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SA Music Awards

2012 Best Indie Rock Band: Pop Pistol

Photo: Josh Huskin, License: N/A

Josh Huskin

George Garza, Alex Scheel, and Jorge Gonzalez

Pop Pistol

We all heard it before: San Antonio's music scene is all about cooperation, helping each other, that trademark non-competitive spirit. While we suffer our share of in-fighting, the assessment is generally true. Compared to cities like Los Angeles or New York, SA is inhabited by thousands of beat-making Mother Teresas.

No band better exemplifies that altruistic attitude than Pop Pistol. I mean, these guys are like Tom Hanks: everyone loves them. Which is particularly remarkable given the fact they're also the most visible force behind Local 782, which started in 2008 as a way to help the local scene develop. How is it their reputation hasn't suffered from the bitter spillover politics so common in all activism?

"We started [Local 782] when [Pop Pistol] was in a stagnant place," bassist George Garza told the Current. "And then everything started moving again. It grew organically. The stuff we do in our workshops helped us in the past, and we wanted to share it with others."

The group mastered basic things, like how to put a simple, effective press release together, when to send it out, and to whom. Those workshops have served the band well, and Pop Pistol has left its "stagnant" state to become one of the most popular local bands. Last year they released an acclaimed EP (Disappearing Edges, one of 2011's best) and this year they've re-released their 2008 classic Angelus in vinyl. When they're not playing or recording, they're often seen supporting other people's concerts, always ready to lend a hand or come up with new ideas to make the scene more exciting.

Readers chose Pop Pistol (Garza, Alex Scheel on guitar/vocals, and Jorge Gonzalez on drums) as this year's Best Indie Rock Band. I chose the usually low-profile Scheel for an interview for a change, and I'm glad I did — he's just as nice as the others.

As a frontman, you seem pretty quiet. I always see George and Jorge at shows, but I only see you occasionally.
I don't know ... I feel out of the loop about a lot of stuff. I sometimes go out, but as soon as I'm out there I like to go back home and start working on something. I'm always charged and whenever I see someone play I want to keep on working on my own stuff. I mostly do graphic design, communications is not my strength. I let George do that. I can talk to people, but not all the time, constantly. I don't have that personality.

Unless you're in the studio or onstage do you feel like a fish out of water?
Yeah … I spend most of my time creating. That's my strongest way to influence anyone. I feel I gotta keep working hard at creating, because I see [the other two] working so hard in other areas. I like to spend seven, eight hours writing at the studio. All the other stuff is stressful to me because it all seems so ambiguous.

Yet you all share credit for the songs.
Yes, we all share credit. We jam a lot. Somebody starts with a beat or I play a noise, but mostly I start with a beat and develop a song and show it to the guys. Then we all work on it. It's the same with long jams. No matter how we arrive at a song, we all work on it. They help me make it more for everybody. If all the songs were just mine, they wouldn't work as well for everybody else, they wouldn't be quite as listenable. We credit all our songs to Pop Pistol, because we all put our work into it.

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