Few metro musicians have the rock shtick down better than one-man-band Mickey Reece, known musically as El Paso Hot Button.
From exhaustingly energetic and charismatic live shows to the polished style of his press-kit images, Reece knows how to attract attention and is just as consistently diligent in cultivating his image as an enigmatic rock icon. The Norman musician has insisted his 2007 album, "When I Needed Sympathy," was penned as an ode to a newfound faith in Scientology, so when he announced in a recent interview that his latest, "Keep Your Eyes Quiet," was to be the last EPHB album, it was a revelation met with a fair amount of skepticism.
"Now that I've said this is the last album and you didn't know that before, does that make it sound like a different album?" Reece asked.
There is a bit more pensiveness deep within the torrential waves of echo, feedback and the cocky swagger of his vocals, and his angular guitar often settles into an almost wistful dreaminess. As with previous EPHB albums, Reece's grandmother pops up in the interlude, this time bidding him farewell and announcing her departure to "Never Never Land, where people play cards and dominoes and they never worry about anything."
The closing song, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye," has Reece's bare-boned voice backed by a gloomy piano, perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful track in the EPHB catalog. Those quiet moments are rare, however, as the disc is more often a sharp, eclectic and consistently fun listen.
So is Reece really pulling the ripcord on his music career to, as he insists, focus more on his budding interest in filmmaking? It's hard to know for sure, and there isn't anything on the EPHB MySpace page to suggest he will close shop after the momentum of "Keep Your Eyes Quiet" slows.
"Well, I'm still going to play shows for at least a year to sell records and pay back the label," Reece said. "But with film as an art form in general, you can do more with it than music. I've always gone off what motivates me in the media so if there are some really cool bands out, I say, 'Hey, yeah! I'm going to make music.' But there haven't been that many cool bands come up lately, but there have been some cool movies."
Reece eventually qualified his farewell address by saying he hasn't ruled out starting another band, and hinted that he might just be done putting out full-length albums, which sees as becoming increasingly obsolete.
"There are still plans. I have a whole 'nother year of touring for this album at least and I'm sure I'll have some farewell shows and maybe a last show at some point," he said. "Everything I do, I like to put my whole body and soul into, and now its time to move into phase two."
El Paso Hot Button with Colourmusic, The Pretty Black Chains and Gentle Ghost perform at 9 p.m. Friday at The Conservatory, 8911 N. Western. "Charles Martin