South Texas Destroyers’ beginnings come straight from the When Harry Met Sally handbook. Opposites meet and don’t exactly click, but meet again somewhere down the road and forge a relationship. When Harry Met Sally paired a pre-Botox Meg Ryan’s fake multiple orgasms with Billy Crystal’s endless droning about pepper and paprikash; South Texas Destroyers combines Will Owen Gage’s blues rock and Pardo’s country and Tejano roots into one cohesive Americana sound.
And, like Crystal’s Harry, South Texas Destroyers even boast their own neurotic insecurities.
“He’s so fucking bad, and I just didn’t think this guy would want to waste his time with me,” Pardo says of teaming up with Gage. “I’ve got really bad self-esteem issues, and this guy is fucking awesome, so why would he want to jam with me?”
Turns out, Gage had a fondness for Pardo as well.
The two met through friends a little more than a year ago. Talk of playing together came up, and Gage passed his number along to Pardo. Months later — again, the insecurity thing — Pardo finally called Gage, who took a few weeks to respond to his future bandmate. And when a spot opened up at the annual rodeo kickoff and barbecue cookoff, Gage invited Pardo to join him on stage.
“I kind of noticed the response of people … listening to what was going on,” Gage says. “The rest of the time, there was hardly anybody there while I was playing with my two other bands, so we went ahead and decided to record the songs.”
Delayed by Gage’s many other musical endeavors (as well as an admitted penchant for laziness) and Pardo’s day job, that process took more than eight months, with Gage venturing into producer-engineer territory for the first time ever. The result, a self-titled, self-released debut that measures up against many major-studio efforts in terms of sound quality, is a rousing 13-track fusion of country, rock, and Americana. Though the release has been available for some time, Gage and Pardo will perform a proper CD release show at Sam’s Burger Joint on Friday, September 19.
“I do mostly blues, but I had some stuff that was more Americana, and I didn’t know what to do with it,” Gage says. “This was a cool chance to try the Americana thing, some Texas music. People have responded to it.”
Rightfully so — South Texas Destroyers’ debut, in addition to being well-produced, contains some of the best Americana to come out of the San Antonio scene in quite some time. “How Does It Feel,” which has been getting local radio play, is perhaps the album’s standout track, a well-crafted pseudo-pop tale of love gone wrong. Meanwhile, tracks like “Over You” and “12-24-06” — which concludes “If you wanna know what I’m thinkin’, I hope you burn in hell” — are a little grittier.
Pardo, of course, isn’t about to take credit for the quality release. “I honestly didn’t feel, and still don’t to this day,” he says, “that I bring shit to the table.”
Except, that is, for a completely different perspective.
Pardo, 33, hails from nearby Sinton. A self-described “long-haired Mexican dude who plays country music,” he sports a bandanna and a Jurassic 5 T-shirt (yes, he likes hip-hop, too). He also works a day job in order to help support his wife of four years and his young daughter.
Gage, meanwhile, was born in Louisville, Kentucky. The 21-year-old, who has been playing live shows for a decade now, sports mutton-chop sideburns and speaks with a noticeable Southern drawl. He has no day job; music is a full-time living. And forget the wife and child — Gage is the stereotypical bachelor.
Despite their many differences, South Texas Destroyers are united in their affinity for Texas-style music, even if they can’t keep a drummer for a variety of reasons, up to and including incarceration.
“It’s like Spinal Tap, except they don’t die,” Pardo says of the band’s ever-changing timekeeper lineup. “Thank God they don’t die.” •
South Texas Destroyers CD Release Party
Fri Sep 19, doors at 8pm
Sam’s Burger Joint,
330 E. Grayson