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Volume 70, Issue 85, Friday, February 4, 2005

Life & Arts

Hightailers are in it for the long run

Longest running house band in Houston celebrates its 17th year

By Dixie Ann Dalton
The Daily Cougar

There may be a conflict in opinion as to how the band's name came to light; however, after seeing one of their legendary live performances, one could say that the opposite of "conflict" is occurring. 

The Hightailers, the official Thursday night "house band" at the Last Concert Café, just celebrated their 17th anniversary as a band and the longest running house band in Houston. The guys are still drawing a regular crowd with their Gulf Coast rock 'n' roll meets psychedelic r&b style. 

The current makeup of the band consists of three original members -- Little Screamin' Kenny on guitar and vocals, Alan "Dogman" Miller also on guitar and vocals, and bassist Calvin Hall. Randy Woodard has played drums for the band since 1997.

"I love the magic that music can produce and the energy that is produced by five guys listening to each other and responding in a nonverbal manner, along with the energy from the audience that is dancing," Woodard said. 

Keyboardist and full-time musician Randy Wall is currently playing with seven bands but said that The Hightailers were the most important.

"This is my church," he said. 

The Hightailers send chills and smiles through the audience with their eclectic energy and amazing ability to please the crowd. Their performance is so spiritual and intense, and their magnetic presentation seems to uplift and rejuvenate the fans. 

The band members have admitted to feeling the vibes as well. 

When asked why he continues to play every week, LSK said it was "the audience." 

"We are lucky to have a family-type-atmosphere of fans. It is a very positive feeling, especially for a bar setting," Woodard said. 

Ten-year Hightailers' fan Lou Ann Thomas said The Hightailers are "one of the best kept secrets in Houston." 

With a set list based on pure spontaneity, Dogman and LSK alternate the choice of the next song. "We also have the famous break-song," added Dogman. In addition to playing original music from their two studio releases "La La King" and "Pretty Words", The Hightailers have been known to play tunes by The Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry, among others.

"We're sloppy...with a good attitude," Dogman said.

The Hightailers and their faithful fans have made history by involving themselves in many festivals and benefits including the Annual Watermelon Festival, The Montrose Street Festival and numerous KPFT benefits. They have also won many awards including "Best Musical Act" at the Art Car Parade. 

"Personal annual events of the band include the One-step-ahead-of-the-law-tour, aka ‘Mobile Party,'" LSK said.

Also, the band hosts their very own Galveston beach parties where they play until the sun rises. 

"We may be the last authentic rock 'n' roll band, but I hope not," Hall said.

"We have been lucky enough to have our recent shows recorded in their entirety each Thursday by Alan Cunningham," Wall said. Soon, each week's recorded show will be available online at www.hightailers.com. In addition to the rewards of the heart being spread around, ladies get in free of charge on Thursday nights." 

 Send comments to dcshobiz@mail.uh.edu

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