Houston Calling

Interview: Hollywood Black, EP release show this weekend

June 24th, 2008 · No Comments

Hollywood Black

Local rockers Hollywood Black have a new EP, Crooked Shepherd, which you can get for free when you come to their EP release show this Saturday (6.28.08) at Walter’s. The Goods and Tambersauro are also on the bill. With the $10 cover, the band will give you a free copy of Crooked Shepherd. Can’t beat that deal.

I recently asked Ben Ellis and Chris Wertz from Hollywood Black a few questions about their music, religion, thoughts on Houston music, and their plans for the future.

Hollywood Black, photo by Daniel Ellis

Ten Questions for Hollywood Black

HC: Obviously you guys are a bit disillusioned with organized religion — or at least that’s how it seems to me. What parts of your experience plays into the lyrics of your songs?

Ben: There are a lot of problems with the Christian church…one such problem that carries a lot of burden with it is that huge factions of people are always searching for a leader to put all their faith in. They neglect any personal responsibility of knowing for themselves what they believe or why they believe it, thus defeating the purpose of a personal faith.

HC: The Houston Chronicle wrote that your songs “decry false faith, greed and suburban comfort.” Do you agree? From what sources do you draw your inspiration for songs?

Ben: I think that does describe us pretty well. I draw a lot of influence from growing up in and around suburban areas where you run into a lot of these problems. Plus songwriters like David Bazan and Paul Simon.

HC: Concerning “Children of the Revolution” — are you familiar with the old T. Rex song of the same title (once covered by Violent Femmes, whose lead singer struggled with his religious upbringing)?

Ben: I’m not familiar with that song but it is a common problem.

HC: I grew up in a very religious home, but am not a big fan of being preached to — from either side. What is the message you’re putting out in your songs?

Ben: It seems to be pretty common for people to think that if you’re a Christian and you write songs that you are trying to preach to them. I am not preaching to anyone. Like any writer I am only expressing what’s inside me. I wouldn’t say we have a specific message, again I only write what is inside me.

HC: What’s your take on the “music scene” in Houston? What do you think would get more people out to see local music?

Chris: We have a lot of bands who make incredible music here in Houston, but I don’t notice much of a strong “scene” here. If I knew how to get more people out to shows, I would be using it at its fullest. I usually rely on putting up posters, word of mouth, and the computer. Now, I could go off on a huge rant about how I feel computers also have hurt honest musicians, but I will save you the time.

HC: Do you think that things are better, music-wise, locally as opposed to when you guys first started playing?

Chris: When we first started the band, we were pretty unfamiliar with the “Houston scene”. Ben and I grew up in the suburbs outside of Houston. We knew a lot of the local artists who played on our side of town. As the band matured, we started heading into the actual Houston scene. I think there are a lot of diverse bands in our city.

HC: What are your plans for spreading the word about the new EP? Any summer touring?

Chris: We are planning on a long tour during the winter. This summer and fall is just too crazy for all of us. We also have few festivals we will be playing. Other than shows, we hope to get a lot of reviews on the album.

HC: Are you guys working on a full-length as well?

Chris: We are undecided if our next album will be a full length or another EP. We are working on new material right now, but we are taking it slow.

HC: What are some of your favorite local bands to see live?

Chris: Something Fierce, The Monocles, The Goods, Young Mammals, Tambersauro, Buxton, The Jonx, Papermoons

HC: Why should someone who has never heard Hollywood Black’s music come to your show?

Chris: I just read the most recent review on us from Space City Rock. They had written that we “fucking rock” — sounds good to me.

Special thanks to Ben and Chris of Hollywood Black and also Matt and Amanda at Mia Kat Empire for their time. Be sure to make plans to come out to Walter’s this Saturday night (6.28.08) for the band’s EP release show. Doors open at 8pm.

Visit Hollywood Black online.

Tags: Interviews · Music · Show listings

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment