Within Deep Ellum's metal scene, Jerry Rutherford is everybody's friend. It seems like he's at all the shows, always up to do a shot and let out that rallying, supportive cry-of-the-rocker that barely edges up above the volume of whichever hard rock act is blaring not far in front of him.
He's local music support personified.
On Mondays at 7 p.m., he takes over the netwaves of Deep Ellum Radio to shake the proverbial foundation. And what makes Rutherford even more of a priceless member of our local-rock troops is his expansive experience as a national (hell, even international) music journalist. Rutherford has written for pubs like Metal Edge, Metal Maniacs, Kerrang!, Raw, Terrorizer, Rip, a couple U.K. publications, and more recently, a guy-mag called Huh?
The easiest way to really get to know Rutherford is to catch up with him in person. And that's easy. He spins metal-of-all-kinds (including local, of course) and classic hard rock every Sunday night at Reno's Chop Shop in Deep Ellum. You'd also be hard-pressed to miss him at a Dallas Stars game, too. He's a very vocal and dedicated hockey fan.
Don't let first impressions intimidate you: Rutherford's trademark appearance consists of head-to-toe solid black threads and a beard reminiscent of the late 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott. He looks tough. But he's actually a pretty nice fella who just doesn't want any fuckin' trouble, dude. He just wants to rock it.
So, suck it up and go say hello after the jump.
You have a lot of interaction with local metal bands DJing at Reno's every week, yeah? Who do you really dig that's new around town?
My current favorites include Serosia, House Harkonnen, Maleveller, Faded Grace, Secret Of Boris, Bull By The Horn, Hellgoat and Belief System. There's quite a healthy scene happening now, but those are some of the bands I especially make plans to see almost every time they play. I'm always up for playing any local hard rock/Metal band who can swing by Reno's on a Sunday night and bring in some tunes. I'll get a track or two in between some Thin Lizzy and Clutch!
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I know you're a loyal Deep Ellum guy, but it seems like FTW and Arlington are strong for hard rock and metal. Do you get out there much?
I really used to, man. One of the first places I went to when I started hanging out was the Tattoo Bar right between Arlington and Fort Worth off 360, which was simply amazing. If anyone remembers that, those were some great times. I've been trying to make it to The Rail Club, which has had all kinds of cool local and national bands come though lately, but I kind of get distracted when I get to Deep Ellum and start making the rounds. As far as Fort Worth bands go, it's all about Pagan Assassin! Thanks to those guys for swinging east down I-30 every now and then.
How did you land a gig with Metal Edge? Seems like a pretty noble accomplishment for a metal fan.
How about some local rock that's been around a while that you think deserves to break big nationally?
It's already been underway for one particular band in DFW so far. I gotta raise up a big cheers to the guys in Warbeast who signed with Housecore Records, Phil Anselmo's label. These guys were the epitome of Texas speed metal and thrash in the '80s with bands like Rigor Mortis and Gammacide. The fact that they're still doing it now should mean a lot to anybody who commits to keeping the music you live for a big part of your life. And it's great that they are working with someone who is very experienced in the music business. Also, it's amazing to see my friend Henry Vasquez, who's been bashing it out behind his drumkit in various bands ever since I got to Texas, now play with legendary doom band Saint Vitus, who've been touring recently and are in the process of doing a new record.
What were you like as a kid? I picture you with diapers to your right, Slayer to your left! Accurate?
That would be awesome to say, but it was more like Heart, Boston and Zeppelin eight-tracks in my brother's room and the radio on in his car when I was a toddler in the '70s. During that time, I remember having a Captain And Tennille cassette tape of the song "Muskrat Love," too. It was cool for a bit because I thought the Captain was king, but I gravitated towards the eight-track collection. Good lord, am I dating myself?!
Did you grow up around here? School, etc?
Seems like more places and scenes could benefit from a guy like Jerry Rutherford. Any plans to expand your empire of contribution beyond Deep Ellum?
Ayo, I consider myself a humble guy and just like anyone and everyone else who's into something they cherish no matter what it might be. Deep Ellum is my home, man. I had to stop myself once after seeing Motorhead, Clutch and Valient Thorr in Austin on Red River and Sixth because I was wondering how things were doing in between Commerce, Main, Crowdus and Elm. That would be an obvious choice for most, but at least I feel almost as good there as I do here. Maybe one day when I drive down to Austin and walk into The Jackalope, it'll be like going into Angry Dog.
Curious...whats the ugliest thing you've ever seen happen on a stage with a local metal act?
Nothing really that ugly except for band members accidentally hitting other band members in the head with instruments, drawing blood or causing bruises. It's been more crazy things like those old Brutal Juice shows or especially the days when Ugly Mustard used to always come up with some wild event theme when they played. There was also a time when a lot of bands would have multiple TV's set up across the stage showing some pretty disturbing and twisted images. I haven't seen anybody do that too much anymore though.
Comparatively, it seems like DFW's metal scene is one of the stronger ones in the country. What needs to happen in this town to get more nationally recognized as a hotbed for heavy rock, in your opinion?
That's always been a tricky thing to discuss because there's so many factors involved. The way things have been going over the last couple years -- especially in Ellum and downtown Dallas -- have been very, very positive. The fact that there are more venues these days helps, for sure. There was a brief time when practically nothing existed for anyone -- touring bands or locals -- to play. I saw it firsthand when spots like Curtain Club/Liquid Lounge and Reno's were all that was left. Thankfully, that's not the case anymore with those two places as well as Trees, Boiler Room and even July Alley, who are actively helping out the scene and making touring bands and even locals actually want to play Deep Ellum and other places around Dallas. It's also a very cyclical thing as far as the scene goes. Like I said earlier, things have bounced back to the point where there's much to talk about when it comes to who's doing what these days. It's also been cool that a few bands from the Metroplex have gotten record deals lately. I'm very satisfied with all the things that are happening right now and am going to keep on being as supportive as possible.