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Mario Rodriguez is Driven to Never Slow Down

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Drive is a funny thing. Where it comes from for some of us isn’t where it comes from for others. Artists with a drive to succeed has always been a factor in who I’m intrigued by and who I’m not. Mario Rodriguez is driven by a lot of no’s. His band Tax The Wolf had a lot of doors slammed on them, so they went and started their own thing. While that thing turned into tours outside of Houston, other projects like Bang Bangz and Satellite d’ Homme and tours outside of the U.S., he never forgot the no’s. Now with his own production company, live venue, recording studio, publishing company and more he’s doing it all under the name Wonky Power. He’s booking Houston’s Axelrad Beer Garden and he successfully threw the first drive in concert in the days of COVID-19. That drive is why we spoke to him for our podcast Self Released Songs.

When Tax The Wolf began, there really weren’t too many bands like them. Energetic and raw, political and eviscerate, their live shows were on another level. Formed in Houston from high school friends, all self-taught musicians who brought the power of a thousand horses, the band had a rough start in Houston. While the band’s progressive sound and enigmatic live shows were that of Houston legend, they eventually called it a day.

The new project that Rodriguez took on was more pop driven. The synthesized tones of Bang Bangz went from unknowns to well regarded in a short time frame. Offering a more electronica feel, the band successfully toured Mexico and enjoyed plenty of success wherever they went. But instead of turning that into a full time gig, Mario and his now wife Elizabeth turned their focus back on Houston. To create something where kids who were trying to get  foot in the door, wouldn’t have it closed on them. Hence the world of Wonky Power. A recording studio, live music venue, practice space and production space as well, the world quickly noticed their drive to create their own universe.

But the space, the record label and publishing house and the booking agency wasn’t enough. In time, Wonky Power and Mario would take over what entertainment as Axelrad would look like. Throwing the first rooftop drive in concert when no one could convene during the current pandemic, the live-stream video showed that Mario Rodriguez and Wonky Power have now come full circle. The six camera operation for the rooftop concert made the sets by El Lago and Flower Graves look like they were on a festival stage. The idea to live-stream took a good idea and made it great. Now, Mario Rodriguez and Wonky Power can place the spotlight on those who are trying to get a foot in the door as well.

The music of Tax The Wolf, Bang Bangz and Satellite d’Homme is available to stream on all streaming platforms. You can follow Wonky Power on all social media platforms or learn more about their vision here. Self Released Songs is available to stream on all podcast streaming platforms, it’s also available to stream on this website and it can be supported at Anchor.

Image Credits: Photo by Daniel Jackson.

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David Garrick

David Garrick has spent the last five years interviewing some of the most intriguing and engaging artists performing today. Everyone from Angel Olsen to Phoebe Bridgers, Wire to Yo La Tengo, Snail Mail to Soccer Mommy, Ghost to First Aid Kit, The Breeders to Protomartyr, and many more. He's a giant fan of music of pretty much any genre; but especially to the underdogs. He's been known to see more concerts in a week than many people will see in a year.

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