Sideshow Tramps Want To Be Texas State Fair's "Best Dad Band"

Think of Houston barnburners the Sideshow Tramps and naturally the first thought that comes to mind is "wholesome family enterainment," right? The band themselves admitted as much in an email they sent to Rocks Off HQ Wednesday afternoon, calling themselves "known for spilt beer, debauchery and young women in the front row."

Rocks Off sees no reason to argue with that. It's been a little while since we've seen the Tramps, but it's certainly what we remember. One sure sign of a successful show by the local skewed-Americana ensemble is that it's usually possible to slide out of the venue instead of walk. So we found the subject of the email rather curious - that the Tramps want to be voted into the "Chevy Dad Band" competition at the upcoming State Fair of Texas in Dallas.

Voting is simple: Go to the Web site and click the Facebook "Like" button under the band's picture. Or, if you prefer, one of the other 50 or so Texas groups in the competition, including the Tramps' fellow Houston-area artists quanda, traffic Jam, Jersey Creek Band, KISS lovers Gene's Addiction, Alvin's Stevin Marsh or Katy's The Silverado Band.

Rocks Off was curious what made the Tramps think they'd be a good "dad band," so we emailed the band to give us a few reasons. In his reply, drummer Shane Lauder demurred, saying he couldn't think of any "besides the obvious biological ones." (Lauder and bandmate Scott McNeil are both fathers.)

Lauder did tell us that the Tramps have a new album coming out soon, Revelator, and "it's shaping up to be a pretty good one." The disc was engineered by SugarHill's Steve Christensen, a recent Grammy winner for his work on Steve Earle's Townes disc, and Lauder says the band will soon meet with brand-new Houston label Zenhill Records.

He then went into a mission statement of sorts for the band Rocks Off thought was too good not to share. It reminded us of Bill Murray's "no job is too big, no fee is too big" line in Ghostbusters. Maybe that's why.

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We are able to eke out a meager, but mysteriously enticing, living peddling our recordings to people outside of our fair city. These are tangible people living real lives in real, off the hipster grid, far from the Interstate places. These are people that earn their dollars.

You won't see any of them lighting cigars off of rolled-up, white-powder-coated C-notes (not sure about meth). Yes, they still buy CDs in these places. We would set up our tent in any town from here to Greenland if we thought folks had CD players and slow Internet connections.

The Tramps warm up for their hopeful trip to Dallas Saturday, October 2, at the new Fitzgerald's, a show Rocks Off is sure will be as wholesome as fresh apple pie. By the way, the new Fitz's Web site, www.fitzlivemusic.com, is now live .

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