The RemuS Years: Part II
by Wm. S. Deaver
I majored in music throughout my Junior High and High School years and although I was horrible about practicing with any kind of regularity or even discipline, I always faired pretty well in my yearly UIL activities. The UIL is, let me just quote from the UIL website: “The UIL (University Interscholastic League) exists to provide educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests. The UIL was created by The University of Texas at Austin in 1910 and has grown into the largest inter-school organization of its kind in the world. The initials UIL have come to represent quality educational competition administered by school people on an equitable basis.”
I won medals every time I got motivated and chose to go and compete at UIL Solo and Ensemble competitions which occurred every Spring at different high schools throughout the country. As a group, the Huntsville High School “Fighting Hornet” band had a 30 year tradition of winning the UIL Sweepstakes Award which was an award based on a combined score from the Fall season’s Marching Competition and the Spring season’s Concert and Sight-reading competition.
If the band scored all 1’s in both the Spring and Fall competitions then they won the UIL Sweepstakes Award. The Spring season’s competition however occurred simultaneously with the UIL Solo and Ensemble competition and at the same school even. This was more directed towards the individual student musician and small groupings of student musicians — namely Duets, Trios, Quartets, Quintets and I think even Sextets but I can’t remember.
My sister and I who are not blood related were both adopted at birth in 1959 and 1962, respectively. I know from acquiring my birth records in Austin that music is literally in my blood. My blood mother and father were both half Irish/half Native American which, in turn makes me half and half as well according to the rules anyway. However, my Father was also a music major at the big “Music College” that existed somewhere in Texas at the time studying to be a band/music director.
Just like a musician, he was a man-whore and talked a good game to my birth mother who was a newly separated Irish Catholic mother of five. She worked as a waitress in a café somewhere obviously near the college he attended and they had gotten close to one another when he became a regular at the café she worked in. They even discussed marriage a few times too but as soon as she came up pregnant, like Irish Catholic women are prone to do at times, he was nowhere to be found [LOL]. Thus, my being adopted by a promising yet almost middle aged Baptist couple who had recently relocated to Huntsville, Texas so that my new adoptive Father could continue a blossoming career with Southwestern Bell.
You know, the “phone company.”
My sister and I both showed a strong interest in music growing up – my sister with the piano and myself on the baritone horn. I enjoy singing a great deal as well but notice that I say singing and not so much vocalizing. I know where the notes are and I actually do sing in tune the majority of the time when I get drunk and decide to bless an audience of fellow drunken people at a neighborhood karaoke show. I also have a very keen and sensitive ear for picking up on notes going sharp or flat, or “Pitchy” as Randy Jackson has now made famous, but by no means am I a vocalist of the caliber of a Trey Gadler, Rob Howl or even a Tom Calandra. I just sing an shit and have a good time doing it.
Oh, and I rule at Air Guitar too. I played in an Air Band back in the 80’s and we were HUGE in Europe……..
In short, the interest in music that was already pumping through my veins from day one was in good and nurturing hands and fortunately for me, my parents weren’t ones to discourage the furthering of my musical interests. Had they known in 1962 when they first brought me home from the Volunteers of America Adoption Agency, that this beautiful bundle of joy would eventually develop his own opinions and not so much theirs, and eventually drift helplessly towards a more than passing interest in Rock and Metal music and thereby drifting away from “The Lord” as it were — they probably would’ve taken a completely different approach in the rearing of said “bundle of joy.”
Just a guess…..
I lettered in music my sophomore year despite several run-ins with various adult educators and defying their authority. Do people even wear or earn letter jackets anymore?? I graduated in 1981(i.e. dropped out) then by 1984 I had left Huntsville altogether with more or less a high school education and two cool nick names – Devo and Mr. Rock-n-Roll and with that I headed out to make my way in the world. Doing what exactly, I had no earthly idea. Even back in 1981 I don’t ever recall seeing employment ads looking for someone nicknamed Mr. Rock-n-Roll specifically to hand a weekly paycheck to but by God, I was going to try like hell to find someone just like that who would or at least die trying to.
You know, it’s been 29 years now and I never actually found that employer I’m sad to say. I did however figure out a way to create my own niche in the local music community of Houston, Texas and spent five good years having the most creatively fulfilling and gratifying time of my life. I made friendships during that time frame (2000 – 2005) that to this day, even though we don’t see each other with the same regularity that we did back then, when we get together it’s as if a day hasn’t passed at all.
I made the kind of friends that I can put my hands on with as little as a phone call or even a text message and it doesn’t even matter why I’ve initiated the contact in the first place either. I made myself some VERY good friends and we all know what the definition of a very GOOD friend is, don’t we?
A friend will help you move. A very GOOD friend will help you move a dead body and that’s the kind of friendships I made doing RemuS Radio. I’ll take these people to my grave with me and I’ll go with them to theirs as well whether they want me to or not….assholes.
With RemuS Radio, I started a record label (RemuS Records) and a Production Company (RemuS Productions) a male escort service (RemuS) as well as a healthy drinking habit.
Not bad for a drop out kid from Prison city, Texas with short hair and no plan whatsoever. The job I have now working for ExxonMobil I’ve had since April of 2001. I got this job because of my friendship with Bobby Williamson who was the keyboard player for Outworld with local guitar slayer Rusty Cooley. Bobby’s been working for ExxonMobil longer than I have and he’s the guy who floated my resume around at *XOM and ultimately got me my job. I wouldn’t have this job if it weren’t for RemuS Radio. I had lost my job with Northpoint Communications during a nasty buyout attempt by Verizon Communications and found myself financially stranded in November of 2000. [* Exx On Mobil = XOM]
Not the best time of year to be out of a job but with an almost paid off credit card in hand I covered rent, paid bills and grocery’d up with cash advances and got through until 2001 when I had a job waiting for me working with Mike Holt, guitar player for Foundry, Chrome .44 & Mercury Down.
Before he started building Amps and Heads for Diamond Amplification, Mike worked for a communications outfit called Communication Power Systems Inc.(CPSI) and they worked almost exclusively inside the Southwestern Bell/AT&T Central Office or “C.O.” as it’s known in the telecomm trade. This is where everyone’s telephone wires go to regardless if it’s a home or business. The CO is where the magic happens for everyone, even if you get land line service from Verizon, Sprint, Covad DSL…..it doesn’t matter who your provider is, their equipment sits inside of locked cages inside Bell Central Offices. These companies are known as a CLEC, a term coined for the deregulated, competitive telecommunications environment envisioned by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. All of these companies will eventually be bought up, absorbed or dismantled by the ILEC who is, in this case, the legacy Bell System companies that make up AT&T or Baby Bells and you can mark my words on this.
Working for CPSI with Mike was by far this was some of the most grueling telecomm work I’d ever done before in my life. I’ve dug ditches for buried cable, I’ve pulled cable lashers by hand lashing aerial cables between pole spans and I’ve done this inside and outside of some of the most dangerous chemical plants the South has to offer. Chemical Plants where the NFPA hazard rating plant wide was a 4-4-2 and the work we were doing was outside in the blistering 100(+) Texas and Louisiana heat as well as in the brutally cold weather of North Texas too. Weather so cold that within a half hour my coworker’s moustaches had ice covering them and the tears from my own eyes created by the cold wind hitting them froze to my face.
Working with Mike, I had muscles so sore it was like I had never worked a lick in my life and had callouses on my hands in places I’ve never had callouses before. That being said, I had at least rounded out my telecomm education by having worked there and I was grateful to have this job and I love and appreciate Mike Holt to death for getting it for me but when that lady from XOM called and said I was hired, I handed my pager to my foreman there in the Jackson CO in Montrose and said “it’s been real and it’s been fun but it ain’t been real fun” and out the door I went.
Again, a job I would have never had at a time when I really needed it if it weren’t for RemuS Radio and the friends that I made during that time. Those five years working with local musicians brought so many gifts into my life that I can’t even begin to count them all.
On April 2nd, 2001 I started work at Exxon & Remus Radio is going on six months old and building steam at a very rapid pace. Meanwhile, a relationship I had started online with a platinum blonde newspaper reporter from Indiana is starting to take shape as well and strangely enough, she has some very interesting ideas on the direction that I should be taking RemuS Radio………
Next time we’ll discuss how to totally dick up a bands live show by accidentally knocking out the power on stage two or three times during their performance while you’re trying to “capture them live” on your home stereo’s cassette deck — it’s not as difficult as you may think, I assure you.