Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, 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.
Who? Better known as Doomstress Alexis, Hoillada plays bass and sings in the excellent doom-metal act Project Armageddon. Tides of Doom was a stripped-down, droning masterpiece that was capable of scorched-Earthing the soul of a listener into a personal wasteland.
Though her voice is unforgettable, it was the weird, Philip Glassian repetitive instrumentals that reveal the deeper art, and it's still one of my favorite albums of 2012.
The openly transgendered Hoillada has received a small amount of bigotry and hate from the metal scene's more meatheaded members, but has found much more support from fans and fellow doomsters who admire her skill and surprisingly soft personality -- for one so keen on singing about the end of the world.
Home Base: Project Armageddon moves around a lot for rehearsals depending on what is required for the moment. Hoillada has a lot of affinity for playing Super Happy Fun Land after opening for Austin's Bay of Pigs. North Houston's Arcadia is where you'll most likely catch them.
Good War Story: "Ha! Probably have to be coming back from playing Dallas Doom Daze 2," says Hoillada. "We lost the left rear wheel on the truck, jackknifed and spun and flipped the trailer with all our gear! It was about 3 a.m. just outside Corsicana.
"If that wasn't horrific enough, we had to contend with sleepy drivers almost plowing into the truck that was now facing traffic hooked to a trailer by chains," she continues. "You'd think they'd see a truck facing them flashing its brights to say wake the fuck up and brake!!! Crazy, long, stressful night."
Why Do You Stay in Houston? In addition to the ties all the Project Armageddon members have to family and friends in Houston, Hoillada also appreciates the extensive transgender support systems available in the city.
"It helped me out, and I hope that my example might help someone else who is struggling out there," she says.
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Music Scene Pet Peeve: "I don't really know," Hoillada admits. "I guess someone who doesn't make it out to any shows to support the scene or a friend or just great music. Sure, I can't make it out to all of them or do it every night or weekend, but I attend as many as I can.
"Please get out and see some local bands and support the scene! I don't care what genre or style," urges Hoillada. "Just go enjoy some live music."
5 Desert Island Discs:
- Venomin James, Crowe Valley Blues
- Pale Divine, Cemetery Earth
- Iron Maiden, Live After Death
- Wo Fat, Psychedelonaut
- Black Sabbath, "The one with everything on it!"
Best Show Ever: "I got to sing onstage with Wino and my buddies in Sanctus Bellum doing a Pentagram cover of 'Sign of the Wolf' when St. Vitus played Fitz!" Hoillada enthuses. "That was so unbelievable to me! Here I am hanging out with St. Vitus all night and singing with Wino!
"That was a very special evening for me personally," she adds. "I mean, if someone of Wino's stature and respect in the metal world can invite me onstage and discuss what parts we will sing, etc., then I mean that speaks volumes about what metal truly is about -- not judging, but being open to individuality and all about the music!"
First Song You Ever Fell in Love With: "'Strange World' by Iron Maiden."
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Project Armageddon plays with Another Pearl Harbor, The Mind's Eye and Cosmic Undertow Friday at Acadia Louisiana Bar & Grill, 12902 Jones Rd.