Chad Rex – Here comes a regular
In midtown Kansas City, Chad Rex might not turn many heads. “I’m definitely not a flashy person,” he admits. “Not onstage, or even if I’m walking down the street.”
Still, once he’s onstage — his sleepy eyes framed by the world’s most durable jet-black hornrims, his hair tousled to the point of spikiness — his quiet, solid presence stops drinkers between sips. Rex has the steadiness of a man used to delivering bad news. He knows when to start gently, when to joke…and he knows when to simply let fly.
A native of St. Joseph, Missouri, Rex was a weathered Midwest rock band veteran, including a ten-month stint with “huge Bob Mould freaks” Armchair Martian of Fort Collins, Colorado, when he moved back to Kansas City in 1996. With bassist Jason Magierowski and drummer Matt Brahl, he formed the Victorstands, a tight, slow-burning trio.
Songs To Fix Angels, that band’s new CD, is packed with Rex’s lonely songs. Spare and sad on “Tied Up To Die” or raucous and rowdy on “Blue Memory”, Rex’s songwriting can be both lush and rough-edged. “Build A Rocket”, the album’s most optimistic song, begins with the lines “Somebody’s house is burning down/I believe my song will drown it out.”
Like most artists, Rex is hesitant to describe his music, but while he leans more toward rock than roots, some of his songs clearly are informed by traditional styles. “There’s definitely country music in there; it’s one of my loves,” he acknowledges. “Even some of the Replacements stuff I thought was country, and that’s one of my all-time favorite bands.”
Currently between Victorstands lineups, Rex plays solo any time he can, and his newer songs, like the slow, lovely “If I Was Lonely, Too” and “Crushing On You”, further demonstrate his gift for heartbreak songs. “‘Crushing On You’ is one I can’t play all the time because people walk out of the room,” he says, joking. “Basically, it’s just too sad.”
This summer he plans to hit the road again. “It’s too late to turn back now,” he says. “I may be riding on a different car in the train. They’ll put the new, better-looking people in the front and throw me in the back, but I’ll still be there. I’ll still be riding. I might not smell as good as I used to, but I just hope they have a lot of drinks back there.
“Just put me on the bar car,” he muses. “That’s a song in itself right there.”