"I think it was just my body's response after years of us being on the road and drinking like idiots," he said. "And I was used to eating only once a day, so that wasn't helping."

That night after his second major episode but two weeks before he would see a doctor, his band Slobberbone was slated to headline the Rubber Gloves 15th anniversary show, and prior to that performance, he sat in the backstage area chugging orange juice. When he went onstage around 1 a.m., he told the remaining crowd not to worry if he passed out onstage, an admission that I thought was a joke at the time. He played and danced and sang like a veteran rock warrior anyway, and he made it all the way through the set as though he were still 20 years old.

The gravity of that situation has since led him to change his habits, putting himself on stints consisting of just fruits, vegetables and lean chicken, and he is back in good health, but still without health insurance

"There are times when you fantasize about having a 'legitimate' job," he says. "But I don't ever see me not being creative ... but if I go out on tour now, you know, it kind of feels like the pressure's off for me, and I don't need that validation anymore. If I go out on tour now, it's not to show the world my mettle." He added the caveat that though he now mainly wants to spend most of his time recording in a home studio, he probably would never want to stop touring altogether. That is something that simply lives inside of him, at times driving him, and probably always will.

"Also, if you're an accountant in Dallas and driving to work, you're taking your life into your hands twice a day," he said — the implication being that the DFW freeways are harrowing at best, especially during rush hour. He says this as a comparison to his years of frequent driving throughout the country, touring with bands like the Drive-By Truckers, and serving as the tour manager for bands like Pedro The Lion.

Throughout the 20-plus years since Best moved to Denton from Lucas, Texas, a tiny town just east of Allen, he's been working blue-collar jobs intermittently between national and European tours with various bands. Bartending is the occupation that allows him the freedom to continue the creative life. Prior to working at Rubber Gloves, Best was a bartender for several years at the Barley House in Dallas. And this is a sentiment that Danbom, the aforementioned keyboardist for Centro-matic and Sarah Jaffe, agrees with wholeheartedly.

Even though Danbom has acquired a highly respectable status in the mid-level world of indie rock, he says that he never was consistent enough with playing music that the money he earned was enough to pay the bills, so he is grateful to be able to tend bar during the months of the year that he's not out on tour.

"There have been times where I've basically been gone for three or four months at a time," he says. "So it's not like I'm really working other jobs except for when I get home. I definitely had to quit a few jobs because of that." Having to quit the two bartending jobs he now has is not something he really has to worry about anymore, and it seems that his current situation is right where he wants to be (assuming, of course, that he won't make millions off his music anytime soon).

Danbom moved to Denton in the early '90s to get a music degree at UNT in jazz studies, and it was during that time frame, when the area music scene was largely dominated by space rock, that he met Brent Best. The two admired each other's abilities and often played together in various projects.

"Around '94 or '95, I started seeing Brent Best play, and that was a totally new thing for Denton at the time," he says. "That was the time that the space rock thing was emerging, and it was a cool time. I think the Argo was about to open, and we would play Jim's Diner a lot, which was a fun little place to play. Rick's Place was kind of expanding into more bands. But anyway, that's when I got to be a big fan of [Slobberbone]."

It was also during that time that Danbom would make the acquaintance of a young Robert Gomez. As he was ending his career at the UNT jazz school, Gomez was just beginning his. Danbom remembers seeing Gomez's band at the time, The Latin Pimps, playing around the Fry Street area.

Neither of them got their degrees, but not for a lack of talent. Rather, they both simply found themselves being pulled in the direction of the money-making circuits, Danbom with the various rock bands that he would play with, and Gomez as a session musician playing jazz guitar for various artists.

In the early aughts, Gomez moved up to New York and found some fantastic opportunities playing with music icons like Tico da Costa and Phillip Glass. Eventually, though, Gomez moved back to Denton after a six-month stint playing guitar as a union musician for a travelling circus. He said that he loved the benefits of that job, but the fact of the matter was that it sucked up all of his time, and he felt that the creative side of him was being neglected. Now back in Denton, he is one of the illustrious mixologists at Paschall Bar, the uber-stylish third-story watering hole owned by the boys from Midlake, above Andy's on the Denton square.

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10 comments
darrylrs
darrylrs

Please shave. My wife said Best looked like a homeless old man. Good music is not determined by sales figures.

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

"Best is an internationally recognized alt-country legend"  Slobberbone is one of the best bands to come out of this area; but I reckon even ole Brent wouldn't attest to being a legend; come on-a legend?  BL Jefferson is a legend.


ps-Love him rockin' the Uncle Tupelo tshirt; now they are legend!  The GREAT Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy. 

guitartears
guitartears

you forgot to mention how sharing/peer to peer/smart phones/youtube/camcorders facilitate copying music so nobody wants to pay for music downloads or CD's lowers royalties paid to musicians.

DarrenPulley
DarrenPulley

this article is horse poop. Talent is one thing. Guts is another. They're waiting tables because Denton is a comfy place to die. Austin, NYC, etc., are scary places to live. Big Fish in a little coat. You're just another bum playing harmonica in the subway anywhere else. Stop glorifying Denton. It's gross. Inbred music scene trailer park mentality teeth full of a hobo's pubasos.

nathan_mclain
nathan_mclain like.author.displayName 1 Like

One of my best memories of college was watching the new monthly concert calendar being painted on the side of Rick's. It's ashamed that it has turned into a fratty meat market.

Ron345
Ron345 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Eating at a restaurant in Denton a few days after seeing a great Centro-matic show, I was shocked to see Scott Danbon waiting tables. I remember thinking – why is this talented musician working here? Why isn’t he being paid for his musical talent? It made me realize that Scott, and others like him, weren’t earning a living making music. And I think it is a tragedy. When I see ‘artists’ on television without a trace of the talent that Scott, Brent, or Robert have, I assume they are raking in the dough from having a craptastic song jammed down our throat by corporate radio. Who knows? By the time the smoke clears and the dancers leave the stage, maybe there isn’t much money left. Even if perception doesn’t meet reality, the imbalance of it strikes me as an injustice.

rjasonbonner
rjasonbonner like.author.displayName 1 Like

i tried for twenty years to be a professional musician, i lost my tolerance for bar life/maybe just wasnt good enough. now i go to school, play mr. mom, and have been for all intensive purposes married to an accountant for the last five years. those accountant analogies are priceless. we both found them very funny. especially the one brent best said about driving. i read that to her as she gets ready to drive from east dallas to lewisville. hillarious and true! (no capitalization the fault of after market phone rom, not trying to be ee cummings)

 

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