The Rocks Off 100: Justice Tirapelli-Jamail, The Manichean's "Quiet One"

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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? The Manichean? Easily one of the top bands in Houston? They just did LOVERS at the Alley Theatre again? Good, glad we're all caught up.

Where Cory Sinclair is the haunting wordsmith who lays out the lyrics and the spoken-word, it's Justice Tirapelli-Jamail who cobbles out the music that becomes all those avant-garde compositions. He brings the basic bones to Sinclair, and after hashing out the more-or-less finished concept he instructs the rest of the band in exactly what they're doing. He's also responsible for all the basic managerial paperwork, a quiet genius in the back making brilliant contributions to one of our best acts. You see him in the back of the show, playing with subtle intensity.

As to how they met, well...

"Cory and I met when I was 16 and he was 21 in the back alleyway of a Long John Silver's," says Justice via email. "He was scavenging for any fish sticks that hadn't yet turned and I was just going where the treasure map told me to go. Someone must have gotten to the gold already though, because all I found was pirate's chest with nothing but a still-wrapped Hoobastank CD in it.

"Cory and I struck up a conversation and found that we had a strikingly similar goal -- to create a doo-wop orchestra called Dubstep Twombly & the Quattro Stagioni's," Justice continues. "We knew we'd need to begin with a band where the ideas were a bit less grand than that and work up to it, so we started writing songs together in the back of an old Stop-N-Go, and that's how we got the name The Manichean."


The Manichean at the Alley Theatre, 6/28/13

Home Base: The Manichean maintains a downtown rehearsal space, but Justice does most of his writing in his apartment that shares a wall with Sinclair. When he was living at home all his songs were composed in the bathroom, but it's much easier these days.

The band's recent run at the Alley makes it Justice's personal choice for performance. Much of the Manichean's catalog is narrative in nature, and the theater setting allows for a better presentation than a regular rock club.

Why Do You Stay in Houston? "Everyone who lives here seems to loathe it, and everyone who loves it seems to leave," Justice explains. "I love this city. I've lived here my whole life, traveled all over the U.S. and the world, and I always look forward to coming home. It's dirty, it's disjointed, it's hot and humid as fuck, but the skyline is gorgeous, the winters are comfortable, and there's museums, restaurants, bars, and venues to rival any major city's.

On top of all this, there are a plethora of people living in this city who are as beautiful as the art and music they create -- more than I could even begin to name," he adds. "I wouldn't rather live anywhere else right now."

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, The Road
  • Leonard Cohen, The Essential Leonard Cohen
  • Say Hi, The Wishes and the Glitch
  • Benoît Pioulard, Lasted
  • listenlisten, Dog

Music Scene Pet Peeve: If there's anything that irks Justice it's when people complain about the music scene without offering any solutions. If you can't think of a change you can make to help make the scene all it could be, then don't bother bitching to him.

Good War Story:Justice once ran afoul of a nationwide booking network whose name is fairly well-known among musicians. Some have called it a scam, while he calls it "one of these organizations that book dead dates in venues on off evenings and things of that nature."

How they do this is by booking around six bands (at least), mostly made up of high-school kids that live in the suburbs and don't know how the music scene works, to play the show. They then proceed to have said bands promote the event themselves by telling them that whoever sells the most tickets gets to choose their time slot and so on down the line.

But that's not all. They make the kids print the show's tickets out themselves and return whichever ones they don't sell (without reimbursing them for paper and ink costs, might I add). Each band gets to keep a small percentage of the tickets they sold. Meanwhile, it does effectively nothing but book a band that doesn't know any better, then sit back until it's time to collect. I don't have much respect for people who take advantage of the unaware.

We played one of their shows not knowing any of this, but knowing that it wasn't right once we found out. We'd already been playing shows for a few years and had a good idea of whether or not you're being taken advantage of. After that experience they continued to contact us through MySpace and Facebook messages -- always by a woman named Amy who I highly doubt exists. Each time I would respond by politely asking them to go fuck themselves and then not hear back from them until they would ask us to play another show as if nothing had happened.

Finally, upon contacting us through our email account, I had the chance to once again ask that they 'Please refer to one of the many earlier responses in which I requested that [she] and the rest of [them] crawl down a deep, dark hole, far outside the sonic reaches of any other human, and fuck [themselves] for the rest of eternity,' amongst other things. At no point did I mention any reasons for harboring such disdain.

Their response? A brief note informing me that we had been removed from any and all email lists and that I should 'get my facts straight' -- even though I stated no facts -- and that we should rent out Fitzgerald's, as they would 'love to hear that we are doing 100-plus shows' -- which we have done on more than one occasion.

This was then followed by a pre-written release stating that they do the opposite of all the things that they actually do. I haven't heard from them since, which in and of itself makes it feel like a win for me.

First Song You Fell In Love With: TLC, "No Scrubs."

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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


Charlie Horshack, LP4's Guitar Warrior

Kathryn Hallberg, Little Girl Gone

Tessa Kole, PuraPharm's Voice and Vice

Richard Griesser, Vintage Camera Hound With Enviable Archive

Downfall 2012, Sci-Fi Metal Storytellers

Kevin Choate, Drum Like You're Screaming

DJ Rockwell, Booth Pimp and Party-Rocker

Ash Kay, the Freakouts' Punk Vocal Head-Butt

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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