Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, 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 previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.
One of the most recognizable and nicest gentlemen in Houston's dance-music scene is DJ and promoter Damon Allen. With his signature beard, ballcap, and upbeat attitude, Allen reps Houston to the fullest and is always a great source for any musical happenings around town.
Who? Now host of the all-things-rock R.O.C.O night Thursdays at Clutch City Squire, native Houstonian Allen grew up in the Eastwood/Second Ward area, and says he's been involved in music for more than 25 years, "one way or another."
"I got into hip-hop during the early '80s listening to groups like Whodini, Run-DMC, Afrika Bambaata, and Egyptian Lover," he says. "I have always been fascinated with street culture, music, art, and fashion -- anything raw. My interest shifted from hip-hop to punk rock after middle school, and I played with a ,couple of bands.
"Ever since then I have either been playing music, promoting my own events, or DJing around town," Allen adds.
Home Base: Allen says Houston remains his home base, but that he has performed in almost every major U.S. city and state either in a band or as a DJ. The latest are Austin and Denver -- "both amazing music cities," he says.
Why Do You Stay In Houston?"Houston is an open canvas," offers Allen. "The opportunities to perform where you want, how you want, and to who you want are abundant. That says a lot about the diversity of the city. It might not always be at the forefront of every musical genre in terms of audience support, but the audiences that do come out are pretty receptive to new music and concepts.
"You have your ups and downs as a performer here, especially if you are doing something that isn't on the pop- culture radar, or that is easily identified with a certain subculture, but that's life as a performer in Houston," he continues. "You do what you love, and you offer it to your city and you see what happens."
Interview continues on the next page.
Good War Story:I remember back in the mid-'90s, one of my bands and I were on our way to see an instore performance at Sound Exchange," Allen opens. "We also had a show that night."
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We thought it would be a great idea to take LSD. The venue was called Deep Phat, which was in the same area as Emo's Houston. We quickly realize there is no way in hell we can play our set. We couldn't even remember the songs.
The show must go on, though, and so we improvised for about 30 minutes until I had to sit down onstage and ask someone from the audience to tune my guitar. After our performance I asked my friend how we sounded and she said, 'You know when you go see an orchestra perform and they are all tuning their instruments before the performance? Well, kind of like that.'
That was the last time I took acid.
Music Scene Pet Peeve: "Ego."
Five Desert Island Discs:
- Misfits, Astro Zombies
- Black Sabbath, Paranoid
- Fugazi, 13 Songs
- Run DMC, Run DMC
- Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues
Best Show Ever: "Both in Houston!"
Performed: "Fugazi at the Axiom" Attended: "Beastie Boys/Rollins Band/Cypress Hill at the Coliseum"
Allen performs tonight at Clutch City Squire (410 Main), and next Wednesday at Etro (1424 Westheimer).
See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.
THE ROCKS OFF 200
Tom Lynch, New Kid On the Block Ashley Worhol, Goth-Metal Queen of Katy Joe Ortiz, Clockpole's Master of Nonsense Marzi Montazeri, the Man Dimebag Darrell Called a Bad Motherfucker John Salinas, the Beat Beast of Only Beast Homegrown Cowboy Crooner Charles Peters Adam Bricks, NYC Expat Metal Journeyman and Blasé Bassist Alan Hilton Kyra Noons, Houston's Reggae Sunsplash DJ AudiTory, the Maestro of LuvItMane The Nephilim Terror's Death-Metal Growler Danny Carroll Tommy Grindle, Guitarist of Square and Compass The Bailout Bureau's Mysterious "Bob Bovary" DJ Twinkle-Toes, Won a "Dick-Measuring Vinyl Orgy" With Two iPods Beanz N Kornbread, Gmail-Loving Production Duo You(genious), Party Crasher Turned Musical Auteur Daniel Alexander, Klein's Backyard MC
THE ROCKS OFF 100 2013 ALUMNI
Crystal Toliver, Source of That Yello Echo You Hear Mr. Castillo, Song-Sniping DJ DJ Big Reeks, The Chief Waxaholic Melane Gutierrez, The Coffin Queen Folk Descendent Kevin Taylor Kendrick Eloy Contreras, Deathrazor's Sharp Thrash Vocals Robert McCarthy, Guitarist From Beyond Justice Tirapelli-Jamail, The Manichean's "Quiet One" 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 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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