Words by: Lindsay Colip
The Lonely H :: 03.07.09 :: Kimo's :: San Francisco, CA
Nobody told The Lonely H that it's not 1973... and thank god. Longhaired, blue-jeaned, Budweiser belt buckled and jewelry adorned, these guys rock it like our heroes from the golden age of music. Mark Fredson (vox, keys), Eric Whitman (guitar), Ben Eyestone (drums) and Johnny Whitman (bass) make up the band that reminds us to slow down and enjoy the ride. To say they consider Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and The Band to be some of their 'influences' would be an oversimplification. The Lonely H fully embodies the spirit and complexion of these powerhouse musicians. And even though they appreciate current bands like Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio and Fleet Foxes, when asked whom they'd like to tour with, their answers were right in line with their old school temperament - The Eagles and Tom Petty topped the list.
"We're a little behind as far as the modern music scene goes, but that's okay with us," Fredson explains. "Really the best music, especially our type of music, has been made and is being made but not to the same extent."
So, their motivation is to keep the rock 'n' roll spirit alive, to continue carrying the torch that was lit by the legends before them. The greatest part? These guys aren't putting on a front. They're not trying to carbon copy the past. They're not forcing themselves to dress or act like the rock gods of yesteryear; they simply are who they are. Their goals are simple, not fueled by money, greed or fame. In fact, the ultimate achievement at this point would be to have a music video on the Country Music Channel. How are they planning to approach the tight-knit country music community? Simply put, "We're a big fan of your shit. How about you let some young rockers who are country inclined be on your channel?" Fredson says with a smile.
The Lonely H, from Port Angeles, WA, have known each other since little league. They grew up in a simple town with one WalMart, two movie theaters, one bowling alley and a McDonalds. They like the isolation, the uncomplicated nature. As they proudly say, Port Angeles has "nothing at all going on and that's why we like it." When the guys do venture out on the road, they enjoy the big cities but always look forward to coming home, where it all began. The guys tour in a van that is the perfect setting for 20-year-olds, adorned with boxes of girl scout cookies, cassette tapes, cigarette butts, photography books and gallons of milk. And though J. Whitman admits, "It's kinda perverted... a bunch of girl scout cookies... four guys on the road," it's a perfect compliment to their style. They drink whiskey, Bud heavies and the occasional "fine IPA." They sell their own merch, subscribe to Rolling Stone and never plan on a place to sleep when they roll into town. They take life as it comes - simply, beautifully.
At Kimo's in San Francisco, Fredson stood mid stage at 6'6", with keys in front of him and legs dancing wildly (think James Brown) beneath him, not that he had any clue he was doing it. Again, these guys put on no guise. When he sings, it's as if Robert Plant sang a note and Fredson caught the end of it with his tongue. What Fredson doesn't quite have yet is the wild, sex-dripping confidence of Plant, but that will come in time. He is only 19.
|The Lonely H by Christopher Nelson|
Book-ending Fredson were the Brothers Whitman. Eric, who oozes Tom Petty from every single pore, sang perfect harmonies and played a satisfying guitar. Johnny, on bass, smiled so much during the show that people in the crowd were guessing what kaleidoscopic drug he must've been on. What he was on, I later found out, was the pure joy of playing. Eyestone killed the drums, keeping the band in complete rock sync. The guys played with fire and intensity but all the while kept a perfect cool. Afterwards, a fan said sadly, "I feel like when I walk away from here, it's all over." He felt like The Lonely H had brought back the cool and easy spirit that had been lost for 30 years, a spirit that people need to embrace again. His only request was for the guys to keep on playing, to never stop living the breezy, untroubled dream. He promised them that people who hear their music will respond with nothing but gratitude and appreciation.
The Lonely H is picking up where the rock lords of the '70s left off. They do it with ease and charm, without attitude or ego. With a new album coming out in June and dates through the summer, these hardworking good old boys are taking the USA by storm, one girl scout cookie at a time.
The Lonely H tour dates available here.
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