It's a rainy Friday night and the two-man band, Chasing Rent, plays their own Southern-rock version of tunes like Led Zeppelin’s "Ramble On" and Johnny Cash’s "Folsom Prison Blues" at Stumpy’s Blues Bar in Arlington. Between sets, Andy Weaver, 43, talks about how he and 34-year-old Jeremy Norvelle met and formed the band in 2012.
“He’s, like, ‘Andy, I need a show,’ and I was, like, I need 50 bucks,” says Weaver with a laugh.He's the band's lead vocalist and also plays drums. “We just stated jamming. And all of a sudden I was, like, ‘Shit, we’ve got a sound.’”
Prior to hosting an open mic at Old Cocktail Lounge the night before, Norvelle, who grew up in Arlington, paused to talk about his family and reflect on what it was like playing music at the home of Pantera’s Vinnie Paul.
“Vinnie actually walked in and seen me playing at Rack Daddy’s,” he says. “I was, like, ‘I’ve been to your parties. Let me know if you want any free, live music.’”
Two weeks later, Norvelle was playing guitar at Paul’s North Arlington home, he remembers. He’d also play during Christmas, Labor Day, Memorial Day and at Super Bowl parties for Paul’s family and close friends.
“He’d throw awesome parties,” Norvelle says of the legendary musician who died in 2018. “He was, like, king of the grill.”
These days, Norvelle and wife Ashley are raising three young daughters. He’s a full-time musician, and he says he’s still chasing rent along with some dreams. Although Norvelle dabbles in percussion and keys, he says guitar and vocals are the only things he’d brag about. He started out playing electric guitar before going acoustic.
Chasing Rent is in the process of laying down some of their own lyrics, he says. But, for now, the band mainly performs covers — everything from classic rock, funk, reggae, soul, to mashup and everything in between.
“We play all different kinds of styles for all different kinds of people,” he says. “We cover more ground than what two people usually do.”
It was a bit of a challenge, at first, persuading bar owners to pay full price for a two-man band, Weaver says. But if they balked, he’d just ask if they considered White Stripes or Simon and Garfunkel a band.
Someone once asked the name of the duo.
Weaver says he replied, “I don’t know. We’re just chasing rent.”
And it stuck. Looking semi-rock-a-billy in a new cowboy hat, Weaver recalls earlier days hanging out with Norvelle across Division Street at the Gold Nugget.
“He was, like, untainted by the system,” says Weaver. “Next thing you know, we grab some shit out of the car and started playing. It was, like, magic.”
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Chasing Rent will team up with Spoonfed Tribe and other bands when they play with the Ahhfugyeahs on May 25 at Sundown at Granada.
“We tour with (Ahhfugyeahs),” he says. “It’s multiple bands all in one. It’s, like, a big party band. In June, we’re going to be going on a South Coastal run.”
Norvelle has planned gigs in Padre Island, Port Aransas and Corpus Christi. But Friday, they were just Chasing Rent back on Division Street where it all began.
“If you treat DFW like a tour, you never have to oversaturate the market,” says Weaver, who’s no stranger to Deep Ellum. “You can keep playing. We’ve been able to do this consistently now for a living for almost seven years. It’s been a cool ride.”