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The Rocks Off 200: Tom Lynch, New Kid On the Block

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? It's fair to say that singer-songwriter Tom Lynch, a relative newcomer to the local scene, has music in his blood -- both his father and uncles were a touring jazz musicians, who made performance an integral part of Lynch's upbringing.

"'Gig' was a very common term in my household," Lynch remembers. "Every time [family was] over for a holiday, they'd break out their instruments and play."

Lynch took his talents in a different direction with a unique folk-rock sound, backed by some serious guitar skills and poignant, lyrically driven melodies. Not surprisingly, he says that his aspirations of joining in the family business began early; though, it was not until his teenage years that he learned to play -- first piano, then guitar -- thus discovering a diehard passion for the writing process.

"I trapped myself in my room and would play along with anything I could get my hands on," Lynch recalls. "I bought an amp and guitar with money I saved working at a Kroger and spent every waking minute playing until my parents just couldn't take it anymore -- I guess I started writing songs as soon as I learned a couple of chords."

Home Base: Lynch counts Midtown's hippest corner block -- namely, sister venues the Continental Club and the Big Top Lounge -- among his favorite places, both to play and to chill.

"You can't beat live music and tacos," he quips.

Why Do You Stay In Houston? Lynch credits the friendliness and collective modesty of the local music scene as chief factors in his decision to call H-town home.

"I really love the people here," Lynch says. "The music community is filled with great people, and it seems like there are a ton of great bands, but nobody acts like a rock star."

Interview continues on the next page.

Good War Story: With a limited amount of pro-time under his belt, Lynch thinks back a decade to his decidedly least rock-star-like moment, set against the familiar backdrop of a high school battle-of-the-bands stage. Lynch sheepishly remembers performing an oh-so-cliché Led Zeppelin cover with a DIY band comprised of "a drummer who couldn't really keep time, a guitarist who couldn't really play the riffs, a bass player who literally learned to play just because we started a band...and me -- the singer they asked to join cause they heard him singing in the bathroom," he says.

"At the pinnacle point of 'Hey Hey What Can I Do,' I couldn't remember the words for the life of me," Lynch recalls. "And the band just kept circling, waiting for me to come around. So in a moment of angst, I just yelled 'FUUUCK' -- as loud as I could, straight into the mike -- with my parents in the front row."

Music Scene Pet Peeve: Lynch -- whose very presence projects good, old-fashioned optimism -- has a hard time coming up with any major complaints about the local scene, but finally resigns that the lack of positive thinking in some of his peers can be something of a letdown. Specifically, he mentions the "bummer attitude" that moving out of Houston is a requirement for success.

Lynch disagrees with that bandwagon theory, proudly proclaiming: "I love the scene that's growing here right now, and I hope it expands and stays home for a long while."

Four Desert Island Discs:

  • The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds
  • The Beatles,The White Album
  • Paul Simon,Graceland
  • The Police, Synchronicity

Best Concert You Ever Saw: Struggling to choose a favorite because he admits that he's "really liked every concert" he's ever seen, Lynch settles on Phoenix at the Verizon Theater for the No. 1 spot -- adding, in a second breath that: "Billy Joel and Elton John, face-to-face, was rad."

First Song You Fell In Love With: Lynch traces his lyrical creative-roots back to Simon and Garfunkel's "America" -- a tune he fondly remembers rewinding (back when that still happened) and replaying on his childhood Walkman (remember these?), over and over again.

"That was the first time that I really thought that I'd like to tell stories through song," he concludes.

Tom Lynch performs Sat., Dec. 7 at Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge, 3714 Main.

See the rest of the Rocks Off 200, and the Rocks Off 100's 2013 alumni, on the next page.


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


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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