Tuesday November 15, 2011 – Bootown Presents: Grown Up Storytime #41

Bootown – (Houston, TX )

The Grown-up Storytime series is a late-night event that takes place the third Tuesday of every month at Rudyard’s British Pub, a bar and venue located in the heart of Montrose. You send us stories, we pick the best ones, and assign them to a rotating crack-squad of expert story readers who show up the night of and wow our socks and/or pants off. It’s on a Tuesday – what else are you going to do?

Interested in submitting a story or reading someone else’s story?!? Email us at grownupstorytime@bootown.o​rg


Saturday, November 12, 2011 – David Barnes * Andrew Ripp

David Barnes (Nashville, TN)
As singer/songwriter Dave Barnes tells it, he had a Harry Potter moment while in college. Like the poor, misunderstood boy living under the stairs with his Uncle and Aunt, Barnes also belonged to a magical tribe, but up to that point hadn’t realized it. “I was thinking I was weird, or something was wrong with me. But when I found the magazine Performing Songwriter, I thought, ‘you mean there’s a g…roup of people …who relate to this? Who have a hard time talking when there is a melody in their head or will run off and call their voicemail so they can remember how this one lyric goes?’”

That’s right, Dave, you’re a wizard. Well, a songwriting wizard, anyway. So get out of that cramped room and get to Hogwarts—er, Nashville.

A few years later, Barnes graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Recording Industry Management—“I’m one of the few musicians in the world actually using my major,” he laughs—and became a performing songwriter himself, relocating to Nashville to see what might happen.

At first very little was happening, with Barnes cutting his teeth in a 50-capacity room—and drawing just seven people at one point. But just a few years later, after crisscrossing the country and selling vanloads of two independent albums—Brother, Bring The Sun and Chasing Mississippi, the artist had landed songs on television and in films, and was well known to thousands who’d discovered his soulful, supple way with a melody, wrapping itself around a lyric that sneakily burrows under the skin. Those fans include Vince Gill and Amy Grant (who made guest appearances on Chasing Mississippi) and John Mayer, who said on his blog: “Go where this guy is taking you. My man’s aim is true!”

Where is Barnes taking listeners? Judging by a spin of his latest, Me and You and the World, just about anywhere. The Steely Dan jazz-pop of “Someday.” The Blind Boys of Alabama-style gospel of “Carry Me Through.” The lighters-in-the-air sing-along chorus of “When A Heart Breaks.” The crowd favorite and first single, “Until You.” Or, perhaps, the delicate, cello-laced ballad of “On A Night Like This.” It’s all here.

“I always want my songs to be served individually,” Barnes says. “As we approach production, what I’m always the most conscious of is, ‘is this song sounding like it needs to sound?’ I do want the record to sound good, but I’m a lot more concerned with an individual song. That’s all that anybody’s listening to at one point anyway.”

Me and You and the World refers to Barnes’ expanded lyrical perspective. Profoundly affected by his work with the Mocha Club (mochaclub.org)—which builds orphanages and supplies medical care in Africa—and service trips he’s taken to the continent, the songwriting began shifting. As he says, “You can beat your fans up when you write about yourself all the time. I never want them to be like ‘okay, give us a break you egomaniac.’ Now I love to write about my experiences, but I think this record is much more about realizing there are so many other stories to tell.”

Born in South Carolina, Barnes grew up in rural Mississippi, first gravitating to the hip-hop popular with his classmates (first CD: Young MC), then latching on to the soul, blues and soulful rock favored by his Jackson-born mother and Clarksdale-born father. “We listened to so much Motown and old school R&B. That was just completely normal for Dad, growing up in that world. He’s told me so many stories of being in Clarksdale, going down to the City Hall and seeing these amazing bands playing.”

Newly arrived in Nashville, armed with just his acoustic guitar, Barnes gravitated to the folk scene. After playing his fair share of solo acoustic shows, though, Dave made has way back to his roots, and found himself looking for music with both depth and groove. This lead Barnes to embrace Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan and seemingly everything in between. “I’ve been on a massive Toto kick lately,” he shares, gleefully, just after communicating his affection for Phil Collins’ melodies in Invisible Touch-era Genesis.

This would be a good time to mention that it’s a bad idea to take Barnes seriously all of the time, or perhaps most of the time. A YouTube search turns up almost as many homespun comedy clips as fan-shot performances. In fact, Barnes has a stand-up comedy sideline, selling out a 350-seat Nashville theater for a show that included no guitars. “I just remember, in the middle of the routine, thinking, ‘this is maybe the most fun I’ve ever had.’ Because it was working well and people were responding.”

