The Rocks Off 100: Ash Kay, the Freakouts' Punk Vocal Head-Butt

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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. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.

Who? Ash Kay is the mouth of The Freakouts, who have a new 7-inch dropping this weekend. She brings the thunder and the glory to the stage with a screaming rage that nonetheless offers a kind of primitive elegance to the whole affair.

It's the way she takes each long note to its final breaking point each an every time that just leaves you aching after each high energy number. In a city where so many of our female lead singers prefer to haunt, she's a vocal poltergeist that would rather throw bricks through windows.

Kay started her creative life as a theater kid in high school with a little film on the side, but also grew up idolizing Joan Jett, Joey Ramone and Freddie Mercury. Two years ago, she and guitarist Porter Smith began to seriously start looking for an outlet for the songs they had been working on for a while, and are now finally putting those early efforts out on a real release.

Home Base: Kay and Smith tend to work on their songs at home until they have enough of a skeleton to present to the band as a whole. Once that's ready, they head down to Rhythm Room to hammer out the wrinkles. Like a lot of the rock and punk acts, Kay likes Fitzgerald's the best once gig time comes around for its quality sound, ambiance and storied history.

Good War Story: "I remember one show we played at the Jerk Store that went horribly wrong. Meg [Cambern, bass] and I were cutting out and getting shocked, Porter and Steven [Jones, guitar] were cutting out and I think Steven got completely cut off at one point, there were so many people packed in there moving around that a couple of us fell over.

"Haha," she continues, "and our drummer at the time, Allen, cut his hands up on a cymbal. There was blood on the ceiling, the floor, the drums... Still, a memorably fun show!"

Music Scene Pet Peeve: The thing that grinds Kay's gears is the lack of touring bands that come through Houston and play smaller, more intimate venues, though she admits this has gotten better in recent years. She's big on getting the right pairings of local and national acts to ensure a good show.

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • The Raveonettes, Pretty In Black
  • The Ramones, End of the Century
  • Joan Jett, Bad Reputation
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy
  • The Exploding Hearts, Guitar Romantic

Best Show Ever: "One of my personal favorites was playing at BFE with Barb Wire Dolls," says Kay. "The sound was perfect, crowd was energetic, and it was just overall exciting!"

First Song You Ever Fell in Love With: "'Love in a Trashcan' by The Raveonettes," she picks. "I love their music. Sune and Sharin's harmonies are flawless together. They had me hooked from the start."

The Freakouts play Saturday, July 13 at Fitzgerald's.

See who else has joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.


The Rocks Off 100: Pat Kelly, The Godfather of the Suffers

Michelle Miears of BLSHS, Siren In the Machine

DJ Remix, Genre-Hopping Mix Maniac

Kahna, Brutal Nation's Metal Booking Queen

DJ Ill Set, Enemy of Wack Tracks

Shane Tuttle, Updog Owner and Album-Cover Designer

Electric Attitude, Renegades of Funk

Sama'an Ashrawi, Trill Gladiator

Recon Naissance, A Rap While Matt's Guitar Gently Weeps

DJ Klinch Asks, "Can You Dig It?"

Jose "Chapy" Luna, Percussionist Con Corazón

Love Dominique, Wicked Heart R&B Chanteuse

Chris Gerhardt, Mastermind of Giant Battle Monster

The Jobe Wilson Band, the Boys From Chambers County

Kimberly M'Carver, Missouri City's Nightingale

DJ Panchitron, Stirring the Cumbia/Moombahton Melting Pot

D.R.I's Kurt Brecht, Thrash Zone Supervisor

Sloan Robley, The Last Houstonian Banshee

Jack Saunders, Dealer of Grit & Jangle

Richard Ramirez, Noise God and Black Leather Jesus

Mike Meegz, Scoremore's Houston Lieutenant

Jacqui Sutton, Houston's "Jazzgrass Lady"

Robin Kirby, Silk and Sandpaper Songwriter

Billy Dorsey, Grammy-Winning MARATHON Runner

David DeLaGarza, Don of Tejano Stars La Mafia

Jason Puffer, Your Psychedelic Sex Panther

Tobin Harvell, Fitzgerald's Unflappable Floor Manager

Walter Suhr, the Straw That Stirs Mango Punch!

Tony Garza, La Orquesta Salmerum Founder

OG Ron C, Chopstar King of the Purple Dome

Football, etc., Giving Emo Back Its Good Name

Angela Jae, Renaissance Artist

Shellee Coley, Voice of the Northern Woods

Blaggards, Houston's St. Paddy's Day House Band

DJ Meshak, Hongree Records' Sound Selecter

K-Rino, South Park Coalition's Southside Maven

DJ Candlestick, One Niceguy and a Very Busy DJ

Danielle Renee, Only Beast's Destroyer of Walls

Felipe Galvan of Los Skarnales

Kristine Mills, Houston's Brassiest Voice

Brian Davis, Punk Drummer, Horror Composer

Elroy Boogie, Top-Notch Turntablist

Sean Ozz, Wizard of The Abyss

Alyssa Rubich, Angel of Instability

Alphonso "Fonz" Lovelace, Righteous Drummer

Frank Zweback, Funkmaster General

OG Bobby Trill, Bombon Beatmaker

Beau Beasley, Organist for the End of Time

Rapid Ric, Mixtape Mechanic

Dwight Taylor Lee, the Wandering Bufalero

Coline Creuzot, Soulful Pop/R&B Singer

Cristina Acuna, Cactus Music's Twitter Fingers

Clint Broussard, Blues In Hi-Fi Man Now Back On FM

Nortnii Rose, Houston Ska's Greatest Hope

Ramblin' Chase Hamblin, the Man Who Will Be Paid

Chris Alonzo, Bringing Night Flight to Facebook

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