Southern-fried metalists Southern Train Gypsy have signed with a new label, Chokehold Records, based in Los Angeles.
Southern-fried metalists Southern Train Gypsy have signed with a new label, Chokehold Records, based in Los Angeles.

Southern Train Gypsy might not seem like the kind of band to be interested in stuff like record labels and “getting signed” and all that noise. Frontman Matthew Leslie, bassist Duane Smith, guitarists Brian Hoover and Travis Knight, and drummer Daniel McKay are blue-collar dudes who just like to rock out. They also all have real jobs and real lives outside of music, and let’s just say they’re no spring chickens. Despite all that, the Southern-fried Fort Worth metal band has just signed to a new L.A.-based record label.

Chokehold Records, Smith said, is planning to release Southern Train’s outstanding, relatively new sophomore recording, the EP The Bastard, globally. “We will see what happens after that,” Smith said. “Of course you hope it takes you to the top, but who knows. I’m sure we would settle for outselling that Macklemore dude.”

The band and Chokehold founder/owner Rob Figarola met earlier this year via, a music blog owned by Figarola. Smith said Figarola really dug Southern Train’s first recording, Hallelujah in the Fire. “So once we wrapped up the recording of [The Bastard], we sent him an advance copy,” Smith said. “That’s when he approached us about working with Chokehold.”


From ensuing conversations, Smith said he and his bandmates were sold on Figarola’s passion for the recording. “We are all collectively excited to push this release to the next level, which is a badass feeling,” Smith said.

Plus, he added, “They were cool with us staying hairy and ugly, so no makeover is in the works — a huge plus.”

The plan now, Smith said, is to “keep on truckin’ and kicking ass,” which includes playing “a few killer shows coming up in Fort Worth –– we love Fort Worth, literally.” Congrats, boys.

Photo courtesy of Dark Horse Images.

Fighting Cancer

Two scene stalwarts are battling life-threatening illnesses, and the North Texas music community is coming together to help out. Assorted benefit shows are planned and will include some notable reunions, including that of two short-lived but much-loved Fort Worth outfits: Tame … Tame & Quiet and Drug Mountain. To help raise money for Carlin Stultz, founder of the Dallas-based booking agency Callithump Productions who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, TTXQ will be joined by Street Arabs, New Science Projects, and others on Saturday in Dallas at The Crown and Harp (1914 Greenville Ave., 214-828-1914). “We’ll be doing a classic three-man set with original members, doing old and new jams,” said TTXQ frontman Aaron Bartz.

The day before, at The Where House (2510 Hemphill St., 817-913-7777), Drug Mountain will join Def Rain, Bukkake Moms, Bitch Bricks, and Mountains of Smoke to help raise money for Nevada Hill, a musician and graphic artist who was recently diagnosed with skin cancer. Signed records and art from Gang of Four, Butthole Surfers, Mission of Burma, David Yow of The Jesus Lizard, and more will be raffled off, as well as gift certificates to Good Records and Doc’s Records & Vintage. “And I think it’s important to mention that all of these items were donated by the bands and artists for Nevada,” said organizer Britt Robisheaux. “None of it is just stuff that we had lying around.”

There also will be benefit shows in Dallas and Denton. Donations can also be made at


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