Houston Music

Don't Mess With Texas: A Fresh Take On An Old Message

Houston musician's Uncle Jumbo and Andyroo are in the running to be the next faces and sound of the famous "Don't Mess With Texas" campaign.
Houston musician's Uncle Jumbo and Andyroo are in the running to be the next faces and sound of the famous "Don't Mess With Texas" campaign. Photo By Andrew Karnavas
Most Texans can remember when the "Don’t Mess With Texas" anti-littering campaign captured attention with its advertisements featuring our state’s beautiful landscapes paired with celebrities repeating the effective slogan.

"Don’t Mess With Texas" went on to grow a life of its own becoming a sort of global warning to others reflecting this state’s reputation as a tough and strong willed population.

The successful campaign launched in 1985 with a commercial featuring Texas blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughn and went on year after to year with special appearances from Willie Nelson, George Strait and Chuck Norris to name a few.

The "Don’t Mess With Texas" campaign is once again looking for a fresh sound to accompany their timeless message and in December of last year TxDOT held open submissions for 30 second videos and songs featuring the famous slogan.

Two Houston artists, Andyroo and Uncle Jumbo, decided to throw their names into the hat with their original song and are currently in the running to move onto the next level of the competition.

Fans can vote from now until February 15 to help the two Houston artists make it to the next level. The winner will be featured in the "Don’t Mess With Texas" campaign airing all over the great state of Texas.

Andyroo and Uncle Jumbo are primarily known for their work making children’s music and in a pre-COVID world could be found performing frequently at parks and libraries throughout the city. Though the two share a common goal and passion for empowering and educating kids through music, they had never collaborated before.

“This is our first time to be able to write something together,” says Andyroo. “A lot of times when you’re doing your first session with somebody, it’s good to have some kind of creative limitation.”

Andyroo and Uncle Jumbo both laugh at how quickly and effortlessly they were able to bounce ideas off of one another and have fun while writing the song and making the video with choreographed dance moves. All it took was two short Zoom calls for the two artists to make their plan.

“I think if you have a specific direction or goal in mind, it’s funny how it gives you a lot of freedom actually within that bounds,” explains Uncle Jumbo. “Then when you have a partner and you’re just passing the ball back and forth and you really like what you’re doing, it comes together pretty seamlessly.”

The song gives some of the best advice for parents and kids out there listing all of the things you can mess with but cautioning listeners not to mess with the Lone Star state.

Though winning would obviously provide Andyroo and Uncle Jumbo a large level of exposure, the two say they aren’t in it for that sole reason.

“This song is going to last beyond the contest,” says Uncle Jumbo. “Yeah it would be so cool if this was the song that won, but making this song was so awesome and the actual song is just a fun, great song which contest or no contest, it’s awesome to have.”

“This song is going to last beyond the contest.”

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“I think for both of us it was a chance for us to collaborate,” says Andyroo echoing the same enthusiasm. “He has fans that don’t know who I am and vice versa so it’s nice for us to be able to promote each other. Whatever happens with the contest, I think that the most valuable thing is that people are seeing us working together and they’re getting to know the variety of kids music out there.”

Vote here for the next "Don't Mess With Texas" song, voting ends February 15.
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Gladys Fuentes is a first generation Houstonian whose obsession with music began with being glued to KLDE oldies on the radio as a young girl. She is a freelance music writer for the Houston Press, contributing articles since early 2017.
Contact: Gladys Fuentes