The Rocks Off 100: Vik Montemayor, Bang Bangz's Seamless Timekeeper

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: Vik Montemayor handles the percussion in one of Houston's hottest bands, Bang Bangz. The group started off as an offshoot of Mario Rodriguez's Tax the Wolf, but with the addition of Elizabeth Salazar on lead vocals, BB has really made a name for itself as something special. The trio's debut self-titled EP is a haunting collection of indie night music that remains in regular play on my iPod.

Montemayor brings a subtle understatement to his percussion, a testament to his previous work in many bands as a hired studio gun. Flash isn't his thing, just the steady, professional, and most of all seamless ability to weave his rhythms in and out of the melodies produced by his colleagues. Look for a new album from them come next year.

Home Base: "Mario and Ely have a sick studio/loft pad right by downtown, so we make noise there when we practice," he says. "Not sure how the neighbors feel about it though... Haha!"

As far as favorite places to play in town, Montemayor prefers the upstairs stage at Fitzgerald's for its ability to get a great sound in the audience.

Good War Story: "Being in a band is always a war in itself," says Montemayor. "It's like you have three or four different relationships going on at once. One time in a band I was with we traveled to Toronto to play a music fest. Our equipment was flown to NYC instead of Detroit, where we had to transfer to another flight. We had a show booked that night so the plan was to fly from Detroit to Buffalo, N.Y., then drive up to Toronto.

We waited hours and hours for our gear," he continues. "OK, so it finally arrives. We hit the road and as soon as we pull up to cross the border into Canada the border guy was a total douche with his long red beard. He held us back another few hours (I wanted to punch him so bad). We made it into Toronto just in time to play."

Music Scene Pet Peeve: Montemayor, like a lot of musicians, tends to find promoters who break agreements or make big promises they can't keep to be the most frustrating thing in the scene.

5 Desert Island Discs:

  • The Killers, Hot Fuss
  • Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • Any Miles Davis record
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication
  • Technicolor Fabrics, Ideas

Best Show Ever: "Opening for Washed Out," says Montemayor. "That was amazing! The feeling is indescribable."

First Song You Ever Fell in Love With: "Deftones," "My Own Summer."

Bang Bangz plays the Fitz Navidad Celebration with Craig Kinsey, Mystery Flavor, Poor Pilate, Benjamin Wesley, A Sea Es, thelastplaceyoulook, La Catrin, Hot Pants, Glass the Sky and Featherface Thursday, December 20, at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak, www.fitzlivemusic.com.

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