Sundance Head, the son of Gulf Coast music legend Roy Head and the pride of Porter, has already seen hisAmerican Idol
stock soar and tumble like the gone-but-not-forgotten Texas Cyclone. After eliciting a collective jaw-drop from Randy, Paula and Simon at the Memphis auditions for his powerful and soul-steeped rendition of a Houston classic -- Bobby Bland's "Stormy Monday Blues" — Head entered Hollywood week the (very) unofficial front-runner to win the whole shooting match. El Lay is a harsh mistress, however; Head squeaked through a bruising elimination round and came out the other side with much of his momentum diminished.
We caught up with him this afternoon and found out about his day job, his three favorite singers, his dark night of the soul while waiting for his chance in Memphis, and why Simon Cowell just might be a better judge of singing talent than Houston disc jockey /Gimme the Mike
judge Sam Malone. —John Nova Lomax
HouStoned Rocks: How is everything? Did you ever think you would make it this far?
Sundance Head: Well, I didn't think I would make it past the L.A. rounds, that's for sure. I went in there and couldn't remember the words to the song.
HR: What song was that? I didn't recognize it.
SH: It was several different songs. I can't even remember at this point. I've sung so many different songs on there.
HR: A lot of people are wondering, was there some audition off camera [in Hollywood week] where you really wowed the judges?
SH: As far as that goes, I don't know how the judges pick which kids to let through. Obviously it's on more than just singing abilities at this point. There's a lot of factors that go into it. I'm not sure exactly what they are, but it's definitely more than just the ability to sing.
HR: Why did you pick auditioning in Memphis rather than say, San Antonio? Did you want to soak up more of that Bobby Bland vibe?
SH: I'm a supervisor at a machine shop back home, and I was working that weekend Idol was in San Antonio and I couldn't get anyone to run my department, so that's why I had to wait and go to Tennessee. And my grandmother lives up there in Horn Lake, so me and my wife just went up there and stayed with her. When we got to the auditions there, I almost left before my turn came up. I told my wife, I said, "Man, I don't even wanta stay here and do this." 'Cause it was truly like a cattle call, there was so many people.
HR: Yeah, I've been to one of those auditions where the people camp out and all that...
SH: Yeah, they ran out of food, they ran out of drinks —
SH: About three o'clock I told my wife, I said "Misty, we've gotta leave. I don't wanna go through with it anymore. I can't stand it." And she told me "We're not leaving. You're gonna go through with this. This can't be something that you can look back on later down the road and be sorry that you didn't do it." So she talked me into staying and that's why I'm where I'm at today.
HR: A friend of mine [Dr Roger Wood] told me he saw you sing at the Eldorado Ballroom one time for that Duke-Peacock tribute...
SH: Oh, yeah, that was great, that was awesome! I did "Stormy Monday Blues" and "Mustang Sally."
HR: Isn't there just one other Texan among the finalists with you?
SH: There's actually a couple. Haley [Scarnato] is from San Antonio, and 'Kisha [LaKisha Jones] lived in Houston for awhile. She was on Gimme the Mike back home one time — same show I was on.
HR: No shit! Y'all were both on Gimme the Mike?
SH: Yeah! Pretty wild, man.
HR: Man, that show blew my mind. I saw Diunna Greenleaf on there one time and she was great and she didn't win and I couldn't believe it.
SH: That girl from Rockstar — Dilana — she was on there too.
HR: Really? I guess I should start paying more attention to that thing.
SH: Well, the judges sent all of us out. So, I don't know...
HR: They always seemed to give it to some high school choir teacher. So musically, would you say blues is your first love?
SH: Absolutely. I love the blues.
HR: Who are your favorite singers besides maybe Bobby Bland?
SH: I'll give you my top three: Robert Plant, Bono, and Bob Seger. But there's so many.
HR: Did you get to see U2 the last time they came through Houston?
SH: Naw, hell, I couldn't afford a ticket to that. They were like $500 to start.
HR: Well, that's about all I got for right now. Keep us in mind — they are having a party for you every week down at Sig's Lagoon next to the Continental Club. Allen Hill's organizing 'em.
SH: That's great, man. Allen and his band played my wedding for free. We're buddies and that band is great.