Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends
of West Texas Music
"Indeed, Oglesby's introduction of more
than two dozen musicians who called Lubbock home should be required
reading not only for music fans, but for Lubbock residents and
anyone thinking about moving here. On these pages, music becomes
a part of Lubbock's living history."
When in Austin,
Chris Oglesby Interviews
In 2000, like so many other
talented Lubbock musicians have been forced to do, Trent moved
his family to Austin in order to form a band and to make it as
a professional musician. Trent currently is the leader of Something
Johnson, an ecclectic South Austin Rock band; His wife Diane
- also from Lubbock - plays bass for the band.
Trent: The history behind Squarehead was; I had started a band called The Intentions with my best friend in high school Pat Rickey; He played bass. When we were in high school the summer before we started this band wed just started going to Main Street Saloon and got turned on to listening to John Sprott and those guys play.
Main Street Saloon had a great "Open Jam."
Beethoven & the Sons of Fun
would come in and play; A bunch of really cool bands that
nobodys ever heard of where playin there. It was
pretty much a little "All-Star Lubbock cast."
That summer we bought two guitars at Tarpley Music, and we went back into the back of my house and just started learning the chords.
Chris: Because you liked that scene and wanted to be involved in it?
Trent: Yea. We wanted to be up on stage doing that cause it looked so cool. We started learning Beatles tunes and Buddy Holly tunes. I really got into The Beatles at that time, so we started learning a lot of that. Eventually, we started a band just by saying, "Hey, were gonna have a band."
We met another guy from Lubbock named Mark
Fallas. I was at a wedding in Abilene and Mark happened
to be there. I told him I was starting a band up and asked if
he knew any drummers or bass players, and he said, "Im
a drummer." Come to find out, Mark hadnt played the
drums in like 12 years. But he wanted to, so he said that
he was a drummer; And he ended up being a pretty good drummer.
I think we wrote a couple of little songs but mostly it was
cover stuff. We rented a sound system from Kyle
Abernathy; he came and did sound for us. Pat started
playing the bass because I couldnt play the bass rhythmically
and sing at the same time. We played that gig and we all just
fell in love with doing it.
Then somewhere during the deal, we all bought a house together and decided that was gonna be our practice room. We were gonna live together and pay the bills and play gigs and all that.
Chris: Where was the house?
Trent: It was on Avenue A and Fifty-something. It was
a tick-infested hole. It was pretty bad.
And then I had my first child. Actually, Diane who I eventually married she was at that very first gig and became kind of our first "groupie." We ended up falling in love later.
We played with Ron for a period of time; wrote thirty or forty songs and recorded a little album. We played a lot of covers.
Chris: Where did you record the album?
Trent: Then Diane and I had our first child, and the music really wasnt going the direction I wanted it to go. I was wanting to move to Austin and get a little bit more far reaching, do some traveling and stuff. Everybody had different priorities, and so the band pretty much dissolved at that point due to lack of interest and direction.
The drummer and I Mark Fallas started a three-piece band called The Love Drops with Hal Nelson. I dont know where we met Hal. I think we had seen him play with The Rude Boys. He was working with KAMC at the time, doing TV reporting. Mark somehow hooked up with him and he showed up over at my house. We hooked up in the garage and played a few songs.
Chris: Hes younger than you. You didnt really know him in school?
Trent: Yea. Hes couple of years youngern
At that time "Alternative Music" I guess what they called that at the time had just started coming out. I mean, people in Lubbock then didnt really listen to Janes Addiction or The Violent Femmes or anybody of that nature or even the older stuff like The Velvet Underground. Anything that wasnt on the pop-charts, Lubbock people in general wouldnt really listen to it.
Chris: The first time I ever heard Janes Addiction, Hal played the cover of the Grateful Dead song "Ripple" that they did. I was like, "Who the hell is that?"
Trent: Well, thats the kind of stuff we started playing. We were all listening to it.
Mark really listens to a lot of music, and Hal was in touch with John Fillipone - who was in Austin - who was on the edge of all that; He was listening to all that kind of stuff. He was sending us CDs and saying, "Hey, listen to this!" So we were a little ahead of the curve in Lubbock.
Chris: Yea. Cause music was kind of crappy right then. I mean, Rock-n-Roll had pretty much died by that point.
Trent: Yea, pretty much. It was pretty sorry.
Chris: When I was in high school, all we listened to was older stuff. There wasnt anything goin on then [in the early 80s].
