“People have told us we sound like the Black Keys meets the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,” says Lucina Gonzalez, singer for Black Hondo. “Or the Jefferson Airplane. Shocking Blue kisses the Doors. Or PJ Harvey in a really foul mood.”
If Black Hondo gets compared to rock-and-roll dinosaurs, it’s because the band’s collective influences, Gonzalez says, come from anything their parents, grandparents, or siblings listened to as they were growing up. “Nineteen-sixties R&B, ’60s Mexican rock ’n’ roll, pop, psychedelic rock, and ’60s soul.”
Black Hondo has been around for two years. “Basically, the deal was that my brother [Tino Gonzalez] had a rotating group of people jamming at his house. Anybody could come in and play. Some of us wanted something more serious, so I left and began playing with Jason [Noble] and Stefanie [Johnson]. I think my brother got a little bent out of shape and started his own band. Neither of our bands worked out, and we ended up getting back together, without all the extra people.” Danny Blas and Joanna Bristol complete the lineup.
Black Hondo performs at the Casbah on Saturday, June 26. Lucina Gonzalez answered the following questions.
What is the band working on right now?
“We’re finishing our first album with Chris Grundy at his studio, House of Plenty in El Cajon. It’s all analog.”
“Chris recorded all the music for Black Hondo into a 16-track tape deck. We wanted to capture our sound as a live band. Basically, our recording session was set up like actual band practice with everyone in the same room except for me.”
If you were going to play cover songs, which band’s writing is best suited to Black Hondo’s personality?
“That’s a tough one. Perhaps the Monks. They seem to provide that frenetic vibe we all thrive on.”
Does anyone in the band have a worrisome vice?
“We all have varying degrees of vices, but at this point they’re what make the band functional, so I guess we’re not too worried.”
How many times do people ask you what Black Hondo means?
“Not too many. I think they’re too embarrassed to ask. The issue seems to be that people think we’re called Black Condo, so we always try to enunciate properly.”
So, what does Black Hondo mean?
“It’s really just a combination of the word black and my brother’s nickname Hondo, from Alejandro.”
Bowling or opera?
“Depends on the mood. Opera for emotional enlightenment and bowling for those days when you feel the need to hear bones cracking.”
As a band, is there anything you may look back on and say, we shouldn’t have done that?
“We dodged a lethal bullet recently. All I can say [about the experience] is: do not commit to doing a show until you know the full details and have seen the artwork for the promotional materials.”
Is there a particular theme that runs through the band’s songwriting?
“‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’ comes to mind.”
Has everything in rock music already been done?
“It’s not that everything hasn’t already been done, it’s more of how it can be done. You can have two bands playing the same type of music, but there’s a difference in whether or not a band can emote.”
I love your band photos. How did you come to work with Keith Allen Phillips, better known as Lucky Bastard, a photographer of erotic nudes?
“Keith’s a fan of the band, so when he offered, we gladly accepted. The only art direction he had was: ‘Think Velvet Underground.’ Yes, we’re aware of his profession. Apparently he’s very good at what he does, but for us his nine-to-five job never played a part in any decision.”
Six albums that everyone should own:
1) Bad Brains: Rock for Light
2) Roxy Music: Roxy Music
3) The Cult: Electric
4) Neil Young: After the Gold Rush
5) Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks
6) Los Dug Dug’s: Dug Dug’s