Local H: 25 Years, new record, new tour - Interviews - Soundblab

Local H: 25 Years, new record, new tour

by Brian Lange. Rating: Release Date:

Local H has been part of the alt-rock scene since the 90s with iconic records like Pack Up the Cats and As Good As Dead, which includes the MTV and radio-loved 'Bound for the Floor', (or that "copasetic" song) which peaked at number five on Billboard's alternative chart. With a new record available this week, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Local H frontman Scott Lucas about the new record Hey, Killer and their upcoming tour.

Hi Scott, thanks for speaking with me today.

Scott: No problem.

I actually used to live in Chicago, but I guess I never ran into you. Do you get recognized when you go out and about?

Depends on where I go. If I go to the store, no. If I go to a bar, yeah.

Before I moved away from there, I made a point to visit your hometown, Zion. You reference it in your new record. Do you feel that Zion still gives you material for lyrics in your music?

You know, I dunno. I spent almost half my life there. With the first track, 'The Last Picture Show in Zion', that’s something that just happened this past year at the movie theatre I used to work at and where I saw my first movie ever. 

That place got torn down and everyone was sending me emails and messages about it, so that’s something that brought me back there. So I guess you never really close the book on where you grew up.

You’re playing a show at The Metro in Chicago on April 19 to celebrate 25 years of Local H and you’ve been posting a retrospective of sorts on the band’s Facebook page. What are some of your thoughts looking back on all the years?

I’m not really one for looking back. In January, Ham Fisted was 20 years old and we have a new record — that’s kind of how we’re celebrating things. 

There were a few months where we weren’t really doing anything new. We were playing some shows, but there was a gap there where I could look back and it was fun, it was interesting. There was a lot of stuff I had forgotten about, boxes with demos that I don’t know if I’ve ever heard, just a lot of stuff that was pretty cool. 

I mean, honestly, I’m just surprised when anybody comes up to me and says they like the band. That still surprises me.

The new record Hey, Killer sounds fantastic, I think you sound as good as ever. I’m not kissing your ass, but the new record is really great.

Thank you.

How was the collaborative process working with new drummer Ryan Harding on this record?

It was really smooth. We were really well prepared, we knew what we wanted to do, everything was sounding good, and just a really pleasant experience. I guess some people can make good records when there’s a lot of tension in the studio, but I think it’s not necessary. 

You went the route of raising production money through Pledge Music where you could offer fans that donated certain amounts goodies from the band. You achieved almost double your goal. 

Yeah. The first week in we were surprised about how quickly we reached the goal. It was cool, because there are a lot of costs that we didn’t anticipate like pressing costs, you know? Just tons of things we didn’t realize we were going to have to pay for. So that money came through where it was really needed.

Was it a choice based on the trend of bands like Radiohead or Nine Inch Nails doing a 'pay what you want' sort of system?

No, I’m not really a big fan of Kickstarter and things like that. When I see Zach Braff do a Kickstarter campaign, it kind of just skeeves me out. I never wanted to ask anybody for anything, you know? 

When the idea of this was broached to me I thought I didn’t want to do it, but I started to think about it and thought, well, we’re not asking anyone to give us money. We’re offering them — like, if all they want is the record, it’s only $10. That’s the same that they’d pay somewhere else, so what we were asking them is to just trust that we’d make a record that wouldn’t be shitty, and I really appreciate that bit of faith from people. I sold pedals and stuff, some things I didn’t really want to sell, but this is what I’m willing to let this go for, you know?

I think your body of work has remained really consistent, which seems rare for musicians.  Hey, Killer sounds like it could have come out the same time as As Good As Dead. Do you ever feel a pressure to continue to outdo yourself?

There’s definitely a pressure to be consistent, and that’s been a pressure from day one. The more records you make, the harder it is to make something that doesn’t suck. Bands can suck without warning and you just don’t see it coming. 

I think the thing that helps us is that it’s always been about the music. There’s never been a point where we haven’t had to prove ourselves. As big as we are, which is not really big, at least it keeps us fresh and hungry. There’s no coasting when it comes to making a record. 

The interesting thing that I’ve always been aware of is that I think all the bands that I like are really big because I’m so into them, but when I look at the big picture—

That’s kind of what interests people, and that’s fine but that’s never interested me. The only thing was, I just wanted to be able to make another record. I just want to be able to keep making records and have this be my job. That’s totally what it’s been about for me.

It shows when you play live, and the fact that you keep making music. I can tell you just want to play rock 'n' roll.

Thank you.

Do you rate your own records? Are you critical on yourself?

Sure. But it’s best to get that out of the way before you get into the studio. There’s no real reason to make a record if you’re going to hate it, you know? I don’t make records that I’m not going to like.

I feel like I can still pop in any of your records and get the same feeling of adrenaline and freshness as I did when I was in high school. Do you still get that same rush when you take the stage or finish a record?

There’s that butterfly feeling when something’s sounding really good, you know? The feeling is great. That to me is what it’s all about. 

Be sure to catch Local H's amazing live performance, as they kick off their US tour that coincides with the release of Hey, Killer.  

4/17    Arlington Heights, IL          H.O.M.E.

4/18    Bolingbrook, IL                  Tailgaters

4/19    Chicago, IL                        Metro (25th Anniversary Show)

4/30    St. Louis, MO                     Firebird

5/1      Oklahoma City, OK            Conservatory

5/2      Dallas, TX                          Three Links

5/3      Austin, TX                          Holy Mountain

5/5      Phoenix, AZ                       Rhythm Room

5/6      San Diego, CA                   Casbah

5/7      Los Angeles, CA                The Echo

5/8      Las Vegas, NV                   Bunkhouse Saloon

5/9      Big Bear Lake, CA             The Cave Big Bear

5/11    Fullerton, CA                      Slidebar

5/12    San Francisco, CA             Bottom of the Hill

5/15    Portland, OR                      Hawthorne Theatre

5/16    Seattle, WA                        El Corazon

5/18    Salt Lake City, UT              Urban Lounge

5/19    Denver, CO                        Larimer Lounge

5/20    Omaha, NE                        The Waiting Room

5/21    Kansas City, MO                Record Bar

5/22    Waterloo, IA                       Spicoli's Grill

5/23    DeKalb, IL                         The House Cafe

6/12    Ferndale, MI                      The Loving Touch

6/13    Cleveland, OH                   Grog Shop

6/14    Lancaster, PA                     Chameleon Club

6/16    Wilmington, DE                  Mojo 13

6/17    Allston, MA                         Great Scott

6/18    Pawtucket, RI                    The Met

6/19    Brooklyn, NY                     Saint Vitus

6/20    Washington, DC                Rock & Roll Hotel

6/22    Chapel Hill, NC                  Cat's Cradle - Backroom

6/23    Asheville, NC                     The Mothlight

6/24    Atlanta, GA                        The Masquerade - Hell Stage

6/25    Birmingham, AL                 Saturn

6/26    Nashville, TN                     Exit/In

6/27    Lexington, KY                    Cosmic Charlie's

7/9      Kankakee, IL                      BBQ Fest

7/10    Indianapolis, IN                  The Hi-Fi

7/11    Toledo, OH                         Frankie's

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