Terrence Houston Terrence “Groove Guardian” is one of the most sought-after young percussionists in the city. Currently the drummer for George Porter, Jr. and the Runnin’ Pardners, the Funky Meters, Toubab Krewe, Khris Royal’s Dark Matter, and Trumpet Black & the Heart Attacks, he has also performed and recorded with a variety of other artists in New Orleans and beyond.
Born into a musical family, this Baton Rouge native was getting drum lessons from his uncle as soon as he could hold a pair of sticks. By age seven he was playing regularly in church, and he performed throughout childhood with marching bands, symphonic bands, and his family’s gospel group. As a teenager, he shifted his attention to R&B and blues, while still finding time to shine as his high school’s Drum Captain. Houston spent a year marching and studying musical performance at Southern University under master percussionists Herman Jackson and Derrick Hillard, until Jackson convinced the young drummer that, despite his age, he already had what he needed to start his career.
Houston moved to New Orleans in 2007 to be a part of Bourbon Street’s post-Katrina musical revival. He spent his first few years playing with a classic rock band at Utopia before focusing his energies on Frenchmen Street gigs. In 2009, when George Porter announced that he needed a new drummer for his Runnin’ Pardners, Houston learned the music in two days and was ready to audition before Porter was ready to even hold auditions. He let Houston play anyway, and by the time he was through, it was clear a new drummer had arrived.
Since 2014, Houston has also been with the Funky Meters, one of Porter’s other projects and a direct descendant of pioneering New Orleans funkateers The Meters. A frequent gig-mate of Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill since the two first met in 2012, Houston was a shoe-in when Hill launched his own project, soul/funk group The Heart Attacks. He also plays with Toubab Krewe, an Asheville-based instrumental band that incorporates rhythms from around the world, and Khris Royal’s Dark Matter, an innovative jazz fusion group led by a fellow Runnin’ Pardner and another of the scenes rising stars.
A diverse musical upbringing and relentless training have given Terrence Houston a unique sound and an impressive command of many styles. His sprightly, snare-informed rhythms will ratchet any band to the next level, and his enthusiasm for exploring new sonic realms has made him one of the city’s most exciting young talents. If he could do absolutely anything he wanted as a musician? “I would take every band that I currently play with and put everybody on the road. One big tour. I would buy tour buses for everybody, and we would just tour the country, selling records. The whole family. The bill would be incredible every night. And I’d play with all of them.” Houston would like to thank DW Drums and Sabian Cymbals for their support.