Charlotte, North Carolina, the "City of Positive Energy," has given us Toastchee peanut-butter crackers, Captains Wafers and Sour Bloops (courtesy of Lance Inc., manufacturer of hi-kwality cookies and crackers). The city has also been kind enough to lend the continent its favorite musical sons, Hopesfall, for a few months. The band stops at the Creepy Crawl on Sunday in support of its newest hi-kwality, hard indie-rock album, A-Types. We spoke with guitarist Joshua Brigham about Christianity, Denny's and vegetarianism during a break from the band's hectic road schedule. Below is a brief excerpt from that revealing discussion.
B-Sides: I've seen lyrics from early Hopesfall songs discussed at length on some Christian-rock Web sites. Is Hopesfall a Christian band?
Brigham: My dad's a pastor, so when I started the band when I was seventeen, I was still a Christian. Now I'm just like, "Fuck it." I'm way less into Jesus and a lot more into conspiracy theories now.
Hmm. Have you been drinking tonight?
Not at all. This is the sober tour. If I don't sober up, my parents are going to throw me into rehab. We're at a Denny's right now.
So, instead of gallons of alcohol after a show, you relax with a nice plate of something. This is refreshing to hear. Is it always Denny's for Hopesfall?
Yeah, Denny's is a good thing. It's open 24 hours, the portions are good, and it's got a little something for everyone. I had a veggie omelet, and now I'm finishing up someone else's cheese fries.
No meat! Are you a vegetarian or something?
I am a vegetarian.
Does that come from your Christian background?
It was a health-related decision. It had nothing to do with killing animals. I was fat. Now I'm not fat.
If you eat at Denny's a lot, then it's probably a good thing you're a vegetarian -- and that your father's a pastor. The service is generally excellent, but I've heard some conspiracy theories involving their food. Have you ever had any serious problems with their food?
No, but that's the one thing we do like about touring in Canada. If someone gets sick, they can go to the hospital. Here, in the States, we have to use a fake ID. -- John Goddard
Hear me now, fans of the rock gods. All praise be to the Velvet Underground and Wire. Hail Paul Westerberg!
We must stay ever-vigilant against those who would sin against the gods of rock. Therefore, as was told by our prophets in the books of Bangs and Christgau, it is time to issue a critical fatwa, our most serious condemnation, to the infidels of the industrial band A Perfect Circle. Let us list their crimes against music:
1) They are a side project! Those not modest enough to have but one band must suffer the fate of Audioslave and Damn Yankees. Maynard Keenan, you are hereby ordered to stick with Tool.
2) They have released a whole album of cover songs! Not since the fallen ones of Guns N' Roses released The Spaghetti Incident? have the ears of the rock gods been so offended by pointless studio wankery!
3) They have recorded with no shame at all a song by John Lennon (praise him with all praise!). Even blacker a crime, they have transformed the transcendent "Imagine" into a sad-sack moaner of a song. Did they not read the lyrics before they defaced them? To parade their sins in front of the people, they have put this abomination on the radio.
These sins are unforgivable. So we must declare a fatwa! Those true to the rock gods, if you are to meet A Perfect Circle, you must tickle them until they are quite cross! Feed them milk past its expiration date! Mock them in high-pitched voices!
It is written. -- The Ayatollah of Rock
Local rawkers Pinkeye d'Gekko -- or PD'G, as they're known to their legions and legions of maniacal fans -- have received waaaay too much press following the release of their new album, Dry Clothes for the Drowning. As the arbitrary arbiters of everything that is hip locally, this makes B-Sides nervous.
Post-Dispatch music critic Kevin Johnson deemed PD'G worthy of a feature last month, and P-D gossipista Deb Peterson was thrilled to see the band's founder, Steve Mahoney, hangin' wit' da high-rollers at an October Rams game (Peterson also "sight-em"ed Nelly and Murphy Lee at the same event). Bass Player, a national magazine for bass wankers, has pursued PD'G about a write-up in its January issue.
All this for a band whose first album sales are described by Mahoney this way: "If a million is platinum, and half a million is gold, I think it was probably somewhere between wood, rubber and tin somewhere." The band's lineup turnover is high -- only two of the original six members remain -- and they seem to be most popular in Arkansas. "We do a lot of biker events in the South," says Mahoney. "We have a single called 'Girls of Arkansas.' I think we're popular there because we play three-, four-chord, loud, simple hard rock."
So why mention these hoochie-coochers in the same paragraph as the St. Lunatics? Jane Higgins, that's why: The 51-year-old publicist extraordinaire took on PD'G recently. We're not saying that Higgins and Deb Peterson sauna together at The Face & The Body or anything, but let's just say that Higgins -- like all good publicists -- is gifted at smooth-talking her way into a story. How can PD'G afford her? Well, Mahoney's dad just happens to be R.J. Mahoney, former chairman and CEO of Monsanto. So you make the call.
Good for him. Mahoney has every right to exploit his lineage in pursuit of the dream. But it would be nice if local journalists would be able to spot a reverse-ringer. Check out this sample lyric from "Girls of Arkansas": "I would drive for seven hours/Just to swim your country mile."
Whatever. B-Sides has been known to employ a double-entendre or two ourselves. We just want to be the ones invited to party with Georgia Frontiere next time. -- Ben Westhoff