Tell us the sordid history of The Hard Ponys
I’m afraid the sordid history is something the public isn’t ready for. The Reader’s Digest version, minus the very, very sordid parts, is this:We played together from ’89-’91 as Flash Bastard. Reunited in late 2009, played a couple of reunion shows in 2010 and decided we had more we wanted to do. So we came up with a new name, recorded an album and started playing as the Hard Ponys.
I notice the unusual spelling of Ponys. Any particular reason for that?
Purely visual. Danny came up with the logo and the name sort of simultaneously and the proper spelling didn’t look right. We argued about the spelling amongst ourselves, and even though I usually don’t go for misspelled names, I argued for it in this case. The right way looked…wrong.
To me Rock N’ Roll is just that, I don’t need to put any more labels on it. No neoclassicpostthrashgrungedeathblackgothspeeddoomstoner here, your thoughts?
It’s gotten a bit ridiculous. Seems like every new band you hear has their own genre or sub-genre. If that’s the case, why not just let the band name double as the genre. “Oh, who are you?” “We’re the Screaming Skulls.” “What kind of music do you play?” “Screaming Skull.” I mean, I see the point of differentiating up to a point. Blues and polka aren’t the same thing. Even within Rock N’ Roll, I can see drawing a distinction between, say, metal and punk or prog-rock and rockabilly, but where does it end?
What era of Rock does it for you?
I’ll try to answer for the band as a whole here, even though we’ve got our own opinions, individually. As a band, I think it’s mostly ’70’s and ’80’s rock that we’re drawn to the most.
I really enjoy the CD tell us about the experience of making it?
It was great, apart from having to pull everybody else’s weight, even though they didn’t appreciate anything I did. You’d think they’d be grateful for me sneaking in and re-recording their parts for them after they screwed everything up. No, it was actually kind of a dream. Some of the songs are new but several are not, songs we’d played live ages ago and were very proud of, and it was great to finally get them down so that people can hear them. You know, in case anybody wants to.
Does any of you have any formal musical education?
No, not really. Well, you’ve heard the CD, right? Seriously, though, none of us have had any serious formal training. Well, that I know of. Not sure in Jim’s case, he may have had some proper drum lessons in his woodshedding days. The rest of us, though, are mostly self-taught. I took one vocal lesson which actually helped a lot because I kept the practice tape of vocal exercises even though I never went for another lesson. Rob and I started a classical guitar class together, but he dropped out after a few classes. since he was my ride, I dropped out, too.
What is the most memorable moment in a performance for the band?
When we can go two songs without me smashing into Rob or Danny and knocking them out of tune. Actually, the part where I DO smash into them is better for me.
What music new/old are you listening to that would surprise us?
Well, people are pretty aware of my obsession with Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton-John and ’70’s Easy Listening in general, so probably not that. I actually like some Nicki Minaj songs, and some Ke$ha songs. That might be a bit of a shocker.Rob posted a link to a Jack Johnson song on his Facebook the other day, and that surprised the piss out of me.
What piece of advice would you give the young musician?
Sell out straightaway. See if you can get a song in a car commercial. Change any lyrics the record company wants you to, wear what they tell you to wear. Don’t concern yourself with musical integrity, just go for the fastest payout. Oh, and do all the blow and hookers you can get your hands on.
Where can I buy a The Hard Ponys t-shirt?
You can’t. But keep an eye on the post.
UPDATE: Dreams do come true: