Monday, February 15, 2010


Way back when, back in the day my children would say, you could often find me listening to a great EP entitled "Howdy, Can I Bum A Smoke" by eighties Houston band FAB MOTION. When I drove in my car, a cassette copy of that EP was often in my car playing.

If you can find this album at a used store or online buy it. It's great stuff.

Today, I listened to a couple of cuts of it on a CD I burned long ago from the vinyl EP. They still rock hard.

Back in the mid-80's, when I first became aware of FAB MOTION, or as my friends and I called them, FAB MO, most of the original bands playing in Houston favored the southern, blues-flavored take on rock of our hometown heroes, Z.Z. Top. Austin flavored R&B rock was present as well, with the influences of S.R.V. and the like heavy in players minds and chops.

Although most of the bands I drummed for fell into the catagory of blues and blues rock bands, that didn't of course mean that these genres are the ones I always listened to. One band that caught my attention early on was FAB MOTION, a decidedly pop band. FAB MO leaned to the hard side of pop-rock on most efforts, and that was fine with me. I leaned that way too.

I never got to know any of the members of FAB MO very well until long after their demise. I came to know their first drummer, Clint Davidson, through his wife and local guitarist/singer/songwriter Alison Fisher, and I later was able to play a small part to encourage Clint to attend law school and he has now become a very fine attorney, now practicing in Houston. Clint has also served our country in the armed forces reserves after his stint with FAB MO.

Earlier this decade, they regrouped for a few shows. I was still living in Houston then, and went to see them with another old friend who enjoyed their music back in the late 1980's. Although I ran with and played music with a bunch of their cohorts, I never knew any of the band really well. I sorta got to know Toby when he opened up Mary Jane's nightclub on Washington in the early 1990's.

Here's an article from the Houston Chronicle from 24 years ago by Marty Racine, then the grizzled if not well like Music critic for the Chron back when it was a much better newspaper.

Marty also wrote the Houston Press article from 2003 about the reunion shows.

I'll say this about Toby. Back in 1993 or 1994 he booked the band I played drums for to do a few shows at his new club. I think he booked us not because we were especially good, but because our Co-Lead Guitarist/Co-Lead Singer was a "regular" at his establishment, and the risk of losing one of his undoubtedly better paying customers was probably the real reason we'd get booked to play there.

But everytime we gigged there, I'd arrive early to set up my drums. Now loading a drum kit in and out of a club is usually a physically intense exercise. The drums, cymbals and myriad metal stands weigh a lot, and you get a good C-V workout just loading in and out. Drummers have much more stuff to haul around usually than other musicians, and Toby was the only club owner or employee that ever helped me load in and out of his place. Just a very talented guy and a nice guy.

In any event, Fab Motion was a big part of my listening and show going back in the late 1980's. In addition to playing a lot myself, I was always going to shows and always interested in getting new gigs and to hang out with friends and hear great live music. Fab Motion was a big part of that musically, along with other great Houston bands of the era like The Dishes, Beans Barton and The Bipeds, Lips and the Trips, Herschel Berry and the Natives and Ezra Charles and the Works, to name a few.

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