Rest in peace Don Luis, the "Old Violin Man" of southeast Houston.
Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion By Robert Gordon 384 pp. $30 Bloomsbury It's a story that any novelist or screenwriter would find fantastical. A white, middle-aged banker and part time country music fiddler with a hankering to get into the music business convinces his older ... More >>
What do Aretha Franklin, the Bee Gees, Norah Jones, the Rascals, Willie Nelson, Phil Collins, Dr. John, Barbra Streisand, Chaka Khan, the Average White Band, and Hall & Oates have in common? Not much, musically. But they all made records, and some of their most memorable, in the studio with Arif M ... More >>
Well, folks, it appears we're getting a Superman/Batman movie whether we like it or not. Comics fanboy and Frank Miller obsessive Zack Snyder broke the news a couple weeks back at San Diego Comic-Con that his big-budget sequel to Man of Steel will find a way to shoehorn in the Dark Knight. A much mo ... More >>
Cyndi Lauper House of Blues, June 28 When Cyndi Lauper first appeared 30 years ago, few would have guessed the orange-haired New Yorker with an accent bigger than the Triborough Bridge would have the career she's had, one that now includes a Tony Award for Best Musical thanks to the Harvey Fierstei ... More >>
Portugal. The Man are coming into town tonight, hot on the heels of their newest Danger-Mouse produced LP, Evil Friends. With positive reviews coming in from all over the interwebs, P.TM are enjoying bigger venues and larger crowds as a result. Just the other day, Rocks Off had the opportunity to ... More >>
Congratulations to Houston rapper Kirko Bangz for making the cover of XXL magazine's annual "Freshman 10" issue this month, only a couple of years after he first drew national attention with the single "Drank In My Cup," and several months after "Drank" hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs chart. ... More >>
Tonight at the Continental Club, Austin's Freddie Steady 5 will head up a tribute to the late Doug Sahm focusing on Sahm's 2000 album The Return of Wayne Douglas, which he recorded only a few months before dying of a heart attack in November 1999. La Porte native Freddie Krc, leader of the 5, has ju ... More >>
Five years ago this week, Led Zeppelin fans young and old squeezed their pants full of lemon juice when the band's three surviving golden gods -- Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones - announced that they'd be reuniting for a one-off concert in London. John Bonham's son Jason would man the s ... More >>
Sixty-eight must be a pretty significant number to Archie Bell these days. Not only was 1968 the year that "Tighten Up" -- his million-selling single with Archie Bell and the Drells -- was released, but the man himself turns 68 years old tomorrow. A seminal piece of endlessly danceable proto-funk, ... More >>
Friend of the Boss, reflects on his well-lived rock-and-roll life.
Let us hop in our time machine and head back to a magical place in the past known as Dec. 23, 2010. Here is a snapshot of things going on at the time: Rocks Off was making wishes for the year 2011; Kanye West was knee deep in Album of the Year wins for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; Eddie Vedder ... More >>
Are corporate-sponsored free records a good move?
"You mean to tell me that you think I don't know that I ain't black? Or that I don't know that usually Latin girls ain't really been all up in rap? I didn't know that my color or gender could be the preventer of getting on tracks See the last time that I checked they play hip-hop in the hood And ... More >>
It's always reassuring to know that some things never change - like Houston concert audiences' loutish reputation. "Houston is notorious for its knuckleheads," says Lucero lead guitarist Brian Venable, who doesn't seem to hold a grudge. If there were any doubt that the Memphis alt.country rockers ... More >>
Photo by Marc BrubakerThis guy's crazy rant at Fun Fun Fun Fest made the list.All things considered, 2011 was a pretty bitchin' year for popular music. It wasn't all high-fives and Grammies for our musical heroes, however. More than few steaming flops, blown gigs and sour notes made the yea ... More >>
Texas Tornado Augie Meyers, king of the Tex-Mex Vox organ, can tell some stories.
Pardon the geographical pun, but besides Texas, our neighbor to the east may be the most musical state in these United States. And in terms of per capita, Louisiana, which ranks 25th in population to Texas' second, is probably second to none. Outside Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, the program m ... More >>
Who Dat? When Jimmy Page began to put together his New Yardbirds, he scoured the British scene looking for the right vocalist. Eventually, Page offered the job in his new band -- now called Led Zeppelin -- to Terry Reid. Reid, who quit school at 15 and had played at the Royal Albert Hall b ... More >>
Balls-deep in that miry slough of disappointment that seems to befall every major artist who wants to change the world, Lupe Fiasco has been in a controlled rage lately. That can only mean one thing: His next album will boast songs about anyone who so much as snickers at him. But poking the ... More >>
Checking into rehab is no laughing matter. That said, we at Rocks Off often find inspiration in even the darkest of corners. So when it was announced, much to our surprise, that Dallas-born teen pop starlet Demi Lovato had checked into rehab an inpatient treatment center, we pondered celebri ... More >>
Photos courtesy of Atlantic RecordsCrystal, Skye and Cole Rose, collectively known as Sophia Fresh, may be one hit away from national fame, but they're unwavering in their loyalty to the Bayou City. Case in point: Sophia Fresh recently unleashed a remix of the DJ Screw classic "June 27" in ho ... More >>
Clint Broussard is a local boy who was born with the music of the Gulf Coast in his chromosomes. Broussard works as a bartender at Ginger Man, a clerk at Cactus Records and volunteer disc jockey with a great old-time R&B radio show on Rice University station KTRU. Rocks Off asked Broussard, ... More >>
Ah, that nasty Grim Reaper took a lot of great musicians this year, and his scythe cut a wide swath across all genres, including many heavyweights in the blues and R&B world. The greatest loss comes in the form of someone who was a man, a song, and a beat all in one... Bo Diddley, singer-songw ... More >>
An early example of rock art... We're back to reveal the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the cappo di tutti cappi of classic-rock band logos evah! And when we say "greatest," we look for a combination of things including memorability, longevity, graphic design, influence and appearances. ... More >>
While the ubiquitous songs of Detroit's Motown get anthologized and commercialized ad infinitum, and the critics salivate over the gritty southern soul of Memphis' Stax, the third great movement/label of '60s and '70s soul has always gotten short shrift. Until now, that is, with the release of the ... More >>
Drinking and drugging with crazy bitches sounds like more fun than the law will allow, but playing in a red-hot rock band is not always an all-you-can eat orgy. "I think people realize there's a lot more to this band than just fucking and partying," says Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson. That r ... More >>
The twisted history of "Tighten Up"
The annual return of the Greil Marcus Rock Death Meter
Wednesday, August 2, at the Meridian, 1503 Chartres, 713-225-1717
The circuitous path of UK balladeer heartthrob James Blunt
The femme fatale quartet's "straight-up cock rock" is pure Gold
Kid Rock leaves our scribe waiting and worried by the phone
The forgotten treasure found at King's X
The postering of West Gray
The Melvins don't give a damn, and so should you
Hootie gets big while keeping its eyes on the small stuff
Alternative rock robs pop's cradle