Tag Archives: Judas Priest

Amarillo native Kevin Fowler rocks the country wordplay

Country music isn’t my main music, but it’s definitely in the mix. Amarillo native Kevin Fowler is one of the reasons. He writes songs with an awesome twist that all the best country songs have. Great wordplay, stories and humor. “Don’t Touch My Willie,” a song about not letting a girl play his Willie Nelson CD on the first date, is just classic. I have heard he also puts on a great, high energy show. I’m about to find out for myself on Saturday. I interviewed him for an article in the Dec. 8 Elgin Courier, and he comped me a couple of tickets. I can’t wait. Details on the blog afterward of course.

Courier article is posted below:

Country singer Kevin Fowler to rock Coupland Dance Hall, Dec. 11

Country singer Kevin Fowler has played his share of big venues, but it was the small dance hall that kickstarted his career. Fowler will perform at the Old Coupland Dancehall on Saturday, Dec. 11 as part of his Deck the Dance Halls holiday tour. Doors open at 8 p.m.

“That’s one of the bars we started out at,” he said in a Friday interview. “Coupland was one of the first places to give me a chance. For the holidays, we wanted to go to all the dance halls where we started.

“When I was a kid growing up in Amarillo, my dad  listened to Buck Owens and we watched Hee Haw on Saturday nights on TV,” Fowler said. “I grew up in a country household.”

Fowler, who played with the Austin-based heavy metal band Dangerous Toys for a while in the ’90s, is known for his rockin’ attitude as well as his knack for a clever turn of a phrase, with such hits as “Don’t Touch My Willie,” “Ain’t Drinkin’ Anymore,” and “Cheaper to Keep Her.”

As he grew up, Kevin started playing in bands and began looking for his own music. He was drawn to rock bands like AC/DC and Van Halen.

He still loves rock ‘n’ roll and says he went to see Judas Priest perform twice in recent years. “When I go to a concert, I want to see a show,” he said. “Rock bands know how to put on a live show.”

For that reason, Fowler wanted his country band “to have a really rockin’ edge to it. Into that soup, throw a little country.”

At the same time, he can’t resist the urge to write songs with stories and wordplay — the kind of songs country is known for. “Country music is really about the lyrics,” he said. “Rock is more about the melody. A lot of times you can’t really understand the words.”

As he started out his career, Fowler became a guitar player for hire and performed both country and rock. “I became dedicated to becoming a songwriter,” he said. “It was a slow evolution to try and find my own thing.” Fowler said the high energy country that he became known for “just turned out to be the songs I wrote.” Fowler likes the diversity he finds in today’s country music scene.

“Nowadays, country is kind of a catch-all for different kinds of music. It’s changed. You don’t have to be Merle Haggard. Anything goes in country music nowadays. That’s kind of cool.”Fowler said he loves the Texas music scene. “It’s all about the fans in Texas. Going to a show, it’s a very one-on-one relationship with the fans and musicians. The fans get to hang around and get autographs,” he said. “You don’t really do that with a lot of the national country artists.”

Texas also lets him put out the kind of music he wants to make. “You can do your own thing down here,” he said. “Anything goes as long as it’s good.”

Fowler released a collection called Best of… So Far on Dec. 7. It features 18 tracks, including four previously unreleased songs. He also has a studio album in the can, which will be released sometime next spring.

Edit: I see a lot of people searching their way into this article and they might want to know how the show was. Here’s my follow-up from after the show.

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Loving the Alien – Little Green Mixtape (or maybe not so little)

As a longtime science fiction buff, I have been very excited by recent news that there could be life on Saturn’s moon Titan. Of course, it’s a lot more likely that it will turn out to be a chemical process (although what is life, really, but a chemical process?), and if there is life, it will most likely be microbial. But I can’t help but think there’s something more substantial out there. Little green men. We might not meet them, but it’s a lot of fun to think about them. A while back I put together a CD-R full of songs about aliens. Kind of in the tradition of the mixtape only a lot bigger. You can get a lot of mp3s on a CD-R. I fudged on the concept here and there — the point was to find songs I liked. I had a lot of fun digging through my CD collection and the Internet and I found the following:

