If you’ve been in an East Texas bar, club, or any other weekend gathering place over the last nine years, there’s a good chance you’ve already seen TEAZUR performing, performing their fresh approach to classic rock.
After nine years as a band, TEAZUR is a well-established, steadily-gigging road machine. In 2015, they’ll be playing fifty of the fifty-two weekends of the year somewhere. That’s a pretty hectic schedule for four guys with full-time jobs, but they say they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We had one weekend off this year, and I think we have one more at the end of the year,” drummer and founder Mike Reiner said. “It’s awesome. Me and Tobie (Turner, lead vocalist) have talked about it, how we think it would be nice to have a weekend off sometimes. And then when we get one, we wind up wishing we were playing somewhere. It’s kind of a family affair for us, because our girlfriends and families are there with us. We just love being together, and we have a lot of fun while we play and set up. We just love to be around people.”
With thousand of people seeing their shows, the band has had a lot of opportunity to meet and greet the crowds over the last nine years. They consider their audience not fans, but rather friends.
“We’re not above anybody,” Turner said. “People respect humility, and we’re all very approachable, anybody could come up and talk to us. Anybody can plug into an amp and play for a couple of hours, pick up a check and be gone. That’s not us, we’re not above anybody. It’s very gratifying, you meet people all the time that pat you on the back because you can play a tune and remind them of their childhood. I always tell them, it’s the people who make it fun. The ones who come out and pay the cover to hear us, they make it worth it.”
In addition to being a steady draw on weekends, the band is also critically acclaimed. TEAZUR is a finalist for ETX Music’s “Rock Band of the Year,” and guitarist Rio Wallace is up for “Best Male Guitarist.”
By design, TEAZUR takes great pride in not being your ordinary bar band. Guitarist Wallace and bassist Clint McMullen both have degrees in music, and between them, Reiner and Turner have been practicing musicians for more than seventy years. You won’t hear “Mustang Sally” at one of their shows, or any of the other garage band staples that listeners have been tired of for decades.
“To be able to do what we do, we have to know who we’re playing for and what they want,” Turner said. “We’ve always taken it on ourselves that we don’t play the ‘standard’ songs that you hear from every other gigging band. We try and give the people something that they’re not going to see around the block, something they’re not going to see anywhere else.”
“We didn’t want to play music that you could hear any night of the week in any bar,” Reiner said. “We went back to the bands we grew up listening to, Kansas, Styx, Rush, Journey, bands like that. We want our fans to say, ‘Oh my God, these are the songs we grew up with. I’m reliving my musical fantasy!’”
With that many gigs, the band takes every opportunity to change up their set list and keep things fresh.
“We’ll learn new songs pretty much every week, and change up the set,” Reiner said. “Everybody was asking for ‘Uptown Funk,’ for example, so we added it,” he laughs. “We’ll throw in a disco medley, add some Rush, Bryan Adams, Rick Springfield, Guns and Roses…we’ll just try new stuff all the time.”
“Everybody in this band is polished, and we try and play stuff like it was written and have fun. Our biggest thing is vocal ability. Everybody in the band sings, so we do three and four part harmonies. I truly think that’s what sets us apart. There’s not a lot of bands doing the things we do.”
A typical TEAZUR show starts with the band performing the national anthem around nine, followed by music straight through until closing time with one short break in the middle, and Turner thanking the crowd for choosing the band for their weekend entertainment.
“I hope they feel like they’ve spent their money well,” Turner said. “We grew up KISS fans and that was their motto, a good show for the money. That’s why we have a light show and music that everybody can get into.”
“I want people to say, ‘Wow, that was awesome,’ Reiner said. “That’s the key to people coming back to see us, everybody has fun. When we get comments on our Facebook page, they tell us they had fun, and that really makes it even better for us. We want everybody to get their money’s worth when they come see the band.”
With the band members all road-tested veterans in their forties, they say that experience gives them a new perspective on still being working musicians, and playing almost every weekend.
“I just love playing music,” Reiner said. “I love the camaraderie with the guys. I’ve played in bands since high school, but this is the first time I’ve played this much. You can’t get a better high than going out in front of people and playing.”
“It’s a dream,” Turner said. “Everybody dreams growing up, whether you’re in a band or playing football or whatever, that’s the goal. To make the pros. When I got back into this, I told myself if it ever starts to feel like a job, I’m out.
“We could play at our leisure in our garage or living room, but when you’re playing to a crowd of smiling faces every Saturday night, and people come up and say they enjoyed you…that’s not just a blessing, it’s a responsibility.”
You can get more of TEAZUR at www.teazur.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TEAZUR.
For upcoming shows, go here.
— Reid Kerr first book, “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape,” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com.
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EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide
Jason Herrin, Shooter Jennings, Dirty River Boys in Concert this Weekend
March 9th (8pm) Jason Herrin will be at Moore’s Store in Ben Wheeler. Tickets are available at the door. Cover is $7.
