Hobo Ben’s Sci Fi Spectacular (and bagels)

Gosh I love bagels. Not just the ordinary pre packaged Lenders variety, I like the ones you pull from the plastic bin at the grocery, usually over by the deli. Man, there are few foods better. I eat them toasted, cold, as a sandwich….I would wear bagels as a hat and use 2 as outer arm floatation devices when swimming if I could, but alas, we don’t live in that kind of an accepting, non anti-bagelite society. And so, the fight for the right to wear bagels as legitimate fashion and utility continues.

Which brings me to something else I love. I love Science Fiction. Not science fantasy, where one has to leap into the absolutely absurd…like a lotta the super hero stuff…but more like, when Ripley climbs into a human robo suit and fights a gigantic queen alien before blowing the terrifying 3 mouthed monster out the airlock of a futuristic gun ship.

A lotta people have made some pretty keen observations on Hobosexual II and the “storytelling” behind it (it was created as a loosely written, rather bombastic love letter to 70s grindhouse up through early-mid 80s A and B grade action films), but what a lotta people don’t know about me, is I’ve dabbled in amateur screen plays for many, many years.

Recently, I was made aware that Douglas Tumble, the principle special effects designer for films such as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, “Blade Runner” and “2001 A Space Odyssey” was developing a new film projection technology and had built something of a modern day “Lucasfilm” surrounding the project.

I was also kinda blown away when I found out a few weeks ago that Mr. Trumble was interested in reading a few of my Science Fiction treatments. So with the help of my good friend Cathleen O’ Neil as editor, we hammered out one of the ideas I’ve had mulling around my insane, over-sized noggin’ for years now. Doug is set to review the first treatment this weekend.

I have to say, this exercise has really spurned a creative side I’d left half dormant for years. Getting back into writing, and getting my chops back and up to spec has been pretty damn fun.

You can check out images of just a few of Douglas Tumble’s iconic past sci-fi films below…I could just stare at these for days in awe frankly.

Hobo Pop

I hear a lot of bands and individuals bitching these days about how rock is dying in Seattle, (especially with the closure of The Comet) and how live rock/guitar driven shows suck, …oh yeah, and how nobody puts any energy into anything rock related anymore. Then I hear the other side of the coin..that rock n roll is alive, loud, and on a resurgence. Then I sorta realize…rock n roll and some of the musicians who tout it, from our electric guitars, to our 94 piece drum kits, are kinda-sorta total manic bitches.

I don’t think rock (in its pure form) needs to change one bit, but I DO think Charlie Parker said it best, to paraphrase;

"learn your notes, learn you instrument, forget all that, and just play."

I believe the former haven’t really gotten that point, and I think Charlie understood something fairly universal, that being, that true mastery does not lie in the performance set forth on one’s instrument only, but that it comes from within. You don’t see rock n roll really drawing from that classical idiom anymore. What I see, are a bunch of whiny posers or converse contrarians trying to catch up, create unique for the sake of novelty, or copy something that’s already happened (or is currently happening), because ironically, the latter “pop” music field has figured out how to entertain BETTER.

This is going to be a news flash for some, and really piss off others, but It’s our fucking job as musicians playing original rock n roll to create new, and entertain. That’s it. It’s our job to engage our audience, push their limits and ours, and to pull an occasional proverbial rabbit out of the hat. Believe it or not, but it takes DECADES to master that craft. Our ancestors understood that, our current generation of pseudo intellectual, google obsessed, info bit packet sycophants have completely missed the boat.

If you want to play masturbatory popular music, rock n roll is not the medium to do it. We’re living in an age of so many disenfranchised “prog” musicians, it’s becoming borderline sad clown tragic.

I find it utterly laughable when someone in my field takes a concerted stance against ALL popular music because they think it’s beneath them. 99.9% I’d agree, it’s monkey shit in a 1 ply paper bag, but one need only play a movement from Stravinsky’s Firebird, one of Bartok’s string quartets, or if you want to get nuts, perhaps something by Penderecki, to realize that technical mastery, complexity and simultaneous exploration of incredible, jaw dropping revelations in both theory and experimental texture…along with a somehow miraculous grasp of musicianship and listenable, palpable prose, ..has already been DONE! …a HUNDRED years ago! You can tout whatever obscure, current subversive bands you’re into all you want, but in the end, 99.9% of that, is going to pale in comparison to the great, grand masters who spent lifetimes/generations mastering the complex.

