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the Hardship Post
- Subject: the Hardship Post
- From: Adam S Rodenhiser <ac768\!/ccn.cs.dal.ca>
- Date: Sun, 11 Jun 1995 20:05:51 -0300
Even tough I Don't really Like THP, This was in todays Daily News....
enjoy.... (If that's possible with Hardship Post, with or without the 'THE')
Sunday, June 11, 1995
The Newfoundland trio in The Hardship Post have finished thinking about their
By ANDY PETERSEN
The morning fog was still hanging over the Halifax peninsula when The Hardship
Post hopped on their train bound for Quebec City and points beyond.
And although the Newfoundland trio has been playing their no-frills rock for
almost four years now - and although they've already spent their fair share of
time on the road - their departure earlier this week marked a turning point.
It's the first time the band has toured carrying a full-length CD in their
pockets. It's called Somebody Spoke (SubPop/Warner)
"We've given ourselves lots of time to think about the moves we've wanted to
make and where we want to end up," said drummer Matt Clarke in an interview
before they left.
"I guess this is where it all begins."
The band has had good reason to proceed with caution - the rock 'n' roll
industry of the mid-'90s can be summed up in one word: crowded. Or maybe even
"Rock 'n' roll as a format seems to have been exploited to its maximum right
about now," says Clarke, 22. "There are more bands, there are more labels and
there are more records being produced than I think there's a market for.
"Everything's pretty competitive."
It's been a full two years since the Newfoundland trio first came to Halifax to
test the waters of full-time rock. But during the rush when every band and
their dogs seemed to be getting industry attention, The Hardship Post politely
excused themselves from the fray.
They make no apologies for it.
"Sure, there were people who wanted us to sign on at the start, but we've been
going as fast as we've felt comfortable going," says the band's bespeckled
guitarist and singer, Sebastian Lippa.
"Just because there were other bands around who were ready - or thought they
were ready - it didn't mean that we were too," he says. "It's not like it was a
foolproof bandwagon that we'd have been jumping on.
Instead, the threesome thoughtfully plotted their careers while working odd
jobs to pay the rent. Late last year, after much shopping around, they got the
deal they were looking for: a three-record contract with Seattle's SubPop
(joining jale and Eric's Trip on the hippest of the big-money indie labels).
"It's good that we decided to wait," says Lippa, 23. "Now we've got a record
that we can honestly stand behind."
Punchy, sparse and economical - most of its songs are finished before your CD's
time counter reaches the two-minute mark - their first full-length issue
is the no-frills rock of broken hearts and self-doubt.
"When we were working on the arrangements for these songs, we were consciously
trying to keep them short," says Clarke. "It was definitely an aesthetic
Bassist and occasional singer Mike Pick cuts in. "It's kind of like English
class," he explains in his deep-throated drawl. "You remember: Make your point
concisely, and then wrap it all up with a tight conclusion."
And it's already wracking up high-profile, positive reviews - the oddest from
old grey itself, The Globe and Mail.
"It's made it a bit easier when it comes to our parents," says Pick, 25. "Once
you've been given a positive review in a serious paper, it gives them the idea
that you're actually making something of yourself."
The real test, however, is the eight-week tour they've just embarked on.
They'll spend the first three weeks travelling through Quebec and Southern
Ontario. Then, after the warmup, they join up with two other SubPop acts,
Zumpano and Six Finger Satellite for five weeks through the northern U. S. and
the West Coast.
But ironically after all the care they've shown, they don't seem so nervous
"This is what we've been waiting for; touring is going to be lots more
meaningful now that we've got a record with us," says Lippa. "Hopefully there
will be people at the shows who've heard some of our stuff before.
"That was a drag sometimes on the tours we've been on before - people had no
clue who we were before we were up there on stage in front of them."
And besides, it gives them a chance to spend some time in the seemingly
unlikely spot that Pick calls their "old stomping ground": Detroit.
"It's got a real feeling of history to it," he explains. "So many people have
come out of there: the whole Motown thing, the MC5, Parliament. You kind of
catch some of that feel when you're there."
Pick says the band can relate - in a roundabout sort of way - to the atmosphere
he craves in the motor city.
"Detroit's always had a big distinction between the rich and the poor," he
begins. "Especially after the Volkswagon hit North America, Detroit became a
place with a few rich people and a lot of other people just trying to get by.
"But that's where you get the really vibrant cultural stuff being created -
there are a lot of people around who have to learn to entertain themselves."
"The Motown thing is pretty similar to what SubPop's trying to do," says
Clarke. "They're taking what's going on down at the grassroots level and
putting it in front of a huge audience."
But the two slow down a bit when asked if they foresee Motown-like success for
"It's so impossible to judge that sort of stuff," says Pick after cracking a
sly smile. "There's no real mathematical equation that you can use, though the
suits would probably try to tell you there is.
"But I can never see any rhyme or reason for whether a record makes it big or
SLOAN'S LINIMENT | Adam Rodenhiser
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and stings of most inscets. | Sappy Music Is Better