Within the last few years, The Raging Nathans has been pushing out work one right after another. They released the full-length album Waste My Heart along with two splits and a single in 2021, a compilation album earlier this year, and now for the cherry on top a full-length album Still Spitting Blood. Do the […]
Within the last few years, The Raging Nathans has been pushing out work one right after another. They released the full-length album Waste My Heart along with two splits and a single in 2021, a compilation album earlier this year, and now for the cherry on top a full-length album Still Spitting Blood. Do the Nathans do anything other than touring and making music these days? Probably not; I bet they are currently working on pumping out other singles and splits to soothe our aching pop-punk withdrawals. This type of consistency has not been missed once and they don’t look like they’re going to stop.
This album has banger after banger from start to finish—this is unadulterated quintessential pop-punk. Carrying over from their last album Waste My Heart, where they have tuned into their more melodic/pop side which has sprinkled into the album Still Spitting Blood with just the right touch. Without question, The Raging Nathan’s haven’t forgotten the punk in this album at all and it pulls you right back into a sweaty night shouting lyrics into a mic pointed at the crowd. Anthems like “Nothing I Can Do,” “Still Spitting Blood,” and “Head in a Hole” fill this album with raging joy.
Diving into “Fucked Olympia” with its soft John Hughes suburban snow banked lyrics coupling to the layers of guitar riffs that propel one another into sweet, sweet harmony. It is an unforgettable mix of what complex talent resides in Raging Nathans. This is kind of sound is what you find influences other bands in the scene to make music. True kings of experimenting with their sound without being so overly offensive that lose the ears of their fans.
You cannot argue with the sentiments in lyrics found in “The Lime Pit” or “The Answer (Smoke ‘Em)” like a hand from a friend just slapping you on your back with support to continue on in your best fight with the impending doom around you. This album is packed with the nostalgia you needed with that new sound you didn’t know you were looking for from Raging Nathans.
This album’s upbeat tempo paired with its combative guitaring and fantastic vocals– lead and backing, really tributes that this is some of the best work to come from The Raging Nathans. That is not a knock on their past material; they are that band that keeps getting better with every album. It is something in the guitar & lyrics that match the aggressive spirit of Propagandhi with a light twist and that essential pop sound from The Ramones just blended together so perfectly, just making every song of this album consumable from start to finish.
Two songs are out now and one is yet to be released later this week on the band’s Bandcamp page. “Still Spitting Blood” and “Nothing I can do” are some shining examples of what is yet to be heard on this album. Pre-order the digital album or wait for its release in December of this year.
Dayton, Ohio’s Houseghost made waves in 2020 when Rad Girlfriend Records released their self-titled debut LP at the height of the pandemic. On their new album Another Realm, the band fronted by the brother-sister duo of Nick and Kayla Hamby delivers more lo-fi pop-punk with thematic horror punk lyrics. They call it “spooky punk”, and […]
Dayton, Ohio’s Houseghost made waves in 2020 when Rad Girlfriend Records released their self-titled debut LP at the height of the pandemic. On their new album Another Realm, the band fronted by the brother-sister duo of Nick and Kayla Hamby delivers more lo-fi pop-punk with thematic horror punk lyrics. They call it “spooky punk”, and I think that’s a fitting description.
The whole record is great (it probably would have been on my “Best of 2022” list if I hadn’t already made it lol). If I had to choose a few standout songs, I’d go with “Heart Up”, “Pretty Red”, “Nameless”, and the Lillingtons-esque “Night in the Woods”.
If these guys aren’t already on your radar, I highly recommend giving Another Realm a listen below. And if you’d like to support Houseghost, you can do so by grabbing a digital copy of the album here (I’d recommend picking it up on vinyl, but it’s sold out!).
When last we heard from Sammy Kay on the pages of Dying Scene, the world – both his and ours – looked very different. It was the back half of 2019. The original Dying Scene website hadn’t yet crashed, and Kay was releasing civil/WAR, his most recent full-length record. The record was funded primarily through […]
When last we heard from Sammy Kay on the pages of Dying Scene, the world – both his and ours – looked very different. It was the back half of 2019. The original Dying Scene website hadn’t yet crashed, and Kay was releasing civil/WAR, his most recent full-length record. The record was funded primarily through a Kickstarter campaign and, while it found him once-again recording with Pete Steinkopf at Little Eden Studio in his ancestral homeland of New Jersey as he had on 2017’s Untitled and 2014’s Fourth Street Singers, it represented a stylistic departure from the ska and roots-rock that had marked the earlier stages of his music career. Instead, civil/WAR found the gravelly-voiced Kay backed primarily by his own acoustic guitar, the subtle textures putting more emphasis on the weighty, at times heart-wrenching lyrical subject matter.
A fast-forward to the present day finds a Sammy Kay that is in very different places in both the literal and figurative senses. To wildly oversimplify things, there’s been a wedding and a move from Jersey to California and a divorce and a move to Raleigh and a move to Cincinnati and a global pandemic and a hiatus from and then return to sobriety and a better grip on some lifelong mental health concerns. Oh, and now, thankfully, there’s new music.
Kay signed with A-F Records for a full-length record that’s due out this fall. That’s a conversation for another day. In the very near future, however, there’s Inanna. It’s an EP that’s comprised of a few B-sides from the full-length sessions. There are reworked versions of a couple previously-revved up rock-and-roll songs from the earlier records. And then there’s a cover. But it’s not just any cover. It’s Kay’s funeral dirge-like take on The World/Inferno Friendship Society’s “My Ancestral Homeland, New Jersey,” a song that comes across both as an ode to that band’s recently-departed frontman Jack Terricloth, and a reflection on Kay’s own old stomping grounds. It’s haunting and forlorn and pitch-perfect enough that if you didn’t know it was a cover of a waltzy circus-punk tune, you could be forgiven for thinking it was a Sammy Kay original.
We caught up with Kay over Zoom a couple of Mondays ago, and in order to make the timeline work, Kay had to take an early exit from his normal Monday night online self-help meeting. (The writer in me was super appreciative; the friend and the person who’s worked in and around the recovery field for two decades in me said “NOOOO WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!”) One of the more positive things to have come out of the pandemic has been the new and creative ways that people have come up with to stay engaged with and connected to their life preservers. Online self-help meetings, FaceTime counseling sessions. Dropbox file-sharing songwriting sessions. Back-to-basics Nebraska-style bedroom four-track recordings. DIY artwork. TikTok. They’ve all allowed people to help overcome some of the boredom and isolation and monotony and separation that the pandemic created, and they were all put to use in positive ways by Kay as he has navigated whatever we’re calling the ‘new normal.’ Okay, maybe not TikTok, but still.
Read out chat below. It’s open and honest and raw and funny and so, so Jersey…even if Kay has started to establish a bit of a foundation (dare I say roots?) 640 miles from home. It’s a revealing look at a pretty intense and at times chaotic journey that has resulted in Kay seemingly in a more peaceful spot than we’ve seen from him. Oh, and pre-order Inannahere before its April 28th release, and stay tuned for more about the full-length this fall.
Dying Scene (Jay Stone):So yeah, let’s talk about the new record. When’s the official release day?
Sammy Kay: The 28th of April. Yeah. Inanna.
Are you excited? Do you still get excited after however many official records under your belt at this point?
There’s six. There’s six Sammy LPs, plus all the other bands growing up. It feels different. It’s a little weirder. Press is more of a thing now. When I was a kid, it was more like ‘I just hope people listen to it.’ And I still hope people listen to it, but also I hope there’s a good write-up about it. Because the internet is real, and you have to look cool on the internet.
That is a thing, isn’t it?
Oh it is a THING!!
Because as much as some of us want it to not be a thing – and I realize I say that as somebody who owns a website – but it really is a thing. You do have to pay attention to that shit, don’t you?
Yeah, and it’s weird because post-Covid, (song) premieres aren’t really a thing, and video premieres aren’t really a thing, and write-ups are kinda gone. There’s only a couple things that’ll happen. Some places do like a song-a-day, and it’s real cool and it’s a good little write-up, but because so many publications and websites are scaling back, the people that have always done stuff with me just don’t have time because everybody is trying to get to them. So it’s a little weird.
Yeah, and I feel like production of videos, at least the traditional way of making them, sort of shut down for a long time too. Some people were obviously making their own DIY things, but there weren’t really even videos to premiere anymore.
Yeah, and it feels like a lot of people went and learned how to do that during Covid. I am currently trying to learn how to TikTok and I am not having fun. (*both laugh*)
I will never learn how to TikTok. I kinda drew a line in the sand there. And I have a 15-year-old, so I kinda should know, but I just can’t…
Yeah, Morgan can do it! Buy her ice cream and let her do your TikToks. She’ll do it for you!
I don’t know, man. It’s a whole other world. And I get that there are people who are good at it, I just can’t wrap my head around it.
Yeah, it’s one of those things that…I don’t obsess, but I study the algorithm and see what works, and right now, if there’s any sort of text in your image, it gets shadowbanned. And if you use the word “premiere” or “new song,” it fucking gets shadowbanned. “Come to my show” is like a shadowban term. I’ll watch my visibility drop to like a quarter of whatever it is if I say, like, “hey, we’ve got a new record coming out.” Just like that. Done. So it’s weird, and it’s a lot of sending notes like “hey, we’ve got a new record out, hope all is well. Love for you to give it a listen.”
Do you just have to flood the market with reminders that shit is coming out to make up for the fact that if you put one thing out there, maybe nobody will see it? I feel like you have to just be on top of it all the time.
Yeah. My visibility right now is a fifth of my followers, since we announced the record. And it’s not a lot. I’ll get like 250 views on a post, whereas the week before I posted something dumb about a cannoli and I got like 30,000 views, you know? (*both laugh*) I’ll look at the Reels or the TikToks or whatever and I’ll be like “Glenn Danzig is okay, and here’s a song about a breakup” and it’ll get 80,000 views or 120,000 views. Then the next thing is a song I actually wrote and it’s like 2,000 views, 4,000 views. The internet is a weird thing.
Do you obsess over it?
Jay Stone, you know me pretty well. I obsess over everything! (*both laugh*) There’s no not obsessing!
Is there a healthy way to obsess over it, is maybe a better question to ask? I mean, I do the same thing on the website end.
No. I mean, I sit and I refresh and it’s like “why is there only 17 people listening to the song right now?” and it’s like “well, it’s 12:45 in the morning and the song just came out, what’s the problem here?” (*both laugh*) The problem is me. I’m the problem. (*both laugh*) But I’m stoked. The songs are cool. Do you know the secret about Inanna?
I don’t feel like I do, but even if I did…remind me!
