the clubs. Still, he admits it seems like it's getting better.
Story continues on the next page.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? "I've thought about moving," admits Rockwell. "A few years ago, I got offered a radio gig in Miami. Didn't do it because my wife was almost finished with school. I thought about Nashville briefly. Very briefly. I heard they have this thing called autumn.
"About a year ago, Austin came up as a possibility with my wife's job," he continues. "I believe home is where my wife and kids are. My daughter just finished kindergarten and I have one on the way. The only thing I can honestly say that I hate about Houston is the heat. It's. Always. Hot. Except for those few weeks it's comfortable. And the traffic sucks. But at least it ain't L.A."
Five Desert Island Discs:
- Hope, BlackBall
- Alice Cooper, Best of
- David Bowie, Best of
- Queen, Best of
- Led Zeppelin, Best of
Best Show You've Ever Seen: "Alice Cooper," Rockwell says. "Hands down best for me. Beheadings, hangings, electrocutions, iron maidens, stabbings all with a storyline, big rock show and killer musicians."
First Song You Ever Fell In Love With: ""Hmm. I don't remember the first one," he thinks. "My dad sang in a lot of churches when I was young. Most likely it was something he sang. But the first songs I remember were the '1812 Overture,' 'Elvira' by the Oak Ridge Boys, and 'America' by Neil Diamond. Ironically, I just got back into Neil Diamond.
See the rest of The Rocks Off 200, and a link to The Rocks Off 100, on the next page.
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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