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Q&A: JT Martin of Chasca lives up to band’s ‘weird’ billing

JT Martin of Chasca. COURTESY PHOTO


Texas Music Theater will host Weirdfest, a Halloween musical extravaganza featuring a handful of innovative and unusual bands, on Oct. 29.

The Organics

If you go…

Doors at Texas Music Theater, open at 8 p.m. Saturday with music starting up at 9 p.m. Buzz n’ Bangs will open the festivities, followed by the Organics at 10.p.m. Chasca will take the stage at  11 p.m. with One-Eyed Doll striking at midnight. Tickets for Weirdfest are $5 at the door, $8 for attendees ages 18-21. Buy tickets here.

In addition to local favorites Buzz n’ Bangs and the Organics are two bands with, dare we say, eccentric reputations. One-Eyed Doll is an Austin based duo with more than a touch of strange in their costumes and songs. Chasca is a “cerebral glam band” laced with both whims and drama.

Chasca is composed of JT Martin, Sean Hannon, Junior Scott and Sean Palmer and their sound is a cross between Queen, Jethro Tull, Rob Zombie and At The Drive-In. Their performances are as much theater as they are music. Traditionally at this time of year, Chasca has headed up a critically acclaimed Rocky Horror sing-along but this year they will be wreaking their musical havoc at the aptly named Weirdfest.

We caught up with JT Martin and asked him about the Halloween event and what’s new with the band.

Mercury: What kinds of things can attendees expect to happen at Weirdfest?

Martin: Zounds! Attendees should expect the Halloween Miracle! There will be devils and drag queens and baby dolls and lost souls and kinky witchcraft. It will be a sonic feast in honor of the old gods and the new harvest.

Mercury: Should people wear costumes?

Martin: It should be a state mandate that everybody wear costumes…especially to court.

Mercury: We mean should people wear costumes to Weirdfest?

Martin: Of course! People are encouraged to dress up and get weird. Weirdfest should speak to the werewolf in all of us so folks should dig deep and unleash their inner-freak.

Mercury: Even though you are not doing Rocky Horror this year, can we expect a few songs from it?

Martin: With Chasca it’s safe to expect the unexpected.

Mercury: Trick or treat, what is the answer?

Martin: Well, one man’s trick is often another man’s treat.

Mercury: What is your idea of a good costume?

Martin: A good costume reveals the truth and conceals the facts about its wearer.

Mercury: There is one Wiccan tradition that says what you dress up like at Halloween is what you are projecting for the future. Do you think there’s any truth to that?

Martin: I’d say that what you dress up like at your funeral is what you are projecting for the future…But, I mean, those Wiccans know how to party so I can get on board with their rustic truths.

Mercury: Being a “cerebral glam band” in Texas is a pretty brave stance. Have any advice for those who may want to follow in your footsteps?

Martin: Yeah, it’s tough to be cerebral around these parts. My advice would be to get a good lawyer, some iridescent glitter, and a can of bug spray.

Mercury: Pairing you on a bill with One-eyed Doll seems like a good match. Have you ever shared a venue with them before?

Martin: This is our first time. We’re goo-i-fied with excitement! They’re great!

Mercury: What would you say to people who have never heard Chasca before as far as what they will see and hear?

Martin: I’d say they should expect to encounter a full sonic/visual/emotional experience. Be prepared to sing along, share your pain, lose your inhibitions and ravage the night: Bees swarm, legends are born, babies coo, heroes are made, virtues are lost, dogs bark. We can be titans of irreverence and sensuality together. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

Mercury: Every kid always likes the people who give out Snickers and M&Ms at Halloween. If you could go trick or treating now what would be your favorite treat? Legal treat, we mean.

Martin: Maybe those yum yum crunches, caramel crabs, powdered flavor loaf, peanut gum, globsters, everlasting heart stoppers, and mouthfuls of cinna-chew.

Mercury: What is your best Halloween memory?

Martin: One year in county lock-up I was voted Queen of the Harvest Festival.

Mercury: Is the band working on a CD for release soon? Got some new songs? Have a good recipe for biscuits? Words of wisdom, maybe?

Martin: The band is working on preparing material for a new CD in 2012. We have new material in the works and joy in our hearts. When times get dark, and the do occasionally, we are reminded of the cheery words of Joseph Conrad who said, “Art is long and life is short and success is very far off.” Happy Halloween!