Photo courtesy of Jason Tang.
On Valentine’s Day, it’s no doubt that your feed is full of superfluous displays of love, advertisements for jewelry and chocolates for your sweetheart, and cynics lamenting their lack thereof. Here at Noisey, we’re gonna interrupt the onslaught of heart-shaped vomit to kick start your Hallmark holiday the right way: with a hefty dose of sweaty, happy, sex-infused, good-time rock ‘n’ roll. If you can’t hang with that, read no further.
Seattle’s two-piece, self-described “trash-can” rock ‘n’ roll band Hobosexual has been delivering the bluesy booty-shakin’ and emphatic high-fives since 2010. Their latest effort, an EP entitled GoodBadTaste, which will be out out April 16, was engineered by the legendary desert-rock multi-instrumentalist/producer Alain Johannes. “To be honest, I was terrified at the idea of working with Alain,” says frontman Ben Harwood, or “Hobo Ben,” to which he is affectionately referred. “I seriously thought he was just gonna end up being another coked-up LA d-bag with a big name, riding credentials with Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vultures—shows how tapped into things I am, right?—but Alain ended up being the biggest musical influence on me in over 12 years…There wasn't any big speech, there wasn't a buncha ‘talk’ about what he could do or not do, or ‘words of wisdom’ to impart, he just DID.” The end result of the Hobosexual-Alain Johannes collision is a heavier, more explosively guitar-noodle-y experience than ever before, setting the duo up for a killer new path in the land of irreverent rock ‘n’ roll.
Despite being a pair of hairy Pacific Northwestern dudes, Hobosexual has purposely and consistently made videos starring badass ladies, kicking butt either literally or figuratively. “We have the extreme fortune of knowing some of the most kickass women on the planet,” Harwood says. “We're just so lucky women have agreed to work with the band on my often seemingly nutso ideas.” Their 2014 video for “BMX” features a woman who takes her DeLorean out on the town and seduces her friend’s abusive ex-boyfriend, knocks him out behind a bar, and retrieves a beloved Zippo lighter she left behind. (Drop everything and watch it here). “Illegal Sensations,” the first single from GoodBadTaste which we’re premiering above, stars two little girls who rip the head off their Barbie and bring life to a coffee-and-beer fueled, Datsun-driving, crime-fighting robot.
“Illegal Sensations” is also the perfect video for Valentine’s Day: It’s a tale of unlikely love between the robot and—wooed by beer and a mix tape—the household vacuum cleaner. (See? Robots are just like us.) Whether you’re gonna shower for the first time in weeks, bust out the drugstore cologne and swagger into the bedroom to make some sweet, sweet love to your honey under a blanket of roses and chocolate, or you’re about to head to the bar solo to talk shit on the institution of Hallmark holidays and capitalism, chances are this tune’ll get your hips wiggling. In the meantime, Ben Harwood is here to share some “Hobo Love” wisdom.
NOISEY: It’s Valentine’s Day, so we’re gonna talk about some mushy shit. Tell me about the first time you fell in love.
: Well for me personally, it was with a girl in our Catholic grade school named Amanda Woods. I was in second grade and pretty much thought she was the bees knees until we all moved on to junior high after sixth grade. I never did tell her how I felt about her, mainly because I was the fat, loserly, (probably smelly) poor kid in school. You know how Catholic school kids all have to wear the SAME uniforms? Ok, let's put it this way, I was SO nerdy and fat that I STILL looked like the most poorly dressed motherfucker in the room.
That's OK, though. It just gave me more time to practice Phrygian death scales on my Korean-made SG in my room until I drove my mom nuts.
Do Hobosexuals believe in love at first sight?
We hump everything. Lampposts, garbage cans—that statue of Jimi Hendrix in downtown Seattle? I've personally humped it like four times. I'm humping my laptop right now actually, as I type. We're non-discriminate about "love direction,” "first love durational precept," and above all, "selective humpening" of any sorts.
You’re a happily married man. What does a Hobosexual do to show his wife how important she is on Valentine’s Day?
Rock ‘n’ roll has always been steeped in sex and drenched in sweat. How does Hobosexual carry on that tradition?
Well, in all seriousness, I used to look around at Seattle shows and I didn't see people sweating enough. It pissed me the fuck off. Drummer: not sweating. Front row audience: not even a hint of perspiration. Guitarists, vocalists, bassists—all wearing SWEATERS and STILL NOT fucking sweating!
So Jeff and I decided the only option was to gain 40 pounds each, grow out our hair even more, and bring back sweating and loud to this fair city.
I'm happy to say that decision was made about five years ago, and since inception of the Hobosexual to Seattle, we've seen a 42% increase in sweating, shirtlessness mid-set (both sexes), spontaneous high fives, high tens, and YES, I have seen a TRI-FIVE mid crowd-surf, between a dude, a lady, and the Corgi-Datsun hybrid she brought to a show at the Comet in 2013.
If Hobosexual were put in charge of a high school sex ed class, what would you teach the kids?
I'd just walk in, go straight to my desk, open my briefcase, and bust out a buncha GI Joes, then smoosh them together for like 45 minutes while making humping noises. Whoever made it through the entire presentation would get free prophylactics and a copy of They Live on VHS Home Video Cassette. What love advice does Hobosexual have for all the single people out there?
Shower. You’ve mentioned in past interviews that the word “Hobosexual” came from your friend who said you were the founder of the “Classic Hobo Tom Petty Motherfucker Seattle Look.” How can I, too, attain that look?
It's true; I was given the name due to my hairy, unkempt, scotch-with-two-ice-cubes-drinking, poorer-than-dirt looking demeanor and persona. In order to attain said look, one need simply follow these steps:
1.) Browse through any number of mainstream fashion-based publications while preferably drinking a single-malt scotch.
2.) With your pinky up, doodle any number of mustaches and/or facial accouterments over any number of vapid, thin-mint fashionistas featured therein. This action will help to distract you from the gag reflex and/or vomiting as inherent side effects normal people experience while looking through said publications.
3.) Exit said publication and back away slowly after establishing dominance (without turning your back or losing eye contact).
5.) Once you're a safe distance from it, do the exact fucking opposite of everything you read or saw in there and listen to John Lee Hooker's It Serve You Right to Suffer for at least six hours a day, for up to seven days, or until said imagery is permanently erased from your mind.
What’s sexier, a woman or a Trans Am?
If I answer this question correctly, do I win a Trans Am?
You can pre-order 'GoodBadTaste' right here.
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