There is still over a week left on the Green 17 Tour with Flogging Molly including five dates in California! Read this recent Hot Water Music article from Insite Magazine and be sure to come out and see them live. You won't regret it.
NAME: Hot Water Music
CURRENT PROJECT: The New What Next (Epitaph)
FOR FANS OF: Bad Religion, Social Distortion, Alkaline Trio
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE: Because 10 years into the game, they're at their punk peak.
RANDOM QUOTE: "The great thing about punk is that it will still be here and still be vital once all the industry attention is gone."
For the past decade, Gainesville, Florida-based Hot Water Music has been churning out disc after disc of fierce punk-rock anthems. In that time, ska has been revived a handful of times, screamo has surfaced, peaked and all but disappeared, and boy bands with Mohawks like Good Charlotte have made millions while wearing safety pins and Clash T-shirts on TRL.
And all that time, the guys in Hot Water Music have never wavered from their DIY attitude and sound-- still loading up the van after each show and driving on to the next punk-friendly club in some out-of-the-way town. Their sound has matured a bit but never completely lost that hard street-punk core at the center of the group's 10 albums (including a handful of EPs and a blistering live record).
Despite seeing younger bands that have copied the punk-rock style but little else from the genre, while making a killing in CD and ticket sales, Jason Black, longtime bassist for HWM, holds no grudge.
"I think that more exposure is great for everyone," said Black, on the road with a headlining tour of Germany. "The great thing about punk is that it will still be here and still be vital once all the industry attention is gone."
With The New What Next, arguably the band's finest effort, the group has added a little polish to its sound, with crisper vocals, but has kept the same dark, moody vibe that helped propel 2002's Caution.
Coming out of Gainesville-- home of the University of Florida and little else-- there was still a pretty decent punk scene in the '90s... at least enough to keep the band in the Sunshine State. Why do punk rockers thrive in Gainesville of all places?
"For two reasons: it's very inexpensive to live there, and we have a built-in outlet to release records with No Idea (the label) being based in Gainesville." No Idea, the very indie punk label, has put out 7-inches and CDs by Gus, Bim Skala Bim, Fay Wray, fellow Gainesville band Less Than Jake and a slew of other great punk and ska bands.
Black, along with drummer George Rebelo and vocalists/ guitarists Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard, came together when two local bands both lost their lead singers. "We basically sorted out this band sifting through what we had left of those two."
Despite a short separation after the release of their third album, Black insists the band never thought about dissolving entirely. "Dissolve, no; slow down, yes. It happens quite a bit when you have four different personalities to deal with. People sometimes hate being on tour, hate being in the studio, hate writing songs. It's a very severe game of compromise."
The band took a brief break around 1997, and Wollard and Rebelo put together a side project: Blacktop Cadence. Soon after, HWM came back with a vengeance, found the punk Holy Grail in a deal with Epitaph.
With The New What Next, the band's sound is much more cohesive. According to Black, that's a credit to the way they approached writing. "This is more of a group effort. We all sat in a room jamming out on different ideas, and they then turned into songs, as opposed to one person bringing in a completed song and the rest of the band learning it."
Though the band contributed a song to one of the Rock Against Bush records, Black said the band didn't look to the current administration for inspiration. "(Politics) played into a few songs, yes. But mostly it was personal ideals, not anything where we're taking a stand on our soapbox yelling at everyone about how to live their lives."
With The New What Next garnering a ton of praise from critics and fans alike, the band will fight off jet lag with endless hours inside the van in the coming months, gearing up for yet another year crossing the borders on another North American tour.
By John Moore