When we started out in Denton in the late ´90s, we were all still in school, says Mike Wiebe, lead singer of the Texas band Riverboat Gamblers. We catch Wiebe at a vulnerable moment. Hes on his way out of a dentists office in Austin. There was never any kind of goal to be doing it full-time back then, like there is now; we never thought it would be our direction. Wiebes oral situation isnt promising; it appears the damned things gone rotten. The bands situation on the other hand, has never looked brighter.
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Its reputation for destruction (first at house parties, later at rock clubs) and balls-to-the-wall punk rock spread through Texas quicker than a case of Lone Star at a barbeque. Soon the shows were packed with rowdy rockers clamoring to see the group thunder through live sets of spastic, hyperactive, methed-out, Texas punk. The spectacles became notorious: The infectious music didnt leave room for shoe gazing crowds, and if one Gambler had to vomit mid-song, by god, the band played on. By SXSW 2006, the Gamblers tightened up musically and exploded with hijinks; Mike scampered across the crowds heads and ferreted himself up to the rafters; Emos erupted and every publication in the country took note. Rolling Stone called them the best band without a major label deal. Spin christened them #15 on their list of The Best 25 Live Bands Right Now. So theyre rolling in it, right? Not so much. Having our picture in Rolling Stone was great, because it really legitimizes things and pushes them forward, Mike says, but Im still trying to figure out how to get a root canal reconstruction done. Do your part to help fix Mikes mouth and see a beer-soaked detonation of the best punk Texas has to give, tonight at the Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). They play with other Volcom groups Valient Thorr, ASG, and Totimoshi. Tickets cost $12 to $14. Visit www.ticketmaster.com.