In this week's Dallas Observer we profile 30 of the metro area's most interesting characters, with new portraits of each from local photographer Stanton Stephens. See the entire Dallas Observer People Issue here.
You don't love drums like Tex Bosley loves drums. He loves the shells, the way the wood bends into a cylinder. He loves the veneer. He prefers older rims, or "hoops" -- they were thicker and heavier than the modern aluminum ones. He appreciates the way they evenly bind a head to the body of the drum. He has opinions about the metal fixtures that pull the rim over the edge of the shell. He thinks they should be functional, not flashy. He feels strongly about this.
You might love drums like this, too, if you spent as much time with them as he does. Bosley's dad was a drummer; there was always a set in the house. Tex played drums at Rider High School in Wichita Falls, and he went to the University of North Texas to join its world-famous college of music in 1997. He won a World Drumline Championship there, and then he just kept playing.
He's been in some 30 bands, he says, not counting school ones. He's backing six artists in Denton right now, including Warren Jackson Hearne and Le Leek Electrique. By mid-May, he'd played 71 shows this year alone.
To see Bosley play drums is to watch bliss incarnate. He smiles, he closes his eyes, and his hands move on commands you can practically see coming straight from his soul. He plays drums with as much respect for the music as he has for the kit: Every note has a place. They, too, are functional, never flashy.
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When he's not playing drums, he's working on them at Tex's Tub Drums. He repairs broken kits and restores old drums, finding new life in tired kick drums and rattling snares. He offers classes on drum repair and maintenance. In the other half of his industrial space, his older stepbrother, Tom Miller, builds custom guitars from raw materials. Miller taught Bosley to love the carpentry and engineering of instruments.
Their neighbors include a steam carpet-cleaning service, an auto-repair shop and a metal-machinery shop. Bosley likes that. He sells shirts emblazoned with the Tex's Tub badge that literally have blue collars. For him, labor and art go hand in hand. And he dreams of even more labor -- of constructing new drums from scratch, which he'll do when he can afford enough of the heavy machinery.
"There's sawdust on floor," he says. "This is a way to express yourself artistically."