A sense of humor also helps when arduously building an independent career. “You get a lot of ‘hey, yeah, come play at the college—you can play in the cafeteria while people are eating.’ And it’s like, ‘yesss!’ ‘And you’re staying with a student.’ ‘Oh, great.’ And there were those shows where you’re like, ‘oh my gosh, am I really playing in a basement?’”

Once earning a following though, Barnes played shows for years before he realized that often his audiences were singing every word of his songs along with him. “When I play, I’m so in the zone that I don’t really pay attention,” admits the artist, who performed hundreds of shows while still unsigned. “It’s only recently that I’ve appreciated that. Now, there are a couple of places in the set where I stop singing the song and let the audience sing. Not having a radio presence (yet), and being able to play places where people are singing songs loudly, it’s pretty amazing.”

Amazing, yes, but not unexpected, given Barnes’ talent and stage presence. The response also speaks to the power of his songs, equal parts depth and hooks, both thought-provoking and dance-inspiring. It’s so contagious that even newcomers have been known to join in. Barnes recalls, “there I was, three years ago in a room just writing a song because it needed to be written—and here I am today in a room in front of 500 to 1,000 people with everybody singing it. And that’s a weird feeling.”

Despite Nashville’s reputation as a cutthroat industry town, best known for commercial country and Christian music, a group of young, pop-oriented singer/songwriters is simultaneously thriving. Barnes counts locals like Matt Wertz (with whom he’s toured), sometime-McCartney keyboardist Gabe Dixon and Mat Kearney as friends and peers. It’s a non-competitive, supportive community, he says, but the peer pressure is definitely there.

“The great thing about being in Nashville is that you’ve got to constantly write stuff that keeps your friends on their toes,” he says. “I’ve got so many talented friends that I don’t want to be the guy where everyone says: ‘Did you hear Dave’s new record? Isn’t it, um, interesting?’”

Strangely enough, Barnes never made a conscious decision to arrive where he is today. As he puts it, one thing just led to another, without much of a master plan. “I am thankful that many young singer/songwriters ask me, ‘dude, how did you do it? Give me the roadmap.’ But the truth is,’ I don’t know.’ I can’t tell you that I’ve ever planned anything. And I like that, because it must mean I am meant to do this. Right?”

Andrew Ripp (Los Angeles, CA)

To call Andrew Ripp a singer/songwriter is to leave something deep out of the equation. It’s true. He sings. And when he sings, something catches in your chest and you wonder why your heart is reacting to what is coming in your ears. It’s true. He’s a songwriter. He intricately weaves words into stories that have somehow aged and ripened and are sweet to ingest.

But there is more. Maybe it has to do with the rock-infused tones that are ever present. Maybe it is more soulful than pop, or maybe it is more pop than soul? Or is it rock with some soul and a hint of pop with the songwriting of a well-lived life? Whatever you call it, Andrew has it.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Andrew began this musical journey with simply a voice, a guitar, and an awkward fifteen-year-old view of the world. As he grew and matured, so did his music. Moving out to Los Angeles in 2003, doors soon opened for Ripp to record and work with rock producer Bob Marlette and write for pop star Ryan Cabrera.

Ripp’s debut album Fifty Miles to Chicago, which he co-wrote and co-produced, released in 2008 to many-a-round of applause. Compared to the likes of Ray Lamontagne, Maroon 5, and Jason Mraz, Andrew toured the country, performing songs from this album, and won fans quickly with his pure tones, strong lyrics, and that other thing that we have yet to define but definitely contributes to his awesome.

With the release of his sophomore album She Remains the Same, Andrew is seeing the world in a new way. Nashville, Tennessee is his current address, and with a maturing faith, this album speaks to the new place where he is- both physically and spiritually.

It’s about truth. It’s about faith. It’s about life and living it well. Produced by Dave Barnes, this record peels back another layer of Andrew’s talent while giving the audience a unique sound experience. Meant to be an album full of life, you can’t listen and not be warmed by the sounds.

Listeners of this album will immediately want more. And luckily, according to Andrew, this story is still unfolding. Which can only mean (fingers crossed) that he will continue to write, sing, and create sounds that change the atmosphere.

According to his fans? That is music to their ears.

