Silent Film/Live Music – Alamo West Oaks – 2/27


WHO: The Invincible Czars
WHAT: The Invincible Czars perform a new musical score for Tod Browning’s silent film “The Unknown” (1927) starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford
WHERE: Alamo Drafthouse West Oaks – 2700 Hwy 6 South, West Oaks Mall #429, Houston, TX 77082
WHEN: Saturday February 27th, 2010, 7:30 PM
AGE RESTRICTIONS: 18+, under 18 welcome with parent
MEDIA: For interviews, images, or details, contact and 512/656-0357
TICKETS – $10 –

The Invincible Czars present their live score to Tod Browning’s 1927 silent film “The Unknown,” starring Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford.

AUSTIN, TX – What can you do with your feet? In Tod Browning’s 1927 silent film “The Unknown,” Lon Chaney plays Alonzo, an armless sharpshooter and knife thrower in a Spanish gypsy circus. Alonzo smokes cigarettes, shoots a rifle, plays guitar, and throws knives with his feet, an effect Chaney produced with the help of a real-life armless double (Paul Desmuke). Alonzo’s lovely assistant Nanon (Joan Crawford) is the object of his secret affection, but he is not without competition–circus strong man Malabar (Norman Kerry) is also in love with Nanon, but it seems she cannot bear to have a man’s hands touch her. This beautiful and macabre film features Chaney in what is arguably the best performance of his career.

Austin’s rulers of weirdo rock, the Invincible Czars, will debut their first score to an American silent film with “The Unknown” at the Alamo Ritz on February 28, 2010. This new score is a departure for the band featuring more acoustic instruments than electric and surprisingly sparse arrangements compared to the “more is more” frenzy the band is known for. However, in typical Czars fashion, the score features excerpts from and variations on familiar classical music: Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Español” and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

“The Unknown” will also mark the departure of Louis Landry as the group’s permanent drummer. Landry created many of the themes used in the score and these performances will celebrate his work and time with the band.

The Invincible Czars will accompany an actual celluloid print of “The Unknown” for this performance.

The Invincible Czars’ prior forays into silent film territory have included Fritz Lang’s “Destiny” (1921) and Yakov Protazanov’s “Aelita, Queen of Mars” (1924).

The band will also perform the score in Austin at the Alamo Ritz on 2/28.

An exclusive SxSW Film performance in conjunction with Wyattbrand is slated for 3/18.


Formed in 2002, the Invincible Czars have made their mark by making exceptionally creative music. The band began as the brainchild of guitarist and founding member Josh Robins with the goal of creating truly unique, interesting and complex rock music with a myriad of influences and an uncommon mix of instruments. Seven years, six drummers and two vans later, the band finds itself among the senior class at Austin Weird Rock High School among peers such as Golden Arm Trio and Opposite Day.

2009 was the group’s busiest to date. Three of the members provided a rhythm section for St. Stephens High’s production of Tommy in February. In March, the Czars shared the stage with Asleep at the Wheel on Houston KUHF FM’s broadcast from the stage at Discovery Green. Then they premiered their original score to Fritz Lang’s silent film Destiny later that night from that stage. Then they survived SxSW. April marked the release of Fortissimo, the Invincible Czars’ first CD of original material in nearly four years along with masquerade release parties in Houston and Austin. April also saw the launch of the band’s new label Future Banana Replacement in conjunction with Opposite Day. In May, they opened Texas dates for Oakland scariest band – Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. They premiered their version of “1812 Overture” at the 25th annual OKMozart! classical music festival in Bartlesville, OK in June and followed up with a hometown debut on a 105 degree Fourth of July in Austin’s Wooldridge Square Park. The band also scored and performed the soundtrack to John Estrada’s short film Taco! Taco! Taco! which received funding from HBO. In August they headlined the Golden Hornet Project’s “German Masters Hoot Night” performing new versions of works by Beethoven, Wagner and The Scorpions. The Czars ended the year with holiday performances of their Nutcracker Suite at special events such as Houston’s Wortham Center Tree Lighting, Austin’s Holiday Stroll and the opening of Discovery Green Ice Skating Rink.

In other news, Pink Moon Entertainment added the group to its roster of artists. Pink Moon now represents the Invincible Czars in all private and special/community event booking matters.

The group is also known for its ability to grow beards.

The group currently consists of:

Phil Davidson – violin, voice
Leila Henley – soprano/tenor sax, flute, voice
Adam Kahan – bass, voice
Louis Landry – drums, percussion, voice
Bill Petersen – keyboards
Josh Robins – guitar, percussion

Phil Davidson teaches violin to students from 4-100 years of age. Leila Henley is a chemist and is the tallest member of the band at 6’2”. She is an amazing sight reader and also performs with Sweetmeat, Mistress Stephanie and her Melodic Cat, Foot Patrol, and Minor Mishap Marching Band. Adam Kahan also plays in the Jazzus Lizard, Churchwood and has performed with the Golden Arm Trio and Golden Hornet Project. Louis Landry is a teacher of music and currently plays piano with Charlie Robison. Bill Petersen gave the group quite a scare with a young heart attack in March 2009. Everyone is glad to have him back in action. Josh Robins is a regular composer with the Golden Hornet Project and sits on its board of directors. He also performed and recorded with Golden Arm Trio, PKW Productions, Graham Reynolds, Sweetmeat, Peter Stopschinski, Adam Roberts and others.


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