The Texas Guinness Lovers interview
If you've ever been to Houston in the summer you know how hot it gets. The heat and humidity envelop you like a blanket. Texas Guinness Lovers are an unexpected cool breeze in the scene. Unlike many bands here, they are not the least bit jaded, self-absorbed, or pretentious. They are just six people who love playing live, hangin’, and drinkin’. They were recently voted best new band by Houston Press and even I who am jaded by folkie traditionalist yuppie puppy drek have to give them their due. I come in, I drink, I chat, I listen, and then leave feeling pretty good. They play free every Tuesday at Rudyards pub, so check them out if you are in town.

WG:If you'd told me 6 months ago that somebody was putting together a Texas Swing band with members of Dry Nod, De Schmog, the Keenlies.....I would have thought this to be a recipe for disaster. So who was the idiot who thought this up and when did you realize it actually was going to work?

Kilian: I was thinking more of like mixing the Western Swing with the Irish roots...a lot of country...and being half Irish and strongly learned in Irish music...I’ve been interested for about a year and a half in putting Western Swing and Irish music together. I knew some of these people were into Western Swing already and then just playing them in the Houston scene for so long and knowing these guys for so long and knowing who I could work with and who would be fun to work with and who could make it sound different but respect the original stuff is how we all got together.

WG: Since a good portion of your sets are covers ( Tejano, Country, Western Swing, et al.) how do you justify playing this material? TGL outside of Warrens Inn

Kilian: Well we don't play top 40 and we never will unless Bob Wills puts something new out and he's dead so that wont happen.

Roberto: ....many people don't recognize the difference between the covers and originals because the originals are written very traditionally and the covers are somewhat obscure at least with someone who's not familiar with the traditional Irish and Country music.

WG: How does this fit in "the cool Emo’s crowd?"

Thomas: Well we're into any level of participation. It all hinges on the level of alcohol. Alcohol being the classic social lubricant and long as alcohol is flowing we tend to sound good no matter who is listening.

WG: Which bring up the next question...."Mr. Moriarity....freak of nature or Texas treasure?"

(all point to Bo)

Bo: I hung out with the man too long today. I watched him give a haircut to Brad (Moore), served me dinner, and uh well.....

WG: I heard it was dinner from a dumpster. live in the texas sun

Bo: Yes, dumpster diving. Mr. Moriarity’s specialty is Dumpster Din.

WG: Wasn't he also Sherlock Holmes’ arch rival?

Bo: Yes he was.

WG: Y’all play here at Rudyards every Tuesday night. Do y’all play anywhere else?

Chris: We've played a couple of different places...Urban Art Bar, Rockefeller’s, Fitzgerald’s, Opened up for Los Lobos and Junior Brown.....but Rudyards is our home. Rudyards is the club that has supported us...given us the opportunity to do what we want to do and introduce it to crowds who are willing to see it.....

And now with the club’s expansion, it's great to be upstairs with a new p.a. and we attract larger crowds. Rudyards now serves alcohol of varied types (i.e. liquor as well as beer.....oh yes and food did they mention food) which means we play to larger crowds on that alone.

Roberto: So, we're now in full on competition with the Richmond Strip.

WG: (groan of pain) Sorry, gut response. Who puts together the arrangements?

Kilian: I've done some riff work but Chris has been a blessing for us ‘cause he's the real musician. He can write things out in charts and has a real ear for it. Like I’ll learn a song off a record and then we'll play it, and I’ll show him the record after I've shown him how I learned it, and he'll show me all the notes I missed. So, sometimes it comes as a skeleton from one of us and then we all take it and discuss endings and middle parts. We all put our input into it.

Thomas: Sometimes things are painfully democratic.

WG: The name?

Kilian: We wanted to implement something Irish, something Texan, and also the fact that we're lovers not fighters.

Chris: Initially every song that we did contained either something about Texas, love, or drinking. We've kind of strayed away from that but that was the original premise.

WG: Is that a tuba or... Roberto exclaims 'We must rescue our comrade Bo, and foil Mr. Moriarity!'

Bo: It's a Tuba just very compact tubing.

WG: Where is Jen tonight?

Bo: She's at Drums and Tuba (very good Austin band playing at Emo’s that night).

WG: Do you plan on expanding the instruments you use?

Kilian: We'd like to add an accordion's finding the right people.

Roberto: What ever instruments we can get a hold of and people to play them. If someone come in with a bagpipe we'll fit ‘em in.

WG: What would be the appropriate way to watch Texas Guinness Lovers?

Chris: DRUNK! 

Real Audio Clip

Drink it up

A fine example of everything I love of this band. God where my beer! Umpa music baby! This is a full piece and may take 4+ minutes to load on a 28.8 modem.

get yr. real audio

Visit Kilian's Very Own Texas Guinness Lovers site at:

Texas Guinness Lovers Webpage

Who's Who in Texas Guinness Lovers

Roberto Cofresi - Puerto Rican cuatro, electric guitar, percussion, vocals

Kilian Sweeney - electric/ acoustic guitars, slide guitar, percussion, vocals

Thomas Ayersol - drums, guitar, vocals

Chris Bakos - bass, vocals

Jen Neira - violin, percussion, vocals

Bo Morris - tuba, trumpet, bongos, vocals

Diane Koistinen - vocals, percussion

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