ABOVE: Houston and I writing songs together
in 2004. The longtime Austin punk rocker celebrates
his 39th birthday April 3 and continues to fight cancer. Be sure
to wish Houston a Happy Birthday this weekend and make plans to
attend one of the upcoming benefit gigs being held in his honor.
Do it for Huey! Info below. Thanks in advance.
a newcomer to Austin in 1995, I accidentally discovered a band
called The Contradicks when they opened for the Sons
of Hercules at the Electric Lounge. Little did I know guitarist
Houston Ritcheson and I would soon be joined at the liver. Or
that he would give me the enduring nickname “Metal Dave” as a
jab at my head-banger hair that hung in sharp contrast to his Gatorade-green
and electric-blue mohawk.
As an immediate fan of The Contradicks’ snotty punk-pop,
I started showing up at every gig. When curiosity finally got
the best of drummer Bobby “Bob-O” Fuentes, he decided to introduce
himself to the Iron Maiden reject who kept popping up at the punk-rock
show. Like beer and tequila (two great tastes that taste great
together), we were a hangover waiting to happen. At the band’s
invitation, I was soon packing my ice chest and camping out at
Contradicks rehearsals where my ears took the mother of all beatings.
some point thereafter, I also became a fixture on Houston’s couch
(thanks Rachelle) where I drank pyramids of Lone Stars while being
introduced to bands like Sloppy Seconds, Headwound, Operation
Ivy, Dropkick Murphys, Oxymoron, Bombshell Rocks … the list goes
on forever. Besides an education in tattoos and punk rock (Lower
Class Brats, Dead End Cruisers, the Chumps, Ignorance Park), Houston
also taught me how to paint and patch my leather jacket, which
will always be one of my most-prized possessions. And how could
I ever forget my 30th birthday party at my second home off Banister
Lane? It was a tattooed who’s who of local punks, (anti-racist)
skins and misfits with Houston smack in the middle (of course!).
Over time, The Contradicks evolved into SP-38, then Belligerent
86 and finally Brewtality Inc. Along the way, Houston recruited
me as his lyrical co-writer (and chauffeur). I can’t begin to
tell you how many times
I showed up weighed down with tallboys to find Houston waiting
with pad and pencil. He would strum the riffs and explain
the storyline, and I’d slap the beat on my knees while twisting
words into “clever,” comedic phrasings. If I say so myself, we
wrote some pretty hilarious songs about beer, beer, beer and girls
(in that order). Bob Dylan wouldn’t use them as coasters, but
I’m still proudly amused by the two Brewtality Inc. albums Houston
and I wrote together.
For nearly 10 years, I’d say Houston and I were inseparable
best friends until responsibilities, obligations and other pesky
realities spoiled our beer-to-beer existence (which culminated
each week with the legendary Sunday Drunk Club). Life happens.
It’s all good.
At the risk of sounding like a schoolgirl, I can’t overemphasize
how much I learned and laughed during my years as Houston’s punk-rock
apprentice. After all, Houston is not only a chapter in the life
of “Metal Dave,” he also titled the book!
Birthday, Houston. Here’s to your health!
Your friend, “Metal Dave”
For April 16, go here.
For donation info, go here.
To sample some of our finest work together as co-writers,
click the Brewtality Inc. videos below