MANY VISUAL ARTISTS, regardless of their chosen medium, love music. They love to talk about it, they have music playing when they work — but only a select few are brave enough to pick up an instrument and try their hand at playing in front of an audience.
Houston sculptor Joseph Havel is one of those few. “Music is very related to my art practice,” says Havel, whose otherworldly bronze, resin and fiber sculptures are in the collections of major museums around the world. When he’s not busy in his role as director of the Glassell School of Art, or casting cardboard that has been skillfully shredded by his collaborator Hannah, who happens to be an African grey parrot, Havel spends his time working out original songs on guitar to sing with his indie-meets-garage rock trio Lindale (formerly known as Tin Night). On Sunday at Smither Park, Lindale, with Bob Russell on upright bass and Steve Murphy on drums, plays its first show since the Covid-19 lockdown.
So, what does Lindale actually sound like? While fans have noted the similarity of Havel’s singing on some of his tunes to Lou Reed, he’s currently enamored with such fragile, yet edgy singer-songwriters like Adrianne Lenker, and the “fluidity and communication” amongst the musicians in her Brooklyn-based band Big Thief. “One of the things I’m really interested in is this sense that everybody’s voice has a place,” explains Havel. “And I like a sound that has a kind of openness and rawness to it.”
In June, Havel will retire as director of the Glassell School. As that date approaches, Havel is finding more time to dedicate to his artistic practice, which includes preparing for two shows of new works created with Hannah and making more music with Lindale. “I always felt I was a director from the position of being an artist,” says Havel of his 30 years at Glassell. “I’m really very happy that I can now just focus on the creative activity.”