WILL THIS EVER BE OKAY?
Prior to leaving on a winter U.S. tour with the Promise Ring (whom they had teamed up with for a split 7-inch just a few months earlier on Jade Tree), Texas made the inevitable decision to sign with Capitol Records for over a million dollars. Though things were looking promising for the band, the industry attention that they had been given over the last 12 months was beginning to change considerably the dynamic between the four of them.
DALY: Norm, bless his heart, would have all the right things to say when we met with labels. He would be the one that would be like, “We’re not going to write singles and, chances are, our songs aren’t going to be under three-and-a-half minutes.” There was a long list of demands and, [unless] we could find a label that would at least meet us halfway, [we weren’t signing].
BRANNON: The defining moment with Capitol was in a meeting with [then-president] Gary Gersh where I said just that. I said, “Look, if we don’t write a hit single we won’t be on the radio, and if we’re not on the radio we’re not going to sell records.” And Gersh’s response was, “Alternative radio? I invented that format.” I loved that! I thought that was the most arrogant, amazing thing that anyone could have ever said, and that’s who I wanted on my team.
DALY: [When you have labels] throwing things at you, no matter what anybody says, it makes you feel a little extra special. It’s just a matter of how much you believe in that and how much you ignore it. There was a lot good on the horizon, but it felt like it was out of our hands to some degree. It was no longer the thing we started two years previous.
CHATELAIN: Trying to stay as true as you could to the original feeling of why you’re playing music [is hard when] you get courted by all these labels. You’re in New York City; they’re taking you to dinner in limousines; you’re meeting A&R people who had dinner with Guns N’ Roses or whomever the night before. It’s weird. It messes with your head.
WINEGARD: Everybody had their minds set on what they wanted to do. I think at that point, all the ego and all the garbage that one let’s get to their head was getting to everybody [in the band’s] head.
DALY: We weren’t the same people anymore—we weren’t really getting along. We weren’t on the same page. Everyone had their own expectations about the band and what it would give to their personal lives. It wasn’t an even balance between the four of us. It was being pulled in different directions.
THERE’S NO WAY I CAN TALK MYSELF OUT OF THIS ONE TONIGHT
In February 1997, Texas Is The Reason jetted off for their first headlining tour of Europe. Upon returning home to the states, the band were scheduled to seal the deal with Capitol and receive a hefty signing bonus. But that never happened. Instead, as the tour neared an end, Brannon and Daly confided in one another that they wanted to split from the group. Which, after one last explosive set in Bielefeld, Germany, is exactly what they did.
DALY: The European tour wasn’t that bad. It was two weeks; the shows were huge. But at that point, Garrett and Norm hated each other. It was coming apart. It was like, “Well, if we’re going to take this next step and do all this stuff, I can’t imagine doing it if we hate each other. It just doesn’t seem worth it.” I could just tell that Norm was miserable.
BRANNON: I was doing things by myself a lot. I was listening to Nick Drake on my Walkman. I wasn’t particularly having fun: I was thinking about Capitol, thinking about writing this next record, thinking about what this was going to be like. I started feeling more despondent and was feeling like, “I don’t think we should keep going. I think we should go out on a high.”
PEDULLA: The story of their break up is always on my head. I feel like the way they did it was amazing. I read this interview with Norm and he was saying him and [Daly] knew they were going to break up, but they wanted their last show to be the most amazing thing. They wanted it to be this perfect show.
BRANNON: My opinion was, “Whatever we do, our last show has to be awesome. So if tomorrow night is awesome, let’s consider that being the last show.” And Chris agreed.
DALY: It turned out to be a huge show. We always played with a little fire, but I think Norm and I kind of gave it a little more [that night].
BRANNON: We talked [after the show in Bielefeld] and both of us felt, “This should end here. We shouldn’t sign this contract.” Garrett went to Paris [with his girlfriend] after the last show. Scott, Chris and I flew home. On the flight, we told Scott what we were thinking and, of course, Scott was not happy. But I do remember him saying, “I’m not going to sit here and talk you out of it, because everything you’re saying is true.” [Eventually] I called Garrett in Paris, and we had the conversation that broke up the band.
