Outlaw welcomes Robbie House of Sin City Scoundrels as a Contributor. Fronting one of the hottest rock bands in Memphis, Robbie has a unique preprective on one of America’s most cultural music cities.
I’ve lived in Memphis for twenty-three out of twenty-nine years. Even as a pre-tween, I understood the legacy of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Otis Redding and Isaac Hayes; and wondered why these legends were confined to 3-minute radio slots, and only mildly influential on the status quo of the modern-day city. Childhood sucked. After deciding that my entire family was full of white-collar sociopaths (an emotional, judgmental but somewhat true assumption), I skipped the Alma Mater free-ride in lieu of carving my own niche. Other than suicide or becoming a next generation sadistic/masochistic nightmare, there seemed like no other choice. I was angry and filled with pent-up desires to live like Keith Richards and write like Jack Kerouac. Looking back, living, writing and playing adrenaline-fueled roots rock and roll seems like the obvious path. But it wasn’t until my mid-20’s that I started playing guitar among the living, or even playing at all. People are often barriers between you and what you want.
I’ve always had a problem with people. Luckily, I met two Memphis fellows that had the same issue. Enter Jon Fayette and Chris Hart, then known as the Unfortunate Rhythm Section, and now known as two-thirds of Sin City Scoundrels. I’m the guitar player for this power trio.
People are often confused as to why a river city band would have a so-called “Vegas” reference in the band name. Simply, Memphis is the birthplace of rock and roll—modern society’s original sin. Everyone still blames major tragedies and reckless decision-making on one form of the “devil’s music” or another. Elvis even sang the tune “One Night of Sin” early in his career, and it was deemed so controversial that the words were changed to “One Night with You” so the parents and censors wouldn’t yell so much.
As far as us Scoundrels go, we’ve played over 200 gigs in 6 states in three years with the same line-up. We’ve moved crowds and confused them. We’ve met zealous fans and outspoken haters. And we’re only a rising local/regional act. If we make it to the national level, I’m pretty sure statues and C-4 are involved.
Despite the chaos around us, I don’t think we have much to worry about as far as band stability. Still, we’re all three composers, vocalists, and arrangers of the music, so I have no problem imagining our three separate solo careers. I could see Jon Fayette, the bass player, being a bizarre Memphis version of Nine Inch Nails. Great production and multi-instrumental compositions, no lyrics and five years between release dates. Chris could be a drummer/vocalist novelty act writing jazzy, freewheeling diatribes against everything and opening for Weird Al. Personally, I would write left-field rockers and soul ballads backed by a drum machine. I would book tons of shows around the world and call the drum machine the house band.
Assuming none of die or follow full-time solo career tangents, we’ll probably continue to release albums annually, and keep on spreading our own brand of Memphis rock and roll to wider audiences. We have some big shows coming up for us–the Fool’s Ball Festival in Tunica, MS (October 4), and a St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Event at Young Avenue Deli in Memphis (November 8). Anyone reading should stream our 2nd full-length “House of the Rising Scum”. Streaming is absolutely free, so check it out!
~ Robbie House
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