Why go here? Because in my opinion, it’s this very conceited, selfish, and close minded pseudo intellectualism that’s gotten rock n roll to where she is now, stuck in front of a concrete wall, built from ironic cliche.

Rock n roll is a music founded on rebellion. It’s loud, offensive, cheap, and ultimately liberating. I fucking love it. For what it’s worth, for those out there struggling, I can tell you, Hobosexual currently lives by the first 3 sentences of this paragraph, but with a simultaneous complete and (as total as we can absorb) awareness of our musical human history, both in the aforementioned classical idioms, and blues and pop culture. And if you want my opinion again, (i know…i know, prob not)…that’s where rock needs to start drawing from again.

For anyone out there still bitching, I suggest you shut up and start channeling that excess energy into more rocking. Just remember, your fans, your friends, and your family are why you have a viable hobby or even a career playing music. Whether that’s your mom, the hot bartender at your regular gig, or 1200 people crammed into a theater…your end job is to entertain them, and to have a blast while doing it.

Hobosexual, Hobosexual II (10/4, self-released, reverbnation.com/hobosexual) These guys are storytellers. That was clear on Hobosexual’s 2010 self-titled debut, and is even more so on Hobosexual II. For their sophomore effort, the local duo of Jeff Silva and Ben Harwood took the storytelling thing to the next level, mixing their love of  ’70s-influenced riffs and ’80s glam rock to create a complex story about a post-apocalyptic world. The year is 2071, the protagonist is Kara, and the mission is to save the radiation- and poison-infested earth from the grasp of the “Sex Destroyers” street gang. The scene is set instantly by the aggressive opening notes of “Switchblade Suburbia,” a sonic assault that makes the following track, the rolling, bluesy “The Black Camaro Death,” an even bigger surprise. The album’s high point is “A Motherfuckin’ Song,” a chant-heavy banger that’s part Sabbath and part My Chemical Romance (the catchy call-and-response thing, not the annoying emo-goth thing). It’s this variety of straightforward rock ’n’ roll and arena-ready anthems that makes Hobosexual II so compelling. The duo has found a perfect mix of nostalgia and novelty on this release, and the result is an homage to the greats that showcases just how hungry we all are for another wave of epic, rowdy rock—with a punk disposition, of course. (Fri., Oct. 4, Neumos) KEEGAN PROSSER

Hobosexual II on Compact Disc now Available @ Easy Street Records

So, since the local release at Neumos last Friday, a lotta people have asked Jeff and I where they can score a physical copy of the new album, and the answer is none other than Easy Street Records in West Seattle!

We’re currently selling the disc there and will be releasing the limited run physical vinyl collector package there as well on 10.25. Naturally, you can score the album digitally on itunes and amazon.com.

http://easystreetonline.com/locations

-Hobo Ben

Hobosexual II ALL AGES VINYL LP RELEASE @ Easy Street! Oct 25th, 2013

So you kids were hoping that our epic concept album, Hobosexual II would drop to an ALL AGES crowd?

I’ll bet you were ALSO hoping for a show with a FREE door/NO cover? AND…while we’re in magical fantasy-land, you were probably, kinda, sorta hoping it would be available on WAX someday?

Well, …Gandalf, Optimus Prime, Oprah Winfrey, Non-Slutty Miley Cyrus, The Hobos, AND Jesus, have decided to form a temporary alliance and answer your prayers skippy!

Ergo, Hobosexual will be dropping Hobosexual II on an extremely LIMITED EDITION (individually foil numbered) VINYL LP as an
ALL AGES, FREE, Easy Street Records LIVE CONCERT in store!

Now, this is NO ordinary Vinyl LP package kids. The records will come with an exclusive 11x17 advance “Hobosexual II” movie teaser, digital download cards of every track, and an included free PDF of the epic story, recommended alternate track sequences, and concept behind Hobosexual II.

