Casey Lain creates lasting memories by bringing incredible live music and entertainment to Corpus Christi at House of Rock.
By: Sarah Tindall // Photos by: Dustin Ashcraft
House of Rock Owner Casey Lain has been a fixture in the Corpus Christi music scene for decades. Lain, who grew up on a dairy farm an hour outside of town, has lived in Corpus Christi since high school, arriving in 1990. His introduction to the bar and restaurant scene was a summer job as a bartender at the Lighthouse Restaurant in the downtown Corpus Christi Marina. It was followed by a summer job at the Executive Surf Club, which stretched into a nine-year stint there, as he moved up from bartender to top-level management.
“I became a dad really young, and so working in the restaurants gave me the chance I needed,” he explains. “I showed up on time and did my job, and next thing I knew, I was general manager at the Executive Surf Club and in charge of hiring talent to perform there. In those early days, we focused on Texas country – Robert Earl Keen, Kevin Fowler, Ragweed, Randy Rogers, Miranda Lambert – and rock and punk rock. They were a good fit for the surf club.”
After nine years, Lain left on good terms to move onto Concrete Street Amphitheater, where he managed their food and beverage and also hired all the talent to perform at the venue. After two years working at Concrete Street, Lain moved to House of Rock for a year, followed by Brewster Street. He was booking the talent for Brewster Street and Concrete Street, as well as House of Rock, and presenting everything from fairs and festivals to the rodeo in Kingsville and the Buc Days festival, along with private corporate events. “I worked there a couple years, really enjoyed it, but swore I’d never get back into the bar business when I was done,” Lain says.
Then House of Rock came calling, and Lain decided it would be a great fit for him. “The owners called me nine years ago – they knew how to run a bar, but needed help getting bands to perform at the space,” he says. “We decided to focus on rock, since Concrete Street and the Executive Surf Club had their specific types of music that they played. I knew that hard rock was the best fit for us.” But after some time, he decided to branch out to singer/songwriters, punk rock, reggae, indie rock and even pop – according to him, “any genre fits as long as it’s good music.”
And it’s worked. Now the owner of House of Rock, Lain is very involved in the downtown scene, serving as chairman of the Downtown Management District Board; supporting projects like Art Walk; and working with local organizations like After Dark Revue Burlesque, Corpus Christi 7-Day Film Festival and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi for their Ink Slingers Ball, creating a great experience for each organization with their events.
“We’ve had tons of support from the art and music community and even the community itself here in Corpus Christi,” he says. “It was unexpected – it wasn’t our business model to do so many events. But people are loving our event space. We’re doing everything from baby showers to weddings to corporate parties. People are always striving for something unique, and we provide that for them here.”
In the next few months, Lain plans to renovate several rooms of the space to update the look, and he expects that will only make it more appealing for folks planning an event there.
July 28 marked the nine-year anniversary for House of Rock, and Lain made sure they celebrated with a bang – and with the kitchen that opened in the space about four months ago, serving salads, sandwiches, meatballs, pizza, etc., he’s enjoyed branching out to serve both the downtown lunch crowd and his late-night regulars.
Lain intends to use the new kitchen to cater events at the venue, as well as to grow the menu to both accommodate the lunch crowd and appeal to evening diners. He also boasts an impressive fall lineup at House of Rock, with Black Flag on Aug. 7, a burlesque show on Sept. 6 and the 10th annual Zombie Prom in October.
“We create memories here,” Lain says. “Everybody remembers seeing their favorite band or experiencing an amazing concert. I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that they had the time of their lives at one of my shows 10 years ago and they still remember it. Whether you’ve got a show for 50 or 500, it’s a rewarding spot to be in.”
Lain remembers his favorite moment at work: booking his favorite band, Social Distortion, to perform at Concrete Street several years ago. He jokes that he got a wife and son out of his time at House of Rock, so it must be time well spent.
For the 10-year anniversary next year, look out for a huge celebration, as Lain will pull out all the stops for an all-out bash – a great way for Lain to celebrate a career of bringing the amazing experience of live music to his hometown.
For more information about House of Rock or to buy tickets to an upcoming event, go to www.texashouseofrock.com or call 361-882-7625.