It’s the B-sides. I wrote with a sort of algorithm in mind. I was writing these twelve-line kinda sonnets…12 to 16 lines depending on if there’s a repeated tag or not. No repeating chorus. But as we were doing it, they were full-length songs with a chorus that hits two or three times, and a second or a third verse. And we had this cool little tape setup, this little Tascam that we kinda rigged to run but also ran as a pre-amp in the same vein as Nebraska, with just a cheap mic and a plate reverb. And we just kinda did this thing. Our buddy John Calvin Abney was sending us parts, so we recorded maybe thirty-five (songs). About 7 or 8 never left the acoustic guitar and scratch-singing floor. They’re there. They’re rough. The weird thing about a tape machine and minimal microphones is if it was fucking raining that day, there was just a buzz. We couldn’t get the buzz out, and we just said “fuck it, that song’s kinda done.” But you get gems. Like one song there’s a line about walking down the highway, and a fucking car lays on the horn outside and that gets picked up, right? Or there’s a real quiet part on “Couple Cardinals” on the EP and you hear the kids at the school across the street coming out for recess, and you hear them laughing and hollering and playing. It’s the perfect ghost.
So this tape machine was kind of a fickle beast, and we recorded probably about 28 or 29 that were done. That Misfits EP, the Bad Religion thing, those were all on this Tascam tape machine, this cassette portastudio 4-track. We kinda figured out the record, and then there were these songs that didn’t fit that twelve-line sonnet thing. There were a couple songs that we revisited, like “You Ought To Know,” I always had in my head like this quiet, delicate song, and when we did it with Pete (Steinkopf) ten years ago, it became this big rocker, and it partially became a big rocker because I didn’t know what “soft” or “delicate” meant. And in fact, I still don’t, but we were able to do a quieter, ‘after dark’ take. I think “Reservoir” always had a Greenwich Village folk feel in my head, and it came out as this big heartland rocker, and I love it, but I wanted to revisit it and see if we could do a quiet take of it. So there’s two old songs, three new songs, and then…I grew up seeing The World/Inferno Friendship Society, and I’m a big believer in that band and the cult that it is – and I use the word “cult” lovingly – the inclusivity and the welcoming-ness of the Infirnites. I always heard “Ancestral Homeland” as a song to be played at a funeral versus this waltzy, polka, punk thing, and being out here in Kentucky, I started fucking around with flat-picking, bluegrass picking, and we kinda turned it into this quieter, graveside song. And like with the Misfits thing, or throughout the years we’ve always done covers…I like to just take the chords and the words and forget everything else. Just the skeleton of the song. I was able to deconstruct it and turn it into this letter to Jack as a thank you and, if I was at the funeral, that’s what I would have done to pay my respects. Those lines “When I die, they’re going to bury me in Jersey” fucking resonate strong!
That is a song that you can tell resonates strongly with you, and that’s without hearing your version of it. Obviously I’ve heard your version of it a bunch, and I think you did an amazing job with it. That’s a song that sounds like it could have been a Sammy Kay song.
Yeah, “never trust a man who don’t drink’ my papa told me” … “The sun was shining the day I drove out of New Jersey and the girls all flashed me a smile.” It’s such a well-written song, in the sense of those great little descriptive lines. It just flows. And being from New Jersey – you know this being in Boston, the Southie kids and the Jersey boys, we’re not too far apart – out here there’s the good old boys. We’re all kinda cut from the same cloth. That hometown pride is strong.
When did you realize that you had it, though? Because that’s a thing that I’ve sort of been looking at a little bit differently the older I get, and the longer that I live in Massachusetts versus New Hampshire, where I grew up…and now having a kid who is growing up differently but in this part of the world still. When did you realize that you weren’t just from Jersey, you were FROM Jersey, and did it take leaving to realize it?
When I left…I left to go on tour young, and I was like “yeah, I’m from New Jersey, whatever, fuck you.” But when I moved to New York, I started saying “oh, I live in New York.” And then “Oh I’m in LA, I’m hanging out living in California.” I did New York, I did LA, I came back to Jersey, I did Texas for a minute…I jumped around. I’ve always been pretty nomadic. But I think once I got a job, even within music, where I had to bust my ass like my old man did. Once I realized I was saying the same shit my dad would say about the fucking day. Like “how’s your day going?” “It was a fuckin’ day, man.” You know? And also, I talk pretty, pretty, pretty Jersey…
Yeah, but you personally don’t know that until you get outside of Jersey!
Right, I didn’t know that at all! And it’s funny, I’m in Kentucky right now, right on the Ohio border, just outside of Cincinnati, just across the river, and these fucking people tell me I have the worst accent ever, and I’m like “what are you tawkin’ about?” (*both laugh*) You say “crick…” (*both laugh*) But starting to live south-ish, south adjacent – even Bakersfield too. A lot of the Bakersfield accent and the way people talk, the dialect, they’re Okies. They’re Oklahoma folk or Texarkana folk. Because when the Dust Bowl happened, a lot them emigrated to the Kern River Valley because of the sooil there. A lot of those Okieisms are pretty strong, and Okieisms and Jerseyisms are the same but different. I didn’t let the concept of “Jersey” …we’ll use the word “define.” Being from New Jersey, the pride I have for my state definitely defines a lot of who I am, from the working hard, to the history of art and growth in all facets of life. Like, the things that were developed in that state, from shit like the lightbulb to Einstein figuring out nuclear physics post-Manhattan Project at Princeton. I’m pretty sure fucking peanut butter is from New Jersey, you know? (*both laugh*) It’s just a cool thing, and gentrification aside, I can count the things I don’t like on one hand about that state. I mean, I can’t afford to live in New Jersey. I can’t be an artist while living there. There’s no way to go on tour, there’s no way to create, so I left New York City.
Yeah, we see that up here in Boston, especially with the art community. I don’t know that the stuff that made Jersey Jersey for so long, particularly in an artistic sense, I don’t know that it exists anymore, just like I don’t know that it exists about Boston either.
Yeah! I think…there’s glimmers in Jersey as well as in Boston and even in New York…like, I’m playing a show next week, and I am fully going to talk shit right now and I don’t give a FUCK because it’s real dumb…but I’m playing a show next week in a city that rhymes with Shmos Shmangeles and they are charging every band like $200 for a sound fee. It’s just like the New York City rooms, but it’s a room that you go and play. It’s a notorious room. But the amount of shit…like, we asked if we could get in and do a rehearsal and they were like “yeah, we need to get paid.” And it’s more money than we’ll make for the night, to be able to go in there for an hour before soundcheck to just practice acoustic.
Yeah. Like, fuck that. LA, New York…
Is that like the new version of pay-to-play, which maybe enough people have given places shit about that this kinda took over?
Yeah, it’s pretty prevalent in the folk/American world. Rockwood Music Hall is like that, all those Lower East Side rooms that used to be where alternative music bred, they’re like “you wanna play? It’s $200. We take the first $200, you get a portion of what’s left.” It’s pretty fucked that even those rooms that back in the day were rooms where a working musician could make a couple bucks don’t kinda exist anymore. With Jersey…god bless Mike Lawrence, who passed the torch down to Joe Polito (Asbury Lanes). House of Independents. Andy Diamond and Lee at Crossroads, which is great because it’s in the center of the state, but it’s not part of that Asbury Park community. Tina Kerekes and Danny Clinch are really the last of the holdouts. I heard The Saint closed. The (Stone) Pony isn’t booking locals. It happens once a year, that’s it. Bu the city of Asbury Park has been completely priced out of art.
That’s sad. We really only started going there right at the beginning of all of that shit changing. We never saw the real old Asbury Park and we kinda missed most of the 90s/00s Asbury Park, and it’s different just since we started going down there maybe a decade ago.
Yeah, I went home in December and I did not know my city. But that’s how it goes. I left that city almost five years ago, and change is inevitable, especially in a gentrifying world. But yeah, even Allston by you…I would hang out there when I started touring with Westbound Train. Their practice space was there, and all the places that I used to go, almost 17-20 years ago, they’re gone. Like, the Sunset Grill is gone. That was a staple! I remember going there and seeing, like, a Bosstone at one table, and like Amy from Darkbuster at the bar, and it was just like “oh my god!” It was one of those places where you’d see all these people in bands and when those places start to go, that means the community is hurting. Same thing with the brewery in Asbury Park. That was a hub, especially in a post-Lanes world.
Maybe that’s why there are pockets of places like Ohio, like Colorado, like maybe Chicago, places in Tennessee, where there are these pockets of people that maybe aren’t originally from there but they move there and then start another scene there because you can’t afford to do it on the coasts.
Yeah! Like Ohio…I’m not trying to talk shit on Cincinnati because I genuinely love it here. The amount of phenomenal bands in this city that are gigging regularly, for the most part, and studios…DIY, home-built studios that are churning out amazing records. I’m a water guy, right? Everything good comes off the water. There’s definitely something beautiful here in the last ten years, from what I can tell. Like, we go see music five nights a week.
Is the scene made from locals or is it made from people like yourself who are transplants from other places?
90% of it are from Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Covington. There’s a couple Louisville kids, which is only 80 miles. Lexington’s only 80 miles. Indy is only 80 miles. There’s like one guy from England, this kid Jaime, who is in a bunch of bands that are really great. That band Vacation fucking rules. Anything Jerry (Westerkamp) touches is fucking amazing. Tweens. And then there’s DAAP, which is an art school, and there’s a bunch of kids. There’s a band called Willie And The Cigs that’s gigging a couple nights a week. And the hardcore scene, bands like Corker and Louise. Piss Flowers fucking rule. They’re one of those bands that, like Black Flag in ‘85, they start with their shirts on and then by the end of the gig the whole band is just shirts off. This guy John sings in it; he’s in a bunch of other bands. That’s the thing, everyone here is so fucking creative. John does folk stuff, he’s in a gnarly hardcore band, and he’s like a hell of a comedian too. Everybody is like…so and so is a hell of a painter, and this guy does photography as well as writing…the punks are fucking poets too. It’s fucking great. It seems like every other fucking person has a silk screen rig in their basement, or a dark room, and they’re creating. The fucking scene here is just beautiful.
Is that how you found it?
No, I just threw a dart at the map. I called Jonny Dopamine and told him I was looking for a job. I was supposed to move to Nashville, and the house I was supposed to move into got sold. And I was supposed to get a job some place, and the same thing happened. They announced they were closing like two days before I was supposed to leave, so I was like “I’m not going to go.” I called a friend of mine (in Cincinnati) who I knew had an apartment, and this is like twenty hours before I was supposed to move to Nashville. I called a buddy of mine and I was like “hey man, you still got that basement apartment? Can I crash there for a minute while I figure something out?” And he was like “yeah, yeah, yeah, you gotta find a job though.” I was like “hold on a second,” and I hung up the phone and I called Jonny because he owns the (Northside) Yacht Club too, which is like a rock and roll gastro pubby venue-ish, and I was like “yo man, let me get a job,” and he was like “you live here?” and I was like “if you give me a job I do!” (*both laugh*) And he said “when are you going to be here?” and I was like “tomorrow, I think, hold on a sec.” So I hung up the phone and I called my other buddy who I was going to stay with and I was like “yeah, I got a job, I’ll see you on Saturday!” and he was like “okay, cool, that was quick.” And then I called Jonny back and I was like “so I’ll start Tuesday yeah?” and here I am, eighteen months later in Cincinnati.
