More spoken word than rap -- although the influence of hip-hop is undeniable -- Cottonmouth, Texas began attracting media attention in the late '90s after the commercial success of iconoclastic white rapper Beck. Led by Jeffrey "Chate" Liles (vocals), Cottonmouth, Texas has its roots in a hip-hop group called the Decadent Dub Team. The Decadent Dub Team formed in 1988 and recorded an instrumental called "Six Gun." However, a record company representative wanted vocals on the track, so one of the members contributed an improvised spoken word part. The song was eventually included on the soundtrack to Colors. Inspired, Liles started developing his spoken word skills and writing narratives based on his own experiences. Liles created Cottonmouth, Texas, also featuring alternative veterans Michael Jerome (drums) of Course of Empire, Dave Monsey (bass, guitar) and Earl Harvin (drums) of MC 900 Ft. Jesus, Kenny Withrow (guitar) of New Bohemians, and Reed Easterwood (guitar) of Junky Southern. In 1997, Cottonmouth, Texas released Anti-Social Butterfly, an album that received some modern rock airplay with the track "Hoops (And a Search for Truth)." Liles' drug references and slacker delivery earned Cottonmouth, Texas a cult following among college students and the band was even chosen to play on the Lollapalooza tour that year. Liles also starred in two Cottonmouth, Texas short films made by an L.A.-based production outfit called the Underground. But the group was dropped by Virgin Records and recorded 1999's The Right to Remain Silent for Heiress Aesthetic.
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