Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who: If I had to pick the best music video director in Houston (And hey, I did) it would definitely be Randall Hopkins. The drummer from Featherface not only contributes his own powerful even rhythms to the shoe-gazey goodness of the band proper, he's also the person who has brought those songs to cinematic life at a stellar level. Seriously, "I Saw You Dancing" is one of the greatest videos ever made, and I'll happily fight anyone who argues to the death.
Randall and his brother Kenny have been friends with the rest of the gang that forms Featherface for years. He more or less just flowed into the band as seamlessly as his rhythm lines, and with a film background naturally gravitated to helming the band's videos. Be on the lookout for a new album with more videos on the way in 2014. Busy, busy, busy.
Homebase: Featherface practices in a storage unit. However, Hopkins assures us that it is indeed a high end storage unit, with carpet on the walls and everything. His favorite venue in Houston is actually Cactus Music, and now that he mentions it it is a pretty damned good place to play.
One Good War Story: "My music career's a pretty short one as of yet so I'm luckily pretty light on war stories. One of the favorites, though, if you can consider it a war story: During SXSW last year we played an awesome show on Sixth Street during the day that involved me having to park the van about nine blocks away after unloading, and then sprinting all the way back to the venue to make it on time (More exercise than I'd likely gotten in a year). I arrived with about 45 seconds to spare, body destroyed, to a quite literally empty room. Once I caught my breath we played to a crowd that never amounted to more than two bartenders. At least it was a good practice."
Biggest Music Scene Pet Peeve: Hopkins hates people that insist on holding up their camera phones throughout an entire set. Who exactly are you people filming this for? He recommends an Alamo Drafthouse-esque policy of confiscation until the show is over.
Why Stay in Houston: "We do a lot of bouncing back and forth between Houston and Austin these days, but Houston's always going to be home. Family is there, some of our favorite musicians/people are there, and it's an exciting time to be doing music there."
Top 5 Desert Island Discs: Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy Radiohead, Hail to the Thief Connan Mockasin, Forever Dolphin Love Electric Light Orchestra, Face the Music The Beatles, Revolver
Best Show Ever: "What may be the best show I've ever seen happened at SXSW this year. Connan Mockasin played a pretty small venue in Austin. It was sort of a technical mess from the beginning as far as sound was concerned. Keyboards not working, monitors not working, you name it. And within a minute of the set starting none of it mattered. Within 15 minutes of the set starting, the man had half the room sitting on a dirty ass concrete floor with him at the center, and within 20 minutes a good portion of those people had their shirts off and were dancing on stage with him. It was the most on point, most fun and most crowd-engaging show I've seen yet, and it was just incredibly inspiring."
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.