Before the Limelight: The Musical Roots of Famous Texas Bands
There are amazing debut albums & there are...interesting debut albums. Some bands have to release a few albums before they truly find their sound (just ask a Rush fan). For Texas bands, sometimes their debut albums are very different than the albums that truly make it big. Here are some of the biggest Texas bands you've known that had quite different debut albums.
Butthole Surfers - Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac (1984)
The Austin boys scored a huge hit in 1996 with "Pepper" but during the 80s, they were a much different band. A more...avant garde sound to their records. Think more noise rock mixed with hardcore punk with a dash of psychedelics . What you get is their 1984 debut album "Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac". Then again living in a tool shed will do that to you...
ZZ Top - ZZ Top's First Album (1971)
Very fitting title right? While most people would say Tres Hombres, the 3rd album, was the first taste of success for Houston 3 piece (even their 2nd album Rio Grande River would reach the Billboard 200 in 1972), their very first album was not met with the warmest reception. However that blues, hard rock, & Southern rock sound WAS THERE. Just...not fully polished yet. But you have to start somewhere right?
At The Drive In - Acrobatic Tenement (1996)
The post-hardcore band from El Paso, At The Drive-In scored a huge hit with their 2000 album Relationship of Command. Their first album, Acrobatic Tenement, in 1996 still had those post-hardcore elements. You even had elements of early emo on this record. The sound quality would definitely improve as time went on but this debut serves a great landmark in El Paso's music scene for what was to come.
Deep Blue Something - 11th Song (1993)
Staying in the 90s, let's take a trip to Denton to visit the sounds of the alt/pop rock band Deep Blue Something. Most known for "Breakfast at Tiffany's", their 2nd album had a more pop rock sound. Their first album however, was purely an alternative rock album. It sounds like something you'd hear on a college rock station (which isn't a bad thing!). The album even included an older version of Breakfast at Tiffany's & you can hear the difference.
Memphis May Fire - Sleepwalking (2009)
Another Denton band, this time on the heavier side, Memphis May Fire. If you've been to their shows (or Vans Warped Tour), you're aware of their metalcore/nu metal sound. But fans of their earliest record, Sleepwalking, will note it had also a taste of southern rock. Or should I say...southerncore? It only appeared on the first album but I'd be lying if I didn't want to see it make another appearance.
Spoon - Telefono (1996)
From Austin, Spoon would have a huge following in the indie/art rock scene. I would describe them as the "Texas Radiohead": while their later albums would be amazing pieces in the art rock world, their debut album was definitely an alt rock jam. Listening to their '96 debut album, Telefono, you can definitely hear that edge alternative rock sound that was inspired by The Smashing Pumpkins & The Pixies.
Fastball - Make Your Mama Proud (1996)
Staying in Austin, Fastball is another very popular pop rock band from the 90s. While 1998 was the turning point for the band, their 1996 debut album did not have that pop rock sound. No instead it had more of a pop PUNK sound to it. While they weren't Green Day or Blink 182, the album is a fun little jam to put on. And without this album, we certainly wouldn't get songs like The Way or Out of My Head in the future.
Pantera - Metal Magic (1983)
Oh yeah... the band you KNEW was gonna be on this list: Arlington's Pantera. Cowboys from Hell was certainly the start of the Pantera that we knew & fell in love with. BUT... it was NOT the start of Pantera. That would be 1983's Metal Magic. And yes, they didn't always have that groove metal sound; they were a glam metal band. While we look back and make fun of the artwork of the first albums, it's important to remember this is where the Abbott brothers & Rex Brown (or Rex Rocker as he was called at this time) all got their start. Without their glam metal phase, we wouldn't have the Pantera we know & love today.