Back in the late 90’s, there was a place on the University of Arkansas campus that used to do all-ages shows on Thursday nights in the RZ’s coffee shop. “Coffeehouse,” as it was called back then, was located the back part of the space that is now Big Red, next to Brough Commons.
As a sixteen year old kid, it was the first place I ever played music in Fayetteville. It was also the place where I first fell in love with the Fayetteville music scene, and, it so happens, is where I first saw Dan Dean and Kristina Jones play together in a band called Fizzgig.
Fizzgig was my favorite Fayetteville band, and I was super excited when I found out that Dan and Kristina were playing together again with Roxie Hunt (Mayapple Salon) and Laura Kelly in a band called the Rox.
We first heard the Rox a few months ago, and we were blown away by their rocking pop tunes complimented by Roxie’s great vocals, Dan’s guitar work (sweet, sweet guitarmonies) and backing vocals, and a rock solid rhythm section. We got in touch with them for an interview, and they were nice enough to answer some questions for us.
You can check out one of the Rox’ tunes below, and there’s a whole bunch more on their Myspace page.
Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
The Rox: Dan recently rediscovered Jets to Brazil and Sarge. Roxie has been listening to Stephen Steinbrink (French Quarter) a lot. Laura has been rockin’ out to Afro-Celt Sound System, Michael Franti, and Scythian. Kristina has been listening to The Posies, The Magic Numbers, Sloan, and Immaculate Machine.
FF: How long have you been playing together?
The Rox: Our first show with this lineup was at the Mayapple Salon Grand Opening November 1st, 2008. But Roxie first played some of these songs with Dan and her man Dagen at the Dino House in May 2008.
FF: Dan and Kristina were in Fizzgig, right?
The Rox: Yeah, they have been making music together since the mid 90’s in Fizzgig and are currently also 2/3 of Goslin’ with Chris Byrne. Dan played in Little Rock bands drain and chalk in the late 80’s Towncraft era, and later in Fayetteville bands Full Service Quartet, 2 Dean Crew, and 30 Seconds to Disenchantment. He and Laura also occasionally play acoustic political folk as The New Clichés.
FF: Awesome. I still have a 2 Dean Crew t-shirt somewhere, and Fizzgig was one of my favorite Fayetteville Bands.
I’m always interested in how bands work together, especially their songwriting process. Does someone bring them in pretty much finished, do you write them together, etc. How do you guys write songs?
The Rox: Roxie started most of the songs, though a couple of them began with Laura’s words and melodies. Every song ends up being collaboration when we bring our ideas and styles to the table. We’re all neighbors, so it takes about a minute to walk over and work on something together.
FF: Looks like you guys have a CD release party coming up in August. Where did you record?
The Rox: We just finished a ten-song recording with Dwight Chalmers at the Listen Laboratory. He recorded Fizzgig and 2 Dean Crew and has a great set of ears!
FF: Where can we get a copy?
The Rox: You can get it at our shows, like the one at Smoke & Barrel on August 15th, and we plan to have them at Sound Warehouse. You can also hear some of the songs on Myspace.
FF: What are some other bands in Fayetteville playing right now that you admire?
The Rox: We’re into a lot of different local bands from a variety of genres, like The Counterlife, Shout Lulu, David’s Pegasus, Fire Don’t Care, Perpetual Werewolf, Omi Palone, Color Club, Real Live Tigers, Still on the Hill, The Good Fear, Egyptr, Memphis Pencils, Strange Heroes, Jesus Chrysler Supercar, Tiffany Christopher, Candy Lee, Hosta, The Incurables…the list goes on…
FF: What are some old school Fayetteville bands you wish would get back together for a show or two?
The Rox: Laura wants to see Faith Healers and she’s excited that Punkinhead is playing shows again. Kristina wants to see Furious George, Full Service Quartet, and 2 Dean Crew. Dan would love to see Prison Planet, STFU, Bev & Michelle, and Modular.
FF: It’s Independents Week in Fayetteville, which is a celebration of some of the awesome locally owned businesses in town. What are some of your favorite local places?
The Rox: Again, there are SO many! We all live in the south side of town and love the local businesses in the ‘hood like Mayapple Salon, Trailside Cafe, Bike City (technically a co-op, not a “business”), Highroler Cyclery, Greenhouse Grille, GreenWheel, Thep Thai, The Attic, Brickhouse Kitchen, and Camino Real. But we all frequent the Downtown/Dickson/Block Street places too, like Little Bread Company, Arsaga’s, Sound Warehouse, Petra Café, Cheap Thrills, World Treasures, and Nightbird and Dickson Street Bookstores. Plus, we all love to get tasty goodies from the locally and cooperatively owned Ozark Natural Foods!
The Rox: It’s a logistical challenge to play out-of-town with three mamas in the band. Mostly we just want to continue having a good time writing songs together and playing shows with and for awesome folks.
Click below to hear Sea of Freaks by The Rox
Photos by Sage Billig