Yeah, but you know me, everything’s a little wild. Nothing’s easy.
Through that whole time and in the lead-up to moving…it seems like you’ve been able to write a lot and produce a lot of music. Were you in a lull at all prior to moving there and did that sort of reignite you, or is it more of like ‘okay, now that I’m stable a little bit, I can start writing again’?
You know a little bit of my mental health. I have a really complicated brain that has some schizoaffective disorder in it, and some pretty extreme highs and lows and some pretty chronic anxiety and pretty chronic depression. At the time, post Civil/WAR, Covid happened and the world shut down. And I wasn’t doing well. I’m a social butterfly if I have the option, and so being trapped in a one-bedroom apartment is not my idea of a good time. I kinda lost it there for a little bit and I surrendered and said “I think it’s time to get some medicine and try this route.” The issue that we realized was that my personality and my creative side and everything that makes me me is the same part of my brain as the crazy, so the second we started medicating and trying to understand even the schizo thing, and the multiple personalities, we didn’t learn that until I was here.
So the second we started medicating, looking back, all the voices in my head, the chatter got really loud, and we just kept upping it and upping it, and this didn’t work so let’s try this, and up and up and up. I was just a fucking zombie. And that was the me side of life, the goofy, happy side. Like, I slept for four or five months straight. Through Covid. I just slept. I had to get up and work an hour on Zoom, and then I’d go back to bed. So when I lost my corporate, cushy job that I had, when I left California, I lost my insurance so I was just fucking raw-dogging life, and the second the meds left my system, I just vomited six songs. Everything I had been trying to say just came out. I was finishing stuff that I had as glimmers of ideas during Covid. I only really wrote four songs all of Covid. “Better/Worse,” “Methamphetamines,” “Waiting,” which just came out, and a song where I call the Proud Boys a bunch of assholes. That was it. Just four. I had glimmers of like a one-liner or like an idea for a chorus. At the time, we were working with Jon Graber and Reade Wolcott from We Are The Union. We were writing a lot together and working at Jon’s studio, and I didn’t have anything to present them. We never finished anything, because the lights were on but nobody was home.
Or all the lights were on at the same time.
Haha, yes. We learned that I function better with all the lights on and everyone home. When I left California, I went to Raleigh, and the first song came out two days before I was leaving Raleigh, and it’s the last song on the full-length that’s coming out in the fall. And it was Cecillia’s voice, which was cool. She kind of came back and had this conversation with me again. I was kinda working on “no meds, therapy,” and we realized that Cecillia was actually one of the voices in my head. We went through all my songs, the whole catalog, and we realized that Cecillia shows up in “Secrets” on Untitled. That’s partially her voice and her story. That “I know your secrets…” that correlates to “Sweet Cecillia,” where it says “tell me about your life…” And she’s in the convenience store in “Silver Dollar” in the picture I painted in that world, because the character that “Silver Dollar” is about is another facet of my mind. I thought I wrote this record about characters but I really wrote it about all the unknowns in my head that are now still very unknown but we’re understanding them more. Then, “Better/Worse” I killed Cecillia off and that was the funeral in that song. But really, it was her sobering up in a nutshell. Her voice in my head is “it’s so damn hard to hide behind the scars/I just want a better way to breathe.” I was like “oh fuck!” It was cool, but it took twenty therapy sessions to realize that and understand it.
When you say “we,” as in, “things that we’re working on…” and putting a name and a diagnosis to the things you were going through, the “we” refers to a therapist, yeah?
Multiple. Multiple therapists. (*both laugh*)
What got you to the point where you were ready to go to therapy? That’s obviously a big thing that especially guys – cis white males…
…with fuckin’ face tattoos!
Exactly! That’s not a thing that “we” do.So what got you into therapy and really diving into that piece?
It was just kinda time. I hate using a vague sentence like “it was time.” I was in therapy as a kid. My parents sent me because they didn’t know what was going on with me, and neither did I. So I went as a kid, and then I stopped and then I went back in high school because, you know, I lived the kind of life where a lot of my friends were dead by 15. Then as I got older, my mother still does not comprehend how many people that I know in my life are dead. At 33. So, childhood trauma, fucked up life, the road, a couple of really shitty toxic relationships. My ex-wife, when we talked about meds, she said “you should do therapy too.” At the time, I was also diving really heavy into Zoom AA because it was quarantine. Zoom AA is amazing. In fact, it’s what I was doing before this, my Monday group. It was like “alright, let’s find a guy, I’ve got good insurance.” I got a guy and we were talking and he was like “alright, this is what I think is wrong with you, and it is not my specialty, but this other guy can help.”
Good for him for saying that, by the way.
Yeah! I still see him once a month. He’s just my general catch-up guy. I see him once a month and if I’m having a rough go of it, I go every other week. I have three therapists; I have the one that’s just a general catch-up guy, like if there’s anything I’m struggling with, we talk through it. I have one that I see about once a month that is an addiction specialist within the music industry. A buddy of mine in Nashville (connected me) and he sees people for free. He has his own practice and you get an hour a month. He’s real great and I bitch to him about the industry and the struggles that I have navigating it. And then I have one that’s for the heavier sides of my schizoaffective disorder and also disassociative identity disorder, which is essentially multiple personalities. That’s what they used to call it. So we work on that and the schizoaffective and the borderline personality disorder. It’s like bipolar disorder with the depression and the highs and lows and it’s very much a roller coaster. It’s like a light switch.
Rapid cycling, yup.
Yeah, that’s what I’m looking for. I’ll be real stoked on life and then *finger snap* I’ll be in bed for two weeks or shut down, or I do reckless things like quit my job or yell at my boss. And then I have a therapist that I see that we kind of navigate the voices and the personalities in my head and figure out what their story within my mind is and how they correlate. Like, I turned to Sarah, my girlfriend, and I was like “what do you want for dinner?” and in my head I was like “I think we should have Chinese food? No, Thai food. Why do you want Thai food? Do you even like Thai food? Why are you saying Thai food, I don’t even like Thai food, leave me the fuck alone.” That’s what the voices in my head are saying. And then there’s one that says “why don’t you just go do heroin? You want junk food? I’ll give you junk…” So yeah, I have a therapist that I see for that. I haven’t seen him so much lately because we kinda said “alright, let’s give it a month and see how you do. We’ll do a check-in.” I think we’ve done two sessions in three months, compared to doing two a week. We kinda have it under control and I’ve been trying to eliminate as much stress as possible in my life. I’m very much a stress guy. Stress and Catholic guilt make me go crazy, so I kinda have this new rule where if I’m at work and you’re stressing me out more than you pay me hourly, I just leave. My boss gets it. I say “alright, I’m gonna split for the day.” I’ll go in early the next day and get the job done. I work at a print shop in the morning and I work at a bar at night. The bar is pretty easy, but the print shop…if they’re doing dumb shit, I’m like “I’m not getting paid enough to be here right now and to deal with this, so I will see you.”
It’s not an entitlement, I just can’t afford to have my mind go crazy and unleash over bullshit deadlines because you’re selling the company I work for. Like, yeah, sorry, you fired me. If you’re stressing me out, I’m out. I’ll roll with you to the end of the line, but I’m not going further with you. Don’t ask me to pick up a power tool, but I’ll print t-shirts for you. (*both laugh*) As long as I’m being creative, I’m getting better – and I hate saying this, but I’ve been cutting a lot of folks out of my life that I’ve known for a long time. It’s shitty. We’re having adult breakups, because they don’t understand or realize and do these things that like…”I love you, but that thing you do to me every time we talk about life sends me in a spiral for two weeks. I love you, I love your wife, I love your kid, but I’ll catch up with you in six months, bud.” You know? It’s been shitty but needed. I’m not saying that they were toxic or negative, it’s just like I love you but this isn’t healthy for me right now. Just like a relationship that isn’t going great or a band that’s breaking up. “I’ll talk to you in six months and we’ll figure it out. For right now…I’ll see you around.” It’s kind of taking inventory. I’m working on my Fourth and Fifth Step of the program now.
That’s a lot.
Yeah, I told myself that when I finish the record, I need to do it again, so that’s real fun (*both laugh*)
The Fourth Step is a tough one. It’s not the First Step, but it’s a tough one and it’s one that people want to half-ass, or want to fast-forward to and then realize that they did a half-ass job on the first ones and then you set yourself back further.
Yeah. I’m in the process of a Fourth Step now, and it probably will end up back in heavier therapy to understand the conversations that need to be had but that at the end of the day will better myself and will better my relationships with my friends and my family and the people I love and we’ll grow. That’s it. We’re human beings. We need to grow and we need to become better people and work on what we need to work on. I’m seeing what my flaws are now for the last couple years and I’m trying to fix them.
You seem like you’re in a good spot. Some of that comes from social media and obviously we’ve texted a bunch and stuff over the years, but you seem like you’re in a good spot.
Yeah, who would have thought that Kentucky was the place where I’d thrive! (*both laugh*) Fucking Kentucky! I’m from New Jersey. It’s funny…it’s partially the money thing. It’s inexpensive to live here, whereas New York or LA or even Jersey, I was working a sixty-hour week. Like in New York, we were working sixty hours to be able to go drinking one night a week. We could afford like thirty dollars worth of PBRs, right? And we were working just to cover our asses to survive. LA was the same thing. We were working to be able to go out a couple nights a week if we wanted, or go to a show. Out here, it’s like…I’m not rich. I’m making the same money I was making, but the cost of living is so low. Even the cost of car insurance is a hundred dollars cheaper than New York or LA. Everything is substantially cheaper. What’s that Big D song…”will this check support this tour, or will this tour lose my job?” That “LAX” song is so great, that line or that bridge or whatever it is has always been in my head.
Maybe when I don’t have a kid I have to steer through school. Once she graduates and we can go wherever, there’s been talk about where that wherever is.
She’s what, thirteen now?
Fifteen. So she’s in high school, and college is a-comin’.
Yeah, you probably won’t be able to afford this part of the world then. I feel like I’ve got a year left before it’s like “fuck, okay, I didn’t buy a house…” Like, you can still buy a house in the hip neighborhoods for like $300,000.
You can’t even buy a one-bedroom condo here for anything under $550,000.
Yeah. I think Asbury Park, the going rate for a one-bedroom condo is like $800,000. Like, I could afford ot buy a house here as a fucking barback if I really figured it out. But I’m not. (*both laugh*) Roots don’t exist in my life.
There was a thing I wanted to talk about, and I’m trying to think of how to even ask it.
Just dive in!
