Texas Is the Reason, 'Do You Know Who You Are?': Exclusive Album Premiere

Jammi York

Texas Is The Reason

Hear the emo band's career-spanning collection, including a pair of new songs

Seventeen years after the band's first and only full-length album, Texas is the Reason is ready to put the group to rest for good.

"I want to leave a nice-looking corpse," singer/guitarist Garrett Klahn tells Billboard. "I want it to be a little beat-up, but I want it to have a nice suit on and I want it to be complete."

The release comes alongside a handful of North American tour dates and a set at Belgium's Groezrock Festival in April.

The New York emo act, a pivotal band in the punk subgenre's '90s ascent, will have the chance on Feb. 12, when the quartet will re-release their debut as "Do You Know Who You Are? The Complete Collection." The 16-track reissue will also include the band's 1995 self-titled EP, two tracks from split singles and two newly recorded tracks -- the final songs the band wrote before calling it quits in 1997 on the verge of signing a major label deal. "Every Little Girl's Dream" and "When Rock 'N' Roll Was Just a Baby" have been waiting for a studio session ever since. To capture their original sound, the band returned to producer J. Robbins and Baltimore's Oz Studio last year as they regrouped for Revelation Records' 25th anniversary New York concert. 

"They honestly haven't changed a bit since we wrote them," Klahn says of the new songs, outside of a few lyrical edits. "It truly is a time capsule for us. It pinpoints exactly where we were and exactly where we were maybe going." 

Texas is the Reason played a couple of reunion shows in New York in 2006. Why did it take so long to get together for a longer tour?

Garrett Klahn: Those shows, that was more about unfinished business than it was about anything else. It just happened to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of our record. We really never played a final show in New York City, our last show was somewhere in Bavaria before we broke up. So it made sense to us. As to why 6 or 7 years, I don't have a solid answer to that, the only thing I can say is life kind of picked up for all of us. I can't speak for the other boys but it took me a couple years to get over those two shows (laughs). I don't think I could have done any more right after, those were pretty heavy. 

Say these shows all go great. There's no temptation to keep going?

There really isn't. I feel like i can speak for everybody in the band at least on this one subject: the fact that these two songs are recorded now, "Little Girl's Dream" and "Rock 'n' Roll," it really does feel like the final pieces of whatever this thing is or was. We're celebrating what we got and there's no reason to drag it out. We're playing as many places as we possibly can and I'm personally going to treat every show like it's the last fucking night on earth. I understand that it's important to people, but people gotta know, it's just as important to us to keep it special. 

Working on these last two songs, what was it like being in the studio with the band again? Did it feel nostalgic or more like getting back to work?

More the latter. I can't even explain the feeling of when we pulled up to the studio and the garage door opened and J. was standing there, kind of like a scene from a movie. Pretty much the same exact scene from 17 years before when we went there to record the album. But once we got in there and got ourselves settled, it was right back to business. We worked for about 15 hours that first day and then Hurricane Sandy hit and shut down the city -- we were in our pajamas for 24 hours drinking wine in a hotel room, watching shitty television, wasting away.  

After everything wraps up, what are your hopes for the legacy of the band?

That we get it right, I guess. We didn't drag it out too much. I want to leave a nice-looking corpse. I want it to be a little beat-up, but I want it to have a nice suit on and I want it to be complete. More than half of my life i've been on the road playing music in bands, touring, recording -- it's such a strange feeling with Texas because we're able to do what we want to do. A lot of bands kind of struggle, [you] bust your ass to get half of that feeling, to feel like you're in control of what's happening with the band or the idea of your band. We feel like we've done enough, we've accomplished what we set out to accomplish and let's let it lie and let other people do what they do.