The Vinyl LP will be available at the show, and for sale at Easy Street thereafter.

Also on the bill and opening will be our good friends and fellow face melters, (Seattle’s own) The Spinning Whips !! The Whips ALSO recently released a fantastic new record, and it too, will be available for purchase at the show.

We hope to see ya’all there!

Review from Guerrilla Candy (Take Candy from Strangers)

http://www.guerrillacandy.com/2013/10/04/see-this-show-tonight-hobosexual-fox-and-the-law-at-neumos/

The most rambunctious two-piece in local rock are back with a masterpiece of a sophomore album. That’s right, Guerrilla Candy’s pals Hobosexual have returned and their new album “Hobosexual II” is exactly what you would expect from the rough and rugged (yet also playful and lovable) rock ‘n’ roll beasts Ben Harwood and Jeff Silva. The guitar tones are sick, the drums sound amazing and the songs flat out rock. And like the band’s self-titled 2010 debut album, this record is best enjoyed when cranked up to 11. In fact, I’m pretty sure that in the future there’s going to be a law making it illegal to listen to “Hobosexual II” at any volume level lower than 11. 

Speaking of the future, did I mention that “Hobosexual II” is a concept record set in the year 2071? The story involves an outlaw BMX biker gang called the Sex Destroyers that are led by an authority-fighting female named Kara (pictured above on the album cover) who has broken away from a society where corporate overlords rule the masses thanks to mind-control gas sprayed over cities and slipped into water supplies. During a battle with rival biker gang the Annihilators Kara rescues a scientist called Creep who is working on a project he calls Mechagodmothra, which is a giant rocketship that Kara hopes will take her and the remaining outlaws who are strong enough to resist the corporate mind-controlling tyrants to live on a distant moon of Saturn that Creep says can sustain human life.

RELATED: Band crush: Hobosexual | Watch: Two new songs from Hobosexual

Sounds pretty rad right? And like all good concept albums, the story is engaging but it’s the music that really sells the experience. Simply put, the 12 tracks on  this album marks the return of good old fashioned dirty, sweaty, loud and heavy rock ‘n’ roll to Seattle.

Oh, and if Hobosexual’s balls-out rock and a killer storyline aren’t enough to sell you on “Hobosexual II” here’s another reason you need to have this album in your record collection: it has a motherf#%kin’ song about robots. Excuse me, that’s my bad. It’s actually “A Motherf#%kin’ Song About Robots” since that’s the name of the song. Trust me when I say “Hobosexual II” is one of the few must-own local rock albums of 2013 and you will want to be at Neumos tonight to hear how bombastic and badass it sounds live.

RELATED: Hobosexual: A band living in its own world | Video premiere: Hobosexual “Monolith”

The allure of hearing brand spanking new Hobo music should be a good enough reason to get your butt over to Capitol Hill tonight, but just in case it isn’t as an added bonus the garage blues rock machine that is Fox and the Law are also on tonight’s bill. The band — who are also pals to Guerrilla Candy — are celebrating the release of their latest record “Empty Cases,” which you can download for free over here, making this a Friday night of local rock you don’t want to miss.

That rock ‘n’ roll orgy that will be Hobosexual and Fox and the Law’s dual album release show at Neumos begins tonight at 8 p.m. ($10). The Strange Kind and Keaton Collective will open.

The long awaited follow up to Hobosexual’s debut album is here, Hobosexual II is a nostalgic homage to their love 80’s exploitation films.

Ben Talks to Strangers (The Stranger)

Ben Harwood Talks About Hobosexual II

Posted by on Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Local duo Hobosexual has just released their second album, handily titled II. Armed with only a guitar and a drum kit, the Seattle-based band manages to get a lot out of a little (check out the deep dark drag of “The Black Camaro Death” or the jean jacket swagger of “Sex Destroyer” for a heaping dose of “see what I mean?”) And did I mention it’s a concept album? Yeah, well, it’s complicated. On the approach of their big CD release show at Neumos on Friday, I talked with head Hobo honcho Ben Harwood about what it all means.

