Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hounds & Harlots Interview

The East Coast and the West Coast have both of remarkable punk rock and hardcore scenes.  California itself has a very much punk rock scene rich in history, and is known to influence many of the bands coming out today.  Just recently, I discovered one of the best punk rock bands to come out of San Francisco, Hounds & Harlots.  These guys have put out a fantastic full length record titled, "The Good Fight".  If you are into bands such as the Street Dogs, the early days of the Dropkick Murphys, Bouncing Souls, and fantastic street level punk rock and roll, I suggest you buy their record! Once I heard these guys, I knew I had to do an interview and find out as much as I could about the band and help get the good word out!  Below you will find an interview with Greg De Hoot, Bryan Zimmerman, and Corey Cunningham as they talk about from the message of their songs, their influences, where they come from, and so much more!

                                                            Hounds & Harlots


            Who are you from Hounds & Harlots and what do you play?  How long has the band existed with the current line up?  Are you all original members?

GREG: In the band we have myself, Greg De Hoot, I sing and play bass. Bryan Zimmerman the other lead vocalist and guitar and Cory Cunningham on drums. We were originally a 4 piece, but that only lasted a year. So the 3 of us have been playing together since 2009.

       Who is responsible for the song writing in the band?  After doing some research, I found that the opening track from “The Good Fight”, titled “Divisadero” is a neighborhood in San Francisco.  Is that where the band originates from? 

GREG: We all have a part in the writing process. Bryan and I do all the lyrics. As for the song Divisadero, it started with a riff and me saying Divisadero during practice, because Cory and I lived on that street. But the lyrics came to me one day while in the shower. I wrote it about leaving my girlfriend (now my wife and mother of our son) to go play music on the road. It’s a song for anyone who has to leave their family to go do a job, knowing that no mater where they go they will always have their “Divisadero” to come back to.

CORY: We almost called the band Divisadero.  I've lived on that street for 10 years in San Francisco so I have a lot of memories there.  It was actually the first song we wrote as a band, so guess it's only fitting to have it be the opening track to the record. It's a fun one to play because whether we are playing in the bay area or on tour it has a unique meaning to to us and I think a lot of people can relate to that feeling. It helps you remember the things you love that you leave behind in order to pursue your passions.


                       Are you all from the California area?  What does being in a band from the Bay area mean to you guys?

GREG: I grew up in Marshalltown, Iowa. So the Bay area was always “Graceland” for me. When I moved there in 1995, it had the best bands, the greatest scene and a real reason to believe in the music. You could live and chase down your dreams. But now after 17 years I have left the bay to pursue my tattoo career, raise my son with my family, and get out of the economic strangle hold that city had on me. Now living I can actually afford to tour, record and be a provider for my family at the same time. Don’t get me wrong SF is where I “grew” up and became a man. My family is still there, it will always be my home, but sometimes the greatest gifts don’t always come in the box you want. So to answer your question, for me nothing, it aint where your from, its where your going. 

CORY:  I grew up a couple hours away from San Francisco so I was constantly exposed to new bands from the area.  It's great  to be from here but know that we have a lot to live up to at the same time.  I think that also allowed us to be that much more productive because we were surrounded by other great bands . It's cool to play at Gilman Street now because   you can say you played on the same stage as Operation Ivy even if it was like 20 years later.


                  Who handles most of the song writing?

Greg: Bryan and I…. it’s a pure collaboration.

Cory: Sometimes it takes minutes to write a song, sometimes it takes months.


             Many of your songs and lyrics reach down to the listener with messages of new beginnings (as described in the band’s biography).  Songs like “Shot Down” and “Losing Kind” have a upbeat punk rock ethos which includes a message of moving forward and leaving the past behind.  Does this all come from life experience or people you know that many song writers like to write about?

GREG: I was always told, write about what you know. I have had many “new beginning’s” in my life, from moving to SF, to getting sober, to leaving a band after 10 years, to getting married, to pursuing the craft of tattooing, to having a kid… pick one and I’ll give ya a song. HA! Look, growing up I wasn’t popular, got my ass kicked a lot, but when I stared to listen to bands like Minor Threat, Gorilla Biscuits, Circle Jerks, H2O, Rancid, Agnostic Front… I believed in their words, and I finally believed in me, so now when I write lyrics, I write in the hopes I can pass on what was given to me.

CORY: With all the horrible things that happen in your life it"s reassuring to have songs that allow you to be more positive and realize that you can move on.

         Let’s talk about gear: What kind of guitars, bass guitars, amplification and drum kit do you guys use?  How does it define the punk rock and roll sound you developed as a band?

GREG: Man I’m a guitarist playing bass, I don’t really know crap. I got lucky and got some top end gear from my friend Dennis Pepa from Death Angel, and got a cheap Squire Vintage Mod P-bass that was based off the ’65 just like Paul Simonon and Sid Vicious played.

BRYAN: I usually play an ESP EC-1000 guitar and have a 1978 Marshall JMP amplifier

CORY: I play a tama drum kit so I can sound like Dave Grohl. I was always told to have a good snare sound and everything else will fall into place.

     Who are some of your influences that inspired you and moved you as a musician while growing up and to play the music you do? Have you had the opportunity to play with them?

GREG: Well I mentioned a few before, I have got to play, meet or in some cases become very close to some of my childhood idols. A perfect example of that would be Lars Frederiksen. If it wasn’t for that dude I might be dead or in jail, I owe him more than I can ever repay. I asked him to be my best man at my wedding, that’s how much he means to me. But that’s just one example… There are still lots off bands I would kill to play with… to many to name.

CORY: I grew up listening to all the great bay area bands obviously. Greenday, AFI (when they were a punk band), Rancid, Nerve Agents, Good Riddance, Jawbreaker. More recently my friend Makh had a huge influence on me playing drums. He played in a band called Early Graves. They were in an van accident on tour and he died. His passing inspired me to continue on and live up to what we always wanted to do, play punk with your heart.

    Between the three of you, have you played in any other bands?  If so, who? 

GREG: I played in The Lucky Stiffs 1999 – 2007, WARDOGS 2008 – 2009

BRYAN: The Remnants 1997 – 2003, Dekoiz 2004 - 2008

CORY: Dead Ringers

  In the California punk rock scene, who are some bands to keep an eye out for?  Who are some of your favorites to play with?


CORY: Harrington Saints are our neighbors. Bum city saints, Sharp Objects, Terry Malts all put on great shows in SF.

   The final track, “Bloodlines”, what is the message that you’re driving home in that song?  Where did you come up with the title for it?

GREG: I think I came up with the title, but Bryan wrote the lyrics… that’s one of my favorite songs to play!

BRYAN: There’s a couple different lyrical themes in this song. I was inspired to write this song after reading about a factory that for decades was a “bloodline” for a small town in the southern United States. During the recent economic downfall, the company was forced to shut down after being in business for 50 years. Families had no choice but to leave the only place they’d ever known and search for a new life and new beginnings. The second theme touches on the young teenager who grows up in a small town and wants nothing more but to leave and start a new life in the big city.

    Lastly, as a band, what does “Hounds & Harlots” set out to do?  What is the mission and what do you guys hope to accomplish as a band?  And what is it you hope your listeners get while listening to your music? 

GREG: You know, to put out real music, to play real shows, and to make a real connection.

CORY: Go and start your own band because we want to play shows with you!
For more information, check these links below and go buy their full length, "The Good Fight".


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