The scene that Houston's Fatal Flying Guilloteens came up in in the early '00s was a sight different from the one in the here and now. Guys like Robert Ellis, the Buxton and Wild Moccasins boys and girls, and Fat Tony weren't roaming the city and now the Earth touring. There were fewer venues in town, the Internet wasn't the Beast it is now and things were more feral in these parts.
The Guilloteens are reuniting for a 7 p.m. slot Saturday at Free Press Summer Fest. When the lineup was announced a few months back, their name elicited more excitement than even seeing Snoop Dogg's. At least for me. That seemed like more of a coup.
Over two albums, 2001's Now Hustle for New Diaboliks 2003's Get Knifed, and 2007's Quantum Fucking, the FFG would leave not a mark but a crazy stab wound you need 20 million stitches to close. It was delicious.
FFG guitarist Brian McManus conversed with me on the band's mark and what has changed in Houston since they disbanded, while in transit and coming back to Houston for the festival. He also turned in a great piece for Free Press Houston about the band's history.
Rocks Off: What did it take to make this happen for this Summer Fest?
Brian McManus: Omar and Jagi (of Pegstar) have asked a couple times in years past, but I don't think we really considered it all that seriously. What it took is that we were made a serious offer.
I live in Philly. Mike (drums/vocals) lives in Seattle. We haven't played in six years. Logistically, it just seemed like a nightmare. So this year when Summer Fest asked again and seemed to be more than just suggesting it, we told them what it would take to turn that nightmare into a dream, and they made it happen.
RO: When you guys went away all those years ago, the Houston music scene was much different. What has changed the most, or do you think it has changed at all?
BM: I haven't been around for those changes or lack thereof, and haven't kept up with them or the lack of them. We had our first practice last night and the other guys were talking about different Houston bands. I'd heard of exactly zero of them. They could've been speaking Chinese and I'd have understood what the hell they were talking about just as much.
Secret Prostitutes, Garbage Dump, whuuu? I know Shawn's band Weird Party, who I think are incredible. I know Roy's band Black Congress, who are also great. I also have The Energy's first album. Other than that, unless it's Riff Raff, I can't talk Houston music with you.
RO: For people who weren't around then, or not tuned into the FFG, describe Houston during your heyday.
BM: It was a large city in the Southeastern United States. Its climate was hot and humid. It had great food, and was ethnically diverse. I believe it is still all of these things...
I'm sure it was just as it is now -- a bunch of fuck-ups who like to drink too much, playing music for friends with no hope or aspirations that it'll ever bleed out of the city and into the ears of anyone else.
That may have changed a bit now because of the Internet. But I have a feeling the whole scene is still very insular, and is still making weird, cool, exciting shit no one outside Houston or Austin will ever appreciate.
I know "back then" there were a lot fewer venues, places to play and places to practice. Summer Fest certainly didn't exist, and I don't think back then anyone would've dreamed it could have. All the changes seem to be for the better.
I went to a bukkake party last night, for instance. We never had those on a Tuesday when I was living here. That was strictly weekend shit back then. Houston is all HAM all the time now, it seems.
RO: What can you tell us about the FFG set this weekend?
BM: Let me just toss off any appearances of humility right now and say that it's totally going to fucking smoke. It was great to play the songs again during practice, just an absolute blast. If the show is half as fun as practice has been, poor Snoop -- who plays at the same time as us -- doesn't have a chance.
RO: What does the future hold for the band now? Is there any stuff recorded that no one has heard?
BM: The future is that there is no future. Not much of one, at least. We're talking about doing Fun Fun Fun Fest, but that's in the way early stages. We have a couple live recordings, but those will never be released. We have no new material and don't plan on writing anymore.
I'm trying to convince the guys we should do an album full of Gucci Mane covers, though. Maybe that'll happen.
The Guilloteens play FSPF 7 p.m. Saturday, June 2, on the 29-95 Stage (stage 4).
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