The Rocks Off 200: Renée Jonard, Princess of Noise Pollution
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.
Photos courtesy of Renée Jonard
Who? Houston native Renée Jonard has been around music since her days at Dobie High School, when she went from playing double bass in the orchestra to bass guitar (just like us, actually), and then various bands including Astralis while she lived in Fullerton, Calif. Even when she put down the guitar and started a family, Jonard says she still had the urge to be involved in some way.
"There's gotta be a grownup in rock and roll," she notes.
While living in Atlanta, Jonard interned for an entertainment attorney who represented several hip-hop and R&B artists. When she returned to Houston in 2010 instead of studying nursing or music therapy (too much theory), she started helping her friends bands and volunteering at festivals like Free Press Summer Fest, Atlanta's A3C Hip-Hop Festival, and the Austin Psych Fest. In April of last year she met the folks behind Houston indie/psych promoters Treaty Oak Collective at a Har Mar Superstar show and took over their social-media duties.
From there Jonard helped Treaty Oak by attempting to bring in several music-related films, including Amrit Singh's Dosa Hunt and the Black Lips tour diary Kids Like You & Me, and finally succeeded with Change In the Game, a documentary about Atlanta's hip-hop history that she helped present at Walters last June. She even flying out the filmmakers for a Q&A and show featuring artists from the film. Jounard started her own booking agency, Noise Pollution, late last year and this month is putting on several shows at Mango's, all of them experimental, noisy and eclectic: Mother Ghost and Austin's Bounce House this Thursday; C.J. Boyd, Eric Todd and P.L.X.T.X. February 27; and Migrant Kids, I Am the Albatross and B.E. Godfrey February 28.
"I want to do a lot of things," says Jonard. "I'm not quite sure what it'll evolve into, but I hope that we bring a little flavor to the scene."
Home Base: Jonard's husband's job recently relocated him to Round Rock, so she's been spending a lot of time on the highway. Her ties to Houston and Dinolion, the video/film-production company, keep her racking up those miles.
"I can't stand the thought of not popping into Boomtown or Blacksmith for coffee once in a while," she says. "For the past ten months, I've been at Mango's, sticking my iPhone in bands' faces to get a shot for Instagram."
Good War Story: "Not very juicy, but I got to drive [comedian] Rob Delaney to his hotel room and he gave me gas money," cops Jonard. "He was a real cool dude."
Story continues on the next page.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? Jonard isn't sure she'll be able to keep commuting from Round Rock to Houston, but she sure would like to try. There's just too much good stuff here, she thinks.
"Houston is the closest thing to Utopia I've experienced," she says. "We have really great arts and lots of culture. Good food, good coffee, and the greatest people. I literally love the people that are busting their butts to make cool stuff happen.
"Some of my favorite people live here," continues Jonard. "I went to school with kids of various different ethnicities and backgrounds, and we all kicked [it] with each other -- not because of the color of our skin, but because of our interests. People will look you in the eye here and say 'hello.' That means something to me.
"I haven't really found that in other places," she concludes. "I'm rooting for this place to get its props and hope to contribute to it."
Music Scene Pet Peeve: "It's disappointing that SO many bands skip our city, when this is a damn fine place to come visit," she sighs. "It's a little heartbreaking."
Five Desert Island Discs: "I'm giving you six because I couldn't give up any of these," admits Jonard. "They're in no particular order."
- Blondie, Parallel Lines
- Duran Duran, Rio
- The Breeders, Title TK
- The Lemonheads, It's a Shame About Ray
- Broken Social Scene, You Forgot It In People
- Beastie Boys, Paul's Boutique
Best Concert You Ever Saw: "The best show I ever saw was Pearl Jam in Nacogdoches in '93," explains Jonard. "I made my mom drive me there after she worked all day. Extra tickets were released earlier that morning and I bought two with my older sister. It was so crazy and energetic and I felt like I was part of the zeitgeist."
First Song You Fell In Love With: Jonard says it was Blondie's entire Parallel Lines album that did it for her. "I had family in Queens, NY and we'd visit them when I was a little kid. My older cousins let me listen to their records.
"I remember listening to Blondie and Michael Jackson's Off The Wall," she continues. "But as like a real little kid, damn, I wanted to be Debbie Harry. She was it. She was cool as hell and she still is. I was mesmerized by that album cover."
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.
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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