The Suspects (Houston, TX)
The Suspects are experimenters, purveyors, and enthusiasts. No one else attempts the things that The Suspects accomplish with mixing ska, rock, reggae, and dub. For more than twenty years, The Suspects many members have blended all the musical things that they love in a huge, Houston-sized pot. The briny results of this effort are not easily named; is it strictly ska? Is it regular old reggae? Or, is it something new that you’ve never heard before? It doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as it makes you happy.
Charlie Esparza and Bill Grady found each other in early 1993 through the bulletin board at the old Westheimer location of Houston’s Sound Exchange records. The other members of the band were found slowly but surely: Alan Hernandez worked with Bill, and Joe Cote had been Bill’s co-worker at a previous job. Andy Hocker, Claudio DePujadas, and Chris Kendrick all answered fliers posted at Sound Exchange. Thomas Escalante was originally a partner in the record label that released the first two Suspects singles, plus he worked with Bill and Alan at the same time.Ryan Gabbart was barely old enough to drive when he joined the band. Steve Ruth had been a long-time fan of The Suspects when he heard Bill jokingly ask a Fitzgerald’s crowd if, “anybody knew any horn players”. Jason Davis and Jay Brooks were both good friends and members of Middlefinger.
Over nine years, we released four cds, toured the mid-west, and made a lot of friends. The Suspects played their “last show” on Friday August 23rd, 2002 at Fitzgeralds with Middlefinger, Magnetic IV, and Next2Nothing.
Even though most people thought it would never happen, The Suspects played two reunion shows after their breakup: January 19, 2007 and December 23, 2007… both at the Continental Club in Houston, Texas. After thinking about it for a few months, The Suspects decided you can’t ignore a good thing and announced their return to a full-time schedule in the summer of 2008. Thomas Escalante elected to leave the band in January 2015, and original singer Chris Kendrick was asked to rejoin in March.
The Inverters (Austin, TX)
The Inverters have been around since 2011. Making a name for themselves by combining influences from underground music ranging from reggae to two tone ska and punk rock and then some. To invert something is to upset it. Change it. Go against the norm and flip it around. With original diehards Al Shire and Mike L. Smith at the helm, The Inverters message is simple. Life experiences make for the anthems. Unity + Tolerance
Ryan Scroggins (Houston, TX)
Los Wasted Tones