Byrds – Mr. Spaceman
Blue Öyster Cult – E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)
Carpenters – Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (The Recognized Anthem of World Contact Day)
Creedence Clearwater Revival – It Came Out Of The Sky
David Bowie – Starman
David Bowie – Hallo Spaceboy
David Bowie – Loving The Alien
David Bowie – Life On Mars
DJ Spooky – Object Unknown (w/ Kool Keith)
Dr Octagon – halfsharkalligatorhalfman
The Wipers – D-7
Husker Du – Books About UFOs
Babylon Zoo – Spaceman
Dr. Octagon – Aliens
Jefferson Airplane – Have You Seen the Saucers [live]
Jefferson Starship – Home
Jefferson Starship – Have You Seen The Stars Tonite
Jobriath – Space Clown
Jobriath – Morning Star Ship
Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers – Here Come the Martian Martians
Kelly Family – Fell in love with a Alien
The Kinks – Animal Farm
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – Starliner
The Meteors – Attack Of The Zorch Men
Misfits – I Turned into a Martian
Patti Smith – Birdland
Pink Fairies – The Pigs Of Uranus
The Pixies – Motorway To Roswell
Radiohead – Subterranean Homesick Alien
The Rezillos – Flying Saucer Attack
Roky Erickson – Creature With The Atom Brain
Roky Erickson – You’re An Unidentified Flying Object
Seu Jorge – Starman
The Wildhearts – Sky Babies
Sheb Wooley – Flying Purple People Eater
Spacemen 3 – Starship
Yellow Magic Orchestra – Cosmic Surfin’
Judas Priest – Freewheel Burning
Styx – Come Sail Away
UFO – Martian Landscape
Billy Thorpe – Children of the Sun
War Of The Worlds – Eve Of The War (Hybrid Mix)
A Flock Of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
Joe Meek And The Blue Men – I Hear A New World
Split Enz – Poor Boy
A.R. Kane – A Love From Outer Space
The Byrds – C.T.A. – 102
Lustmord – Aldebaran of the Hyades
Fountains Of Wayne – I Want an Alien for Christmas
The Stranglers – Waiting For The Men in Black
Neil Young – After the Gold Rush
The Legendary Pink Dots – The Saucers are Coming
Kaleidoscope – Beacon from Mars
Deep Purple – Space Truckin’
Björk – Earth Intruders (Mark Stent Extended Edit)
Bikini Kill – Alien She
Blondie – Rapture
Boyracer – Area 51 Revisited
The Comsat Angels – Red Planet Revisited
The Comsat Angels – I Come From The Sun
u.f.o. feat. Dee Dee Bridgewater – Flying Saucer
ESG – UFO
Cletro, Eddie – Flying Saucer Boogie
Towa Tei – Mars
Teenagers From Outer Space – Prepare to Possess Earth’s Women
Monster Magnet – Space Lord
Buddy Clinton – Take Me To Your Ladder ( I’ll See Your Leader Later)
Kansas – Nobody’s Home
Scary Bitches – Lesbian Vampyres From Outer Space
The Wildtones – Martian Band
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Buchanan Brothers – (When You See) Those Flying Saucers
Joe Satriani – Surfing with the Alien
Bonzo Dog Band – Beautiful Zelda
Atomic Mosquitos – Alien Roundup
Billy Bragg & Wilco – My Flying Saucer
Creedence Clearwater Revival – It Came Out Of The Sky
Cabaret Voltaire – Venusian Animals
DJ Spooky – The Terran Invasion of Alpha Centauri Year 2794
Dr. Octagon – Aliens
Japan – Alien
Kool Keith – Livin’ Astro
Leonard Nimoy – A Visit To a Sad Planet
Meat Beat Manifesto – Oblivion/Humans
Meat Beat Manifesto – The Tweek
The Residents – You’re a Martian/Home
Robert Gordon – Flying Saucer Rock ‘n’ Roll
Sonny Day – Creature From Outer Space
The Ventures – The Fourth Dimension
Twinkeyz – Aliens In Our Midst
Tool – Faaip De Oiad
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Zero From Outer Space
Dane Cook – Abducted
The Telescopes – My Name Is Zardak (Drop Your Weaponz)
The Busters – Space Patrol Orion
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones – Flying Saucer Dudes
The Cramps – Mojo Man From Mars
Devo – Auto Modown/Space Girl Blues
Feathers – space alien blues
Little Walter – Flying Saucer
Perrey-Kingsley – The Little Man from Mars
Placebo – Mars Landing Party
Smokey Wilson – The Man From Mars
Little Shop of Horrors – Mean Green Mother From Outer Space
Butch Paulson – Man from Mars
Cibo Matto – Sci-Fi Wasabi
Add N To (X) – Take Me To Your Leader
Queen – Flash
The Astral Army – Interstellar Shortwave
Aqua Teen Hunger Force – A Typical Mooninite Weekend
Cacogenic Systems – Alien Probe
Hanzel Und Gretyl – Take Me To Your Leader
Tony Mattherhorn – Man From Mars
Neanderthals – Werewolf from outer Space
Ran-Dells – Martian Hop
Leonard Nimoy – Alien
Klaatu – Calling Occupants (Of Interplanetary Craft)
Marty Quinn – Genuine UFO Contactee
Mellotones – Flying Saucers
Sam Space & the Cadettes – Take Me To Your Leader Cha Cha
Floyd Robinson – My Little Martian
Jesse Lee Turner – The Little Space Girl
klaatu – the loneliest of creatures
Julian Cope and the Teardrop Explodes – Spacehopper
Jesse Lee Turner – The Little Space Girl
Hermann, Bernard – Klaatu
Brownsville Station – The Martian Boogie
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Third Stone From The Sun
Jamiroquai – Cosmic Girl
Jorge Ben Jor – Space Man (Homem Do Espaco)
Pete Johnson – Death Ray Boogie
Pink Floyd – A Saucerful Of Secrets
Pink Floyd – Let There Be More Light
Pixies – The Happening
The Prodigy – Out Of Space
Robyn Hitchcock – Welcome to Earth
Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 – Adventure Rocket Ship
Slowdive – Souvlaki Space Station
Smashing Pumpkins – Spaceboy
Spacehog – Spacehog
Legendary Pink Dots – Terra Firma Welcome
The Webb Brothers – Beyond The Biosphere

