Note: this article has been amended to remove Ministry's Al Jourgensen, who announced that he moved to Los Angeles in July.
By Chris Gray and Matthew Keever
TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION (Honorable Mention) Some of our more genteel readers may be wondering who the hell Texas Hippie Coalition even is, not to mention how they landed on a list that purports to (informally) rank the Lone Star State's biggest rock stars. (Note: if not for recent romantic fluctuations, Kelly Clarkson and Robert Plant would have come in at Nos. 4 and 1, respectively.) But THC -- mind those initials -- has amassed quite a following without drawing much mainstream media attention; they have twice as many Facebook fans as the Old 97's, for example.
The Sherman-based badasses recently wrapped a stint on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem tour and are looking ahead to their fourth full-length album, Ride On, in October. Loudly glorifying the outlaw lifestyle in haymaking songs like "Pissed Off and Mad About It" and "Clenched Fist," these hippies ain't the band to come running to for a little peace and love. Those songs come from an album called Pride of Texas (their 2008 debut), if you're looking for a better idea where their heads are at.
10. BLUE OCTOBER Front man Justin Furstenfeld may be best known for Blue October's downtrodden lyricism and pessimistic metaphors. However, the vocalist and creative force behind the Houston-spawned modern rockers recently reinvented himself as an uplifting songwriter. Furstenfeld penned all the lyrics for the band's 2013 album Sway, which brims will hopefulness.
9. BOWLING FOR SOUP Twenty years is a long time in the music industry, especially for a pop-rock group whose members never took themselves too seriously. But after 12 albums and a Grammy nomination, Denton's Bowling for Soup have proved themselves more than a fad, recently wrapping another stint on the Vans Warped Tour.
8. FLYLEAF Despite the departure of longtime vocalist and co-founder Lacey Sturm, who amicably left the hard rockers to pursue her faith, the Belton-born Flyleaf saunters on with new singer Kristen May. In fact, they have another album due out next month and a Scout Bar show scheduled for October 7. Flyleaf's eponymous 2005 debut has been certified platinum, and the Central Texans still make regular trips to Austin to enjoy the music scene.
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7. SPOON When Spoon's They Want My Soul debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 earlier this month, it wasn't surprising so much because it charted so high but because it did so after the band had effectively been dormant since wrapping the touring chores for 2010's Transference, another No. 4 debut. Front man Britt Daniel had spent much of the intervening years with his other band Divine Fits, bouncing between Texas, L.A. and Portland.
But Spoon is an Austin band through and through. Their 1996 debut, Telephono, is all songs Daniel wrote expressly to perform at UT-area bar Hole In the Wall, and drummer Jim Eno has been proprietor of one of the city's most popular recording studios, Public Hi-Fi, for more than 15 years.
6. TOADIES A few years back, we personally asked drummer Mark Reznicek if he and the rest the Toadies would consider moving to Houston. Unfortunately, their pesky families are keeping them in Fort Worth (we kid, we kid) but at least the alt-rock quartet still calls Texas home. Here's hoping these natives continue performing their unique style of blues-infused grunge for years to come.
5. TED NUGENT The gonzo guitar-rocker and right-wing agitator has yet to come up with a Texas-specific nickname as catchy as "Motor City Madman," but Nugent has been a citizen of the Waco area for more than a decade, moving his family from Michigan to a ranch near Crawford in mid-2003. There, he reportedly shared a fenceline with then-president George W. Bush's "Western White House."
In 2006, the Nuge bought a home closer to town, and the popular Fox News guest has remained a vocal participant in national and Texas politics, up to this February's ill-advised comments while endorsing GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott that finally seemed to muzzle him...a little.
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4. TOM ARAYA (SLAYER) Just yesterday, Slayer announced their return to the studio to record another album -- their first since 2009's World Painted Blood, first on Nuclear Blast Records; and first since late guitarist Jeff Hanneman's 2013 death. Ex-drummer Dave Lombardo reacted to the news by telling Blabbermouth.net that he was definitely never coming back to the death-metal dark lords.
Of course this means bassist/singer Tom Araya will have to again temporarily leave his cozy spread near Buffalo, where he has lived for some 20 years after moving to be near his then-pregnant wife's family. As he explained to us last November, "Now I'm completely Texan-ized."
3. MEAT LOAF The iconic thespian-turned-musician with a voice of gold (who still occasionally moonlights as an actor) came back to Texas in 2012, relocating to Austin from Calabasas, Calif. It would seem he would do anything for love except return to Dallas, and we can't blame him. With sales of more than 43 million copies worldwide, 1977's Bat Out of Hell solidified him on the world stage and, despite a few hiccups, his entire catalog still holds strong as well.
2. ZZ TOP Musically speaking, the Bearded Ones have been Houston's leading goodwill ambassadors for as long as anyone can remember, as in their spot touting Mexican food and the local music scene in the Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau's "My Houston" campaign. And besides that timeless tube snake boogie, one of the reasons the trio remains so beloved is that they've never pulled up stakes for flashier ZIP codes.
Last we heard, the three men had divided the Houston area into three practically equal territories, too. Without giving too much away, Billy Gibbons is a Westside man (though he does spend a good bit of time in his L.A. mansion just off the Strip), while bassist Dusty Hill abides in the Woodlands area and drummer Frank Beard makes camp in Fort Bend County. Sadly, Wednesday ZZ Top's publicist announced they had to postpone next month's scheduled Mitchell Pavilion show with Jeff Beck after Hill injured himself on his tour bus, so get well soon, Dusty.
1. DON HENLEY The Eagles may have defined Southern California soft-rock throughout the '70s, but an essential component of their sound was the country, blues and early rock and roll Don Henley absorbed in his Piney Woods youth near Linden. The whole reason he came to L.A. was because his earlier band Shiloh had made enough of a name for themselves in the Dallas area to leave Texas behind and get signed to a record deal -- by Kenny Rogers, no less.
Once he had enough life in the fast lane, though, Henley relocated back to the Metroplex in the mid-'90s after his L.A.-area home was destroyed in the Northridge earthquake. Not only could he raise his family in peace, but it gave him a chance to be relatively near Caddo Lake, the preservation of which has long been a cause close to the longtime environmentalist's heart. With an estimated worth of as much as $200 million, he's one of the world's greenest rock stars all right.
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