As you know, I tend to ramble, which is really just me processing the question as I’m asking it, but as we were talking before, you mentioned how Cecillia for sure and I’m sure it’s true of other characters too. I’ve always felt – and I think that I’ve told you this before – that you strike me as a very honest songwriter and a lot of your stuff sounds very personal. Except that when we’ve had conversations about this before, you’ve told me that some of the story, for example, of what Civil/WAR was about, and they sound like they could be your stories, but sometimes you’re just telling the stories of other people. Now that you have started to put a name to and work through some of the mental health stuff and created a better picture of what that is, does that change the way that you write and that even how you interpret some of your own songs?
It definitely has provided insight on songs. Civil/WAR also contained a bunch of weird foresight, deja vu shit. A lot of the themes that I was writing about, when I was writing and recording, with the massive changes and then more massive changes…that whole story of that record ended up happening over Covid. That chapter was very weird and amazing but terrible at the same time. Now, I wanted to write the new songs about myself, my thoughts on the world, and tell stories of my friends. So, by the time, this comes out, “Double Nicks” is going to be out. I took my friend Jen Cooley to see Jeff Rosenstock. That’s her band. She’d never seen them, but she loves Jeff and she loved Bomb (The Music Industry) and Antarctigo (Vespucci). And Catbite played. I call them family. I spent years in a van with them. They were playing. (Jen) Cooley drank a large Twisted Tea and she was like “I don’t know if I’m drunk, but this band” – referring to Catbite – “makes me feel like I’m an astronaut.” I was watching her disassociate in the moment. Her eyes went blank, and she was just taking this moment in, and she said “this band makes me feel like an astronaut” and I was like “what the fuck does that mean?” and she said “it means I’ve got the whole world in front of me.” That song is a revisit of something that me and Alex Levine and Tim (Brennan) from the Murphys did a long time ago. The only thing that stayed were the chords and the chorus. It’s the same concept – the chorus is just “let me go, you can find me by your memories.” And I was watching her in this moment and I couldn’t tell if she was disassociating or in love with this and taking it all in, and I started writing this song about that feeling, and relating it to when you’re sitting on your couch daydreaming with your wife or with your partner or whoever, and I was telling the story and that line kept resonating. This feeling that I have when I sit next to whoever I hold close at the time, and knowing they’re fully engulfed in TikTok. The verses are like “there’s bullet shells on the boulevard / I just called to say good night // Now you don’t play games with love no more / But I think about those nights.”
You think about those times when you’re daydreaming about your high school crushes or your Teen Beat, Tiger Beat crushes, whatever. “Those nights and days they seem like they’re impossible to breathe // Cuz she makes me feel like an astronaut with the world in front of me.” It rambles about the shit that goes through your head, and then it goes into “The secrets in these sidewalks…” that’s the bullshit of TikTok, right? And the internet, and disassociating ahead. “They say fear is just a false relief with hopes you just don’t know” that’s just me trying to sound cool. (*both laugh*) “You were tired of daydreaming and I was tired of letting you know,” that’s when you’re on the couch and you’re trying to watch The Last Of Us, don’t check out, right? “Just let me go / you can find me in your memories,” that’s like “alright, I’m gonna go do something else.”
A lot of that now is telling a story of that moment with Jen or…I got in a fight with a guy over the summer, and I’m not proud of it, but he was a racist piece of shit and I heard him running his mouth. I’m an anti-fascist pacifist that has no problem punching a Nazi in the face. Or a racist. Or a bigot. Whatever. We’ll use the blanket term “asshole.” Some dude was running his mouth and I smushed him and threw him to the ground. He was a 40-year-old man, it was his birthday. He said “I’m gonna call the cops” and I’m like “I ain’t afraid of going to jail. Fuck off.” And that turned into the line “I’m not afraid of dying.” I will stand up for my fellow human being. I would tell these stories. And some of them are dumb. Like there’s a line “I just want to get stoned and listen to “Love Song.” My boss was yelling about that he wanted to smoke a bong and listen to “Disintegration.” And he’s a sober guy! He’s like “I don’t know what to think, but I just want to get high and listen to The Cure.”
Some of them are bullshit. Some of them are always bullshit. But some of them, like “Couple Cardinals” on this record, a friend of mine, her grandparents passed, and she was telling me about this swing on their front porch in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and she sent me this picture of it and I wrote what I saw. The second verse was her driving home from Tulsa to Kentucky. To Cincinnati. And the third verse is that she was telling me that at the funeral, two cardinals showed up. Some of them are just “this is the story. Thank you for telling me about your life, I want to tell the story with your permission.” That’s why the covers of the singles that are coming out are all photographs that I’ve taken of people who I know or moments that correlate to the songs, right? Like “Double Nicks” … I talked about Jamie before, he’s from England and he lives out here. I was on the corner trying to finish that song in my memos, and I was taking pictures to try to paint a picture without words, and I caught Jamie and his partner walking up the street. It all correlates because that was the same day that I really wrapped my head around that song. The imagery of him holding her close and that feeling – because I caught her at a moment where she was looking away – it was that feeling.
The next single is “The Reservoir” and I played at The Merc and there was this older woman sitting at the bar with her feet up drinking a Miller Lite with a straw, and there’s a flier on the wall that has something similar to a word in that song, and it fit. We’re just trying to tell the story of the last eighteen months and the people that I’ve met and the people that I’ve learned. They’re all these little hymns or sonnets and they’re short and sweet. The glory of these short songs is that you write a descriptive line. (*picks up guitar and it’s out of tune so he picks up a different guitar*) “I’ve seen it before a thousand times / the way you light the cigarette inside my mind.” That’s one line of this twelve-liner. “And I’m just hoping for this slim slim chance / that slim slim chance here that you’ll say yes.” Because they’re so short, you have to set it up and then fucking drop a line. There’s no filler. “Drinking coffee while the sun goes down / I said “black two sugars” you threw three dollars down.” “The hardest part about where you’re from / is trying to figure out how fast to run.” There’s no room to fuck around. It’s kind of like, I’m going to tell you this story and I would sit and elaborate and tell you, but the glory of being a folk singer, is only you know what’s real. Embellishing is like half the story. And I try not to embellish at all, to the extent that over the summer I went to a rodeo, just so I could straight up be honest when I said “this is not my first rodeo.” Like, I literally went and spent twenty dollars at the county rodeo just so I could not fucking lie when I said “this isn’t my first rodeo.” I’m a big believer in ‘say what you mean/mean what you say/don’t fuck around.” These songs, I wanted to tell the story of me and the shit going on in my life. Since the last record: marriage, divorce, three massive country moves, I completely wrecked my hand – cut the tendon and the muscle clean off my thumb – I started drinking again. I took a sabbatical, I went to therapy and I thought I was healed and I could have a beer. I am an alcoholic! I cannot have a beer. I went two weeks of ‘responsible drinking’ before I said “I am ready to start being a maniac again!” Went right back to the fucking program. All these things happened. I finally opened up my mind to starting to date again, and the second I started dating, boom, you’re going on tour, I’m done. Meeting people, closing doors, opening doors, it’s a lot.
There was a lot of life in the last eighteen months and I don’t want to write a song that had no meaning to me and that was just a story. That’s why this one is very much no holds. There’s no embellishments. If I mention a name on this record, that person is real. And I said “hey, I’m using your name in a song about something we did!” I finally got to write about my grandfather, which I’d been having trouble with for years. And my old man. I’m telling the story of my family, which I never really did. And where I came from and where I want to fucking go. I think I told you this about Civil/WAR, but I don’t know if there’s going to be another record! I might make one, I might not put it out, but at this point, I don’t fucking know. It’s expensive. It takes a lot of time. You have to go on tour to be able to pay for it and make record labels and everybody happy. I don’t know if I want to fucking do it again, so let’s do this one and see what happens! I write a song every other day, so if it works out, there’s songs! If it doesn’t, there’s going to be some one-minute TikToks with some cool dancing frogs and some light effects…
And that’s how you’ll make it! Twenty years of living in a van and you’ll get famous from TikTok after you quit music.
King Khan and BBQ Show, baby! I read something that he made more money off the one song that became a TikTok than he did his whole career playing music.
The brothers Hause have been no strangers to the pages at Dying Scene over the course of the last decade. The bulk of that coverage has been dedicated to older brother Dave. After hitting the indefinite pause button on his beloved band The Loved Ones, Dave launched his own career as a solo artist a […]
The brothers Hause have been no strangers to the pages at Dying Scene over the course of the last decade. The bulk of that coverage has been dedicated to older brother Dave. After hitting the indefinite pause button on his beloved band The Loved Ones, Dave launched his own career as a solo artist a dozen or so years ago, right around the time this website launched, giving us essentially a front-row seat to his growth and maturity as an artist. One of the benefits of embarking on a solo career is that it’s given Dave the opportunity to spend more time with Tim, his kid brother.
If you’ve paid even the littlest bit of attention to the elder Hause’s career since the touring cycle for his second solo album, Devour, you’ve no doubt noticed that he’s been figuratively attached at the hip to his younger brother. Because of the fifteen-year age gap between them (Dave is the eldest of the five Hause siblings, Tim the youngest) Dave did the bulk of his growing up without having a little brother, while Tim did the bulk of his having an older brother who, when he wasn’t swinging hammers, was busy working as a touring member of the punk rock scene.
Tim’s first real exposure to the world of being a professional musician started essentially as an experiment, joining Dave on that 70-date marathon Devour jaunt through the US and Canada, filling out the live sound with harmonies and guitar and helping to set up and tear down merch displays after the show. “The first two weeks of that tour, I hated,” Hause jokes. “I thought that anyone who would choose that life, was insane.” It’s important to point out that when that tour kicked off, Hause the Younger was the ripe old age of twenty, not able to legally drink at the vast majority of venues they stopped at. “Over the course of that tour, I started to really love it (though)!”
As time progressed, Tim increased his role in what would eventually become the family business. While always a touring partner, he began contributing to the writing process on Bury Me In Philly, the 2017 follow-up to Dave’s Devour. “(BMIP) was kind of my intern, new kid record,” Hause jokes. “I think the first song that we wrote that ended up going on to a record was “The Flinch.” I remember having the idea “I ain’t flinching anymore” as a line from my notebook. I loved it going onto the record; that was a huge deal for me.” Tim didn’t just influence a couple of songs on the album lyrically and musically, he had a role in shaping the album’s whole sonic vision.
It’s part of the natural evolution of things for the big brother in this or any situation to pass influence down to the little brother. In the case of the Hause family, Dave was instrumental not only in the music Tim would grow up with – more on that in a minute – but in showing him the music industry ropes: how to exist on the road and structure a setlist and create dramatic tension with an audience and how to develop and stay in the pocket and on and on. Though sometimes big brothers are reluctant to admit it, however, sometimes the little brother’s influence and teachings can be just as potent.
