Written by Tony Housh (Seasons After)
As I mentioned in my last installment of “My Rock and Roll Journey,” after living in a small area and searching for my spot, eventually I began looking for a new place to call my musical home. I knew that if I didn’t somehow find my way to a larger area with a more happening music scene, that I would surely never find the musical situation that I needed in order to grow myself as a young vocalist and frontman. I began slowly setting my sites on Dallas, TX. I just couldn’t help thinking about a trip I had once taken to Dallas several years earlier to visit my cousin Mark and family.
My cousin Mark had extended an invite to me to come to Dallas and chill for a week or so after I had just gotten out of high school, so I took it. I had already given college a run, and to be honest, I sucked at it. I would sit in my classes and think to myself… “Why am I here? I didn’t like going to school in the first place, and now I’m paying for it??” Naturally, it didn’t work out in the end because the college route never felt right to me.
I found myself getting off of a Greyhound bus in downtown Dallas at the age of 18 to meet my cousin Mark for a short stay. He immediately began showing me around the city after picking me up from the bus station.
Dallas was huge to me! I could feel the energy pulsating through the air. There was something about that city that made me feel electric. Even the traffic was amazing. I loved every aspect of it! It honestly felt like I had been missing this fast-paced environment my entire life. Coming from a small town, Dallas was truly amazing.
One of the first places that my cousin took me to was the historic Dallas entertainment club district – Deep Ellum. It was only a few miles from the bus station. As we made our way down the one-way streets in downtown Dallas, I stared out of the windows of his red Chevy short bed hotrod at the towering buildings, each one casting a shadow over the streets. I was amazed and blown away during the entire ride through the downtown area. Keep in mind that it was only around noon on a Saturday when Mark picked me up, so Deep Ellum was relatively quiet.
He looked over to me and said…“Hey cuz, I’m going to take you into the area that I am bringing you to tonight for a concert. I want you to see it during the day. Once I bring you back tonight for the show, you will be floored by the transformation that happens when the sun goes down.” And boy, was I ever!
Later that night, he brought me back to Deep Ellum. I was fascinated by it all…the large crowds moving from club to club, the well-dressed men standing at club doors overseeing the entry of patrons, the tattoo shops, the beautiful women and the cars wrapped around (what appeared to be) blocks of traffic with everyone partying to the max! It was my first time seeing all of the colors of personality and insanity that can be humanity…each person doing and being what they wanted to be at that very moment. I freaking loved it!
Mark took me to my first, second and third rock show ever…all in one night! Our first top was Trees, a live music venue that it still killing it in Deep Ellum to this day. We watched a band from the Dallas area called Stinkbug. I just stood there in awe of the band. I was mesmerized by the frontman. He was so in control of the crowd, and brutal with the delivery of every phrase. Even in between songs, he was an animal. I just stood there, not even bobbing my head, just watching, thinking and dreaming about that being ME on stage. It felt like my place for some reason. That dark club and those crazy streets outside somehow made me feel like I had a direction.
After leaving that show, we bounced over to another local kickass spot called Deep Ellum Live. Once again, I stood there in awe while watching a band called Fishbone. I just knew that I needed to live in this city, but it would be another six years before I would call it home.
Over that six-year period, I would end up doing a lot of things that had very little to do with music. The occasional jam session here or there would happen with friends from time to time. I even drove back and forth to the Dallas/Fort Worth area from Abilene just to jam with random guys for a night before heading back home to the family life. It was my little way of fulfilling my urge to sing I guess.
During that time, I ended up getting married and having two wonderful kids. I even began building some sort of career for myself outside of music in trucking and route delivery. But as they say, all good things must come to an end (I suppose). The “Big D” was just around the corner for me, and I don’t mean Dallas. That “Big D” would come a little later.
At the age of 23, I was facing a divorce. I was super bummed about the entire thing (as you can imagine). By the time the situation had found its way to finality, (almost 5 years later), I had begun trying to find my way back to Dallas to play music in the places where I had stood and dreamed it all up years before. After all was said and done, I began looking up bands in the Dallas area on the internet and setting up auditions. I had nowhere to live and no job, but I decided that I was going to go to Dallas no matter the cost of the journey.
It wasn’t very long after (on September 9, 2001) that I threw my belongings in my car in West Virginia and set sail for Dallas and a new beginning (without even having a place to live or a job to feed me). I didn’t care. I was going to make a move no matter the consequences!
Once I arrived in Arlington (a Dallas suburb), I immediately began attending auditions. I like to joke that I had a band interview before I even filled out a job application, but it’s the truth. Within a week or so, I had contacted a very good friend of mine who allowed me to have a bed in his efficiency apartment’s kitchen. I would call that home while I searched for my new band. The search would continue for just a few weeks before I ran into a band called Havoc; they were looking for a singer. We would eventually be known as Flip 44, and later as MyMotive.
In Chapter 4 of “My Rock And Roll Journey,” I’ll tell the story of Flip 44 and MyMotive, and the twists and turns through the Dallas music scene that set the course for my journey of today.
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