Bassist, organist, composer, member of the infamous Homopolice, one of the Rocks Off 100, self-avowed electronic music geek, flanger aficianado, and suave Poison Girl drink slinger, Beau Beasley has been broadly immersed in the Houston music scene all his adult life. Not long ago over a cold one at Poison Girl, a discussion began about his favorite Houston players.
As Beasley tossed out names and explanations, it became obvious that his vision is deep and his standards are high. Below, in his own words, is a list of his favorite Houston musicians.
Drummer for local Brit-rock cover band Picture Book and Continental Club happy-hour favorites Beetle. I saw him play the Who's Who Are You and it was one of the most powerful performances I've ever seen. He was totally channeling the spirit of Keith Moon.
A horn player from Houston living in Los Angeles these days, Felder was a founding member of the Crusaders. He eventually switched his emphasis to bass guitar and became one of the in-house bassists for Motown and worked on milestone albums by Billy Joel, Randy Newman, and John Cale. He's so good he played bass on the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back." Nuff said.
Houston drummer/groove master I've picked up a lot of concepts on feel and groove from hanging around in the back drum room at Rockin' Robin and watching George fuck around on the kit. This is the guy in Houston that can tell you the difference between Mexican cumbia and the Colombian cumbia. And he was in the Onions at one time, one of Houston's longest-running R&B bands.
Another longtime rock-and-roll Houston drum heavyweight, Kevin locked down the beat for alt-country rockers the Hollisters during their heyday. I've watched him play drums a handful of times, and every time I'm amazed at his awesome country-rock drumming style. Very swinging and very strong.
I also saw some pictures of him hanging with Rush back when he was a youngster at someone's house. Truly legit. These days Fitzpatrick fronts his own band, Snit's Dog and Pony Show.
Paul showed me the ropes on Latin-style percussion and also taught me quite a bit about theory, professional band etiquette, and true musicianship. The sickest drummer in town if you are into hard hitters, he studied under George Weimer and at the University of North Texas.
He appeared in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger and drummed for Houston noisecore pioneers Splatterrea. He also went to Eisenhower High School and has the old-school NORTH SIDE tattoo to prove it.
The guy in town who really got me interested in Hammond-type organ. He drags a full-size Hammond and Leslie to every gig and it sounds amazing. I've built a lot of my ideas on organ from watching over his shoulder at his weekly Thursday gig with Luther and the Healers at the Big Easy. Barry's always in demand when people are recording.
My favorite bass player in town, Florian holds down a solid gig with Tommy Dardar and can make a quarter note on the bass swing harder than a motherfucker. Phil was a first-call bassist in the '80s/'90s Houston blues scene and backed up countless touring blues heavyweights when they would stop through town and needed a pickup band.
Phil is one of the few bass players here who can play a walking bass line and not sound like a hack.
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Another member of the Rockin' Robin team, Jimmy Raycraft has been in some of the most influential bands in Houston in his 40-year career. He was a member of Beans Barton's Bipeds for decades, besides being the driving force in party favorites the Dishes (yeah, those guys in the photo near the jukebox at Andy's) and Herschel Berry.
Jimmy is hands down my favorite Houston musician. His guitar lines sound like he is from another planet. He is also one of the few true theremin players out there. A true rarity, Houston treasure.