About Hairy Apes BMX
The music of Hairy Apes BMX (HABMX) commands the rare power to shock you and seduce you in the same instant. Hailing from Austin, Texas, the band consists of Mike Dillon on vibes, tablas, percussion, and vocals; E Clarke on keyboards and electronics; John Speice on drums and percussion; and JJ Richards on bass and vocals. Their slightly Spanish flavor, combined with a hard rollicking sound, typically found in punk music, give the Apes a unique appeal and the opportunity to attract a wide fan base.
The story of the bands formation is ridden with addictions of every kind. Any kid can go to guitar center, grow a mullet and start imitating Joe Rock, but who in their right mind would discover their muse while robbing the local high school for a fix? After a six-month morphine binge, front man Mike Dillon broke into said suburban high school while on work release from prison. He snagged a ratty old vibraphone and got to work learning some Monk tunes. After spending the 90’s touring with Billy Goat and ingesting any chemical you could put in a spoon, Mike called his pals John Speice, JJ Richards and Zac Baird for a one-time gig.
Coincidentally, back in 92, a young John Speice stole some congas from the Duncan High Jazz Band and transformed himself into one of the finest cracker congueros on the block. The rest is history. The pair found J.J. Richards who knew E. Clarke Wyatte. E. Clarke had recently quit smoking crack with Al Jorgenson and began shredding on his grand piano. The current line up was cemented.
The band contemplated adding guitar, but realized that it only got in the way of the vibes and Rhodes. It was then that the HABMX mission became clear, to destroy the music worlds string dependency as if it were staging an intervention for a junkie. The result is Hairy Apes Butt Movin Experience, the only band on the planet fronted by a Punk Rock vibraphonist.
The bands third and most recently released album, Beautiful Seizures rages with fast-paced instrumental moments. Whether Mike D is hammering away on his magical vibes, or contributing gut-grabbing, butt-bumping vocals, you wont be able to pull your ears from the speaker. The evolution of the band, as well as the musicians comes across through rhythm heavy tracks that beg you to move and groove.
Hairy Apes BMX recorded their first album, EXPATRIAPE, in April of 1999, after just 6 months of writing songs together. Quickly, the album’s sexy cumbia “Situboquita Fuera” climbed into the Top 10 of MP3.com’s rock-en-espanol chart and remained there for months, receiving thousands of downloads. Two of their songs, Relapse King, and $100 were featured on pro BMX biker Matt Hoffmans special on EXPN.
Impressed by the energy and musicianship of Hairy Apes BMX, Dave Abbruzzese (Pearl Jam) invited them into the studio. Dave produced and mixed their second release, “Out Demons,” the bands second full-length recording. The album became an instant classic with the espanol anthem,”No Guerra,” and the experimental, “Swordfish.” But it was the tender ballad, “Speed Queen,” that was placed on the Independent Music Association compilation and resulted in HABMX earning the title of Austin Independent Music Award Winner for The Musician’s Atlas (2001).
The Apes raised a chorus of praise with audiences while showcasing to ferocious music industry fanfare at 1999’s College Media Journal Conference in New York, and 2000’s South by Southwest and National Association of Music Merchants Conferences. In the last two years the band has played over 100 shows, both headlining & supporting acts like 2 Skinnee J’s, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, and DJ Logic. They wow agape groove-junkies with each deviant and infectious live show that educates as it entertains.