When Dave and I connected for an interview in the press cycle for Bury Me In Philly, he spoke of how Tim’s lack of punk rock guilt and his well-beyond-his-years wisdom got Dave to punch through some periods of writer’s block and focus on working through what he was going through at the time. When I asked Tim about how he’d characterize his influence on his decade-and-a-half older brother, after an initial pause and attempted deflection, he answered in a way that was a pitch-perfect match for Dave’s answer six years ago. “I think that it broadened the sphere of what he thought he should do,” he explains. “He was like “what do I write about? What do I write about?” and I was like “the thing that you’re on about right now is the fact that you live in California now and have this strange relationship with the place that you’re from.” That kind of was a light bulb moment for him, and it’s one of the things that jump-started the whole process and that whole session.” Tim’s vision helped free his older brother from the constraints that can sometimes be placed on a songwriter who spent as much time as Dave did in the punk rock community. To paraphrase Craig Finn, we in the punk rock scene said there weren’t any rules, but goddamn there are so many rules. “I think the continued “hey this doesn’t have to be punk, this doesn’t have to fit in whatever box.” Having that person on your shoulder just going “do it! Go! Go! Do it!” I think is a huge help.”
While he has remained a constant road partner, whether the brothers toured as a duo or as part of a larger band – Dave Hause and the Mermaid – that’s consisted of a rotating cast of incredibly talented musicians, Tim’s status as a writer and contributor increased to essentially 50/50 by the time of Dave’s 2019 release, Kick. Tim was writing so much by Kick, in fact, that it’s where the seeds of his wanting to someday put out his own record under his own moniker started to really establish their roots, due in no small part to that album’s inclusion of the song “The Ditch.” “That kernel was something I came up with and brought to the table,” he explains. “That was the first song that I wrote on that made me go “I don’t know if I can give this one up.” While Tim is ultimately happy at how the song turned out and that it was included – with ample and continued credit from Dave, he also points out that “that was the moment where I was like ‘yeah, I have to make my own record someday.”
The brothers would go on to put out another album – 2021’s aptly-named Blood Harmony – under Dave’s name, an album that would also mark the first full-length release of their jointly-founded Blood Harmony Records, which will serve as their very own, in-house DIY record label for the future. And now, it’s Tim’s turn. January 13 marks the official release date of TIM, the younger Hause’s debut full-length record under his own name. While he’s been a part of a handful of releases at this point and while he and Dave co-wrote all the songs as they did on Kick and Blood Harmony, having his own name on the album jacket changes the stakes for Tim on multiple levels. “There’s a different level of ownership” for work released under his own name, he explains, adding that there is also “a different level of appreciation for everything Dave has done and that goes for the work he did prior to me jumping on board and the work that we’ve done since.”
TIM was a labor of love that, if we’re being honest, can find threads that extend back well before “The Ditch” made it onto Dave’s record. Tim astutely points out “they say that your first record took however many years you’ve been alive to make it, and I’d say that’s definitely the case with this.“ Tim’s musical ambitions began when he was still early in grade school. “I started playing guitar when I was probably seven or eight,” Tim explains. “When I was ten years old, (Bouncing Souls) played I think two or three nights at the Troc (editor’s note: The Trocadero in Philadelphia) and all of them were sold out. The Loved Ones played their first show I think ever opening up for them, and they brought me out to play “Manthem” and that was my intro to all of those people. They ended up putting that on their live record.” While Tim would shift his entertainment goals to concentrate more on theater throughout his high school years, good old-fashioned rock-and-roll was too far in the background. “You know in a perfect world,” Tim states, “I would have been old enough to be in The Loved Ones, and we would have called our thing The Loved Ones, and it would have been two brothers…but that’s not the world we live in. There’s a fifteen-year gap, I was busy being in high school!“
By the age of twenty-two, however, Tim had a landmark moment that would ultimately solidify his decision to jump headlong into the waters of life as a professional musician. By that point, he’d graduated high school, dabbled with studies at Temple University, lost a very dear friend in a tragic accident, and he’d spent some time in that exploratory phase making and playing music with Dave. Then came a ground-breaking realization. “I was eleven when my mom died,” Tim explains. “When I turned 22, it was a watershed moment in the grief process and the life process, because it marked the moment that I had spent more time on earth without her than I had with her.”
It’s perhaps at this point that I should back up a bit. If you’re familiar with the Hause family’s musical journey, you’re no doubt aware that Dave and Tim’s mom passed away back in 2004, succumbing to a fierce battle with cancer. Echoes of that time have popped up in Dave’s solo work (see “Autism Vaccine Blues”), and The Loved Ones’s debut album Keep Your Heart essentially served as Dave way of processing the incredible range of emotions prompted by his mom’s passing. As gut-wrenching as it is to lose a parent in your mid-twenties as Dave was when their mom passed away, it’s another level of heart-break to have it happen when you’re eleven and still have so many formative childhood years and experiences left in front of you.
And so the realization that, at 22, he had now spent more time on this planet without his mom’s physical presence than he had with it inspired what would become the song “4000 Days,” a song that serves as the emotional high-water mark on TIM, an album that is certainly full of its fair share of emotional moments. “That (realization) was the initial kernel of “4000 Days” as the first thing that I remember writing, and I know that for a fact because that was such a profound marker in my life.” Since the song’s debut as a single in the lead-up up to the official release of the album, it’s not the song that has garnered the most plays on the various streaming platforms – that honor belongs to the anthemic “High Hopes” – it’s a song that has warranted far-and-away the most overwhelming listener response. “4000 Days” blew every song before and every song after out of the water in terms of people reaching out through DMs and messages and email and everything, to be like “hey, I related to that so much.” People have been telling me their stories, thanking me for it. That has been far and away the most connecting part of the release process. It’s definitely affirming and validating and exciting.It was tough to make and I’m so glad we did it. I made sure to give my sisters trigger warnings when I sent them the song first. And my dad.”
Tim’s older brother didn’t need trigger warnings, obviously, as he was there for the writing and pre-production process for “4000 Days” as well as for the rest of the songs on TIM. Just as Tim served as the “Go! Go! Do It!” voice on Dave’s shoulder, particularly during the BMIP sessions, Dave returned the favor for TIM. “Having him on my shoulder telling me to do all that stuff is I think the most valuable asset. Just “hey, feel free to just do you and be as fearlessly ferocious as you need to be with your own art.” But when it came time to put the album on wax, big brother took a step back. Were they to record Tim’s solo record in the same manner that they’d recorded Dave’s last few records, there’s the very real possibility that they could have fallen into similar patterns. “I didn’t want it to be “Dave Hause Light” you know? I didn’t want it to be “The Little Brother Record” or whatever. And I’m sure to some people it will be that. We’re inextricably linked in that way, but we tried to deviate as much as we could” he explains.
Instead, Tim returned to Nashville to team up again with the great Will Hoge, who manned the producer’s chair just as he did on Blood Harmony. Hoge has been a seamless fit into the Hause brother’s working process – they jokingly refer to him as their Southern brother. For this process, he assembled an Avengers-like cast of Nashville heavy hitters to lend their unique sonic textures to the Tim Hause musical landscape. “The guy who came up with a lot of the atmosphere on my record was Josh Grange. He was in Sheryl Crow’s band. Chris Griffiths who played bass on it is in Will’s band. He’s awesome. Dean Anshutz played drums on most of it, and he’s from Red Wanting Blue (and Jessey Dayton’s band). And the other drummer was Matt Billingslea, and he’s Taylor Swift’s drummer. He played on “Fit To Be Tied.”
The result is a record that is quintessentially Tim Hause. It’s very much a rock and roll record, drawing sonic influences from the various phases of Tim’s upbringing, influences that obviously range from the Beatles and Patty Griffin to The National and Gaslight Anthem. “But the overarching thing is, you know, some kind of mix of Tom Petty and Frightened Rabbit. I think the nuanced, idiosyncrasies of both of those while making evergreen, universal songs that are sorta simple…that’s the pinnacle for me.” Lyrically and thematically, it’s also an incredibly meaningful record. “I mean, calling the record TIM was a pretty clear indicator that this was a really personal record, that it was going to deal with many of the pillars in my life.” It’s an unflinching reflection on some of the watershed connections and relationships in his life. It’s very much centered on love (particularly for his wife Madeline) and on loss and on the complex emotional prism that the human condition creates. “The goal (for Dave and I) is to write from our own perspectives, and write (songs) to be universal and evergreen and applicable to somebody else,” Tim points out. “If we make something that we spill a lot of our hearts into, then somebody will identify with it as well, because we’re not as alone as humans as we sometimes think that we are.”
Check out Tim’s album below via Spotify, or pick it up wherever you get your music. Here’s the link to get it directly from the Hause crew. Keep scrolling to read our full Q&A. Lots of insight into Tim’s musical upbringing and his family and a series of heart-breaking losses he’s suffered. Full disclosure: I’ve obviously been pretty vocally in the Dave Hause cheering section for a decade now, and the two brothers are, and should be, inextricably linked, so we talk a lot about their wonderful personal and professional relationships and how they’ll continue to support and collaborate and bring out the best in each other going forward. We also spend quite a bit of time extolling the virtues of Will Hoge and Scott Hutchison. Tim is very much a wise and insightful and gracious human – well beyond what his twenty-nine years on this planet would indicate – and we’re lucky to have his voice added to the mix.
(**Believe it or not, the following Q&A has been condensed for content and clarity reasons.**)
Dying Scene (Jay Stone): So I guess we’ll start with this: congratulations on the record. It’s the first record under your own name, which is a really cool thing. Obviously, you’ve been writing songs for a while now, but how does it feel like there are physical copies of it now and people can hear it for themselves? How does it feel now that it’s a real thing?
Tim Hause: It feels totally exciting and amazing, and then also it feels already normal.
Does it feel different now than it does for one of Dave’s albums or like how Kick just said Hause on the cover?
For sure. For sure, absolutely. There’s a different level of ownership and there’s a different level of appreciation for everything Dave has done. And that goes for the work he did prior to me jumping on board and the work that we’ve done since. There’s a different level of artistic ferocity that you need to even get an album created, and he by nature is a more fierce person, and we have this push and pull between us that makes for a good team. But it definitely feels different and it feels like a monkey off my back. It was something that I always wanted to do, and I never really knew how to get it done. And then, not only did I get it done, but I got it done in Nashville, The Music City, with some of the premiere players in the world. And I haven’t spoken at all about the players on it – I’m not really good at smelling myself publicly – on Twitter and Instagram and social media, you have to pump up your own brand so to speak…I’m not good at that, and it’s probably a skill that I need to learn and get better at. But there were some serious heavy hitters that played on this. And so to get it made in Nashville, with a guy whose work I respect tremendously in Will Hoge, and to do it without Dave there. He didn’t come down to the session for a couple different reasons, and it was hard to not have him there, but also I’m so glad that he wasn’t in some ways…
Which is a weird thing to say (*both laugh*)
It is a weird thing to say, and I mean in the most non-disparaging way I could possibly mean it about my best friend and my partner and my brother. He’s my best buddy. But it just felt like it was something that I needed to take on on my own.
And I think that the album probably benefits from that, from having it be just you. I forget exactly when you came into the writing process of Dave’s solo stuff, but there are probably three full albums that have been released of that material at this point, so I can see where you might need to draw a line in the sand where even if you are creating this stuff together, these are the songs that are his voice, and these are the songs that are your voice. So I think it does probably benefit from that.
Yeah, I think so. And I think we try to make decisions from a production standpoint and from a key standpoint, and a vocal register standpoint, that would reflect the differences between us two. It’s definitely something that we went into the process being cognizant of. I didn’t want it to be “Dave Hause Light” you know? I didn’t want it to be “The Little Brother Record” or whatever. And I’m sure to some people it will be that. We’re inextricably linked in that way, but we tried to deviate as much as we could.
You know, it’s interesting to do research for interviews and to find that because I’ve talked with Dave so many times, a lot of the research I did for this chat was just stuff that I’ve already written before. But he and I spoke on that first tour that you came out with him on, the Devour tour, which turned out to be a 70-day tour, and I’d forgotten how Herculean that tour was. And you were, what, twenty at that point?
Yeah, that was 2014, so I would have been twenty years old. I remember being under age, because there was a place in Salt Lake City where I was pouring whiskey into people’s mouths from the stage. And Dave…we were drunk. We spent a lot of those nights drunk, which was really fun and really wild and the complete polar opposite of what things are like now. Backstage now, we have Bob Ross on the TV, we have a candle going, we have La Croix in the fridge, and we have peace and quiet as much as we can.
But you hadn’t really even been in bands at that point, right? Not even like dopey high school bands?
No, I played with my dad. So, the first time I was ever on stage was with the Bouncing Souls.
Whoa! Way to set the bar for yourself.
Yeah! So I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since! (*both laugh*) I was ten years old, and they played I think two or three nights at the Troc (editor’s note: The Trocadero in Philadelphia) and all of them were sold out. The Loved Ones played their first show I think ever opening up for them, and they brought me out to play “Manthem” and that was my intro to all of those people. I mean, I had known them before, as much as any adult would know a ten-year-old. It was like “oh, you’re Dave’s brother!” or “oh it’s so cool that you have Vans on!” or whatever the case was. (*both laugh*). So they brought me out, and it was so cool, and they ended up putting that on their live record.
Oh shit, yeah!
Yeah, that version of “Manthem” is the version that’s on the live record, and if you listen to the end of the song, you hear Greg say “The kid rocks!” and all this…and that was about me! (Editor’s note: Listen to it here!!)
Yes! That’s awesome! I had no idea, and I’ve heard that a hundred times!
That’s a pretty funny bit of Hause trivia.
When you say playing with them, were you playing guitar at that point or were you singing backup?
Yeah, I played guitar. I started playing guitar when I was probably seven or eight. I’d get really into it and then take my foot off the gas pedal and do something else for a while. In high school, my thing was I started acting in high school. I tried out for a play – a musical – and I got the lead, and that set off a series of okay I’m gonna do all of these productions that the high school does. So I wanted to be an actor. I always kinda knew I wanted to be in entertainment of some kind, then I went to (Temple University), kind of got disillusioned while I was there, didn’t know what exactly I was going for, didn’t exactly know how getting a degree would help with what I wanted to do, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Well, the fact is, I did know what I wanted to do, I just didn’t know how to make it happen. That might sound crazy as the younger brother of someone who has been successfully doing it, but it was more of an experiment than anything, for me to go out on the road with him. We talk about that from time to time, like “how did it even happen?” The first two weeks of that tour, I hated. I thought that anyone who would choose that life, was insane. Over the course of that tour, I started to really love it. I definitely had an itch to leave the town in Philadelphia that we’re from. So, we live in an area that is technically within the city limit, but it doesn’t feel like Center City. It’s a little more suburban, there’s grass and trees and stuff. I spent my first twenty years waiting to get out, scratching the itch a little bit with travel…and then now, my wife and I own a house in that very town that I couldn’t wait to get out of.
Of course you do! (*both laugh*)
I don’t have that itch anymore, it gets scratched by all of the touring that we do and the travel that we do. It’s a constant adventure, and it’s pretty awesome.
What were your influences musically during that time. You mentioned the Bouncing Souls obviously, so there was that part obviously, but with fifteen years between you and Dave, that’s almost like three different generations there when it comes to musical trends and how we consume music. So what were your influences when it came to writing music or even just playing music in your bedroom?
From a playing standpoint, like any little brother, I was getting stuff from my big brother. I was a huge fan of the Souls, a huge fan of Alkaline Trio, and I would gravitate towards them more than any of the other punk bands. I think that has to do with their melodic sensibilities and their songwriting. The craft in both of those acts is top-notch and has been for a long time. That was kind of my first real love. Between that, and we were a huge Beatles family, and Tom Petty. Those are the first four or so. Then, me and my best buddy who grew up across the street from me and unfortunately died in a tragic accident. He and I got into Weezer’s blue album. We wore out that CD, we listened to it when we were together, when we were apart, all the time. That was an early one too. I got really into hip-hop and rap. Countercultural figures and artists were always there. I went through a huge Queen phase, and that felt like kind of my own thing. No one else in my family really got into Queen like I did.
Well, you were into theater, so that sorta lines up.
Yeah, exactly! I saw one video of Freddie Mercury and Queen in Montreal doing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and if you haven’t seen that video, you have to look it up. (*Editor’s note: I looked it up for you – find it here.)
I probably saw it twenty-five years ago.
Yeah, you probably did. That’s one of the finest pieces of live rock and roll that you can find. I watched that once and said “oh, I have to devour that.” (*both laugh*) I hate to say it now, but it’s always good to separate the art from the artist as much as you can: Kanye West was a huge filler of my ten-to-twenty-year-old listening phase.
College Dropout was a massive hit for a reason. That was unlike any other album that existed at that point.
Absolutely. And I always felt a sort of a kinship – not always –
Right, not the last half-decade or so.
Yeah, prior to him going really off the rails, which is really sad and unfortunate. But previously, I felt a kinship with him because he lost his mom too, and the loss of a parent, at any point but particularly with younger people … that’s a huge deal. So that kind of stood out for me. And then more recently, I got super into The National and Frightened Rabbit, in the last ten years or so. Those are some of my main touchstones, especially lyrically with Scott (Hutchison), I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better lyricist than Scott.
Tragically so. I mean, some of his stuff was tough to listen to before, because of how real some of the emotions were. I’ve had conversations with your brother about things like that from his own catalog, where there are moments that are so real and you had to kind of pause for a minute after you heard them the first time because they were a little bit too heavy. And then in retrospect with Scott’s music, there are some songs I still can’t really listen to.
Yeah, it’s rough, because it’s one of those things that you hope that the person is able to exorcise those demons through their art, and you hope that that expression gives the person enough of a reprieve to keep what ended up happening to him from happening, but it doesn’t always work that way. That’s a really gnarly one. His lyrics and their music have been a huge, huge influence. And then, I got super into My Morning Jacket. That’s been another pillar in my musical life. But the overarching thing is, you know, some kind of mix of Tom Petty and Frightened Rabbit. I think the nuanced, idiosyncrasies of both of those while making evergreen, universal songs that are sorta simple…that’s the pinnacle for me. That’s the whole shooting match for me.
Were they influences in the way that you liked their music, or were they the ones who made you go “I want to do that!” or “I want to do my version of what that guy is doing”? Because I mean you can like Pearl Jam or Bouncing Souls or Kanye West, but that doesn’t mean you want to do what they’re doing. But then, that Petty “thing”…
Yeah, for sure. For sure. And then there’s also closer to our circle, there are influences too. I’ve always loved Gaslight (Anthem) and I’m buddies with all those guys and I love Brian and his work. I have a pretty wide net of influence and interest as far as music goes, but yeah, those are like the Mount Rushmore.
When did you start writing for yourself, rather than writing as a collaborator with your brother?
Um…I would say it’s probably in the first two years of touring. I remember jotting down things as early as the European leg of the Devour tour, which would have been summer of ‘14. So it’s been almost ten years of doing it. And actually, it’s funny, because you asked earlier what was the impetus for making my own record and my own songs…I think the first song that we wrote that ended up going on to a record was “The Flinch.” I remember having the idea “I ain’t flinching anymore” as a line from my notebook. I loved it going onto the record; that was a huge deal for me. I wrote a couple of the other songs with him, but it wasn’t 50/50 yet. That was kind of my intern, new kid record (*both laugh*) like “okay, let’s see if this thing works.” And it did. “The Flinch” ended up being one of the staples of that record. By Kick, it was 50/50, and I think the real kicker for me was “The Ditch” going on Dave’s record. That was the moment where I was like “yeah, I have to make my own record someday.” Who knows, maybe I’ll re-record that song at some point and put it on one of my records. I’m so glad that we put it on Kick, but it wasn’t easy for me to let that one go. That was the first song that I wrote on that made me go “I don’t know…I don’t know if I can give this one up. Maybe I should save it for this future record that I hope to make someday.” The giving of it made me go “yeah, I really have to do this.”
Does that create a certain amount of tension between you and Dave? And maybe tension is the wrong word to use, but at least a sort of creative tension where you have to bargain, like “okay, I’m going to keep this one for me, you take two of these for you…”
He’s super gracious about that, and he’s really, really the biggest ally I have outside of my wife. I think she and him are the two biggest preservers of my creative life force. So no, I wouldn’t say it created tensions between us. We’ve had talks, like when we started the sessions that ultimately led to Blood Harmony and TIM, he kind of was operating under the assumption that some of the songs that we were working on would be on his next record, and I quickly swatted that down and we got that sorted out and he was cool with it. It wasn’t without a little push, but he was willing to go “okay, if you insist that this one is going to be your thing, then go for it.” What I will say is not tension between us, but there was internal tension with the fact that I was writing for – so to speak – a guy whose name was THE name. You know in a perfect world, I would have been old enough to be in The Loved Ones, and we would have called our thing The Loved Ones, and it would have been two brothers…but that’s not the world we live in. There’s a fifteen-year gap, I was busy being in high school (*both laugh*). So the tension was that I’m writing songs and I’m really, really creatively involved. Like, “The Ditch,” that kernel was my own thing. It was something I came up with and brought it to the table and was kind of hesitant to do so and then when it ended up on the record, Dave was really good about giving me credit publicly as much as he could, but you can only go so far with that when ultimately people know that to be a Dave Hause song. When your name is on the ticket and the record and the whatever, that’s where people think it all comes from. And so, I think that created some tension within me in that I knew I had something to offer and I wanted to be recognized for what I was able to offer.
