Tonight: The Sand Rubies at Rudyard's

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The Sand Rubies are one of those hard-luck bands ideally suited for a VH-1 special. Formed in 1985 by sometime Houstonian Rich Hopkins and guitarist David Slutes, the Tuscon-based band was originally known as the Sidewinders. They scored a major-label deal and actually cracked into the public consciousness with a couple of minor radio hits and some MTV vids. But legal troubles - business tip: never name your band the same as some shitty cover band from North Carolina - eventually sapped the Sidewinders' momentum and energy.

Hopkins, who has always had a knack for that desert-rock sound, continues to record and play today with his band Luminarios, and more recently he's worked with local writer/vocalist Lisa Novak, releasing the CD Loveland last year. We're not quite certain who will make up Sand Rubies tonight - hopefully Slutes will be on board - but Hopkins is always a sure entertainment bet, so the potential downside is minimal.

9 p.m. tonight at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh, 713-521-0521.

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