Trent: At the time and still to this day, to
a large degree I listen to a lot of Beatles
and a lot of stuff like that.
But we played those gigs for awhile. And then Fillipone, who
was about to start working on his thesis at UT, came home. He
was doing a piece on West Texas music, in fact. So while Fillipone
was home, we began to play together and ultimately became Squarehead.
Chris: I remember yall were playing at Chelsea Street Pub a lot, and there were several shows where Kelly Weiss and Chris Barnes and Shane Weisberg and I were the only people there.
Trent: [Laughs] Yea! There were a lot of those. We
had a blast.
Trent: That was fun. We did that for awhile, then we started getting a little bit more serious, getting tight; and more original music starting coming out.
The big difference was just to shoot off on a tangent Back then in Lubbock, back in the day, you played a gig and you played the whole night; You started at 10:00 and you ended at 2:00. You filled the night, whether you filled it with breaks or covers or redoing songs or whatever.
A lot of the venues here [in Austin, today], you got an hour
or forty-five minutes.
Chris: And then you realized that theres not so much a demand for that here?
Trent: Not as much. This very first gig that were playing here in a couple of weeks, were "It" so we have to play from eight til midnight; weve got about three hours. Thats gonna be a little challenge filling all that time without playing any cover tunes.
But for the most part, when I go hear live music here, theyre "in and out". And we already have 25 to 30 new original tunes with this band so thats not gonna be a problem for us.
Chris: Thats your band that you have now with
your wife Diane. And that band is called
Trent: So anyway; We played - John and Mark and Hal and I as Squarehead for three years.
Chris: There was a period there where yall were pretty much "The Band" in Lubbock.
Trent: Yea. Its pretty amazing.
Chris: It wasnt a long run but it was a good one.
Trent: Yep. Long lines; Packed venues; Made pretty
good money for a local band at the time. We just had a blast.
After The Nelsons broke up, there wasnt really anybody there for awhile until Squarehead.
Trent: There was Ground Zero. Darren Welch was so good on that guitar, so they always pulled a good crowd.
But yea, youre pretty much right. We were pretty much it there for awhile.
There were other little bands Los Tornados were there for awhile a little cover band.
Chris: They were good. What was the guys name who was the head of that band?
Trent: Trini. He was the drummer. I cant remember the other
Chris: I think it was Rene.
Trent:: Yea, they were brothers.
Chris: Did you know Darren Welch when you were growing up?
Trent: He was my older brothers age or maybe
a year younger. But my brother used to sneak me into Rox-Z.
Chris: So did that inspire you at all?
Trent: Somewhat. My brother was a musician.
Trent: He was excellent. He never played in a band
but he played the talent shows and stuff like that.
Trent: Todd Hunt. Hes an excellent musician and songwriter, primarily for the piano. So I began to do that as well. I played talent shows and stuff like that when I was in junior high on the piano.
Chris: So you were kinda chasing your big brother?
Trent: A lot of it was that.
Trent: Yea. Third, at least.
Trent: No, they werent. I mean, my dad can sing He drives around in the car singing along with Sinatra and stuff like that. But we didnt listen to the radio much when we were kids, didnt have 8-tracks & records much. I was in choir.
We were raised in the Church of Christ, which is all a capella, all the time. So we learned to harmonize as brothers together. That was the biggest kick we got out of goin to church was we could harmonize.
Chris: Ive found that there are a lot of people in Lubbock with beautiful voices, because they go to the Church of Christ, and theyre required to develop their voice as an instrument. Thats something that was really noticeable growing up there. You could always tell the girls who went to the Church of Christ; they all had fantastic voices.
Trent: Your voice is a developable thing. There are people that are naturally good at it But never had the need to develop that skill. That is something that people might not know about Lubbock.
My borther Todd and I would sit at home at the piano doing Queen, doing duets, singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" actually playing through the whole Queen album and Pink Floyd...
Chris: Ive been wanting to talk to somebody about
this issue, actually - so let me ask you:
As you said, you didnt really have a lot of music in your home growing up. What was your family's reaction to you being in a Rock band?
Trent: Well, Ill tell ya
We were very
conservative; The Church of Christ is ultra-conservative. We
didnt have instruments or records or that kind of stuff.
But I would play piano for hours upon end.
Chris: Why did your mom force you to take piano lessons? Was it just a "culture" thing? "You just need to have piano lessons;" or what?
