Houston Calling

10 Questions for Local H

May 4th, 2004 · No Comments

Local H is an excellent band from Chicago and the guys are finally coming back to Houston. Last time the band was in town, they played the Engine Room on a rainy night after another rainy night cancelled a Party on the Plaza gig. Maybe 100 people attended, but Local H rocked like they were playing to a stadium of thousands. I have seen Local H play in Chicago (where their gigs typically sell out in advance), Dallas, and Houston, and the band always puts on an excellent show.

Last month, the band released its fifth full-length album, Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? on Studio E Records. It is an excellent album–one of the band’s best efforts to date. Read information on the band’s newest release at Swizzle-Stick.

Local H drummer Brian St. Clair was gracious enough to answer some questions for Houston Calling. Enjoy.

HC: What’s your description of the new Local H album, Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?

Brian: It is sort of a big mix of all the past styles the band has tried. We also did experiment quite a bit with a few songs. This made for some fun looping (track 1) and editing (“Dick Jones”).

HC:Where did you record it? How long did it take? Who produced it?

Brian: At a friend’s studio in Chicago called Million Yen. It spanned over several months, maybe six. Scott Lucas and myself produced it.

HC: The last two albums and the EP seem to be showing a progressive shift toward more of a classic rock’n’roll feel than the previous Local H albums. Do you agree, and if so, to what do you attribute the changes to?

Brian: I would agree that Here Comes The Zoo did. I think the change is that I am in the band. I feel like I contribute to the band differently than the last drummer did. I just look at things differently with in turn would make Scott look at things differently too. That’s my take, but Scott may or may not agree.

HC: What do consider to be your primary musical influences? Any drummers out there you particularly admire?

Brian: Late 70’s & early 80’s punk rock. My favorite bands from that era were The Damned, Crucifix, Discharge, Effigies, D.O.A., Minor Threat, Black Flag, and Crass.

Not really, just Chuck Biscuits (D.O.A.) and Bill Stevenson (Black Flag/Descendents).

HC: How does your songwriting process work, with Scott being in Chicago and you living in New York City? Is it challenging or do you find it helps?

Brian: It’s not that hard. When it’s time to work on something it happens when we are both around. Scott may just bring a song in from time to time and we f*** with it but it isn’t a regularly planned event. It just comes out when it is time.

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about Local H’s music?

None. Most people have to compare music to something to get an understanding of it. I could say I wish everyone would say that we sound like two guys playing loud music, but that’s dumb. Nobody would know what the hell that meant. But if you say we are like AC/DC meets Nirvana, they are like, “Oh, cool.” Whatever.

HC: You guys have been off the majors for the last few years, choosing instead to release your stuff through more independent means. Having dealt with major labels in the past, what do you think are the pros and cons of putting out the records yourself or via an independent label versus a major label? What’s your take on the state of the music industry?

Brian: First off, it is nice being on a major due to the cash flow (tour support)and the distribution your CDs get. We did not choose to be on an indie, the indies came to us. It really doesn’t matter where you are putting out your music as long as the people are into you that work there, they can get it in the stores for people to buy, and they have enough $$ to promote the damn thing.

They [music industry] need to come up with a new way to sell music. This idea that you can stop downloading is crazy. Bands like us may benefit fromdownloads where the big ones just don’t get another royalty check (which I would like someday too, but that’s another story). The industry doesn’t develop artists anymore and hasn’t for many years now. There were too many bands being signed w/in the last 10 years. This really hurts the industry because there is no label out there that can handle that sort of quantity. Now the majors are in trouble, maybe they will learn their lesson, or maybe they will try to sign the next The Darkness or System Of A Down.

HC: If you could have any band cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band?

Brian: Cheap Trick doing “Baby Wants To Tame Me” would be cool.

HC: How has the tour been going so far? What’s next for Local H?

Brian: Good–we are still alive. More touring and some rest. Then do more touring.

HC: I hear you’re an avid birdwatcher–are you going to be able to get any done on this tour? Any special birds you want to see while in Texas this time?

Brian: Not really. Bus tours are easier since we drive through the night and wake up in a new town every morning. This tour is a van tour and we drive all day to the next show.

Well, last time I was in I saw the “golden cheeked warbler” (an endangered bird only found near Austin during the breeding season)…I would like to see a black capped vireo this time near Austin (another endangered bird). As for your area the one I’d go for has already moved north (the whooping crane). But if there are any bird watchers out there that want to take me out birding, please email me. Title it “TX birding.”

HC: What is in your CD player right now?

Brian: The Darkness, The Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs (Eastern) 3-CD set.

Thanks to Brian St. Clair for taking the time to answer these questions. Please make sure to come out to Fat Cat’s (old Mary Jane’s) this Friday night, May 7th, to catch Local H live with Detachment Kit and Houston’s own By The End Of Tonight. Local H live is a great band and this promises to be an excellent line-up. Tickets will be available at the door.

Visit Local H’s website for more information on Local H and their albums. Order official merchandise from G&P Records. Local H is managed by Silent Partner Management.

See my interview with Jeff from By The End Of Tonight here. See my interview with Ian from Detachment Kit here.

Now Playing in My iPOD: Local H — Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?

Tags: Music