Hot Attacks will play Steve-a-reno's
July 17, 2013 at 2:17 a.m.
The Blues are the pride and joy of Steve Solis, a 31-year-old librarian by day, soul man by night.
The Hot Attacks - fronted by Billy Moeller on vocals and guitar, Josh Burris on bass, Larry Royer on drums and Solis on guitar - don't mess around when it comes to the classic American art form.
Whether it's rock, boogie woogie, soul, jazz, roots or swamp, Solis and The Hot Attacks are raising the bar for blues in Victoria.
Solis, who started playing guitar at 15, caught up with Get Out to talk about his passion, the state of blues in America and how pop music could be bringing it back around to a new generation.
The band has been together since the '80s?
They started in 1987 but broke up around the early 2000s. We started up again in October.
I knew Billy Moeller. I used to play with him as part of the music ministry at church. I've always wanted to play with Billy in a blues setting. That's the music he loves, and that's the music I love. We finally made it happen.
We formed this band just to play good music and have fun.
We like the environment of Steve-a-reno's, so we usually play there.
You are an incredible guitarist. What's your background?
I saw a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan on PBS, and it had his brother, Jimmie Vaughan, and B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Eric Clapton.
I bought that VHS tape and the CD, too. To me, that was an awakening to me. I'd watch it over and over.
That's how I got into the blues.
When I met Billy, he recommended some recordings to listen to - a lot of blues guys I had never heard of.
I started reading books about blues and just trying to learn about this American art form.
What style do you like best?
I'm a big fan of the Chicago Blues and Texas Blues. That style is my favorite, but then again I love Delta Blues, really anything - R&B, early rock and roll, blues-based music.
We have originals that Billy Moeller wrote. The ones I've heard by him are Chicago Blues-based and Texas Blues-based.
We're about the same age. Do you see a generational gap between the blues genre and our generation?
It's accessible to everyone. Blues is how everyone feels from time to time. Blues can be happy; it can be sad. It can be sexy; it can be - I don't want to sound cheesy - but it can be life.
It's a musical form of expression. It's American Art that emerged from the most primitive place in America - in Mississippi - and grew from that.
Music today is all connected back to the blues.
Then there's artists like The Black Keys and John Mayer who use those elements in what you'll hear on Top 40 Radio. What's your take on the state of blues today?
I think there's a new generation taking it to the next level. John Mayer and Gary Clark Jr., he's a young guy from our generation who's bringing it back.
You have all kinds of music that comes and dies out. It'll be trendy, and then it goes away. Blues might die down for a little bit, but it comes back. It's always reoccurring, and it always comes back in style when all that other music - like disco - starts to fade away.
The blues is always there, and it always comes back because people relate to it.With so many blues bands in Victoria, is there a connective attitude among the bands?
There's so many good guitar players out there; I just love watching them all.
It's a healthy community, especially the musicians that play at Steve's. They all have a respect for each other.
Of course, I respect any musician whether they're playing originals or cover music.
We're starting a small community of musicians around Victoria.
I don't want to say it's a competition - to me, it's not like that. Everyone to me is a great player in this town. I'm just happy to be involved in that environment and in that community.
Where do The Hot Attacks fit in the Victoria scene?
We always say we'll play something so old you'll think it's new.
We play a lot of obscure blues, blues that people don't usually hear, Louisiana Blues and Chicago Blues from unknown artists.
You always have your big blues heroes, but there are a lot of artists that are just as talented who came out with some great tunes who nobody knows about.
You certainly know your stuff!
It's a respect thing.
It's to respect the blues and to know about its history and that it's an American art form.
To play the style correctly on any instrument - whether it's drums, bass or guitar - it's an educational thing.
So many people have the thought of the blues as being sad or depressing. We want to educate people that it can be happy; it could be anything.
Play it respectfully.
What's on tap?
They have two CDs that they recorded in the '80s.
We'll try to do a live recording at Steve's and try to have that. Maybe just have that on CD, but we've thrown around the idea of a live CD.
I'm just happy to play with Billy. He's my blues mentor and an idol in many ways.