Paul Slavens Will Not Sing About Saggy Balls for One Dollar. Five Dollars, on the Other Hand ...

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J. Paul Slavens and bandmates
J. Paul Slavens has a combination of charisma and sarcasm that is enough to leave any audience in stitches. Slavens made a name for himself in the '80s as a member of the popular North Texas band Ten Hands and has since had a career as a composer, radio show host and award-winning musician. Now Slavens and his four bandmates take requests, sort of: You suggest topics and ply the band with bribes and maybe Slavens won't directly make fun of you. I went to a recent show at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton (he took a shot at it last night at Crown & Harp as well), and I was beyond entertained.

You may think you have an interesting idea for a song. But Slavens is anything but shy and will be glad to tell you what a load of garbage your choice is; that is, unless it's wrapped in a five-dollar bill. Slavens warns the audience that life is full of ripoffs and disappointment, and tosses the first few requests topped with one-dollar bills over his shoulder.

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Matt Pond: You Can't Depend on People to Seek Out Your Music -- You Have to Go to Them

Categories: My First Show

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Matt Pond spent years leading Matt Pond PA. Now a proper solo artist, he's coming to town in support of his lush new record, The Lives Inside The Line In Your Hand. We caught up with Matt about how he got into music and whether or not people still remember when his music was used in The O.C.

You're the son of a minister, correct?

Yes, I am.

Was the music in church the first music you heard a lot of?

I think what I heard a lot of was both my mother and father's music. It was classical, show tunes. Church music never really had that impact on me. I'm not good at singing in a group on a song I've never sung before.

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The Jealous Sound's Blair Shehan Remembers his First Guitar: A Black and White Epiphone

Categories: My First Show

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In honor of the Jealous Sound's third appearance in the DFW area in 12 months (they play in the House of Blues' Cambridge Room tonight), we caught up with frontman Blair Shehan on how he got into playing guitar, hardcore punk, and where the band is now.

What drew you to playing guitar?

I grew up in a smaller town and I got into skateboarding and then punk rock after that. I went and bought a guitar at the pawn shop and then that started the whole thing going. We were too far removed from being a band or playing [laughs]. It wasn't a legitimate band. I was 14 when I got a guitar. Hardcore and punk rock made me want to do it.


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These Machines Are Winning: "I was Really Obsessed with Superman's Death."

Categories: My First Show

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If you're excited about These Machines Are Winning, Dylan Silvers' latest project, you're in for plenty of background. We got the rundown on their musical beginnings, their first shows, and what to expect in the near future, and you can expect more in next week's print edition. As a preview of their first show on Saturday at the Double Wide, we sat down with Silvers and Ryan Hartsell, the man behind the band's visuals.

Dylan, I've known you for many years and I've always known you as someone who plays guitar and keyboards. What else can you play? Along those lines, what was the first instrument that you learned to play?

Dylan Silvers: Guitar, but first I started singing in high school. But when I got kicked out of my first band after their first show, I realized I needed to learn how to play guitar so I could write my own songs. I'm mostly guitar and keyboards. I've always been on the production side, but now I've been with this last record. I've had co-producers help me, but I'm really into the production side, seeing the whole big picture of the songs. I'm a jack of all noisey trades, I guess.


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The Atlas Moth Genesis: Metallica, Talent Shows and Peter Gunn

Categories: My First Show

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The Atlas Moth will be in town tonight, opening for death metal proggers Gojira at the Granada. Frontman Stavros Giannopoulos took some time out to talk about the first shows he saw as a kid, The Blues Brothers, and Peter Gunn.

Growing up, was there anybody that inspired you to play music?

I'd say obviously, James Hetfield. Jim Morrison was a very large one initially. Kinda like one of those first people that you saw and thought, "Oh God!" You know? He was still bigger than life. James Hetfield would probably be my number one, for sure.

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How The Atomic Tanlines Went From Church Choir to Crawling Around in Broken Glass

Categories: My First Show

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Eric Grubbs
The Atomic Tanlines, at the Waffle House they started in
The Atomic Tanlines received plenty of praise last year with their blend of punk, free jazz and soul. The Denton-based five-piece sat down with us at the Waffle House where they started to discuss their background in music. You can catch them this week at Le Bitch Manor on Thursday and at Dada on Saturday opening for Ty Segall.

See also:
-Get to know the Atomic Tanlines
-Instagram highlights of the 2012 DOMAs
-My First Show archives

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Heartless Bastards' Erika Wennerstrom Never Learned the Standard Chords

Categories: My First Show

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Erika Wennerstrom and her fantastic band, Heartless Bastards, return to Dallas on Saturday night. In preview of their show at Trees, Wennerstrom shed some light on her (lack of) formal training and the strange looks she gets for the band's name.

Which instrument did you learn to play first, piano or guitar?

Piano.

Was it something that you were drawn to or something you were told to do

I don't know if I was told or forced. My dad got me a piano when I was in second grade or something, maybe even younger. The piano showed up one day and then they signed me up for some lessons. I was into it. I enjoyed it.