It’s obvious from the conversation so far that there is obviously some of Dave’s influence in your writing and in what you were exposed to through his scene when you were growing up. But I’m curious about what you see as your influence on Dave’s either songwriting or approach or the music he listens to, as someone fifteen years younger than he is.
That’s a good question. I would say…how do I answer this without sounding like a dick (*both laugh*)…I think that it broadened the sphere of what he thought he should do. And what I mean by that is there was some writer’s block that went into Bury Me In Philly. From my perspective, I was like “dude, you’ve got people coming out to your shows, I’ve been all over the country with you, I’ve been across the pond with you. People show up.” And he was like “what do I write about? What do I write about?” and I was like “the thing that you’re on about right now is the fact that you live in California now and have this strange relationship with the place that you’re from.” That kind of was a light bulb moment for him, and it’s one of the things that jump-started the whole process and that whole session. I think the continued “hey this doesn’t have to be punk, this doesn’t have to fit in whatever box.” Having that person on your shoulder just going “do it! Go! Go! Do it!” I think is a huge help. And now, knowing the experience I have from doing it on my own and having him on my shoulder telling me to do all that stuff is I think the most valuable asset. Just “hey, feel free to just do you and be as fearlessly ferocious as you need to be with your own art.”
I think that’s important. Say what you will about the punk rock community – and I guess this website that I co-own and have been helping to run for a dozen years is pretty firmly embedded in that (*both laugh*) – but it can be tough to get the intestinal fortitude to go outside those parameters of three chords and a Marshall stack and a Les Paul and that whole thing, and to realize that you don’t have to do that all the time.
And you know, there’s also the stage of “I’m a singer-songwriter but I’m a punk, let me play this acoustic guitar as if it were an electric and let me belt it out…” and yeah, you should do that, that can definitely be part of the thing. But you’re so capable of all these other things; incorporate as much of you and what you can do into this thing, and it’s going to be so much more multifaceted and deeper if you do that.” I think with this next Dave Hause record, it pushes even further into that realm, and what’s cool about it is that the fact that I did my own record I think gave Dave a little bit more creative freedom. And also, I took my hands off a little bit at least on the production side. we wrote all the songs together, just like on my record, they’re all 50/50, we finished all these songs together, he’s got fingerprints all over my record just like I have had on his records since Bury Me In Philly, but I think me doing my own thing enabled him on this last session to not have to say “what does Tim want to put on, I have to make room for Tim here…” and whatever the case was. I think it was cool to see him go into mad scientist mode, and it was awesome. I’m really excited about it.
I was hoping to talk a little about the differences in writing between the two of you. You guys both wrote in what I assume from knowing you and being a listener from a very intensely personal perspective. There isn’t a lot of character-based stuff really on either of your records, you’re writing more from your own perspectives. When it comes to writing either for Dave’s records or what becomes your records, how conscious are you of writing in your own voice versus writing in Dave’s voice, if that makes sense?
I’m a fan of his first, before I started working with him. And also being his brother and sharing DNA and our relationship, I felt like I had a good window into what he did best and how he wanted to present himself. And also my own ideas about how I thought he should present himself as a green person who didn’t know anything about the industry. And so I think that being a fan first enabled me to jump into the river and not send it in a totally different direction. I’m definitely aware of the fact that we have our own perspectives. I mean, calling the record TIM was a pretty clear indicator that this was a really personal record, that it was going to deal with many of the pillars in my life. I would say that there are probably three pillars that it’s about. The goal is to write from our own perspectives and write it to be universal and evergreen and applicable to somebody else. I hope that’s what ends up happening. I guess the idea is that if we make something that we spill a lot of our hearts into, then somebody will identify with it as well, because we’re not as alone as humans as we sometimes think that we are.
Do you find that that comes easier to you – writing music that is overtly personal. I mean, “4000 Days” is probably the most on-the-nose personal as you can get as a songwriter, but I think the remainder of the album is stuff that you were going through but that also translates in a universal way. Is that what feels best do you rather than trying to ‘creative write’ and build these sorts of characters?
It feels best…music, we use it as sort of our church in a lot of ways. It’s kind of the way that we tap into spirituality, it’s a therapeutic endeavor that also has a commercial bent to it, which can be really weird at times – negotiating that line – but yeah, it feels comfortable for the most part because it feels meaningful enough to sing when it’s a story about me. I would really like to get into more character-driven stuff in the future. I’d like to be able to branch out that way, but they say that your first record took however many years you’ve been alive to make it, and I’d say that’s definitely the case with this.
How far back to some of these seeds go?
The first line from “High Hopes” is the first line that I can think of. “Let’s go walking in the pouring rain/ before it turns to acid” must have been…I don’t even know how old I was. I remember exactly where I was when I was writing it. I was walking with my wife down to what was the first place we’d move into together. We weren’t married at that point…that would have been maybe when I was 22 or 23. That would have been the same year that Bury Me In Philly came out – I think that was ‘16.
That sounds right.
So it goes back that far. Actually, come to think of it…the real answer I just discovered. Here’s the real answer. I was eleven when my mom died. I had just turned eleven. When I turned 22, it was a huge, watershed moment in the grief process and the life process, because it marked the moment that I had spent more time on earth without her than I had with her. That was the initial kernel of “4000 Days” as the first thing that I remember writing, and I know that for a fact because that was such a profound marker in my life.
That sounds like it’s around the same time then as that line from “High Hopes,” so it seems like that’s when things really shifted into this direction.
Yeah, that’s when things really started percolating, back when I was 22. So it goes back a while.
Was it hard for you – and was it important for you – to put a song like “4000 Days” on the album, because it’s such an intensely personal and vulnerable song, and you’re writing about things that, if people are familiar with you and Dave, they’re familiar with the story – Dave essentially did an album based on his processing of that with The Loved Ones – but was it important for you and nerve-wracking for you to put that on the record?
For sure. I would say I’m more nervous to play it live than I was to put it on the record.
I can’t imagine having to play it live, to be honest with you.
I don’t know what to think about that. I have the record release show coming up on February 10th at World Cafe, and I don’t know how to skin that cat. It feels like I have to do it for a record release show, but there’s a part of me that really doesn’t want to do it. I’ve been no stranger to tears on stage. I’m okay with that for whatever reason. I think it’s a genuine mark of courage to be able to be okay with that in a public way. I’m okay if it goes that way. The friend of ours who passed during that November tour with Will, we played a couple songs at her service. And that was just brutal. So I’ve got some experience when there’s a tremendous weight in the room and there’s real gravity holding it together and trying to steel yourself so that you can deliver this piece of work you’re trying to deliver and then after you can kind of ease up and process what that was. But yeah, I wasn’t nervous to put it on there. I knew it was a good idea. It was a good enough idea to tattoo on myself. It was 4074 days, technically, because that’s the first thing that I got tattooed on my chest, was a piece with a couple of swallows holding a banner with the number of days on it. That was the first tattoo I got, and 4000 days sounds a lot better than “4074 days” so I had to take a little liberty with it.
That’s a hard song to listen to, and I say that as somebody who’s got both of his parents still with us – but that’s a hard song to listen to nevermind perform, but I can also see it being a song that doesn’t just get the waterworks going for you but for everyone in the crowd, because everyone has lost someone and had to watch someone pass away – mom, dad, grandma, brothers, whatever. That could be a real cathartic thing for everybody, and I think that that’s a sign that you nailed the sentiment that you were going for.
For sure. Lately, there’s been part of me that thinks that I might be some kind of angel of death. (*both laugh*) I lost my mom when I was eleven, I lost my best buddy (Shane) when I was twenty-two, and he went missing for thirty-six days. He was out with his friends the night before Thanksgiving…
Oh man, I remember this story, yeah.
Yeah, he got separated from his friends around closing time, and I think he went to take a leak by the river and got swept away. There was a bunch of rain that week and it got really cold, so the river was higher than it had ever been or whatever. He was found thirty-six days later.
That is horrifying.
Yeah. And then my best buddy in high school overdosed in 2020. So I’ve had a bunch of really, really, really close losses. And then over the last two months…the dad of my best bud Shane, he just passed. I was a pallbearer at Shane’s funeral, and then I was a pallbearer at his dad’s funeral like two weeks ago. Two weeks before that was Lindsay’s memorial that we flew out to California for and played a song at. And it just so happened that…you know, Thanksgiving week is always rough, because Wednesday is the day that Shane went missing, Thursday around Thanksgiving dinner time his mom called me and I just kinda knew as soon as she asked me that something was really wrong. Oddly enough, we flew out to California (this year) for Lindsay’s service on Black Friday, and the service was on Saturday, and that just so happened to be on my mom’s birthday.
Good grief, man. Wow.
So the last two months have been really, really difficult, and I’m back in that same place that I know so well, of grief. This last loss with Kevin, Shane’s dad, was really rough because of them being the family across the street. My dad was in a really, really bad way after my mom died, understandably, and he was sort of unable to do a lot of the normal functions of a parent, and they were the stand-in family. That was like where I would go to eat a meal that wasn’t Quizno’s. I’d go over there to have a family meal, you know? That’s where I’d escape. My mom died in hospice so after that, I just needed to be out of the house and his dad and his mom were like my stand-in second family. That was a really crushing blow just over the last couple months. So yeah, it’s a really hard song to think about playing, but I don’t think that we deal with death enough in our culture. I think we try to put it off and pretend it doesn’t happen, but it’s maybe the most universal part of human existence…birth and death and water, I guess, are the three biggest things, right? So if I’m not a stranger to it in my own life, I don’t want to be a stranger to it in my art, because the art that we make, fortunately, is an expression of our lives and hopefully it does connect with other people. Like you said, everybody knows somebody and if they don’t know they will someday. That sucks to say, but it’s just a fact. It was tough to make and I’m so glad we did it. I made sure to give my sisters trigger warnings when I sent them the song first. And my dad. Dave didn’t need any warning because he and I made it together.
Have you had feedback from people on the socials and whatnot about that song in particular and how you nailed it, and being told that you nailed a song like that, is that almost more validating than any other sort of feedback you can get about your art?
Absolutely! “High Hopes” was the first single we put out and that was sort of the leader in the clubhouse in terms of plays on different services and streams and whatever….so you would think the most-played song might get the most feedback online, and that’s just not the case at all. “4000 Days” blew every song before and every song after out of the water in terms of people reaching out though DMs and messages and email and everything, to be like “hey, I related to that so much.” People have been telling me their stories, thanking me for it. That has been far and away the most connecting part of the release process. It’s definitely affirming and validating and exciting.
It does open that door where people then put their thing on you, right? Because they know that you can relate to it, and it helps them through, but then it also means that you have to wear their thing now too, once they tell you their story.
Sure, there’s some emotional exhaustion that can come along with it, especially being out on tour. By the end of the day, when you’re putting everything together, even just getting to the show is a lot, especially when we go out to the merch (area) and you end up talking to people, it’s so awesome. The reason that we do it is to connect, but it can be emotionally exhausting, for sure. You just have to mind the shop; you have to stay on top of your own mental health. That’s part of the game, keeping things as in-check as you can. That song has been awesome (for that). There is an element of people putting it on you, but I kinda like that, you know? It’s such a signifier of connection that I enjoy it.