March 10th (8pm) – Shooter Jennings – Shooter Jennings is an American singer-songwriter, active mainly in the outlaw country music and Southern rock genres. He is the son of country music legend Waylon Jennings. Tickets range from $35 -$45. Liberty Hall is located at 103 E. Erwin St., Tyler. Tickets are available at libertytyler.com.
March 10th (8pm) – Dirty River Boys with Pushwater will be at Love & War in Lindale. Tickets are available at outhousetickets.com. Tickets are $15 for general admission.
March 16th (8pm) – Parker McCollum will be at Coach’s & Cowboys. Tickets are available at wildtexastickets.com. Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Parker McCollum treats each song he writes with a painstaking level of dedication, reverence, respect and as he will readily admit, even a bit of obsession. His new album “Probably Wrong” follows the Austin-based performer’s ultimate goal is to reinvent himself with each record he makes. Tickets are $13-$20.
March 17th (8pm-1am) – St. Patrick’s Day Metal Massacre will take place at Click’s Live, 1946 ESE Loop 323, Tyler. The St. Patrick’s Day Metal Massacre features Edge of Misery, No Due Respect, and LowLife. Cover at the door. Doors open at 8pm.
March 22nd (7-10pm) – Zach Winters and Jason Barrows will perform at The Foundry Coffee House, 202 S. Broadway, Downtown Tyler. They will be performing songs from their new albums and changing every city they visit to the city of brotherly love. Early bird tickets are $10. Pre-sale ticket are $12. At the door tickets are $15. Doors at 7pm and music starts at 7:30pm. All ages are welcome. For more info go to zachwinters.com or jasonbarrows.com.
March 24th (8pm) – Bibeau Record Release Party & Concert – will be held at Click’s Live. Tickets are available at the door with proper ID.
March 25th (8pm) – Texas Sunday Returns with Brandon Rhyder at Love & War in Lindale. Tickets are available at outhousetickets.com. Tickets are $15 for general admission.
April 7th (9pm-1am) – Post Profit with Travis Christian will be at Garage Bar, 418 E. Erwin St., Downtown Tyler. There is a $5 cover.
April 7th (7pm) – Sam Riggs will be at Coach’s & Cowboys. Tickets are $15-$20 and available at wildtexastickets.com.
April 8th (8pm) – Texas Sunday: Jason Boland & The Stragglers will be at Love & War in Lindale. Tickets are available at outhousetickets.com. Tickets are $20 for general admission.
April 12th (8pm) Wesley Pruitt will be at Moore’s Store in Ben Wheeler. Tickets are available at the door.
April 12th (7pm) – The Legendary Johnny Rodriguez in Concert – Texas Country Music Hall of Famer, Johnny Rodriguez, has had fifteen top-ten singles and 6 number-one hits since 1973. Some of Johnny’s classic hits include: “Pass Me By,” “You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me),” “Riding My Thumb To Mexico,” “That’s The Way Love Goes,” and “Just Get Up and Close The Door.” For tickets call (866)710-8942. Tickets start at $35.
April 15th (8pm) – Texas Sunday: Chris Knight will be at Love & War in Lindale. Tickets are available at outhousetickets.com. Tickets are $20 for general admission.
April 21st (8pm) – Mouse & The Traps – After more than 50 years together, Mouse & the Traps continue to be one of the best examples of “Texas Rock & Roll.” Formed in Tyler, Texas in 1965, Mouse, Nardo, Dave & Larry continue to give the public just what they want – great rock and roll. Whether you remember “Public Execution,” “Hit the Bricks,” or not, Mouse & The Traps has something for everyone. Tickets are $20-$25.
April 21st – Bowling For Soup at Clicks Live (8pm) – American pop-punk band Bowling For Soup emerged in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1994, but have since relocated to Denton Texas. Tickets are on sale at the door for $19, and may be purchased in advanced online for $15 at etix.com.
The Blacksmiths: Still Like That Old Time Rock & Roll
By Johnny Griffith
Bob Seger has a well known hit from the early 80’s called “Old Time Rock And Roll.” This song laments the lack of soul in the contemporary music of that time period and declares his intent to keep playing classic rock as a solution. I’ve never gotten the chance to meet Mr. Seger, but the closest thing we have here in East Texas is Chris Austin of the local classic rock band, The Blacksmiths. A native of Chapel Hill, Chris played drums on the drumline at Chapel Hill High School and went on to graduate from the Dallas Sound Lab with a degree in Audio Engineering and Sound Techniques. Blessed with parents that loved music and supported him in his endeavors early and often, Austin developed a love for classic rock through the sounds he heard coming from his parents’ collections and eventually started a band and is still playing to this day.
We managed to get a word in with Chris recently to find out more about The Blacksmiths
Johnny: What is the current lineup of the band? Any changes over the lifespan of the band?
