Up To 11 Entertainment Puts DFW Bands On the Books
Josh Pitts and Ben Piche were in the punk band Captain Incredible a ways back, and got so frustrated with the way their band was getting booked, they decided to concentrate on doing it themselves, hence their five-man outfit, Up To 11 Entertainment.
Pitts has performed with DFW notables Darstar, Here Holy Spain and Bastardos De Sancho. Piche's emphasis is on poster design, and his artwork has been featured in DC9 more than once.
So, I understand you two are a little beefed about a "missing" DC9 feature you were big fans of?
Piche: Well, there used to be a "Poster of the Week" every week but it has since been discontinued! I thought this feature was great for artists and designers to showcase their talents and get a little recognition. Plus, it was fun to "win" and get some exposure for your art and, more importantly, the show it was promoting. I miss that. (Note: DC9 still features posters every week, we just changed the format a bit.)
What local bands are prominent in your arsenal for shows?
Pitts: How's My Driving?, Sally Majestic, China Kills Girls, Perdition, Southern Train Gypsy, The Dangits, Stoogeaphilia, The Vatican Press, Here Holy Spain, The Phuss, Mothership, One Fingered Fist, ETA, Vorvon, Maleveller, Wo Fat, Samuel Caldwell's Revenge and a ton more.
Ben, any to add?
Piche: Any band Phipps Stewart is in! Like, Responsible Johnny, Smokestack Lightning, Black Habits, Then There's Pratty, The Me-Thinks, Bastardos de Sancho, Static Mind, Horror Cult, Big Fiction, Fat By The Gallon, The Chloes, The Crazy Ivans, HK, The Forgeries...
How did you end up forming a booking and promotions operation?
Pitts: Being in a band together with Ben, we became disappointed with booking agents. Then it dawned on us to rent the venues ourselves, book our own bills, build our own scene. As musicians, we knew which bands showed up on time, which bands ruled live, which bands fit best together on a bill, mostly because, unlike a lot of booking agents, we were physically present at the shows. So we started a collective, run by musicians.
Piche: Josh and I were playing in the band Captain Incredible about four years ago. We got tired of getting booked with bands that we had no business playing with, or vice versa. I am all for an interesting bill, but some of the bands just did not make sense.
How were your formidable years playing instruments?
Piche: I started playing bass at 13 and graduated to guitar. When I found out my dad had played bass in a band called Sluie & The Sultans back in the mid '60's, I just had to get a bass. He taught me my first riff, the walking bass.
Piits: I started to play drums at 14, and played in gigging bands 15 years straight. I was part of a good amount of records, five of which were commercially released. I'm a dad now, as of this past weekend, so I'm happily putting that aspect of my life on the shelf until I get my feet well underneath me.
Josh, was there a profound event in your childhood that turned you into a music person?
Pitts: Sixth grade, yellow Walkman. Two cassette tapes: Rancid's Let's Go, and Corrosion of Conformity's Deliverance. Nearly 20 years later and they remain my most listened to genres: punk rock and Southern stoner metal. Along those lines, all of us at Up To 11 have different tastes in music. For the most part, we specialize in punk, hard rock and metal. We are local band-centric, but here are some national and regional acts we've had the pleasure of working with: Red City Radio, The Ataris, Greg Ginn, The Queers, Guttermouth, Scorpion Child, Dixie Witch, Eagle Claw, Heart Sounds, Atom Age, Knockout, The Story So Far, Sinizen, Cobra Skulls and more.
How about local music fandom outside of the booking arena? Who comes to mind?
Piche: Some of the more current bands that I dig are Fair To Midland, Bad Design, Rocketarm, Descender, Sealion, Spook Easy, Spector 45, The Dangits, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, TrebucheT and The Phuss, to name a handful.
Pitts: Deathray Davies is my jam, every freaking record they did. Saw them at Spaceland in L.A. when I was living on the West Coast. John D. sold me a copy of Midnight at the Black Nail Polish Factory after that show. I also dug Slowride, Hagfish, The Reverend Horton Heat, Tripping Daisy, Toadies, Pennywhistle Park, Adventures of Jet and Doosu.
Who are the other guys involved in the business? What role do they have here?
Pitts: Jared Ahmed, Duane Smith and myself primarily handle booking, although Smith and Ahmed double as damn good poster designers. Ben Piche does design, photography, as well as some booking on occasion, and Carson So is our resident photog and overall levelheaded-badass who keeps it all together.
Jared Ahmed also manages a band you guys like to work with a lot, yes?
Piche: Perdition. They recently released Hispaniola. They also just signed to European label Gunner Records, who also works with bands like Cobra Skulls, Red City Radio, Gaslight Anthem and more. They'll be on tour in Europe come March, and they were also accepted to play The Fest '11 in Gainesville, Florida. Only like the biggest punk fest in the country. Their music video has hit over 8,000 views on YouTube.
Josh, if you were in charge of the music community, would you implement any changes?
Pitts: Not sure what can be done to change it, but for me, the issue I take with the scene is this attempt by some to turn the DFW music scene into Brooklyn South. It's like forcing a cat to swim. It may be funny to watch them try, but in the end, it's just not going to happen. This is Dallas/Ft. Worth, and we are not "cool." And I mean that in the most complimentary way imaginable!