KLAHN: There’s no arguing with Norman. He’s a pretty headstrong guy and that’s one of the reasons I love him. So I wasn’t going to argue it. If it’s over, it’s over. I wasn’t going to fight.
WINEGARD: I remember I got back home and I went to [work]. I sat down and [my manager] was like, “So, are you a millionaire now? Are you telling me that you can’t work here anymore?” And I was like, “Ughh, no, the complete opposite. We broke up. I came to get some shifts.”
EVERYBODY TELLS ME SOMETHING DIFFERENT
2006 AND ON…
In the years that followed, the band were presented numerous opportunities to play a reunion show, but none of them ever felt quite right. Then, this past summer, they all once again found themselves back in New York City and hanging out like they did 10 years ago. Soon, the shows at Irving Plaza were booked, and many began to speculate that a full-scale reunion was in the works. Though Brannon has gone on record many times to squash such an idea, some of his bandmates and friends seemed to suggest otherwise when they were interviewed for this article.
WOLTER: I went to go see the Bad Brains [this past October] with Scott and Chris, and you know what? I don’t think they’re going to play those two shows and that’s going to be that. I really don’t.
DALY: I’m not sold on [this being it]. That’s what’s being stated, but I really thought Germany was the last time I would have ever played with them. Never, would I have thought in a million years, that we’d play Irving Plaza. Never in a million years would I think we would have done a second show at Irving Plaza.
WINEGARD: I would do it. I remember very shortly after Norm and Garrett first talked again, they were like, “We should record [our unreleased] songs.” I was like, “You guys are fucking kidding me. What the hell are you talking about? We should play music together? It took 10 years for us to play again.” But, of course, I’d do it.
DALY: Not to get philosophical, but life’s so short and these people are my closest friends. The music we made is, without a doubt, the thing I’m most proud of. There’s an air of regret. I wonder what could have happened. I don’t know if that’s regret, but it’s always in the back of my mind.
KLAHN: Anytime I pick up a guitar, I always play Texas songs. I never stopped playing them… [but this] is definitely it. We always said that our last show would be in New York—it just happened that it was 10 years after we broke up.
BRANNON: The reunion shows [were] an acknowledgment to me, not a declaration. The declaration, to me, is that we'll never do this again. I think that's true to the spirit of the band: We came. We fucked shit up. We disappeared.
Directly after the Texas split, Garrett Klahn began playing in the New Rising Sons, a Brit-influenced band who released two EPs before disbanding. In the summer of 2001, Klahn and Samiam guitarist Sergie Loobkoff formed a new group called Solea, who continue to tour and record, albeit on a rather infrequent basis.
Chris Daly went on to play in the highly celebrated emo band Jets To Brazil, alongside Chatelain and former Jawbreaker frontman Blake Schwarzenbach. After splitting from Jets in 2002, Daly briefly worked on music with former Quicksand/Gorilla Biscuits mastermind Walter Schreifels and now plays in a yet-to-be-named new act with Scott Winegard and former Promise Ring guitarist Jason Gnewikow.
Norman Brannon left New York following the band’s breakup, moving to Chicago and, eventually, San Francisco, where he co-owned a label specializing in progressive house music. While in California, Brannon also played with Winegard and former Far frontman Jonah Matranga in the short-lived post-hardcore supergroup New End Original. He later briefly joined Matranga’s new band Gratitude in 2005, before the band broke out later that year. Having returned to New York City, he is currently working on material as a solo artist.
Before moving to California to join New End Original, Scott Winegard and Dave Wolter formed the now-defunct indie label Grape OS, releasing albums by Sense Field, the Big Collapse and Klahn’s band, the New Rising Sons. After New End split up, Winegard returned to New York and was hired as the head kitchen chef at an upscale raw foods restaurant in Manhattan. He is once again playing music with Daly and Gnewikow. ALT