Trent: Mustve been. I dont know. I dont know why she did that. It was just something she wanted us to do. So we did it.
But instead of doing Mozart or "Green Onions" or whatever, we started learning Queen and Billy Joel and Elton John and anything that had a piano to it.
I think Mom got a lot of joy out of hearing us do that; So my parents enjoyed us playing together like that, not knowing - I dont think - what doors they had opened.
Chris: They just liked hearing their talented sons.
Trent: And we were fairly good at it. Whether we were
playing "Heart & Soul" as a duet
never had lessons on this but he would start at the bottom end
and I would start at the top and by the end of the deal we were
doing some really Ragtime stuff with some Rhythm & Blues
stuff going. We just had some creativity there. And our parents
loved that, so they encouraged it.
My brother started writing songs and started listening to music. I remember in 1976 or 77, him taking me to a Kiss show in Lubbock when I was in 7th or 8th grade: Seeing my first "doobie," and seeing those throngs of people. I was on the front row. Ive got pictures of that original Kiss band. I was on my brothers shoulders just shooting Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley in the face with my camera. He caught a Peter Criss drumstick, and I still have it in my drawer at home.
Chris: And that was a HUGE deal, Kiss coming to Lubbock. I still remember that; It just completely rocked Lubbocks world. It was like the end of the world; like the Devil himself came to town.
Trent: Its still a huge deal. That was the year
that "Love Gun" came out.
So we started listening to some bands that are obscure now, that were really ahead of their time. Do you remember Star Castle? A lot of keyboards, really great music. Started listening to Yes back then, which none of our friends ever wanted to listen to. We listened to a lot of Pink Floyd my brother and me. Of course Im just in 7th grade at this time, so this is where my training is coming from: Im listening to all this music that is very artistic.
Chris: Getting back to that
What did your folks
think about your brother taking you out to these concerts? Did
they know what was going on? I know there was a huge fear of
Kiss and Heavy Metal in Lubbock.
Trent: They trusted us. My parents grew up in a time
when that wasnt relevant or prevalent; It just didnt
happen. We grew up in a time when I would get out of school in
3rd grade and ride my bike three miles to my friends house
and play all sorts of rough games and do whatever honest boy
fun. And then realize its startin to get dark and
ride underneath Loop 289 and right across all those neighborhoods
questions asked. But things have just changed, telescoped. Its
gotten a lot more "evil," quickly. I dont think
they thought much about it then
We were let free to do whatever we wanted, as far as what we listened to And I guess thats when we got "the bug."
Chris: So later on, youre out of school and in college, were they still encouraging your music?
Trent: No; Not encouraging it - But not discouraging
In Lubbock, everybody wants "to break out." But you do have a lot of mothers working with daughters or sons working with fathers. Theres a lot of that going on. My brother and I both tried that but we were just cut to do different things.
So when I actually began to play in a band and live that "night-life" kind of lifestyle - cause you dont work 8 to 5 and go home and watch football; Being in a band requires a different attitude, a little bit of irresponsibility and freedom with the nightlife - I just did it; I just did my thing.
Chris: Did you adopt that "irresponsible Rock-n-Roll freedom" atitude because you thought it was part of being the musician or is that what you wanted to do? Did you want to be a rebel?
Trent: It wasnt really a rebellion thing. Its a lot funner for me to play a gig - or to see music - at night; in-doors, in a smoky club, after hours, have some beers, people smoking cigarettes, musics kind of loud It hits those senses and brings out a certain feeling Whereas, any times Ive ever played out-doors, particularly in the afternoon, it was a real "forced" gig and tough to do. Were in the sun, theres no lights, no smoke, there was some people out there but But I like that feeling of "people everywhere around you" You know what Im saying? Its almost stifling but I like that. I like that closed-in, little ol small venues, smoky room, light shining through the haze. Smell the smells, see the peoples faces and all that.
Chris: Well, if there is a "Lubbock Music," it is almost entirely coming from that type of environment - as opposed to manufacturing something for mass production. It all seems to come from that kind of "group experience," where youre all doing something exciting together in some small bar or club, stimulating your senses.
Trent: Intimacy. There is an intimacy that
when we are rehearsing, the most productive and enjoyable practices
for me are at night; Weve all put in a good days work;
Were unwinding; The kids are in bed; Were out in
the studio, got a couple of beers. The guitar player is smoking,
were in a little garage with carpet covering the walls
2007 Chris Oglesby
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