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Matthew Hittle of Auxiliary Voice Talks Seeing Van Halen, Playing Extreme's "More Than Words"

Categories: My First Show

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Auxiliary Voice's Matthew Hittle has had an interesting ride, musically. Long before he formed the ambient post-rock band with Justin Young, he had to deal with living in a house where secular music was hard to find. Hittle recently sat down with us and talked about his first musical experiences and gave a preview of the forthcoming Auxiliary Voice debut album.

What was the first instrument that you learned to play?
Well, I was saving up for a drum set when I bought my first guitar. I realized how expensive drums were gonna be. My parents were like, "We'll support you with whatever you want to play, but you're gonna have to buy your own gear." I got about $400-$500 and saw how long it was going to take to buy a drum set. But drums have always been my favorite instrument. I'm a drummer inside somewhere. The guitar is what I latched onto at about 11 or 12.

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At Night on New Order, and Why Music Sounds Better at Night

Categories: My First Show

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We caught up with the relatively new At Night, who opened for George Quartz a few weeks ago, and asked about their musical firsts.

Who inspired you to pick up a musical instrument? Was it a parent, sibling or band?
Jack Gallegos (vocals/guitar): For myself, I would have to say music was deeply embedded by my mother and father. Both were very music-oriented and my father was also in a band of his own as the front man up until I reached four or five years of age. He wasn't much of an instrumentalist, but he was still very involved, providing me with a passion for music.
Brian Weems (bass): It was a friend from school. He came over one day after school and brought his guitar. I was hooked immediately.
Cameron Brand (keyboards): I would have to say my friend Dorianne M. helped a lot of this inspiration. She introduced me to Duran Duran and Depeche Mode. When I heard all the synthesizers and colorful soundscapes, it made me really want to learn how to make music.
Brian Johnson (drums): My parents got me a little keyboard when I was in second grade and I started banging on makeshift drums by the time I was in middle school. When we got MTV in the early '80s, I was hooked on all the interesting new wave bands, so maybe that's where it really started.

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At Night

My First Show: Best of 2012 Edition

Categories: My First Show

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Drew Gaines
M83 at the Granada

We decided to check back in with some of the people we interviewed this year for My First Show, and ask about favorite concerts, records, and most-wanted Christmas gifts. Bad Design's Steven Altuna takes the cake for best answer for a Christmas wish.

What was the best show you saw this year?
Evan Johnson (Dead Flowers/Smile Smile): Best local show I saw was Somebody's Darling at Dada. It probably would have been their show at LaGrange opening for Shovels and Rope, but I missed it. Roadshow was either Delta Spirit or Yeasayer, both at House of Blues.
Stephen O'Sicky (This Will End): Would have to be the whole Coachella Festival. Refused, At the Drive-In, Childish Gambino, Radiohead, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, etc. It was amazing.
Christopher Robinson (Caterpillars): The best show I saw this year was The Velvet Teen at Dan's Silverleaf. I have been a fan for years but never got the chance to see them.
Brandon Butters (The West Windows/Things of Earth): Without question would have to be At the Drive-In at Trees. This was supposed to be a band I was never going to be able to see live. I'm extremely thankful for Kris Youmans bringing them to town. The online sale was an event in itself. I remember practically breaking my mouse trying to refresh the ticket page. But the show blew me away. I haven't been to a show with that much energy in a long time. My ribs were sore the next day. It was just a rowdy good time with the entire club singing (screaming?) along with every word.
Vinnie Tuley (Dead Flowers): Mugen Hoso at LaGrange. These two could be an amazing blues band, but they chose punk and do it right. Attitude and energy, huge sound for a two-piece.
John Paul Hossley (Bad Design): Wilco at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, California. Totally amazing experience. The sound was impeccable, and Wilco put on one the best shows that I ever seen.
John Gillespie (Bad Design): Probably the Dirty Projectors at the Kessler Theater. Great venue, great band. I've seen them a few times, but I've usually had to travel quite a ways to do so. The opener, Wye Oak, was about as exciting as listening to paint dry, but the sound at the Kessler is fantastic and the Dirty Projectors sounded amazing.
Justin Young (Rich Girls/Auxiliary Voice/J. Charles & the Trainrobbers/Arm Tha Homeless): M83 at Granada. First time to see them and I walked in assuming it was a project that couldn't replicate the power/intensity of their albums. I was completely wrong on that front.
Clint Sawyer (Bad Design): I got to see Lincoln Durham open up for James McMurtry at Dan's Silverleaf back in June. Amazing set, very powerful performance. If you haven't had the chance to see him live, it is well worth it.
Steven Altuna (Bad Design): For pure scene factor it was The Eccotones on top of Cool Beans as a non-official 35 Denton show.
Jordan Kline (Ice Eater): After listening to them for 10 years, I finally got to see M83 at the Granada.

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