FUCK YEAH, LET’S GO
There, is a style of play in basketball called the run and gun. It is an aggressive offensive style; you push the ball up the court and force the offense; no walking up the court, no waiting for the shot to show up, the idea is to score, fast and steady. This is similar to the style of rock that the Ex Hex plays. It is go from the jump, no building to a crescendo. Out of the gate, rock!
“Fuck yeah, let’s go,” would be the philosophy according to drummer extraordinaire Laura Harris. “Let’s do it. I don’t know, let’s just go, Yeah man, people wanna come see that stuff, then yeah, let’s go, let’s write more songs, let’s play more, let’s go!” (Exclamation mine, the interview happened during a drive from Atlantic City, and the rest of the band was sleeping, but I kind of inferred that the sentiment was more animated than she was allowed to be at the time).
Ex Hex are a rock n’ roll band in the most no frills interpretation of those words. I would say basic rock n’ roll in the spiritual sense: simple, but not simple-tight might be the better sentiment. Every note is necessary. Every drum beat falls at the exact right place. There is no fat, all muscle. It was a style favored by the greatest FM rock of the 70s, the punk of the 80s, the pop of the 50s, the soul of the 60s; it’s the song, the delivery. Their album is called “Rips” for fucks sake, and that is what it does for 35 solid minutes. It fucking rips.
“Actually we did a bunch of editing for a lot of them. Mary would suggest to me I take something out, or not play something, and it was the same thing with us, all of us would do that to each other. I think that those songs got so simple because we all were cutting and cutting and cutting stuff out…We all really love 70s, late 70s, rock, pop, I mean we love all music, but we were listening to a lot of 70s and 80s pop, power pop, punk, like 80s…you know we just wanted to make just fun solid rock songs.”
Directness. The most primal connection we have to sound, is what it directs us to do. Music, in its most primal stage, influences movement: toe tapping, head nodding, clapping, shaking etc. Ex Hex’s albums connects to this principle. You can imagine it live; it sounds as it would sound live; no multitude of layered vocals, or choir, no guest rapping, it is a reflection of what the show might be like. This is music that has to be experienced live, it would almost be criminal to accept it only as an aural document.
“Yeah man, for sure. We all played in bands where we liked the music but it sucked to play it live. It’s not fun. We just want to have a good time like our first bands that we ever played in were like that. It a different thing when you can play in a band and just cut loose. When were writing that stuff, it was just like, I don’t know if we were thinking about it (how the songs would come across live or not) it was just let’s play music first as band, and we had such a blast.”
However, within the humdrum of touring, driving cross country, sitting and waiting for sound checks or hotel rooms to be cleaned, eating in a different place everyday, seeing the majority of a city or country from bus windows, fighting major or minor sickness while still having to muster up the strength to be everyone’s moment every night can probably becoming trying, especially when the album you released set such a high standard.
“Honestly, that time when we’re playing is the best we’ve felt all day. It’s like when you’ve been in the car all day long, you try to take your vitamins and drink water, you know, but once you get on stage it doesn’t matter, even if you’ve been sick, or your energy’s low, it doesn’t matter. It can be hard to get through sometimes, some shows it’s definitely more natural, but hands down it’s the best time of the whole day.”
So I say, let’s share that experience January 13th, when Ex Hex hits Walter’s Downtown (1120 Naylor). This will be a genuinely wonderful rock experience. Don’t take just take my word on it, take all 800 words I’ve dedicated to this article for it. You are welcome.