Texacala-la-la

12 Oct

When I think back on my formative years as a novice rocker dude in SoCal in the 1980’s – I was 10 when that decade began, 20 when it ended – three voices immediately come to mind.

First, there was Henry Rollins: he was either that egotistical meathead who ruined BLACK FLAG for all time, or the raging voice of an entire generation – take your pick. A voice you couldn’t sidestep or deny, no matter what your poison. There was SACCHARINE TRUST’s Jack Brewer: measured poet, spiritual reverend, whirling dervish mystic, perv alkie – all rolled into a fat, greasy $1.50 burrito. He seemed to be lurking around every corner in my teen years, and his lisp brings back countless good/bad memories for me. And then, there was

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TEXACALA JONES

Yes she of TEX & THE HORSEHEADS. Never saw em play, but if you did – count yourself lucky. If you listened to college-radio station KXLU as much as I did then, you simply couldn’t get away from that craggy, granma snarl & gruff yelp of hers – certainly, I didn’t want to. It was so unlike anything you were supposed to call “good”. Some unreliable source once said her voice was straight off of The Rugrats. Blah! She always hit me like a ton of bricks – a female Blixa Bargeld if their ever was one. Out of this world, totally Martian, in fact – only grounded hard by the sleazy c&w/blues her bands rocked out behind her.

TEX cut her teeth as an early GUN CLUB/Jeffrey Lee Pierce protégée – her first recording on the Take It! Magazine flexi from ’82 still had Jeffrey playing gtr. She then wisely hooked up with a couple sauceheads straight outta Long Beach’s hardcore punk FUNERAL, who’ve got a great CD of early 80’s material on Grand Theft Audio if yr partial to that early, SOCIAL DISTORTION darkly-rockin’ vibe.

Next: TEX & Co. proceeded to TEAR THAT HOTEL DOWN all around LA for a couple nutso years. Bridging wild post-Hollywood punk with the then-burgeoning big hair hard rock thing, they recorded the very best cuts for the Hell Comes To Your House II comp. LP. Two studio LPs appeared – the first of which is wilder/more drunken, the second produced by X’s John Doe with the superior tunes. Then a bitchen live LP surfaced, recorded in the Netherlands (many other LA post-HC types would eventually follow her snailtrial over there). All before drowning in an industrial-size bottle of JD.

In the mid/late 80’s, she appeared in a number of Z-budget movies – Dubeat-e-o, The Boys Next Door, Border Radio, Dr. Caligari. She then tried to recreate her patented teased-hair madness in TEXORCISM with a young and pre-BACKBITER Jonathan Hall. Them grooves dissipated quickly up into an ever-ballooning mushroom cloud of crack-cocaine smoke. From there, all reports that I have access to were dark, dark, and more shades of dark – though TEX did come up for air for a breath or two to guest on tracks by LA’s RINGLING SISTERS.

After returning to her homestate of Texas, she came roaring back to life in 1998 with the TEXACALA JONES & HER T.J. HOOKERS CD on Honey Records. That one spelt rebirth. It’s good, real good – but it’s been the last to date. WHY?

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It’s telling: all the best-dressed female friends I can name (ok I count 3) look to TEX as a primary fashion icon. And when I first got it together to be able to burn vinyl onto my harddrive, who did I turn to? TEX. Yeeeeeah. TEX, you’re the voice we always wanted – not fucking LIZ PHAIR or GWEN STEFANI or KATE NASH or whomever. Come back, TEX! The world really is ending, and soon! Save us, once more!

Do check out the songs below – not 80’s at all, rather from an obscure, mid-90’s Japan-only release by one Mr. DANNY WEST (he of San Francisco’s 80’s big hair kings VAIN) with righteous vocal help from TEX. They demonstrate that backasswards way of “singing” a song TEX has – to glorious, full-flowering effect.

Danny West (w/ Texacala Jones)“Mr. Vampire Man” and “Burned Out (On Lovin’ You)” (from the Taste the Sounds CD, Polystar, 1995)

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2 Responses to “Texacala-la-la”

  1. Jonathan Hall December 6, 2007 at 11:15 pm #

    When I was in Texorcist, it was with Heath Seifert (later to form Backbiter with me) and the late Louie Dufau (DC3). Some of the songs I wrote with Tex for the band later became Backbiter and Motorycle Black Madonnas songs with different lyrics. I did not partake in any crack smoking, although it unfortunately surrounded the band. Which is the reason why I left to start Backbiter. Tex is a great talent and a really nice person.

  2. mrowster December 7, 2007 at 6:53 am #

    Jonathan: If TEXORCIST sounded anything like BACKBITER, we really did miss out on something special. I dig all your BACKBITER CDs a whole lot, esp. the Magnet Heart Suite on your latest one. Thanks for the extra info.

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