JAMBASE: How often do you talk with Phil these days?
JH: Quite a bit, actually.
JAMBASE: The reunion shows the Q played at Terrapin Crossroads last
year, was it
easy to just slip back in?
JH: It absolutely was. It was such a special band and is still is – it
felt like a
comfortable old pair of jeans
and when we played the first show, we were all like, wow, that never really went away, did
it? Sure, we’d get better at
it if we did it more often, and I had to be reminded of a couple of things, but come on,
the last gig with the Quintet
was in 2003, and my last full gig with Phil was probably in 2005 in Vegas.
Many years had gone by, but Phil says to me, Jimmy, you know my schpiel [laughs]. We’re
all a school of fish.
Sometimes you swim at the front, or the middle, or the back, and all of this could happen
within eight bars of music.
Phil thought of the band as a school of fish – not a perfect V-formation, but…he wants to
apply nature to music. He
wants people to play with him.
JAMBASE: Will there be more Q gigs?
JH: Well, I know there’s going to be the Christmas Jam, and I know
Phil wants there
to be more. I’m hoping
that he does. It’s my favorite incarnation to play with Phil. It’s so comfortable, and
everyone knows each other so well
and is such good friends and we all know each other’s little stuff, and habits. We lived
on a bus together, man. We
played a lot of gigs back then. It was another time, but everyone loves each other all the
way to their core. I sure do
want to do more.
JAMBASE: Earlier in our conversation you mentioned exploring different
your musical vocabulary. I
know one outlet for some of those parts was the music you’ve released solo and as a
bandleader. Will you be
returning to that you think?
JH: I loved doing that. But it’s a pressure cooker when it’s got your
name on it,
man. You have to be the
type of person who’s a natural leader and can say no to people. Being a bandleader is a
whole ‘nother trip – I
personally prefer to be in the band, but not leading the band. The bandleader piece, who
knows, it’s just a kind of
pressure I’m really not good at. I wouldn’t say no, these shows would never happen again,
but what I really want to
do next is play with the Ringers, which is a project with Wayne Krantz, Keith Carlock,
Michael Landau and Etienne
JAMBASE: Ah yes.
JH: The idea is a lot of fun because we’re all really different –
everyone in this
has a different voice. Wayne
would never be confused with anyone else, and Michael Landau, he’s one of the most amazing
musicians I’ve ever
played with. Etienne, who’s from Cameroon, plays all over the world with some of the
greatest musicians alive. Keith
can do everything and he plays with Steely Dan and all that but he can also play stuff
like the Meters like he grew up
doing it. What we’re doing here is meeting in the middle and trying to create super simple
music that we can bend
and shape together.
It’s not as much pressure doing the gig as there would be if it were something with my
name on it. It’s tough, man,
there are always financial frustrations for getting plane tickets together and hotels, and
all these things people take
for granted if they’re in a band that works all the time. Sometimes you’re not drawing
enough people that you can
actually affordably get a hotel. Music is that way sometimes. And I have no regrets –
music is worth it to do if it’s
something you really love to do. But there’s no question it’s harder.
JAMBASE: So you’ll be spending some of your free weeks with the
Ringers it sounds
JH: Well, I hope so. We’re talking about doing stuff. The guy who put
together is my friend
Souvik Dutta, he runs Abstract Logix, and he put out my two records. If it wasn’t for
Souvik, I wouldn’t have done
‘em. It’s expensive to record well and no one really wants to pay to make records anymore
because no one is buying
records anymore – it’s all about live gigs.
But I feel lucky because I’ve always been about live gigs. I have the luxury of never
being in a band that’s sold a lot of
records! [laughs] The Ringers was a cool idea. I’d only met Etienne and I didn’t know
Krantz or Landau. Souvik came
to me with the idea, and I was like, but you have Krantz, and he plays in trios and he’s
like the guitar player, the
percussion player and the other voices. I was like, these guys aren’t going to want to do
this. But then they were in
and I was like, OK, now I have to do it. It’s a low pressure gig that’s tons of fun. And
Souvik’s been trying to drag me
across the ocean to play in Europe, where I’ve never been.
JAMBASE: No way! Never?
JH: That’s what all these people I know say, they don’t believe it.
But I’m 51
years old and I’ve never been
to Europe. It’s not like I haven’t had opportunities. But I’ll tell you I’m kind of
spoiled. When you go over there and
you can’t take your favorite stuff with you, you have to rent back line equipment. And I’m
like, at my age, I’m going
to sound like I want to sound, and I’ve rented enough backline equipment to know I’m not
going to do it again.
It’s a crapshoot. There’s nothing worse than someone who expects you to sound a certain
way and they’ve told their
friends, oh man, this guy has this tone, and they all come to hear you play and you’re
playing through some piece of
shit backline amp. Anyway, Souvik, he’s working on me. If I ever get to do it, I’ll do it
with the Ringers. But who
knows with Panic. Panic’s been to Japan, and we’ve been to the Dominican and places like
that, and those guys have
been to Australia and Europe but that was before I was in the band. Who knows?