Houston Calling

10 Questions for Casino

May 19th, 2004 · No Comments

Casino will play this Saturday (5.22.04) at Walter’s on Washington with The John Sparrow, Luxurata, and Loveless. This will undoubtedly be a great show so be sure to come out and show your support of these great bands.

I recently contacted Casino to see if they’d be interested in answering some questions for Houston Calling. Damon was gracious enough to take some to respond.

Here goes.

Ten Questions for Casino

HC: How did Casino get started?

Damon: I had split up my band Libertine (which also included Ron Rushing and Geoff Bay of Mansion). I’ve always wanted a writing partner–I wanted a “Lennon/McCartney,” “Jagger/Richards,” “Lieber/Stoller”-type thing, but I felt that the music that I was so influenced by, no one else really liked. I went some time, a year maybe, just noodling at home and getting nothing done. There was a wonderful girl, Leslie Ramos, who I’d meet up with every once in awhile. One day, after moaning about my current musical situation, she said that she knew a guy who’d just moved from San Antonio. She said that I’d get along great with him…we liked a lot of the same bands.

So, I did meet up with him. We talked, we played, and we kept on playing.

HC: What do consider to be your musical influences?

Damon: Obviously, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Beatles, etc. Then there’s the Bowie, Queen, Slade and those guys. But it’s not limited to “the classics.” There’s also a lot of modern bands like the Doves, Arnold, The Black Crowes, and The Flaming Lips. It really changes all the time. I could be on a huge George Jones kick and that will obviously spill over into the music at the time… there’s really such a huge variance there I can’t say just one style.

HC: Your music reminds me of mid-to-late 70’s NYC bands fused with a straight-ahead rock feel. How would you best describe Casino’s sound?

Damon: Just like that! Straight-ahead rock dressed with pop.

HC: What’s your take on the Houston music scene?

Damon: For the most part, I find it depressing and boring. Granted, I don’t venture out to live shows much, but from what I see, it’s pathetic. There’s a whole “scene” out there that could be…I think most people are really concerned with what their friends think about their music, there overly-obsessed about ‘original’ and unique. Add to that the fact that their influences are crap, thus you have alot of crappy bands! Then, we live in a city with a handful of musicians and music-lovers and the rest are old frat-boys and sorority sisters–what kind of audience is that? If you don’t play a watered down blues, or something dull, then the vast population will never know you. How does that encourage bands?

You need media that’s interested (and interesting), you need audiences (not just friends), and you need competition. There are spurts of these things here, but they rarely happen at the same time. It all feeds off of one another, y’know?

There are bands out there that I think are good, and some possibly great. However, Houston is a strange place, it can smother any talent that appears.

HC: If you could have any band cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band?

Damon: I couldn’t decide that.

HC: Are you for or against the MP3 “revolution”? How are you using the internet as a tool to market yourself? What’s your take on the state of the music industry?

Damon: I’m for it as long as people are consumers as well. If you download it, and like it, the go out and buy it. Repeat.

I think the “industry” is upset because the big-wigs stand to lose alot of cash. Well, I say let the people have their music and let the big guys suffer a bit. I mean, who are these execs anyway? They are NOT music-lovers! Those industry types are money chasers, and that’s what they care about.

The majority of royalties an artists are from things like airplay, etc. and make the bulk of their profits from merchandise and touring….so, when they tell you that you are taking food out of your favorite artist’s mouth because of downloading, that’s a lie.

Secondly, take a good look at the “artists” who complain: Madonna, Metallica, etc. They have enough! If their record companies aren’t strong-arming them to say something, the their greed is. If that’s the case, I’d love to take food out of the mouths of those overblown idols.

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about your music?

Damon: Ambivalence.

HC: I recently saw you play at the Dreamfest benefit and you guys seemed to be having a good time on stage. How do you approach your live shows–is it something you’re totally serious about or do you want to put on a good show and have a good time doing it?

Damon: We’re deadly serious about live shows. But life can happen, things are always different. Rooms, sounds, people, response, lighting, etc. We just try to enjoy all the angles and not get too straightfaced about it. We like a good laugh.

HC: What’s next for Casino?

Damon: We’ll be recording soon and playing live more frequently.

HC: What is in your CD player right now?

Damon: Brian Eno/Robert Fripp — “No Pussyfooting”
The Zutons — “Who Killed The Zutons?”

Thanks to Damon for taking the time to answer these questions. Be sure to come out to Walter’s on Washington this Saturday night, May 22nd, to catch Casino live with The John Sparrow, Loveless, and Luxurata.

This is sure to be a great show. Walter’s is a great venue in which to see bands.

Now Playing in My iPOD: The PleasedDon’t Make Things

Tags: Music