Featured Music: Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Look at Legends of the South’s guitarist — you just know this band rawks.
With a Rebel Yell

Don’t mind local metallic stoner-rockers Legends of the South — they’re just trying to take over the world.


Notice: If you’re in a band and you guys are partial to heavy metal (at least in North Texas), you better put on the big tires — it’s gonna be a long haul. But as Fort Worth-Granbury hard rockers Legends of the South say, according to drummer Quinn: “We believe in playing real music for real fans. ... Fuck the fickle!” Basically, success can be the same several shiny, happy faces at every show. And there ain’t a damn thing wrong with that.

Citing myriad influences, including the boogie-woogie side of Lynyrd Skynyrd and desert-stoners Kyuss — and, of course, the godfathers, Black Sabbath — the four guys in Legends embrace musical diversity. “The list of influences we have is pretty long,” Quinn said. “But we try and draw from music we enjoy.”

A lot of hard-rock bands have come and gone in the region, and, while several have achieved some success (including the Toadies, Pantera, and Drowning Pool), most have had a hard time. Even though this side of the Metroplex is not loaded in a lot of strict-genre music (such as C&W and rap), the most pervasive kind — hard-rock — still gets treated like a redheaded stepchild; aside from Dreamworld Music Complex in Arlington and, to a lesser extent, the Ridglea Theater, there aren’t many places here for hard rockers to ply their trade. As a result, the better bands need to stay true to the genre while separating themselves from the competition — a tricky predicament. Legends, Quinn said, has a plan ... well, not exactly a plan but a work ethic: “We stay outside the trends and try not to give a fuck about rock radio and just play for our fans and ourselves.”

The Legends movement is thus heavily grassroots. Since there is no radio or tv outlet available even to a band as talented as Legends of the South, the members pass out and hang a lot of fliers, send out a lot of e-mails, and play tons of gigs. Even though the scene seems to be in the doldrums, Quinn and the rest of Legends think that momentum will return ... someday. “Metal’s true talent rests in the underground,” Quinn said. “The media and attention will come around eventually.”

Quinn said that response to several new songs on Legends’ MySpace address has been positive. Tracks like “New Kind of Fear” and “Diatribe” traverse the sonic territory where stoner rock meets vicious, threatening, crisply delivered swamp groove (especially since vocalist John Storm sounds a little like latter-day Phil Anselmo). Of all the tracks, however, the one that stands out is “Pretty Little Pain,” a precise, bruising epic with — dare we say it — catchy, popular flavor, which Quinn defends steadfastly: “Well, the music might be on the radio-friendly side,” he said, “but the lyrics are sexually graphic — Tipper Gore would love this shit!” After all, heavy metal’s a little less heavy and metallic if it’s not occasionally shocking.

Hour after hour, metal’s halcyon days seem to keep moving further and further into the past. When Metallica starts ripping off both lesser-known, often superior bands such as Meshuggah and — sweet weepin’ Jesus on the cross — equally well-known, often inferior groups such as Godsmack, you know something’s fucked up. A metal lover can only hope that bands as adventurous and professional as Legends don’t fall through the cracks.

“We put a lot of pride into trying to find our own sound, but that seems to be the problem with most bands,” Quinn said. “They’re too afraid to go against the grain.”

Sure, you can take any lick by any metal musician and trace it back to the forefathers — the guys in Legends don’t claim to be the first to pair muddy, mercurial riffs with Pantera-like nastiness. The band members, however, do believe that if done right, their honest, hard-rocking hard rock can lead to bigger things.

“Our main focus is for people to dig our music, and the fact that we draw from such a wide range of styles could make that happen,” Quinn said. “Hell, we just want to play as much as possible and rule the world!”

A modest aspiration.

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