Houston Music

Listology: The First Albums Black Math Experiment's Jef With One F Ever Owned

Rocks Off wasn't aware of this, but apparently the Press had to create a category for our annual Music Awards just to include the Black Math Experiment. The group, which combined punky New Wave pop with a lyrical sensibility best described as "extraterrestrial," went on hiatus shortly after winning "Best Unclassifiable Act" in our 2008 Music Awards, but returns Saturday night at the Continental Club with SkyBlue 72.

We asked singer Jef With One F, now a recent father and keeper of the Goth beat for Rocks Off (read his latest True Blood report later on today), what to expect at the show.

"I know that we are coming out Saturday night to do what we do better than anyone else in this town," he says. "We're going to find the line between what is real and what is surreal and then we're going to snort it."

Fair enough. Jef also filled out one of our Music Listography lists, responding to the prompt "List the First Albums You Ever Owned"...

Guns 'N Roses, Use Your Illusion 1 & 2

I grew up in the late '80s and early '90s with MTV holding my attention while my babysitter fucked the neighbor boy on my parent's bed in the next room. Of all the hair metal that came out in that time, nothing compared to the sheer power of G 'N R. Though Appetite for Destruction remains one of the greatest rock albums of all time, it was the epic-ness of songs like "November Rain" "Estranged" and "Yesterday" that ruined me for all future occupations.

I wanted to be naked under a graveyard warbling during the guitar solo while doves flew above me, just like Axl. Time has proven that G 'N R was a collection of brilliant, but insane people, a continuous car crash of overbearing personalities and genius. Can you sort of see why I joined Black Math?

The Cranberries, No Need to Argue

For my money, nothing has ever been sexier than Dolores O'Riordan in her flag jumpsuit during the "Ridiculous Thoughts" video. I was just weaning myself from Mother's hair metal milk when this album came out, and was utterly transfixed by what I considered a very different approach to music. Women in metal are vixens. Delores had more to say, and I fell head over heels in love with the way she said it.

Green Day, Dookie

If you went to high school in the '90s, you bought this album. Has any generation ever been summed up more succinctly? Has any other band ever truly captured a point in time in song and rhyme like Green Day did with their neo-punk homage to all things blah? Nihilism seemed so deep back when I was still a virgin. Plus, there's monkeys flinging poo on the cover.

Meat Loaf, Bat Out of Hell

I was a part of the Rocky Horror Picture Show in Houston a decade, running it for a good part of that. It was my home, and my life. People call it a cult classic, but for those of us who did it every week it was just a cult. You have no idea how easy it is to sell your soul to something so loud and free and naked.

Obsessed as I was with all things RHPS, I became a Meat Loaf fan, and to this day I do not believe a better epic song has ever been written than "Bat Out of Hell". I really think that Jim Steinman and Meat are under appreciated for their contributions to goth music with their teenage Wagnerian opuses. You can feel something blasphemously sacred in every guitar line and every shouted invocation to the gods of backseat love and angsty rebellion.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray