Monday, December 16, 2013

Twelve Bands in Austin (You Really Should Go See)

Twelve Bands in Austin
(sing to the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas)

By Sean Claes

The First Band in Austin you really should go see... is
One-Eyed Doll with Junior and Kimberly

The second band in Austin that you really should go see is
Walt Wilkins

…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

The Third band in Austin you really should go see is

…Walt Wilkins
…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

The Fourth band in Austin you really should go see is
Tee-Double’s words

…Walt Wilkins
…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

The Fifth band in Austin you really should go see is
SisDeville with Shelley King

…Tee-Double’s words
…Walt Wilkins
…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

The Sixth band in Austin you really should go see is
Los Texas Wranglers

…SisDeville with Shelley King
…Tee-Double’s words
…Walt Wilkins
…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

The Seventh band in Austin you really should go see is
Street Light Suzie

…Los Texas Wranglers
…SisDeville with Shelley King
…Tee-Double’s words
…Walt Wilkins
…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

The Eighth band in Austin you really should go see is
Execution By Music

…Street Light Suzie
…Los Texas Wranglers
…SisDeville with Shelley King
…Tee-Double’s words
…Walt Wilkins
…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

The Ninth band in Austin you really should go see is
Nakia, man can he sing!

…Execution By Music
…Street Light Suzie
…Los Texas Wranglers
…SisDeville with Shelley King
…Tee-Double’s words
…Walt Wilkins
…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

The Tenth band in Austin you really should go see is
Matt The Electrician

…Nakia, man can he sing!
…Execution By Music
…Street Light Suzie
…Los Texas Wranglers
…SisDeville with Shelley King
…Tee-Double’s words
…Walt Wilkins
…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

The Eleventh band in Austin you really should go see is
Sister Seven’s Patrice Pike

…Matt The Electrician
…Nakia, man can he sing!
…Execution By Music
…Street Light Suzie
…Los Texas Wranglers
…SisDeville with Shelley King
…Tee-Double’s words
…Walt Wilkins
…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

The Twelfth band in Austin you really should go see is
Alejandro Escovedo

…Sister Seven’s Patrice Pike
…Matt The Electrician
…Nakia, man can he sing!
…Execution By Music
…Street Light Suzie
…Los Texas Wranglers
…SisDeville with Shelley King
…Tee-Double’s words
…Walt Wilkins
…and One Eyed Doll with Jr. and Kimberly

Websites/links for bands listed:

1. One-Eyed Doll -
2. Walt Wilkins -
3. Three33 -
4. Tee-Double -
5. Sisdeville -
   Shelley King -
6. Los Texas Wranglers -
7. Street Light Suzie -
8. Execution By Music -
9. Nakia -
10. Matt The Electrician -
11. Patrice Pike -
12. Alejandro Escovedo -

Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. He wishes you and yours a very Merry Christmas (or Happy Celebration of the December month in the way you most prefer to celebrate). To visit Claes' homepage, go here - 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

CD REVIEWS: Blue October & A Good Rogering

Blue October
Up/Down Records

What impresses me about Blue October is they are still grounded even though they are at the point in their career that few people would hold it against them if they weren’t. Sway is the band’s seventh studio album. But this album is a homecoming for the band.

The band, made up of Justin Furstenfeld (vocals), Jeremy Furstenfeld (drums), Ryan Delahoussaye (violin), C.B. Hudson (guitar), and Matt Noveskey (bass), recorded Sway back at Firehouse Studio in San Marcos, Texas… which was the city where the band first gained fame.

I remember being an SWT college student when Consent To Treatment came out with the “Big Time” Peter Gabrielesque cover. I also remember thinking that this was a band I’d never get into, sounded just like the really bad stuff that was emerging in the music scene and that they’d have a short shelf life.

Well… they proved me wrong. They’ve been around for about 18 years and have become impressive both live and on record. They hooked me in around 2006 when “Hate Me” came out and I found it more honest than most anything I’d heard in a long time.

Fast forward to Sway. They’ve gone away from the Peter Gabriel covers and seemed to embrace his sound instead. I found songs like the title track, “Angels in Everything” and “Not Broken Anymore” akin to the Gabriel sound… in the best way possible. Kind of like Foileds “Into the Ocean.”

If you’re looking for the anger of “Hate Me” or Approaching Normal’s “Dirt Room” look no further than “Hard Candy.” That track straight-up rocks.
“I used to act like a soldier / I never even picked up a gun / I used to dress like a hooker / But never seemed to hook anyone.”

Other call-outs on the 13-track Sway include “Put It In” and “Angels In Everything.”

It’s little surprise that the album, which came out in August 2013, shot to #1 on the Billboard Alternative charts . They’ve released “Bleed Out” and “Angels in Everything” as singles. The highest position on Billboard was “Bleed Out” at #24. I have a feeling if they release “Hard Candy” they’ll pop into the Top 10. It’s that good.

The band announced on Twitter that you can pick up Sway for just $2.99 from November 30-December 2. I suggest you do so. Link:
- Sean Claes

A Good Rogering
Suffering Dog Records

Skunk Manhattan and Chef Bull RD have outdone themselves on A Good Rogering’s 2013 release Lifeblood. Released in August, this is a natural musical progression from their 2010 EP Long Overdue.

The album kicks off with the beautiful and delicate piano of “Prelude in G Minor” before unleashing the guitar-driven “Care for a Rat In The Face” which I think is a Double-entendre as the song launches in a way that reminds me of “Round and Round” by Ratt before kicking in.

Lifeblood contains some of the most brutal technically sound metal I’ve heard come out of Austin for a while. Manhattan is an amazingly talented guitarist and Bull RD goes lick-for-lick with him on the bass. Plus, it’s hard rock radio friendly… as much as Pantera or Rob Zombie is anyhow... as Bull RD’s vocals have that classic Zombie/Hetfield/Lemmy growl.

Standouts on the 10-track disc include the rocking grunt-driven “Caveman Angry,” the fantastic title track, and “Melodic Intercourse” which is an instrumental that builds from a jazzy jam to a full-on guitar-solo that would make Eddie Van Halen salivate.

“Under The Gun” is one of my favorites on the album. “I may be a sinner but you’re no saint / And now I see they’re one and the same  / They police and love to condescend  / Commit the crime then do it again”

Their epic closer to Lifeblood is the 9:15 long “Silent Lantern.”

If you enjoy music that makes you want to throw your head back and yell out a primal scream while shooting the horns up proudly, this album could be what you’ve been waiting for.

Check them out at
 - Sean Claes

Monday, November 25, 2013


You've no doubt seen the Goldieblox commercial which uses a parody of The Beastie Boys' "Girls" within the really, really cool video of girls setting off a Rube Goldgerg Machine.

If not.. here is is:

Well.. seems they didn't ask the Beastie Boys for permission... and that sparked a trail of feedback when word got out that the band didn't seem to be OK with that. Really quick and negative press condemning Beastie Boys for their actions.
- Like this one from
- And this coverage fom

Well, today their publicity company, Nasty Little Man released an open letter from the surviving members of Beastie Boys.

Here is the letter:


Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial "GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys," we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad.

We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.
As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads. When we tried to simply ask how and why our song "Girls" had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Zane Williams Interview

Texas Country Artist Zane Williams
An Overnight Success 13 Years In The Making
Courtesy Photo

By Sean Claes
Listening to KOKE FM one day on my commute from work, I caught this tongue-in-cheek song about the trials and tribulations of making it in music. The name of the song was “Overnight Success.” It was a by-and-large autobiographical tune by a new-to-me Texas country singer-songwriter by the name of Zane Williams.

What struck me about the song was, it was funny without being dumb. It was believable while being entertaining. It was the delivery, the words, the melody. To me, “Overnight Success” is an amazingly well-written and performed song. I wanted to find out more about the artist.

Zane Williams is Texas born (Abiline) and has called Kentucky, West Virginia, California, and Tennessee his home before moving back to Texas in 2008 and settling in McKinney.

He has four albums under his belt including Hurry Home (2006), The Right Place (2009), Ride With Me (2011) and Overnight Success (2013).

Well, kind of like the song, even though I “discovered” him only a few weeks ago, Williams has been at it on a full-time basis since 2000 when a Nashville booking agent got him a gig playing the college circuit. He’s actually won a string of songwriting contests and has been a Nashville writer. One of those prize winners, “Hurry Home,” was taken to #14 on the Country charts in 2010 when Jason Michael Carroll covered it.

Sean Claes: Tell me about “Hurry Home,” the song that both garnered you the top prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in 2005 and a top14 hit when Jason Michael Carroll covered it.
Zane Williams: I wrote it in 1999 after first moving to Nashville.  It won a lot of song contests over the years but was never recorded.  Then in 2007 a guy bought my CD at a show in Nashville, gave it to his friend who was a lawyer at Sony/BMG, who gave it to an A&R guy at Sony, who played it for Jason.  I view it as a modern-day retelling of the Prodigal Son story.

Claes: You won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest again in 2007 with “Hope Is A Flame” which you released on 2011’s Ride With Me. How did that song come about?
Williams: I was writing for a publishing company in Nashville at the time…doing that full time instead of touring and making records.  So I just came in every day and tried to write a song. 

I wrote that one on piano and when it was “finished” a friend in A&R said the lyrics were too abstract.  So I re-wrote the whole thing, and I did think it turned out better the second time.

Claes: The Right Place was produced by Radney Foster. How did he end up producing the record, and how was the experience working with him.
Williams: I had just moved back to Texas and was new to the Texas scene.  But I knew Radney was a great writer and had produced the Randy Rogers Band, whose stuff I loved. 

He had no idea who I was, so it took 4 months of bugging him and everyone connected to him before he finally listened to my music.  When he did, he loved it and immediately wanted to work with me.

Claes: Pat Green just cut one of your tracks, “While I Was Away” which is also on your June 2013 release Overnight Success.  It seems like a very personal story. How is it hearing Pat Green sing the song you wrote about your son?
Williams: I love hearing other people interpret my songs and give them a life of their own.  I’ve heard Pat’s version and it was really cool to hear that recognizable voice singing my lyrics!

Claes: You penned every track on Overnight Success. Do you have a favorite song?
Williams: Probably “While I Was Away”.  The more I sing it, the more I realize how many people can relate to it.  I think that one’s going to be a hit for Pat (and for me).

Claes: Speaking of the new album, the title track about the road to the top in music was what introduced me to your music. How much of “Overnight Success” was autobiographical?
Williams: I’ve lived out every single line in that song.  I only changed very slight details….for instance; I actually borrowed $17K from my grandparents to make my first CD, not $10K from my uncle.  Ha.  Paid them back in one year, too!!

Claes: You include a little jab at American Idol at the end of the song.  What do you think of those types of reality TV for musicians?
Williams: I think they’re a good option if you have a killer voice and don’t have much else going on.  If you already have a publishing deal, or record deal, it’s not really worth signing all that away. 

But a lot of people who go on those shows and become an “overnight success” have actually been doing music for years and years, so really there is no shortcut to becoming amazing

Claes: While on the subject of reality TV, you are featured on Troubadour TX. Of course, that’s a little different, as it tells the story of the working musician, rather than competing for a spotlight in a studio. How did you get involved in that show?
Williams: One of the original producers had seen me play locally in McKinney, TX where he lived.  When they were doing their first audition, he emailed me (along with many others) and asked if I wanted to come. 

(Screenshot from
Claes: I watched the episode where you opened up for Martina McBride. What was that experience like?
Williams: It was a whirlwind trip because I had to fly all the way to northern California and back in a short time period.  But for the short time I was there, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable experience!  I got to meet Martina and she was very sweet to me.

Claes: Who has been some of the musicians you’ve met along the way that have given you good advice? Can you share a little bit?
Williams: My producer Tom Faulkner had a major label deal at one point, and he always has insightful things to say about his experiences. 

My buddy Aaron Watson told me a lot about the Texas music scene when I moved back, and helped me get oriented. 

The best advice is the Nike slogan “Just Do It”.  No one has a magic solution, and what worked for someone else might not work for you.  You just have to jump in, do the best you can, and learn as you go.

Claes: Who are some of the musicians out right now that everyone should hear?
Williams: I love Charlie Worsham’s new record, and I really hope he does well with it.

I also like the Turnpike Troubadours a lot, musically and personally. 

I still think Randy Rogers is the king of red dirt…he has been so consistent putting out great songs over the years.

Kacey Musgraves is another one who I hope makes it big because her songs have depth and cleverness to them that is lacking in a lot of popular songs these days. 

Williams’ new CD, Overnight Success can be found on iTunes (along with his previous releases). Take a listen to his stuff on his website You can also check there to see when he plays next. The last chance to catch him around the Austin area is Thursday, November 14 at Gruene Hall (Gruene, Texas) where he’s playing a free show at 6:00p. 

Sean Claes is the owner of Austin's INsite Magazine and has been a freelance entertainment writer since 1996. If you like what you read... please share. To visit Claes' homepage, go here -

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Guest Column + Free Track by Tee Double - Inner City Blues

Terrany "Tee Double" Johnson - Photo by Amanda Garcia
Inner City Blues
By: Tee-Double

Growing up in Austin,Texas some may think with the many bars and festivals and hip clothing stores and such that the racial tone is virtually non-existent.

They would be wrong. It is an ongoing struggle, not just in the entertainment section of Austin, but in everyday life. There have been many shootings of kids of color and little justice. Often hard court battles follow if the families want compensation for their unreplaceable loss.

I can remember walking back to school from lunch when I was at Reagan High School as a freshman and a truck driving by me and my friends with some guy yelling "Get back to school nigger!" 

This was not my first time hearing the word but the first time it was directed in such a negative and violent way.

I went home that night and wrote I believe one of my first songs which title I can't recall but it got my pen moving and helped me recognize I had a voice and many thoughts my friends had as well but couldn't utter for whatever reason.

As I've grown I've been blessed to achieve my dreams in music by releasing many albums and being on many advisory and governor boards, but each time I sit in those board rooms I think "what can I do to advance the reach of artists of color in Austin?"

So I founded the Urban Artist Alliance which is designed to educate artists on how to own their "masters" recordings and publishing so in the future they might have revenue streams coming from their dreams they recorded in hopes of a deal or just to express.

With the Trayvon Martin case the issue of race has risen its head higher than before after a nice nap of people being concerned with other issues.If you're not black our of color you could never understand the suspicion placed on you when you enter a retail store or a music venue and people thinking you will steal, kill or fight.

Some love to blame the culture of Hip Hop as a launching pad for this but in actuality when the culture was controlled by its creators it was the CNN of our neighborhoods, telling us the truth of the politics affecting us and the police brutality we finally saw after Rodney King but NWA had rapped for years and many folks of color already saw.

What is race? A competition to the finish? A jockeying for position? What is the end result? To dominate another people or gender? 

I speak for those who have no voice 
to say these inner city blues 
won't hold me down 
or make me sing 
a song of woes 
in a field of depression 
but allow me to celebrate 
the strength of a people 
who for years have been told 
to stay in your place, 
 cry in silence 
and keep it moving.

So I say sorry world WE no longer are silent but as joyous as we could be as justice is within reach for all people as cycles return. The next race could be yours and this pain might finally be understood.

I could go on but I have more songs of struggle and and the overcoming of to write. 

Shine on.

Free Track:

"Sorry World" is from his 2013 release Rosie's Boy. Buy the album here

Editor's Note: Tee Double was the on the cover of the August 2010 issue of INsite Magazine. Read that story here: link

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Ten Bands To Catch at Warped Tour 2013

By Sean Claes

The Vans Warped Tour 2013 rolls into San Antonio's AT&T Center parking lot on August 3, 2013 and with it nine-plus stages of music and 95-plus bands that cover a gamut of genres including pop, punk, ska, metal, and acoustic.

This will be my third Warped  Tour (you can see some of my photos from Warped 2012 here - link), so I've had the chance to do run the gauntlet a few times.

In case this is your first Warped... it can be a little daunting to go through the list of bands and pick ones to see...and maneuver through the stages to make it to the shows on time.... so INsite decided to create a short list of bands that will make it worth your while... here's 10 bands to catch during Warped 2013. I listed my picks in alphabetical order and I included a video with each one, just so you can get a taste of their sound.

August Burns Red
This Pennsylvania metalcore band has been at it for a decade. They've risen to the top of their "mainstream" game thus far with their 2013 release Rescue & Restore reaching #9 on the US Billboard charts. They're topped the Christian charts with three albums previous. Look to them for a punishing and positive set. Here's a taste with their new single "Fault Line."

Black Veil Brides
Filling in the KISS / Mötley Crüe / Marilyn Manson / Avenged Sevenfold slot in 2013, Black Veil Brides will be sure to give a good show... and like the aforementioned "shock rockers" they've got the musical chops to back up their costumes and make-up.

Bowling For Soup
 Looks like the last chance to see these Texas rockers. They announced in April that October will be their final tour. Stacy's mom is pissed.

 Metalcore from Osaka Japan. That's just all kinds of awesome.

I Can Make A Mess
When Ace Enders isn't playing with The Early November... he's playing with I Can Make A Mess. Of course.. I prefer the band's full title:  "I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business" but I guess the record label didn't.. and when he signed to Rise Records in 2013 they officially shortened the name. Oh... The Early November is also playing Warped 2013... so you've got two chances to see Ace.

Memphis May Fire
So, I mention below that I saw Kellen McGegor from Memphis May Fire jump on stage with Sleeping With Sirens at Warped 2012. I hope to catch HIS band's set this year. I was impressed with his delivery... and it doesn't hurt that the band is from Texas. 

Reel Big Fish
One of the coolest things about Warped Tour is the versatility in the bands. Reel Big Fish... known for their ska-punk sound and their 1997 his "Sell Out" will be jamming to a whole new generation of kids. And that is awesome. If you're going to discover ska... this is one of the few bands that have done it the right way for over 15 years.... and that's how old the average audience member at Warped is... right?

Sleeping With Sirens
On the heels of the release of their 2013 album Feel Sleeping With Sirens take the stage again at Warped. I caught their set last year at Warped when Kellen McGegor from Memphis May Fire jumped on stage with them. I hope to catch their set again this year.

The Wonder Years
Fresh from the release of their 4th LP The Greatest Generation The Wonder Years have been delivering their brand of upbeat, fist-pumping pop-punk since 2005. And, yes, their name came from the TV show. I wonder if Winnie Cooper crowd surfs?

We Came As Romans
Michigan melodic metalcore makes it to Warped 2013. They've got that clean-vocals-meets-scream sound that defines melodic metalcore. Always fun to catch live.

Please comment below with your picks, as I'm sure I missed your favorite. 

See you at the Van's Warped Tour in San Antonio on 8/3 at the AT&T Center.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Wendy Davis" by the Bright Light Social Hour

We  don't discuss politics at INsite.. we just wanted to share the new song by the Bright Light Social Hour.

What do you think?

If you like it download it for free here - Bright Light Social Hour - "Wendy Davis"

Thursday, May 30, 2013



MAY 31, 2013

Mike Truth 20

This year marks the Twentieth Year that Mike Truth/MC Truth has been performing under that moniker in the Austin area. The only way to celebrate this event is by performing with his friends on a very special night at a very special venue.

Outside Stage
Mike Truth & The Replacement Killers - 12:30am

Red Goes Faster - 11:30pm

Righteous Brisket - 10:30pm

Hey, Gurl - 9:30pm

Before The Devil Knows You're Dead - 8:30pm

$5 Adults

$8 Minors

Also In The Lounge (free show)

Blasted Engines - 12 midnight

Swamp Bats - 10:15pm

The Standoffs - 9:00pm

Both Shows are All Ages Events.

Doors at 8p

Facebook Invite: here

Red Eyed Fly

715 Red River Street

Austin, Texas 78701

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Old Settler's Music Festival 2013

 Old Settler's Music Festival
Bluegrass for the Masses

By Sean Claes
Each year, bluegrass takes over the Salt Lick Pavillion in Driftwood, Texas. If you’re a fan of Mumford and Sons… you really should come out and check out Old Settlers Music Festival. It features bands each year that are the roots of that style of music. Those who are seasoned vets of OSMF will probably not like me saying that, as it’s a nice relaxed festival that isn’t too crowded and you get hands-on time with musicians and music. It really is a family friendly, tie-dye wearing, hoot-and-a-hollar of a time.

Really. We celebrated my almost 9 year old’s first birthday there. Gave cake to the crowd as the band sang her happy birthday from the stage…along with the few hundred people who were there that afternoon.

So, what’s on the docket for this year? Well, allow INsite to guide you through the band list and point out some you should come out to see.

Old Settlers Music Festival

Old Settler’s Music Festival FREE Pre-Party 4/17

There is a pre-party going on Wednesday Night. It is free and open to the public and is kind of an added bonus for the earlybirds and campers. It’s only at the Camp Ben McCulloch Camp Grounds Stage (18301 FM 1826) which is across the street from the Salt Lick Pavillion.

If you make it out, be sure to hang around long enough to see Jabarvy. If you do, ask them to play “Raisin Hell” for me.

Here’s the schedule:
5:30 Tom Vickers
6:15 Appalachian Dinos
7:00 Bob Slaughter
8:00 Three Hands High
9:00 Rhythmic Statues
10:30 Jabarvy

From OSMF 2012

Old Settler’s Music Festival Officially Starts Thursday.

Thursday, the official OSMF kicks off at 4:30p with Austin’s Lone Star Swing ( playing their blend of western swing / jazz / classic country music. A perfect appetizer for the weekend ahead.  

Then late-night at the campgrounds, the overnighters are treated to Friday’s Headliner, Fred Eaglesmith. Sadly, I hear camping tickets are sold out as of now, but those who got in early get a treat. Nicely done campers… nicely done.

Friday, you’ll be treated to two OSMF standards who are NOT to be missed:
-       The Del McCoury Band (8:30p – Hill Country Stage) is your banjo-picking, single-microphone-using, wonderful-harmony-having classic bluegrass.
-       Terri Hendrix (5:25 – Hill Country Stage), from down the road in San Marcos, Texas, is one of my favorite people in music today. Every time I see her perform it is like a stress-cleansing experience. The banter and pure musical joy between her and Lloyd Maines (on guitar) is a sight to behold.
Co- headliners for Friday night are Michael Franti (10:30p – Hill Country Stage) and the fun and quirky Fred Eaglesmith (10:45p – Bluebonnet Stage). Others to check out are Dirtfoot (6:00p – Bluebonnet Stage) and Green Mountain Grass (4:00p – Hill Country Stage)
If you are an overnighter, you have got to love the fact that you can get up Saturday morning (at the crack of 10:00a) for yoga at the Campground. For the rest of us, Lost and Nameless OrchestraYouth Talent Competition (10:30a-1:15p – Bluebonnet Stage) and give the kiddos some encouragement.   (featuring Kimberly Zielnicki, the winner of last year’s youth completion) kicks things off (11:00a – Hill Country Stage). Do yourself a favor… check her out.
Bob Schneider - OSMF 2012

INsite’s picks for Saturday:
-       The amazing Jerry Douglas (4:00p – Hill Country Stage). He’s known in his own right, but if you’re not familiar with his name, has played with Alison Kraus and Union Station since the 90s… AND he’s the voice of “Man of Constant Sorrow” from “Oh Brother Where Art Thou.”
-       I always enjoy seeing Bob Schneider (9:00p – Hill Country Stage) perform. Every time he plays it seems to take a different vibe. He really plays off the crowd’s energy and most of the time it’s fantastic.
-       You’ve got two chances on Saturday to catch Peter Rowan (12:05p – Hill Country Stage and 9:30p – Bluebonnet Stage). The genre-jumping master is performing with is “Twang an’ Groove” outfit, which melds bluegrass, reggae and blues. Not many can pull that off, and none as well as Rowan.
Co- headliners for Saturday night are Leftover Salmon (10:45p – Hill Country Stage) The Gourds (10:30p – Bluebonnet Stage).

All of the events on Sunday for OSMF occur at the Campground Stage. One year, I made it for Sunday Service (10a) out there. It was a wonderful experience. Being so close to nature under a pavilion was a very spiritual thing.

If you’re so inclined, INsite recommends you stick around for Steve Poltz (1:25p) and MilkDrive (2:40p) before making that trek back to civilization.

OSMF has been around since 1987, and has grown so much bigger than those early days, but, it’s still a very “small festival” feel.

“We’re more craft beer than light beer. We’d rather kick back than crowd-surf. And every year is full of surprises.” (via

I’ve attended 6 or so of them, and I must say, that’s about the most accurate description of what Old Settlers Music Festival is… and always will be.

You can buy three-day passes ($154) or single day passes for Friday ($69), Saturday ($69) or Sunday ($29) at the gate.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Say Hello To The Angels Interview

Staying Awake with Say Hello to the Angels 

By Sean Claes
In the late 1990s, there was a underground movement brought to light in the Austin music scene that brought forth some amazing punk/metal bands. It was a true scene, with bands working together to make amazing music and provide a safe and open place for kids of all ages to dance, mosh, express themselves, and most of all, get infected by the music.

Although I wasn’t here then, as I didn’t get to the area until 2006, I’ve come to know quite a few of the folks who were dynamic parts of that scene just by being interested in and seeking out Austin music. One of these is the former frontman for Riddlin’ Kids Dustin Stroud, who formed Say Hello To The Angels (SHTTA).

SHTTA is Stroud (vocals), Ben Benitez (drums) and Raymond Benitez (rhythm guitar) who were in Rubberhed, and TJ Smyrson (bass) who joined from ska/punk band The Buzzkillers.

I had a chance to ask Stroud a few questions on the day Stay Awake, SHTTA’s third full-length album on Altercation Records, was released amidst the craziness of the “week of music” in Austin, Texas.

If you’re in Austin this week make your way over to the Altercation Punk Rock BBQ on Saturday. Here’s the invite: link

Sean Claes: Tell me about your name? From where did Say Hello To The Angels come?
Dustin Stroud: We were looking for something positive… and to tell you the truth all of the good names were taken. When we started the band 20% of all money we made went to charity.

Our first EP sold for $5.00 and $1.00 from each CD wend to Any Baby Can, a local Texas charity that supports Newborns and their parents. I was our desire to make an impact musically as well as socially.

We still strive to do that. It gets complicated when you are on a record label (Altercation Records). We still do charity work, and we are always looking for ways to make a difference.

Claes: All of you have experience in a band that has elevated above the local scene in the past. What makes this round with SHTTA different? 
Stroud: I think that previously our prospective bands have been part of a specific scene, and were a byproduct of influences that were growing organically out of the music community. Bands like Dynamite Boy, Shaft, Rubberhed, Riddlin’ Kids, Born To Lose, Cruiserweight, Fire Kills and all the other bands that came up in that scene, we all influenced each other and pushed each other; it was like an “arms race” of punk rock and rock and roll. That was maybe the most productive time for music in the Austin scene, debatably of course, I can only speak from experience.

SHTTA doesn’t have an angle, and we are not part of a cohesive scene. The scene is fragmented now and although there is still great music happening out there. The wagons don’t seem to be as circled as they used to be, and attention spans from the consumer audiences have never been shorter. The positive of this is that anything is possible and it’s anyone’s game.

Musically I think we mine deeper wells than we previously have. We have reconnected with some of our earlier influences, and reconciled them what really turns us on about modern music today.
SHTTA circa 2009

Claes: Tell me more about the Austin music back in the time of Dynamite Boy, Rubberhed, and Riddlin’ Kids.
Stroud: It was definitely a “golden era,” and the media at large at the time looked at it as a “golden error.” It killed them to have to write about a sold out show at the Back Room. I always wondered why all those bands getting signed and touring nationally were not a big deal. I think Austin sometimes has an inferiority complex and only feels validated when people come to pillage twice a year for SXSW and ACL. I hope if the Austin youth culture ever gets its stuff together again, and makes a go of it, that there can be cohesion from the media, commentators and critics.

That being said, radio was behind all of us at the time, and that was really something that put it all over the top. Funny huh? You put something on the radio locally and it’s good for everybody… one big happy community and healthy growing music scene… Hmmm, maybe that’s just a coincidence… I do want to thank all those responsible in the media and radio, they know who they are, INsite included, that have helped to foster and cultivate music as a culture and community.

Claes: What do you feel you took from your previous bands to add to the SHTTA sound?
Stroud: I think we are a good sum of our collective parts. We also take a great work ethic with us. All three bands we came from worked and played hard. We feel super lucky to have gotten to do all the cool stuff we did in our old bands, we feel privileged to still get to continue playing and making music.

Claes: Your debut EP came out in 2008, Modern Fire came out in January 2011, Break Your Sword in 2012 and Stay Awake released on 3/12/13. How do you feel you’ve progressed as a band in the last few years?
Stroud: I think we have matured musically and personally, quite a bit in the last couple of years. Benjie and I have went and gotten ourselves married. As we get older instead of fading out, music has gotten more urgent for us. We definitely take it more seriously and appreciate it much more. I couldn’t imagine not playing and writing music with my friends.

Songwriting wise I think we have just hit our stride. It has taken a long time to figure out what we sound like. It’s one of those the journey is more important than the destination things. I’m really excited to hear how the next record will sound.

Claes: This is your third record on Altercation Records. How is it working out with the label?
Stroud: It’s great working with Altercation. They are actually half Texan now. Several years ago, one of the partners from Altercation moved down here from Kingston, NY. The other Partner is still up in NY, so they cover a lot of ground, have great distribution, and really believe in our band. It’s one of the great things about being on a boutique label, you get a lot of face time and attention from the label, and it gives your band adequate time to be developed.

