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Talking marine biology and fruit sacrifice with Darwin’s Finches

Submitted by admin on August 11, 2024 – 12:50 pmOne Comment

Last week I talked to Justin, front man of Galveston/Houston, garage rock band, Darwin’s Finches for a whopping three hours at Agora and had a great time in the process. I won’t bother to transcribe the two hours of audio I got before I cut it off but what I thought would be a straight forward, run-of-the-mill, half hour interview turned out to be something much more interesting.

Coming from a very musical family but not having a lot of serious musical training himself, Justin, comparing himself to his pianist brother chuckled, “yeah, my brother actually knows what he’s doing”. Essentially teaching himself, he related to me the band’s beginnings in Galveston and his frustration with playing in a city that was overly fond of cover bands. Being a native of Houston, Justin ventured down to Galveston when he was younger and told me about the interesting characters, many being vagabonds and eccentrics that he met while on the coast. Going back and forth between Houston and Galveston, ever since Ike, Justin’s youth has been an eventful one consisting of art, couch surfing, and odd jobs. For someone not even thirty years old, Justin has had one of the most interesting lives I’ve come across. Being raised by his grandparents, Justin explained that the album’s title came from a funny “grandpa-ism” wherein his grandfather would tell him stories using the name Old Skatillivich for characters “I don’t think old Skatillivich was ever just one person,” Justin explained ” he’d say ‘One time me and Old Skatillivich were. . .’ when he was telling me stories”.

Later, Justin told me about their CD release a few weeks ago (that I missed, regrettably) for their official debut album Old Skatillivich and something he described as fruit sacrifice, “Me and the drummer collected a bunch of fun  fruits from Asia and the guy from Walter’s was like ‘next time don’t bring so much stinky fruit’. I just had it sitting on a table was encouraging people to try things like mangosteens. The whole fruit thing started one time in league city near this little community theater and i used to get these huge watermelons at this gas station nearby and we’d draw faces on them and stab them with our instruments and smash them.” We then talked about how important it was to be a little weird as a band and how much it could add to the music when people were willing to depart from the normal, just a bit.

The other thing Justin told me was about his passion for animals, particularly birds and sea creatures. Having held different jobs working with animals, even at Moody Gardens, he told me different stories about the exhibits and how much he enjoyed working alongside them. Lately, Justin works at the restaurant in the downtown aquarium, cleaning out the tanks and swimming with the fish.

Darwin’s Finches latest album can be purchased at Domy Books next to Cafe Brasil, off of Westheimer. I’ve had the album in my car CD player for a month now and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be dislodged any time soon. It’s the Cramps meets the White Stripes, only better.

-Jack Daniel Betz

One Comment »

  • Ana Q says:

    haha i can just hear justin’s voice in my head saying these things. Fucking legend. Glad you’re gettin the word out about these dudes, Jack, I’ve always thought they were underrated

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