Houston Music

The Rocks Off 200: John Janatsch, Mayor of Houston Rock City

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.

Who? We're never quite sure just how much our inner-Loop readers are aware of this, but people out in suburbia like to party. Like, you might catch a wicked cabernet buzz in the Heights once in a while or need a cab after a few craft beers too many at Hay Merchant, but out in the 281 some people don't stop until losing control of their bodily functions. Sadly, we just can't handle that shit anymore, which is why it's so nice to have people like John Janatsch Jr. around.

Janatsch, 45, is our man on Jones Road, and calls into the office every so often to let us know what is going down at BFE Rock Club, pound for pound our choice for the hardest-rocking venue in the Houston area. Some of its neighbors up north give it a pretty good run for the money sometimes, but BFE also tosses in a wrestling night here and there, so it's really not that close.


Besides helping promote shows at BFE, Brooklyn native Janatsch -- a big fan of local jocks Outlaw Dave and Col. St. James who has lived in the area since his single-digit years -- also has a show for the Ampz family of online stations, where he's known as "DJ The1," and a gig as a host and producer for GSP TV Houston, available online or on digital-antenna channel 43.3. Peep him in action at this link; Janatch shows up a little more than six minutes into the clip.

"I personally can't ask a band to sell a show on its own without my going out and being willing to do the same thing," Janatsch says. "As far as interviews, to me it's a treat because not only am I the host of the show, I am also a fan."

Home Base: Easy. BFE, where Janatsch works with in-house promoter Frankie Aluotto to bring in the heaviest shows on the market, such as Mississippi's Saving Abel tomorrow night. His acquaintanceship with the BFE ownership's previous establishment, the excellently named Forget About It, led to his current gig. Best of all, BFE books not only better-known acts like Podunk and Lillian Axe, but groups whose names would work just as well for adult films: Shaving Susie, Primal Impulse, our old pals Bozo Porno Circus, and so forth. Love it.

"Me growing up in the Bear Creek area since '76, it seemed like the perfect fit," he says.

Good War Story: Janatsch was once hosting a concert featuring Houston hard rockers Hindsight, who are part of Friday's Saving Abel bill, when things got a little messy.

"I was asked by the club to remove someone from stage," he begins. "While removing her from the club she literally shit herself in the parking lot then dropped her pants to finish."

Oh, but he's not done.

"If that is too dirty (lol), there was a time hosting Inner Image where a drunk went up onstage with a prosthetic leg and passed out," Janatsch recalls. "While removing her from the stage, she almost lost her leg while I carried her off stage!"

Good lord.

Story continues on the next page.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray