That new old-time rock and roll

The Pullouts bring nostalgic piano-rock tunes to Bob’s

By Josher Lumpkin

Photo: The Pullouts will perform at Blind Bob’s on Sept. 11; photo: Lainey Hill

Many music fans in recent years have complained that modern music has lost something. Some indefinable quality, common in the musical landscape of decades past, is now missing in the mainstream.

Scott Houchens, songwriter and pianoman of Dayton band The Pullouts, wants to give listeners what they lost. The Pullouts’ 2014 album, The Thought of You Waiting on Me, is full of what Houchens describes as “weary songs laced with hope or happy songs with a sad message” that sound like they’d be more at home in your dad’s record collection than on your iPhone 6.

“I identify with sounds like Jackson Browne or The Eagles,” Houchens says. “Something out of the early 1970s Southern California singer-songwriter kind of thing.”

And it’s that timeless air that makes songs like “Burn Me” so damn good. Houchens pounding away at his piano’s keyboard, singing with vocals doused in a healthy dose of reverb, with Andy Fletcher’s ’70s-influenced guitar soloing, makes the song sound like it could be a long-lost Steve Miller B-side or something.

“When I set out to do the album, I kind of just wanted to make new old music,” Houchens explains. “Not really trying to push the envelope with genre or anything, but just trying to sound like something that, whether you’re 13 years old or 80 years old, you can still get into. With the mid to late ’60s and early ’70s, the music lasts, and there’s something about it that stands the test of time.”

The 28-year-old Houchens has known from a young age that making music was his passion.

“Mom had me take piano lessons at like age five and, you know, rather than practicing what I’m supposed to be practicing, I’d get in trouble for making up my own stuff at the keyboard,” he says. “I always had a knack for the creative things.”

Houchens was involved in choir in high school and, later, with his alma mater, Ohio University, but says, “I never really got into the music program with both feet. So, I dropped out of school when I was 19, joined a band, went on tour playing accordion and doing background vocals.

I was, you know, a young buck learning how to do it. Moved out to California, came home in 2011 and started The Pullouts with some buddies from high school.”

What started out as a few old friends playing music together for fun became something more serious.

“We started off practicing once or twice a week, and the more we did it, the more we liked it. And eventually it turned into a business enterprise, which, four years later, we’re still learning all about the wonderful thing that is the music business,” Houchens laughs. “It’s just gone from a hobby to something that we’re trying to figure out how to make a full-on vocation.”

Though, this enterprise has not been without it challenges.

“It’s interesting—that’s for sure,” he says. “I’m just trying to figure out how to commoditize something that’s so f–king personal a lot of times. And having something so personal be able to still relate to the masses and communicate the human experience.”

I ask Houchens if he thinks being in a smaller music market, like Dayton, would be a barrier to succeeding in his goal of making The Pullouts a full-time business venture.

“I mean that’s a tough one,” Houchens responds. “I really feel like people say, ‘You have to get out of Dayton if you wanna have a serious shot at doing this,’ but there are a lot of bands that are based out of Dayton that do this. I’ve done the big city thing, and it seems like when you’re living in a place like San Francisco or LA, the cost of living is so outlandish that you end up spending most of your time out there just trying to pay bills. And one thing I’ve noticed with the cost of living being relatively lower here in Dayton [is] I have more free time. And time is my most valuable asset.

I have all the same tools at my fingertips here in Dayton, in terms of social media and all that good stuff. So, I definitely think it’s not as important as it used to be to be in hot spots or places like that. I think, playing in a place like Nashville, you just wanna pass through every once in a while.”

Houchens says The Pullouts are hoping to take their show out on the road soon.

“That’s definitely on the list of things to accomplish, to get out of Dayton,” he continues. “We enjoy the local scene, but I would like to start branching out a little bit—Cincinnati, Columbus, northern Kentucky. I don’t know the best way to do it—I mean all my memories of touring are praying we could make enough money to pay for gas, so if we can find a way to strategize and put a plan into motion and do it smart then I’m all for it, but it’s a level of planning that I’m just now getting into.”

The Pullouts will perform Friday, Sept. 11 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District. The Al Holbrook Band is also on the bill. Admission is $5 for patrons 21 and up. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more information, please visit or

Reach DCP freelance writerJosher Lumpkin

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Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at

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