Friday, November 11, 2011 – The Suffers * Soup * Only Beast

The Suffers (Houston, TX)

Comprised of current and former members of Los Skarnales, Heptic Skeptic, Idigenous, and others, The Suffers are just a few guys(and girl) having a good time playing music that they love.




Soup (Austin, TX)

SOUP has been moving feet since 2006 when two musicians with like-minded tastes began playing local bars and clubs in the East Texas area. Between Colt Pope’s sweet, crooner voice and Anthony Parrotta’s rhythmic bass a new sound began to form. After developing a devoted following, the pair decided to move away from a two man gig and start a full band. Anthony knew just the right men for the job. S…imon Page grew up in Ft. Worth with Anthony and began tearing up the guitar at the age of 16; Josh Bickley played drums alongside Simon in the alt/rock band Lean. The ripping sound of the guitar and the driving beat of the drums mixed with the already mellow sounds of the bass creating the perfect back drop for the painfully soulful wail of the vocals. In 2008 SOUP had their debut show and live recording at Banita Creek Saloon in Nachogdoches, Tx. Feeling the pressures of small town life versus big life dreams, all of the members felt it was time to relocate to a bigger stage. Centered in Austin, SOUP has been building a following around Texas for half a decade. Having a essence of “soulful, blues-rock” with taste of grunge, SOUP believes there is no sound like the live sound, and they are guaranteed to entertain an audience of any age.

Only Beast (Houston, TX)

“Anti-matter in leprous hands. They will summon demons and use them as coffee tables to prop their feet on.”
– Stephan B. Wyatt (Illegal Wiretaps) describing Only Beast





Thursday, November 10, 2011 – Black Eyed Vermillion * Whiskey Dick * Viva Le Vox

Black Eyed Vermillion (Austin, TX)

BLACK EYED VERMILLION was born Gary Christian Vermillion in 1969 as the product of a one night stand between an unemployed circus freak and a jackal. Abandoned by his mother, he was adopted by a roaming tribe of Buddhist Monk street sweepers, eventually causing him to find inner-peace within the gutter.

… At age 7, young Vermillion fell into an open sewer. After being trapped for three days he was f…inally rescued; unconscious and badly hurt. When he awoke he could only communicate in swear words for a year and his voice was severely damaged from the septic fumes. He also sustained a head injury, resulting in his first set of black eyes which would lead to the nick name he still bears to this day.

At 11 Vermillion set out to see the world but mostly saw it from behind bars. As he stumbled around the world from bus stations to bars to shelters to jails, he was always just lucky enough to cross paths with some of the most talented people in the underground music scene. Stevie Tombstone, One Armed Willie, Handsome Andy Gibson, Cornelious ‘the Pain’ Wickenburg, Joe Buck Yourself, Heathen Bill, Stix the Clown, Whiskey Dick and of course the legendary Shelton Williams the 1st were just a few of the people that would help him realize that he had absolutely NO musical talent! But they also taught him that it didn’t matter as long as there was a song in his heart.

These days Black Eyed Vermillion is being backed by The Vermillionaires; a solid line-up consisting of Fritz ‘Burger’ Nation and Johnny ‘Sunshine’ Johnson on Guitars, Kurtis D. ‘Millionaire’ Machler on Bass and Bircho Birch on Drums. Combining the elements of American roots music with the dark anger of punk and grindcore, they will be attempting to play as many gigs as possible, depending on everyone’s ever demanding Rehab schedule.

Whiskey Dick (Fort Worth, TX)

WHISKEYDICK is Fritz and Rev. Johnson, a two piece acoustic rebel-neck country machine from Fort Worth, Texas. Touring the U.S.A. singing about drinking, smoking, raising hell, getting kicked out of bars and thrown in jail. Harder Beat says “Fritz plays rhythm guitar but his specialty is seducing your eardrums with his booming-from-the-belly low vocals. During solos, Rev. Johnson, lead guitar, does things with an acoustic that most can’t do with an electric.” Producer Eric Knutson describes our songs as redneck, porch sittin’, rebel guitar pickin’ music.

We have released three albums, “Rebel Flags and Whiskey”,”First Class White Trash” and “Drunk as Hell” plus are well into writing our fourth album . We’re professional musicans not weekend warriors, and like all blue collar hound dogs, we play shows 4 to 5 nights a week.

WHISKEYDICK has been together for 5 years with the same two original members, Fritz and Rev. Johnson, and have played over 1,000 shows. After previously being in metal bands, we decided to get back to our country roots and since have gone down the road to salvation, via Hell.

Tracks from all three WHISKEYDICK albums have been played on KNON 89.3 with d.j.?s Thrashing Alan and Slamming J. On the same station our third album ?Drunk as Hell? was played in its entirety as well as performing live in studio on the air.

We have played “Ride For Dime” 3 and 6, R.O.T. Rally, Bikelahoma, B.A.R. Rally and SxSw in Austin, Tx

We have sold c.d.?s worldwide, England, France, Germany, soldiers in Iraq just to name a few.

We have performed with such bands as Ray Wylie Hubbard, Foghat, Joe Buck Yourself, Antiseen, Andy Dick, Texas Hippie Coalition, Within Chaos, Wayne ?The Train? Hancock, Honky(Pinkus from the Butthole Surfers), Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies, Nashville Pussy, Green Jelly, Reverend Horton Heat, Lonesome Wyatt (those Poor Bastards), .357 String Band, Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age), and The Supersuckers.

Along with the thousands of fans worldwide we have left our mark with Dez Fafara of Devildriver, Rex Brown of Pantera/down, Tom Maxwell of Hellyeah/Nothingface, Billy Milano of SOD/MOD, Jeff Pinkus of Butthole Surfers/Honky, Nashville Pussy, Reverend Horton Heat, and Gary Lindsey (Assjack front man)

Special guest appearances on albums include, Jeremy Thompson from Nashville Pussy, Gary Lindsey of Black Eyed Vermillion/Hank III(Assjack). Nashville Pussy?s song ?Hate and Whiskey? featured on the album ?First Class White Trash?, ?You Left the Bottle? written by Jeff Pinkus of Butthole Surfers/Honky featured on the ?Drunk as Hell? album.

Viva Le Vox (Lake Worth, FL)

Viva le Vox is a ragtag group of ne’er do-wells hailing from the swamps and shores of southeast Florida. They have a sound that’s hard to describe, influenced by everything from the sleaziest Dixieland jazz to the most sordid punk rock. The sound is by turns loud, fast, and creepy…it’s uneasy listening, crafted for discerning musical misfits everywhere. Live performances will find a crowd of exorcised souls drenched in sweat, dancing up a frenzy.

Viva Le Vox has always been a band with a rotating circus of characters, from two members to five, four, and three. Though some variations of the group have lasted longer than others,the backbone of the band’s sound has stayed constant nearly from the start, and has now boiled down to the “gruesome twosome” that is currently touring the country.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 – Chuck Ragan * Howler * Slew Of Young Gentlemen

Chuck Ragan (California) 

Chuck Ragan is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist. From 1993 until 2006 he was one of the lead singers for Gainesville, Florida-based punk rock band Hot Water Music. The group disbanded on good terms in 2006, and the other three members went on to form punk band The Draft, while Ragan launched a solo career playing folk music similar in tone to a former acoustic Hot Water Music side project called Rumbleseat. He has since released a series of 7-inches on No Idea Records, and a live album and a studio album on Side One Dummy Records.





Howler (Houston, TX)
Country / rock / blues

David Toups,
Frank Green,
Andy Barnard,
Jacob Bernstein



Slew Of Young Gentlemen (Houston, TX)

Singer, Songwriter

Russell Reese
Michael Sinclair
Travis Smith




This show is All Ages.


Sunday, November 6, 2011 – Youth Brigade * American Heist * Black Market Syndicate

Youth Brigade (Los Angeles, CA)

Youth Brigade is a Southern California punk music trio formed in 1980 by brothers Mark Stern, Adam Stern, and Shawn Stern. The band subsequently founded BYO (Better Youth Organization), which served both as their record label and as a statement of their attitude toward the young people involved in the punk subculture, which was generally sympathetic and arguably less sensationalistic than the vie…w usually presented in the media. Despite never achieving mainstream success, many later punk bands cite Youth Brigade as an influence, including The Offspring, Rancid, Pennywise, Guttermouth, The Nation of Ulysses, The Briefs  and Face to Face.

Youth Brigade has released four original studio albums (counting the one released as The Brigade), of which the last was released in 1996. Almost each album was recorded with the original lineup of the Stern brothers (Mark, Adam and Shawn); bassist Bob Gnarly replaced Adam in 1985 during the recording of The Dividing Line, which was released as The Brigade. Adam returned in 1991 (when the band reunited) and contributed to the band’s 1992 EP Come Again and their next two albums (Happy Hour and To Sell the Truth) before leaving once again in 2007. Youth Brigade has been reportedly writing new material for their first album in over a decade.

American Heist (Houston, TX)

Hailing from Houston, TX, The American Heist formed in early 2008. As a band they have played with the likes of AGAINST ME!, Mad Sin, The Hold Steady, $wingin Utter$, The Adolescents, Flatfoot 56, The Street Dogs, Fake Problems, The Koffin Kats and Reverend Horton Heat and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. The Heist recorded their first E.P. in April of 2009 in Austin, TX that was released through Cutthroat Records and a full length released August of 2010 through the same label.



Black Market Syndicate (Houston, TX)

Formed in late 2007 in Houston Texas, Blackmarket Syndicate has managed to survive several line up changes, two U.S. tours, a full length LP and is finishing their much anticipated 11 song follow up album due to be released by summer 2009. They have performed countless local and out of town shows with fellow Houston bands including Molotov Compromise, Rats in the Attic, and the Quarantines as well as the likes of internationally touring acts the Casualties, Rancid, Street Dogs, Time Again, Reverend Horton Heat, the Briggs, Angry Samoans, Left Alone, Fear, Krum Bums, as well as countless others. They have had the good fortune of being able to perform on some great stages for some truly great audiences including Vans Warped tour, Hellcat Night at Hollywood’s Knitting Factory, and of course their hometown’s legendary Southmore House (R.I.P.). After a long exausting road of trials… Blackmarket Syndicate has come out unscathed, Bringing with them their own cultivated style of raw anthemic punk. The new album (currently in the final stages of production) is certain to astound fans in the growth of Blackmarket Syndicate as a band, expanding the depths of their influences in style and songwriting. Blackmarket Syndicate has employed Johnny Rioux of the Street Dogs as producer for this body of work. His contributions have far exceeded their expectations in every way. You are stoked!

“We’ve accomplished more than I ever would have expected to. There is still much more that we still have to do though. We simply feel the need to create music that people can be impacted by”
-Randy Rost

Saturday, November 05, 2011 – 500 Megatons of Boogie * Dead Mineral * Zipperneck

500 Megatons of Boogie (Houston, TX)

Drummer Jason Tortorice, guitarist Erik Westfall, and bassist Johnny Todd made some of Houston’s most ambitious and endearingly wacky hard rock as the Slurpees, and then as the Squishees after being threatened with legal action by 7-11. The ubiquitous ice vendor also recently began selling a drink called a Squishee, in a long-overdue act of reverse product placement, but Westfall and Todd n…eed not worry, having put the Squishees on hiatus to make room for 500 Megatons of Boogie.

500 Megatons’ music departs radically from the complexity and ambition of the Squishees’ recent work, replacing demented prog with down-home rock-and-roll. Well, not as down-home as all that; part of the greatness of Westfall and Todd’s bands has always been Westfall’s clever and hilariously weird vocals, and 500 Megatons are no exception. A particular standout is “Asleep in the Plastic Boudoir”: “Asleep in the plastic boudoir / Dreaming of a Disney Xanadu / Living in a G-rated pleasure dome / Feasting on tofu caviar.” Another is “James Brown Song,” which features a refrain that sounds suspiciously like “something something something,” but which is obscured by Westfall’s unhinged screech. He sounds for all the world like a mental patient channeling the Godfather of Soul.

500 Megatons of Boogie often sounds something like the early Slurpees records, which combined the acid wit of the Dead Kennedys with the head-snapping punk-funk of the Minutemen, but here Westfall and Todd are reaching for something more primal and muscular. They are aided by Kent Hassinger, who has replaced Tortorice on drums. To say that Hassinger’s drumming is not as fluid, agile and expressive as Tortorice’s would be a massive understatement, but he substitutes an almost unbelievable physical strength. It is an integral part of this brutal, stomping, goofy record, which retains the peculiar charm that has marked Westfall and Todd’s music since the beginning: that of witnessing the power of rock and roll to turn three average guys into complete raving lunatics. – Review of s/t album on Space City Rock

Dead Mineral (Houston, TX)

Formed in 2005 under the name Novox, Dead Mineral have been blasting Houston area bars and clubs with mostly instrumental dual guitar driven rock that wraps beauty inside searing noise. Members collectively hail from other Houston bands including Dry Nod, Sprawl, The Drunks, STOMA, The Keenlies, Run Trip and Fall, Rusted Shut, Project Grimm, Texas Guinness Lovers.








Zipperneck (Houston, TX)

Garage / Punk / Rock
A train wreck between the Clash and Loretta Lynn.