Chris: The current lineup consists of myself on lead guitar and vocals, Joshua Stewart on drums, Angelo Lopez on bass/rhythm guitar/vocals, and Ben Carter on bass and vocals. Angelo and Ben have both been filling the shoes of bass player when available, but recently we decided to shake it up a bit and go with a 4 piece instead of 3 with Angelo on guitar as well…as our busy schedules finally allowed. The lineup has changed immensely over the years. I haphazardly started this project about 6 years ago with a couple of friends just messing around in my kitchen,,,which was the only place we had to set up all the equipment at the time…typical broke musicians haha. We eventually gained a keyboard and rhythm player and were a 5 piece band by the time we started playing shows. We decided to go back to a 3 piece after about a year for convenience and scheduling issues. Our drummer at the time had to move for work but introduced me to Joshua before doing so. Joshua had played with Angelo before with “Something Blue” and I met Ben after watching him play for “King Richard and the Bayou Boys” …and as they say, the rest was history.
Johnny: Who were some of your early musical influences?
Chris: My parents were very into music and had a plethora of vinyl records to dig through. I was turned on to The Doors, The Who, The Allman Bros, Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, CCR, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, SRV, David Bowie…but most importantly Led Zeppelin. When I was 12 I received a cheap electric guitar and Led Zeppelin IV on cassette tape for Christmas and that changed everything..
Johnny: At what point was the decision made to be a primarily classic rock band? Have to say you guys are a bit younger than most of the other ones in the area.
Chris: That’s really the stuff I always enjoyed playing the most and felt most comfortable with, because those tunes were ingrained in me from a young age. When we first started, we tried a lot of 90’s stuff and some 80’s Metallica and Misfits which we were pretty decent at but learned pretty quickly what we had more fun with. Even though we’re a bit younger, I feel we were all entranced by that era of music growing up. We were very lucky to have Miss Robin Griffith from XLN on 5th street give us the chance to really explore our potential. We played every Sunday there for quite a while as the house band which gave us a lot of quick feedback from the crowd…and from the venue owner haha.
Johnny: Is there any specific period of classic rock you guys gravitate towards over others?
Chris: Not really, I’ve just personally loved the 70’s era most, but we cover the 60’s and 80’s as well. We do seem to cover a lot of Creedence Clearwater and The Doors though, if that says anything.
Johnny: Where did the band name come from?
Chris: The guys from the original lineup and I were hanging out after practice having a beer or two and trying to come up with something, After a length of time and much pondering, we looked around the room and noticed the main theme of what we were looking at…which was old, broken down, second hand, very junky equipment that I had been hoarding and frankensteining together with duct tape and zip ties for years. I’m really not sure how we didn’t shock or hurt ourselves but I remember us saying…”well, we sure know how to make something out of nothing…like a dang ole’ blacksmith” (speaking of the ramshackle but playable equipment). And just like that, it stuck.
Johnny: do you guys do any originals at this point or is it primarily covers?
Chris: I’ve had a couple of blues tunes in the works for a while but we’ve honestly been so busy playing shows and working full time day jobs or careers it’s been tough to find time, but I think this is our year to shine.
Johnny: You’ve been playing music in this area for a while now, do you have a favorite memory so far?
Chris: I’ve had a lot of really cool experiences along the way getting to play with some amazing musicians. I was the guitar player in a band with Jonathan Scott from Resident Hero for a while and grew up with the singer Ryan White. I also toured a bit as guitar player for Stewart Mann and the Statesboro Revue out of Austin. I’d have to say though, my favorite memory thus far is a recent one. Joshua and I were both taught drums by Nardo and I learned guitar from Larry Stanley. We had the opportunity to open for Mouse and the Traps for the New Years Eve party at Love and War in Lindale and man was it an experience! We got to open for the guys who taught us everything in a packed room. Too cool
Johnny: Where can people get their Blacksmiths fix over the next couple of months?
Chris: Our next scheduled gig is March 31st at Club 155 on Frankston highway…at least for the public. We do a lot of private parties, bike rallies, and events as well. But always keep an eye out for us at XLN on 5th street…that’s our main stomping ground
Johnny: What do The Blacksmiths have on the radar through the rest of the year?
Chris: We have a lot of new stuff planned for this year. A whole new set of songs, some killer merchandise and a new demo ep. Also, I’m told that you might see us opening for Mouse and the Traps again in the near future…so keep your eyes peeled
Johnny: What can a new listener expect to see at a Blacksmiths show?
Chris: A good ole’ Rock show with lots of classic favorite tunes played by guys that do the best they can to respect and represent the music for what it is….life and love
EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide
Date Night: From Fancy to Simple, Tyler Offers a Lot of Romance
March 24th – Tyler Azalea 10k, 5k, and Kids Run plus MORE!
Theatre Guide: March 15-18th, “The Lucky O’Learys” on Stage
The Apple Didn’t Fall Far From The Tree
DATE CHANGES!! April 2nd: Glass Rec. Center, Summer Camp Registration Open
The Skinny on Cooking at Home: The Cookbook Junkie
March 29th: Hop to the 17th Annual Twilight Easter Egg Hunt
2018 Azalea & Spring Flower Trails March 16th-April 1st
March 30th: Deana Carter in Concert at Liberty Hall
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