Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Grant Johnson at Good Danny's, Austin, Texas
They'd just driven a long - who knows how many hours from New Orleans to get to Austin, Texas and the spring season's greatest musical cluster-fuck of South By Southwest - and Vox and the Hound's drummer, Eric Rogers was on his deathbed. Sure, it was just a temporary thing - a food poisoning or something else that was going to run its course in a few days and then everything would be back in working order - but it couldn't have come at a worse time. As one of the first things that the band was set to do during the week, this session occurred with Rogers sequestered in the drum room, with a puke bucket, just in case. He was green around the edges, but if there ever was a band to soldier through something that would have stopped many stronger men, this would have been one of them. They're from New Orleans. They've been through tougher times than this. They've been through the summer's soup. This was nothing. Just another fly in the ointment, but the ointment still worked.
Well, that's how a hack sports writer would have teed up this essay. It's not a horrible thought, but it's a bit off. The band's songs - sung by Leo DeJesus - all sound like they're flying battered sails and flags. The boats that they float around on could use paint jobs. They've seen better days, just as have the people that are wandering around in them. They're people who have been brought to the brink more times than they'd like to think about and they've got the scarred markings to prove it. They've been struck by all kinds of debris, by all kinds of verbal and emotional jabs. They're very familiar with things changing unexpectedly. DeJesus sings, "Nothing's set in stone except my feet under the lake," on "Mary Got Married," and later adds that the great man in that statue on the square was set to stone and he'd likely fess up to know knowing what he was doing either, just messing around and falling into the dumbest of luck. Everything's just a bit of a chore and as long as there's a desire to fight combusting, we might get somewhere, even if it's with a few knots on our heads.