And it comes from a genuine place. Like I said, I think it’s indicative of the fact that you really nailed the sentiment. If you didn’t, people wouldn’t be opening up to you that way. I’m glad that song is on the record, for what that’s worth. I’ve talked to Dave in the past about his own sort of versions of processing that time in your lives, but that’s a very different thing to go through when you’re twenty-six versus when you’re ten or eleven.
I wanted to talk a little about working with Will (Hoge) again. Dave’s last record that people have heard was your first time working with Will and then you went back to Nashville for TIM and him for his next record. It seems like a match that I hadn’t even considered previously, and yet once it came about, it made perfect sense right away. The way all three of you not only write music but approach things and view the world, it seems like a perfect sort of symmetry. How did that really come about? You seem to have become fast friends.
It actually came about the same way you and I are talking right now, on Zoom. It was during the tail end of whatever that first or second wave was – there was Covid, but then it was looking like there was a window where it was safe enough to get together and make a record. It was kind of everybody’s first foray back into the studios in Nashville. For all of those guys, one of their first projects back if not their actual first project back was Blood Harmony. Alex (Fang), our manager, manages Will too, so that is the boring answer. We share a manager. But we met him on a Zoom, and it only took five minutes to get a bead on who is this guy, what’s he going to do for the record, and is he the right guy…and all of those questions were answered within what felt like seconds. At max, it was five minutes. It was one of those things like “wait…are you our family?” We joke about that we’re Southern and Yankee cousins, and it’s so true. There was an instant connection and an instant (realization) that this guy gets it. He’s done it a few times for himself. He’s thoughtful enough and mindful – his wife is a therapist, you know, which is always a good sign (*both laugh*) – and he’s got the mindfulness to think outside of his own scope and say “okay, what does this project need from me?” Immediately, it was a match made in heaven. It’s going to be hard someday in the future to not make a record with Will.
Probably for both of you. I think that it’s become a thing for him too.
Yeah for sure. It’s tough to think about that now. The cast of characters he put together for Blood Harmony was amazing. And then the guy who came up with a lot of the atmosphere on my record was Josh Grange. He was in Sheryl Crow’s band. He was huge on it. Chris Griffiths who played bass on it is in Will’s band. He’s awesome. Dean Anshutz played drums on most of it, and he’s from Red Wanting Blue. And the other drummer was Matt Billingslea, and he’s Taylor Swift’s drummer. He played on “Fit To Be Tied.”
Oh just some guy who plays with some obscure footnote in American music history named Taylor Swift. (*both laugh*)
That’s Will Hoge kind of in a nutshell. He’s the belle of every ball. There’s not a person who meets him who doesn’t immediately fall in love with him. He has that magic and that magnetism where people just think he’s the best. And he has that kind of pull in Nashville where he’s buddies with everybody and it’s for good reason. He’s just the best dude and he’s immensely talented.
I feel like he’s also representative of the good part that’s left of Nashville. I know he did the punch in/punch out songwriter thing in the corporate Nashville world, and I think at some level if you live there you probably have to at some point. But I think he’s become representative of the good part of Nashville that isn’t just corporate songwriting and the corporatization of “country music,” and I of course use air quotes around country music for a reason. He is one of the guys that is a real artist.
Through and through. And I think having had commercial success, the blessing and curse of that speaks to who he is. He’s still an artist, and he could have really shifted there, and he could have easily changed up his whole MO and done things differently and he didn’t. He got a taste of this unbelievable success and if anything it’s made him a better person.
I was just going to say, it seems like he’s come out of that better than before.
Yeah! That speaks to his character. He’s awesome.
I was painfully late in getting into Will Hoge, because I have this predisposition against modern Nashville country. The modern Music Row thing, I don’t like, so then if you know that someone has a song that’s on modern country radio, it’s like “well, skip that one.” I don’t even remember where I started paying attention but it was probably either through Social D or Lucero and I remember going “where the hell has this guy’s songwriting been my entire life??” Because, I’m not from there, and yet I feel like I get it.
He’s the real deal…and if we weren’t close enough before, that tour really put the punctuation mark on it.
You guys were tested and then kept getting tested. And you talk about a certain heaviness being over a show when you’re performing, those first couple of shows I was at in (Shirley) and Rockport, those were heavy shows. Dave’s absence was heavy, but the emotion behind it, and then the connection between you and Will, and then Will having his family there to surprise him, those were shows that were really unlike anything that I’ve seen.
They were unlike anything that I’ve been a part of too. It was such a cool format. Obviously, the most tragic thing was losing Lindsay, but there was also a tragic sense – much, much less gravity-wise, but we were looking forward to that tour for so long. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to pull it together again and to bring it everywhere on however many legs we can, because it works so well. If you get bored of a guy’s voice or a guy’s song or a guy’s playing, there’s gonna be another guy in five minutes who’s doing something different. If you’re not a fan of mine or of Dave’s or of Will’s, you probably will be at the end of it, but if you’re not, you have this built-in respite every couple minutes. As a person whose attention is hard to grab and keep, I can relate. I grew up in the restaurant industry so I always think of things from the perspective of what’s it going to be like for the customer, what’s it going to be like for the diner? What kind of service should I give that I would want to get? So that’s kind of how I approach show-going too; what type of show am I going to go out and see? That’s one that was so cool. Will was just so good during that whole thing. He could have easily gone and been like “alright kid, this isn’t what I signed up for. I signed up to do this co-headline bill with Dave Hause, and Dave Hause is gone. You’re gonna get thirty minutes and then I’m going to take over the rest of it. I’m headlining and we’ll do it the (normal) way.” On night one, I actually lobbied for that because I kinda freaked out a little bit. I was like “dude, I don’t know if I can do this tonight.” It was a long day, and the physical duty of splitting up all the work that Dave and I usually do between the merch and the stage and my heart being elsewhere with him and his family and (Dave’s wife) Natasha and the family out there in Cailfornia, I kinda freaked out an hour before stage, or half an hour before stage. I was out in the van and I called my wife and called Dave just in tears, and I said “I don’t know if I can do this. This is so heavy and so gnarly.” I got that out of my system and I came in and kinda said the same to Will, like “I don’t know man, we should maybe do this the old fashioned way, where I’ll go up and play thirty minutes.” And he was like, in a perfect part Ted Lasso, part Jedi fashion, completely like “those aren’t the droids you’re looking for” – “he was like we could do that…(*waves hand Obi Wan style*) but I think we should keep the spirit of this tour alive…” I think part of that was that he wanted to be up there to be able to catch me if I fell. He wanted the camaraderie and the familiar thing to be together as brothers going through this difficult thing was awesome. My actual brother wasn’t there, but I had my Southern brother there to fill that void and it was a huge, huge blessing. There’s not a better person that could have been out there for the shit to hit the fan in that way with than Will.
Not that you’d want to, but you couldn’t recreate those shows and the way they happened organically and didn’t go the way that anyone was expecting or thought that they would, but I think the vast majority of people that were at those shows came away tremendously impressed with you and how they went.
I’m hopeful that that’s how it came across.
It may not be reflected in snowglobe sales, but…
(*both laugh*) Yeah! It did feel at the end like a huge growth point for me, and I’ll be a better person and artist and all those things for having gone through it. It’s the hardest tour I’ve been on, and I’ve been on a ten-and-a-half weeker! (*both laugh*)
Greetings, fellow degenerates! Welcome back to the Dying Scene Record Radar, the weekly column where we recap all the recent happenings in the world of punk rock vinyl. If you missed the column the last few weeks during the holiday break, I offer my sincerest apologies and promise it won’t happen again (until next year […]
Greetings, fellow degenerates! Welcome back to the Dying Scene Record Radar, the weekly column where we recap all the recent happenings in the world of punk rock vinyl. If you missed the column the last few weeks during the holiday break, I offer my sincerest apologies and promise it won’t happen again (until next year ?). Anywho, it’s a new year and the Record Radar is back in action. So kick off your shoes, pull up a chair, crack open a cold one, and break out those wallets, because it’s go time!
Fat Wreck Chords gets us started this week with a new pressing of Joey Cape and Tony Sly‘s 2004 split LP. This has been out of print on colored vinyl for a decade and comes as a welcome surprise to start the new year. Grab a copy here.
A little over a month ago we brought you the news that Houston punk veterans 30footFall had signed to People of Punk Rock Records. The label has since launched pre-orders for first-time vinyl releases of the band’s 2002 album The Doppler Effect and 2003 live record 10yearsandstillFALLING. Head over to their webstore to get yours.
Another recent signing was Mom’s Basement Records picking up Nebraska pop-punks The Young Hasselhoffs, who just released their first new album in over a decade. Listen to a few tracks from Life Got in the Way below and go here to grab the LP.
A new pressing of The Ataris’ So Long, Astoria DemosLP has popped up on Amazon. I guess it makes sense considering the band recently announced reunion shows featuring this era’s lineup. Gotta capitalize on that shit! Anyway, the color variant looks cool. It’s over 30 fucking dollars because that’s how vinyl works now. Grab it here.
Here’s another thing we told you about a few weeks ago, but why not mention it again because perhaps it got lost in the shuffle of all the holiday hustle and bustle. NOFX is going full Greatful Dead on us and will be releasing live albums of all 40 stops on their final tour. These will be available for digital download, and on vinyl as 3xLP sets. Pre-orders are now available for the Barcelona and Linz, Austria records.
A few years ago, former Dag Nasty singer Peter Cortner and bassist Doug Carrion started a new band called Field Day (named after one of the two Dag Nasty records the duo performed on). The band’s upcoming LP Acquisition compiles songs from their first few 7″s and also features two brand new tracks. It’s available to pre-order on pink or clear vinyl here.
And that’s all, folks! Another Record Radar in the books. As always, thank you for tuning in. If there’s anything we missed (highly likely), or if you want to let everyone know about a new/upcoming vinyl release you’re excited about, leave us a comment below, or send us a message on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll look into it. Enjoy your weekend, and don’t blow too much money on spinny discs. See ya next week!
Wanna catch up on all of our Record Radar posts? Click here and you’ll be taken to a page with all the past entries in the column. Magic!
Another Realm is the sophomore album from Dayton, Ohio’s Houseghost. Hot on the heels of their 2020 self-titled debut, the band fronted by the brother-sister duo of Nick and Kayla Hamby delivers more lo-fi pop-punk with thematic horror punk lyrics.
The Breeders are an American alternative rock band based in Dayton, Ohio. The band’s most commercially successful album, Last Splash, was released in 1993 in the midst of the early 1990s alternative rock boom. The album went on to be certified platinum by the RIAA and is best known for its hit single “Cannonball”.