The Tontons: "We Are Really Into ELO"

One of the best things about living in Houston is the music. The city is very diverse and unique, as are its bands. Not to mention some of the greatest artists from various genres have come from here: Scarface, ZZ Top, Clay Walker and plenty more. Right at the cusp of the indie scene is none other than the Tontons.

Rocks Off was able to catch up with the band and talk to them about their last tour, what we can expect from them at their upcoming show at Free Press Summer Fest and what they would do if they got "two tickets to paradise."

Rocks Off: So I was on your Web site blog and saw your photos. It sounds like you had a lot of fun while on your last tour. Any funny stories to tell?

Tontons: That tour was fun; we were able to do more exploring in every city we went to than we have in the past. The show in Marfa was really cool; I'm pretty sure we saw some X-Files-type stuff when we saw the Marfa lights.

We started to freak out because we were the only ones at the viewing spot in the middle of the night and the lights seemed to be getting really close to us. Probably more scary than funny.

RO: I listened to some of your music and I sense a bit of a West Coast influence (think aspects of early No Doubt or maybe early Sam Phillips). Who are your influences?

TT: Never really thought about a West Coast influence. We all have such different tastes in music, so it's hard to really say. It ranges from Dimebag [Darrell] to Billie Holiday to The Band. Right now we are really into ELO.

RO: If you could have a dream duet with any one of these influences, which one and what song of theirs would you sing?

TT: João Gilberto, "Besame Mucho."

RO: What can we expect as far as new songs go for Free Press Summer Fest? Any really cool surprises?

TT: We might be trying out some stuff at FPSF...

RO: I like that song "Dancing." Could you tell us a little bit about what inspired that song?

TT: It was a song that Adam came up with and at the time was a lot different from the stuff we were writing. It was really just our first attempt towards a "dance"-type song.

RO: To quote Eddie Money, if you got "Two tickets to paradise / Won't you pack your bags and leave tonite," where would you go if you got those tickets and how long would you stay?

TT: We all have been wanting to go to Japan, don't know how long, but it would be cool.

RO: If you could own a very valuable album (like a first pressing record by the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, Buckingham Nicks, etc), which one would you buy and why?

TT I don't know if it's valuable, but Robo Arigo, Sexy Thing. It's this sick Nigerian funk record from the '80s and there is only a poor digital bootleg available. The original probably sounds amazing.

RO: Lastly, what inspires your music?

TT: Pizza and rock and roll.

The Tontons play Free Press Summer Fest at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 3, on Stage 7.

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