Inquiring Minds

L.A. Rockers 7Horse Have a Thing For H-Town

For two battle-hardened rock and roll road dogs who spent two decades touring the world as the rhythm section for dada (1992 MTV hit "Dizz Knee Land"), Joie Calio and Phil Leavitt of emerging power duo 7Horse could not be happier with the results and reach of their first album, Let the 7Horse Run. The pair got tired of waiting for action on the dada front and decided to record an album, do a tour and see what stuck.

And stick the album did. Not long after its release, scratchy blues-rocker "Meth Lab Zoso Sticker" was selected for Martin Scorcese's wildly successful movie, The Wolf of Wall Street. The tune not only made the movie soundtrack, it was also used in the film's trailer.


Then NBC picked up the tune for use on its Sunday-night NFL preview show. The tune also made it onto Jeep commercials in Canada, so quite a bit of mailbox money began to show up.

Having just completed dada's 20th anniversary tour, Leavitt and Calio released their second album, Songs For a Voodoo Wedding, on June 10 and are hitting the road hard in support of the album.

The duo have developed a love for the Bayou City, even penning a kiss-off tune to Nashville and Austin following their last visit to Houston. Driving west after working some radio, a show at Fitzgerald's, and a couple of nights on the town, Leavitt knocked out the lyrics to "Famous Faces" on the road across Texas after leaving Houston. The tune became an interim single between the two albums.

Rocks Off caught up with Leavitt Sunday night.

Rocks Off: You gave Houston some nice props in your tune "Famous Faces." Run that down for us. Phil Leavitt: We played Nashville a few days before we came to Houston and it was such a bummer for us, just the attitude we encountered in Nashville. We ran into a whole lot of jaded attitude, this been-there-done-that posing.

We didn't really know what to expect in Houston, didn't really know much about it, and then it was like everyone we met was laid back and cool and friendly. That's one thing that struck me about Houston pretty quickly, a lack of attitude. Much more like a big small town. It was a nice change.

You've actually been back once in a non-working mode since that Fitzgerald's gig.

Yeah, my wife was with us and she really dug Houston too, so we took a long weekend and flew in.

What is it that strikes you?

Well, being from L.A., the first thing that struck us was how relatively inexpensive it is. We hit some great bars, some wonderful restaurants, and we kept thinking 'do you know how much this would cost in L.A.?'

The last time you were through, you were on your first 7Horse tour, your album had just dropped, and the future was uncertain. Then you got a big shot in the arm with the tune in the Scorcese movie. How did that happen?

(Laughs) We really don't know how it happened. No one ever had a definitive answer to that question. We were getting some good airplay on The Loft program on Sirius XM, and as best we could ever tell it seems like either Scorcese himself heard the song or someone working on the score heard the song.

How did the deal actually happen?

Man, it was so random. I just answered the phone one day and this person says they represent Martin Scorcese and he wants to use your song in his movie. And so I said, "Well, yeah, how much is that going to cost us?"

So what happens at that point? You get an attorney?

Actually, I just did the negotiation myself. I called a few people in L.A. and got their advice, then we had this meeting and I threw out a number and they said, 'OK, that's fine. We'll let you know if it makes the final cut, otherwise you'll never hear from us again.' So we sat around for months wondering whether they were going to use it or not.

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William Michael Smith