So… concept album huh?
Yes. Did you listen to it yet?

I did! I’m detecting some obvious Bon Jovi and Skid row influences on a couple of the tracks.
Not familiar with either of those bands other than by name, but it’s true, we are definitely aiming to revive some serious ass rock with Hobosexual II.

The 80’s were a pretty lousy time for concept albums, according to Wikipedia. Any recommended 80’s concept albums you could stack alongside this one? And don’t say Operation Mindcrime.
Not really. The entire point of this was a retro-futuristic exploration of a feeling/idea about a certain time. The album wasn’t about making a literally defined 80’s concept staple, it was more about an interpersonal exploration of an idea of a time, a memory in childhood of a time that i now look back on and envy. I remember there was a lot more mystery, personally defined senses of self among adults felt different. You know what I’m getting at? Like if you can’t look everything up in 3 seconds or reference 999 pop culture feeds a second via the internet. There’s a lot more of a sense of mystery, of beliefs personally held, or within a group, town, etc and all that translates to a vibe, a way of being that’s not plugged into the “self” but more into that bigger picture strata of pop culture icons. Am I making any sense?

You’re translating both the slowness and loudness of youth against the textures of today.
I realize any adult that lived through that era probably considers a lot of it a low point compared to today’s “freedoms”, instant access to information, etc., but in reality it’s just another, smarter level of social manipulation. And how can anyone be happy when they’re so plugged in, they’re not even living their own lives or within the basic creative tenants of their own minds?

It’s a tough balancing act. We have it all, and yet we have nothing when it comes to these sorts of things. I realized the same thing going through a few notebooks from 1995 the other day.
A lot more is said and taken away in a face to face conversation than an email [or] a text… And to me, it’s not a balancing act because as soon as you fall into the current cycle we call our waking daily technologically driven lives, you lose creativity completely. [But] if you like the record, it means at minimum I was able to come back with and maybe even tap into something that we share in common. That’s the exciting part for me is potential to wake something up in someone if only for a minute, maybe get them to catch that vibe.

I do like the album. The sound of your music is a lot larger this time out even though you’re still just two guys. How much of that is drummer Jeff Silva and how much of that is studio magic?
It’s actually both. We worked a ton on creating more open space in the drums to maximize sonic punch and use of space, with Jeff deliberately going more Phil Rudd. He also slammed the holy hell out of the snare and kick. Additionally, we came up with a very careful and fairly unique approach to recording and isolating the drums without bleed from other instrumentation. This allowed us to crank any part of the kit we wanted in mixing without worry of a stray guitar in an overhead or kick drum mic etc. i wont bore you with the details on it, but it half combined the early “Mutt” Lange approach to kit isolation with a rather adjunct Phil Ek approach to the room and miking. In the end, we got maximum punch and a ridiculous amount of headroom to play with.

I have no idea what any of that means. Hey, here’s a dumb question to close things out. I know you’re a big Sylvester Stallone fan. What do you think his worst smelling movie is? I don’t mean the worst film overall, but in which film did he play his worst smelling character?
Oh, man, that’s a golden question I don’t have a golden answer to let me ponder that one. I can tell you that in terms of smelliness, Frank Stallone pretty much out BO’d his brother 10 days a week. I mean, just look at the guy You know he was that stinky kid in 4th grade. I was the awkward fat kid, so nobody has a better 6th sense for this observation than yours truly.

Hobosexual’s CD release show is at Neumos on October 4th with special guests Fox & The Law, The Keaton Collective, and The Strange Kind.

http://lineout.thestranger.com/lineout/archives/2013/10/03/ben-harwood-talks-about-hobosexual-ii

Brand spankin’ new split 7’ vinyl with Daughters is back from the presses, just in time for tomorrow’s show! This one previews 2 tracks off our upcoming full length LP, and comes with a handy-dandy download card for use with the webernets.

…and we’ll soon be unveiling the mind blowing Hobosexual II Full Length LP artwork, track listing, and wax labels, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Rumor has it, our 2nd studio LP is a rather massive concept album.

Hobo at Columbia City Theater #music #loud #beard #seattle #guitar (at Columbia City Theater)