Claes: While listening to Stay Awake, I couldn’t help but think, “Hey, these guys are kind of the Dropkick Murphys of Austin” since I hear that Irish folk-punk sound in your music, but you certainly have the Austin feel. How would you describe your sound?
Stroud: Hey, Thanks! I don’t know how we would describe ourselves… Whatever the kids are calling it these days. We think of ourselves as Post punk… you can check [] OTHER on the list I guess. There are definitely a lot of influences in the wood pile. We love the pure punk stuff, but we are metal heads at heart.

I guess we should get that one straight, it’s really important to know who and what you are. We have always placed more importance on songwriting and songs, than the general vibe or sound of a thing. I think it’s just lucky that we sound good together.

Claes: What are some of your favorite tracks off of Stay Awake?
Stroud: My favorites are “Oh Gloria” and “Genevieve,” just at the moment, because they were the most fun to record.

Claes: The video for your new track, “Oh Gloria,” was released on BlankTV’s YouTube Channel and has gotten over 3,700 views in 2 weeks. Awesome. Tell me about the making of the video.
Stroud: Oh man, we had fun recording that video! Actually we recorded three videos at the same time. “Oh Gloria,” “Never Walk Alone,” and “Forsaken.” Incidentally, “Forsaken” has over 18,000 views on Blank TV.

Our label owner, Travis Meyer, invited us up to NYC and the tri-state area to play a string of shows and record as many videos as we could get done in a day. Travis had the best work ethic I have ever seen, and he cracked the whip on us and got those videos done.

The director and film crew was awesome, and they have recorded many videos for our other label mates, and people should go on Blank TV and check all of those out! We filmed the videos at Snapper McGee’s and the surrounding streets in Torrington, CT. So the day we did it we filmed three of our videos, and Lost in Society, our label mates, recorded two. How is that for Punk Rock Ethic?

Claes: Looks like all of Austin has gone crazy with music to celebrate the release of Stay Awake this week. Where are you playing and when?
Stroud: Awesome! Thank you Austin, you are so selfless with your $20 parking and your hordes of uninterested industry types! Kidding. Thanks for eating all of our chips and salsa boys and girls, tip the petty cabers, and please put your trash in the proper receptacles.

On Tuesday we played an Altercation Records Showcase at the new “Metal and Lace” (formerly Headhunters). We are also playing Saturday the 16th at the Vortex on Manor Rd. This is the now famous Punk Rock BBQ. There are some awesome Altercation bands playing that day, also Teenage Bottle Rocket and Off With Their Heads is playing (two fat records bands). It starts about 12:00 noon and goes to about 5:30. There will be snacks and libations.

Claes: In 2012 you played the San Antonio, Dallas and Houston dates of the Warped Tour. How was that experience?
Stroud: That was Awesome! We played on Brian Marquis’ Acoustic Basement Stage, and it was in support of our acoustic record Break Your Sword. So many great performers, Chris Roe from the Ataris, Anthony from Bayside, and Vinnie from I Am Avalanche, just to name a few.

Our acoustic performances were very well received; it’s a totally different experience from our electric shows. Warped Tour is a great opportunity to connect with a really wide demographic of fans. It’s amazing how relevant Warped tour remains today. As all other full touring festivals have cut back to a few day events, Warped is still going strong. It’s like an awesome Punk Rock Summer Camp!

Claes: What was your favorite show to play as SHTTA to date?
Stroud: So far it’s got to be the Duke Nukem Forever video game release party we played in Dallas for Gearbox. It is awesome to have done the theme song for that game, and to get to play the musical score to some of the game-play levels. The show was epic, and we got to meet the guy that does the voice for Duke… “Hail to the king baby!” Duke Nukem Rules!

Claes: What does 2013 have in store for you?
Stroud: We are going to get started writing for our next record, do some more videos in New York, and play as many shows as we can.

Claes: Who are some of the bands folks around Austin should check out the other 51 weeks of the year?
Stroud: In no particular order: Devils and Dust, Thieves, Stampede, Mike Truth and the Replacement Killers, The Riot Scene, Threes Away (new videogame mobile app for iPhone and android), Nowhere Bound, Brady Black, The Buzzkillers.

We are super blessed to have so many awesome bands in this town, go check them out and if you find something new and cool, please tell me about it!

Claes: Anything to add?
Thank you for always supporting us, please check out our TUMBLR, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, and our music on ITUNES.

Altercation Punk Rock BBQ - 3/16/13