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Black Mountain serves up sweet mix of hard rock, prog & psych

It’s great to find a young band whose members have been listening to the right stuff. Black Mountain is obviously one such band. I found them online and was so impressed I looked them up and ordered two albums and an EP. I have really enjoyed all three – the self-titled Black Mountain (featuring a song you might remember if you used to frequent T61, “Druganaut”), In the Future (featuring “Tyrant”) and the Druganaut EP (with an extended mix of the song, plus three others). They’re like a whole bunch of my favorite bands all rolled into one.

I’ve seen them compared to Black Sabbath (maybe because their name starts with “Black”?) and I’m sure that’s part of the mix, but they remind me of a whole slew of bands from the ’70s that fell into transitional period between the hippie music of the ’60s and what would later evolve into hard rock and heavy metal. They could sound extreme, and engage in dark imagery, but at the same time delved into the mystical and philosophical – the roots of progressive rock.

Some of the bands that spring to mind include Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, early Rush, very early Scorpions (as in The Lonesome Crow album, which sounds nothing like the Scorpions you probably know), early Judas Priest (as in Sad Wings of Destiny, back when Rob Halford had long hair like a proper hippie).

These guys (Stephen McBean, Amber Webber, Matt Camirand, Jeremy Schmidt and Joshua Wells) have similar inclinations. Their songs rock hard, slow down into trippy dirges, then rev back up into solid kickass. Powerful stuff. Lots of bands are doing psych, lots are doing metal or even classic-sounding hard rock. Not too many are able to mine this particular vein of rock ‘n’ roll. Perhaps it’s because they’re Canadian. Lots of great rock of the style I mentioned came out of that country – Triumph, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, and the aforementioned Rush.

Check out this video of Druganaut. Doesn’t it do a great job of capturing that druggy era of the late ’60s/early’70s?

Visit Black Mountain’s website and consider ordering some of their music. (They’re on a nice independent label, Jagjaguwar, so no indie guilt, if that matters to you.) The band is also on MySpace and Facebook.

And btw, there is a band featuring many of the same members called Pink Mountaintops that is more psychedelic and experimental. I have yet to check it out, but you bet I will.

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Two theories about drugs and music

Theory #1: Metal today sucks because they’re doing the wrong drugs.

I grew up on hard rock and still loved it for a long time after they started calling it metal, but at some point it just went to hell in a hand basket. I think it began to go down the toilet when the rock ‘n’ roll guys switched from LSD & heroin to cocaine & speed.

Hard rock/early metal was much more interesting when it bordered on psychedelic or delved into philosophical themes, eg. music from Jimi Hendrix, early Judas Priest, early Scorpions, guys like Frank Marino. As time when on, cocaine and various other “up” drugs began to take hold and the music became more about aggression. A little aggression is fine, but when it’s all you’ve got, it’s boring. I think that’s why so much of today’s metal is almost unlistenable.

Theory #2: Doing drugs doesn’t make musicians creative, but it can make them more intensely creative for a while before it kills them

I don’t do drugs myself. I think it’s dangerous, bordering on suicidal. But let’s be honest. Drugs and music, especially rock music, go together like peanut butter n bananas. I don’t condone it but as long as they’re willing to sacrifice themselves for my entertainment I might as well show a little appreciation.

So back to my theory. I think most artistic people have a quota of creativity. When it runs out that’s it. After that their stuff is gonna suck. Say a rock ‘n’ roller is gifted to a level that will allow him to make decent songs for about 15 years. If he does the right drugs he might be able to instead have 2-3 years of totally freakin’ awesome songs before he OD’s or jumps off a bridge or chokes on his own vomit or whatever. If he records during that period you’ll get 1-3 albums of such awesomeness that no one could recreate them w/o OD’ing on something. What do y’all think, am I onto something?

P.S. I’m only a little serious.

P.P.S. I realize  my theories can’t explain why the guys from Aerosmith or Keith Richards are still alive.

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