He doesn't really get nervous anymore when he plays, even for the massive shows like his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live two months ago. He buys his own health insurance at something like a $5,000 deductible, and says that there is absolutely zero correlation between his job as a bartender and his life as a noted musician. It's a lifestyle that works for him.

On a Friday early afternoon, Gomez was opening up the bar at Paschall, slicing various citrus fruits and filling troughs with ice.

"The thing is that a lot of people don't have health insurance even if they do have a 'desk job,'" he said. "It's a very sad time that we're living in. I mean, how many jobs have insurance? It's a dwindling number. So it's bad for everybody. It doesn't matter what you're doing. Whatever you do, it's going to be hard. Say I wanted to work a desk job. Say I wanted to be an accountant. I mean, that's going to be just as hard as making it in the music business. So you might as well do something that you love."

A customer walks in, a young girl that Robert knows. They exchange pleasantries and she says she needs a drink, that it's been that kind of week. She orders a michelada, and Gomez takes his time with it, serving it to her with showmanship, and she seems delighted at the presentation of the frosty glass filled with beer and tomato juice, artfully adorned with salt, lime and a cocktail sword balancing on the rim, supporting three green olives.

"Pretty!" she says, and smiles. So does he.

As Brent Best is introduced by Will Johnson, he walks up onstage and the entire crowd cheers heartily. Best and Centro-matic fire off several songs including "Only In My Double Mind" and "Fidgeting Wildly." Best's guitar solos are dirty and brilliant, reminiscent of J. Mascis. He is still the ultimate showman, playing and undulating to the screams of his guitar right beside Danbom, who is antithetical in his stoicism, barely moving as he delivers precision background vocals and keyboard riffs.

As they come onstage for the encore, I scan the adoring crowd and think, "Yeah, I'd never want to give this up, either."

Coupled with that thought is the realization that I'm damn glad these guys keep tending bar in order to support the life that best suits them, just east of the square in Denton.

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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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