The lights are swirling, a familiar rock anthem blows from the speakers, and a gritty, soulful voice projects from behind swinging long, strawberry blonde hair. Those familiar with the local rock scene know this must be no other than Texas TNT, the self-described “Texas heavy metal blues rock” band which exploded onto the Houston music circuit in April 2009.
Seven years ago, Ramona Pace (bass guitar/vocals), Ronnie Pace (lead guitar/vocals), and Ian Carroll (drums/vocals) came together to form what would become Texas TNT, a now staple of the Clear Lake music circuit. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Though all three have always been musicians, and continue to work in other businesses, as many musicians often do (Ronnie has his own guitar business, Pace Guitar Repair; Ramona teaches fitness classes, and helps with the guitar business; Ian works in construction), Ramona has set herself apart and has broken through in the music industry as a successful female rocker in her own right, something of a challenge in a predominantly-male field.
Ramona previously played in the successful all-female band Cowboy’s Nightmare for ten years, a country rock band which toured the US and even Europe.
“We had so much fun. The response we got was amazing. Cowboy’s Nightmare songs are still available on iTunes,” she said.
As far as the formation of Texas TNT, though, it took some shifting to get it “right,” something many bands often experience.
“We had tried some other combinations awhile before,” Ramona said, “but it really did not gel until the three of us played together. In addition to guitar and drums, Ronnie and Ian add variety and depth with their lead vocals and vocal harmonies, giving the band the ability to cover a very wide range of musical styles. For the first five years we played cover songs. In the past few years, we have been writing, playing and recording our own songs in addition to playing covers.”
Texas TNT’s covers—with Ramona’s powerful voice bursting through on each song, at once unique yet reminiscent of many female rock greats – of Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent, Janis Joplin, Black Sabbath—and of course, AC/DC (“TNT”) – are their favorites to play, and the songs people really love hearing.
“When we play the cover shows, we play the classic hit songs the audience remembers, and introduce them to our favorite classic hits, occasionally introducing one of our original songs,” said Ramona.
However, shows featuring their all-original songs have been met with resounding popularity as well.
“We played at Scout Bar in August and got such a great response for our original show that we were recently asked back,” she said, so more original shows are in the works in the area. Texas TNT can be found playing all over the Houston area several times a week, with some stops in Clear Lake and Galveston every month as well.
“We love playing all over town. We just played an interesting place in Dickinson called Hugh and Jeff’s Car Wash, where they actually do wash cars [as people enjoy the music]. We have fun playing at Outrigger’s Seafood, and sometimes play the Rum Shack in Galveston. Texas TNT will also have more shows coming up at Blue Collar Bar in Pasadena,” Ramona said.
Whether it’s a show of covers or their new all-original songs, the audience is guaranteed an explosive fun night of rock at every Texas TNT show. “TNT means dynamite, and we are like that AC/DC song! We want to give everyone a high energy rock and roll show and for them to have a good time,” Ramona said.
Texas TNT will soon be blowing up several dates throughout November in Houston. In the local area, make sure to catch them Sunday, November 20 at Outrigger’s from 3 to 7 p.m., November 23 at Jackie’s Brickhouse in Kemah from 7 to 11 p.m. and November 26 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at The Saloon in San Leon.
To keep in the loop on Texas TNT shows, visit www.texastnt.com or Texas TNT’s Facebook page. The band can also be followed on Twitter at @TexasTNTrocks.
- Sarah Piña