deadhorse (Or Dead Horse) Reuniting In October

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UPDATE AGAIN (June 21, 12:55 p.m.): Indeed, Michael Haaga has nothing to do with this deadhorse reunion. The lineup that released 1996 EP Boil(ing) is the one performing.

UPDATE (June 21, 11:30 a.m.): There is some dispute as to which version of deadhorse, if any, is playing this show. Rocks Off will update with a new blog as soon as we have some definite information.

This is was pretty exciting stuff. The original lineup of legendary Houston tongue-in-cheek thrash-metal band deadhorse has confirmed a reunion show at Warehouse Live on Saturday, October 22.

You may also refer to them as Dead Horse - Rocks Off found the band's name spelled both ways numerous times when we searched the Houston Press archives. Because it's cooler, we'll go with deadhorse for the rest of this blog.

Over their near decade-long lifespan, deadhorse improbably became one of the most popular bands in Houston and built a sizable underground national following. One of our predecessors, Hobart Rowland, discovered this when he wore a deadhorse T-shirt (which were themselves legendary, particularly the "Farm Road 666" model) to SXSW one year.

"All day long I was greeted by pro-dead horse chants and thumbs-up gestures and fielded inquiries about the band's condition," Rowland wrote in April 1997. "Those I met came from as far away as California and New Jersey."

He was describing the previous year's SXSW, which in turn was five years after deadhorse had released an album, 1991's Peaceful Death and Pretty Flowers. The band debuted in 1989 with Horsecore: An Unrelated Story That's Time-Consuming, and released the Boil(ing) EP after original front man Michael Haaga left the band in late 1994 and Scott Sevall took over. Relapse Records re-released Horsecore and Peaceful Death in September 1999, incorporating their self-released albums Death Rides a Dead Horse and Feed Me, respectively.

Personally, deadhorse has always been one of Rocks Off's bucket-list bands, especially local bucket-list bands. We were a bit young and innocent to see them during their Axiom heyday, but were intrigued by those Farm Road 666 shirts we saw people at our school wearing, and faithfully followed their exploits in every issue of Public News we could get our hands on. Then we moved to Austin, and they had long, long since split by the time we moved back.

deadhorse was notorious for the speed and volume of its songs, as well as innovative (?) promotional ideas such as its own brand of beer, Horse Pissed Ripped. But they also did things like cover the B-52's "Rock Lobster," and nodded to their Texan heritage in songs like "Chigger." The group became popular enough that Metal Blade signed them and released Peaceful Death in conjunction with Big Chief Records, whose failure shortly thereafter was the blow from which deadhorse never truly recovered.

Circumstances behind deadhorse's reunion are unclear, but they've been circling each other for a while. After forming the critically acclaimed psychedelic pop project The Plus and Minus Show, Haaga did several deadhorse songs with The Academy Black at the Axiom reunion at Fitzgerald's in October 2007, and played Frank Black in Catastrophic Theater's 2010 production of Bluefinger. Meanwhile, ex-horsers Greg Martin (guitar) and Ron Guyote (drums) have been playing with Sevall and former D.R.I. singer Kurt Brecht and Verbal Abuse bassist Bubba Dennis for the past couple of years as Pasadena Napalm Division. The missing link is bassist Allen Price; Rocks Off has no idea what he's been up to, and Sevall's status for the reunion is likewise undetermined.

"Our career has been plagued with wishy-washy A&R people, bullshit artists and labels that folded," Martin said in a letter to deadhorse's fans announcing the group's breakup in April 1997. "But it's not all their fault. We have made some pretty fuckin' stupid mistakes on quite a few occasions. But, whatever it was, it's history now."

Not anymore. For one night, anyway. Tickets go on sale noon Friday at warehouselive.com, frontgatetickets.com or the Warehouse Box Office. Rocks Off suggests you snap them up as soon as possible. This is a one-time event, so there's no telling when - if ever - deadhorse will ride again.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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