Bowling for Soup
The Hundred Inevitables
McMurtrys Dream Job
People and Pets
Best is a bona fide rock star
surprises the unassuming frontman of Slobberbone more than it does
anyone else. And it should.
After all, when Best (93) and Tony Harper (95), the
bands drummer, first started playing together as students
at North Texas, they were just having fun hoping for some
free beer (their first real gig was in a liquor store) and concentrating
on making enough music to fill 20 minutes during a party. When things
got a bit more serious, the bass player, Brian Lane (94),
would make fliers and stick em on every light pole and kiosk
on Fry Street and around campus.
And because it didnt matter, they settled on their name while
watching a dog chew a toy a decision that haunts them today
with much-begged questions about its origins.
If Id known wed do anything other than play around
for fun, we might have thought about the name, Best says.
I certainly never expected to be insured and bonded with Slobberbone
LLC receiving paychecks and paying other people.
But thats just where he finds himself eight years down the
road touring regularly across the United States and Europe,
playing to crowds ranging from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand
(as part of the Dutch Freedom Day Festival in Amsterdam last year),
recording a fourth album and building a legion of loyal fans.
A town with
far more bands than clubs, Denton has always been an incubator for
And it seems to produce musicians, like Slobberbone, who concentrate
on having fun and sounding good rather than being successful.
In the early 1990s, the underground sounds of Denton bubbled to
the surface and people noticed albeit not for the first time,
since Dentons musical prowess is a cyclical phenomenon.
The main clubs of Denton at the time the Gravity Room, the
Library and later Ricks Place were hosting funk bands
of the Goodfoot, Whitey, Billygoat and Ten Hands variety. Just beneath
that surface, in the living rooms and back yards around campus,
another group of bands began playing by their own rules.
Led by the likes of Baboon, Brutal Juice and Caulk (a trio occasionally
dubbed the Fraternity of Noise), these bands began to
When the Gravity Room became Dr. Smiths: The Main Event (today
its Muthers), pretty much any band with a demo had a
venue to play a show.
We decided the cover charge, ran the door and sold homemade
T-shirts, says Andrew Huffstetler (93), vocalist for
bred a determination and confidence that allowed the bands to do
whatever they wanted musically.
And with the help of Sam McCall (Brutal Juice) and a four-track
recorder, almost every band in town could cut an album to shop to
Over the years, Dentons musical output has not only been good,
but also diverse creating a broad tolerance for all styles
And thats why Adams Farm, a trio dedicated to playing
up-front Americana-style rock n roll, would easily share
the bill with CornMo, an accordion-playing soloist who sang about
kolaches with stolen fruit, and the Grown Ups, a horn-driven ska
Its also why the shooting-star fame of Tripping Daisy visited
the cafeteria of West Hall the dorm where the groups
bassist, Mark Pirro (93), and guitarist, Wes Berggren, both
lived and first met.
Dentons pinnacle 90s band was perhaps the Dooms UK
that captured the very spirit of Denton, especially as every Denton
musician seemingly played with them at one time or another.
Possibly my most Denton moment happened
when I was walking home from work one evening and the guys in the
Dooms drove by and asked if I was free, says Will Johnson
(97), founder and frontman of Centro-matic.
And not an hour later I was at some gig in Dallas on stage
with the band playing accordion, and Id never played accordion
in my life, he says.
to pushing the boundaries is what fostered the fertile musical ground
Wichita Falls band Bowling for Soup sought in 1996 in its move to
I remember at that time it seemed Denton had just taken over
the entire Metroplex scene, lead singer Jaret Reddick says.
And I knew that if we were going to try to make it in music,
we needed to be there.
Because the music they were playing was divergent from the main
sounds in town at the time, they were warmly received and have called
Denton home ever since.
Their second major label release Drunk Enough to Dance
debuts this summer in America after first coming out in Europe
to support their UK tour.
It will soon be followed by the fourth release from Slobberbone.
And with each album that hits the market and each new band that
begins to play, Dentons musical legacy grows.
of the 90s followed the likes of the New Bohemians, Sara Hickman
(86), Brave Combo, Little Jack Melody and others.
Just as before them, stars like Pat Boone got their start on the
North Texas Main Auditorium stage with the Aces of Collegeland,
who played on campus for more than 30 years. And in the early 40s,
jazz legends Herb Ellis, Jimmy Giuffre, Gene Roland and Harry Babasin
were playin around in their house on Normal Street.
The scene today is as viable as it ever has been. And according
to those it spawned, it always will be.
Its a proud community full of hard-working, humble people
who are committed to making music for musics sake, Best
this towns too small and too full of talented people to start
feeling too large if you do, youll be shown to the
Check out the Denton Music Guide