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Crazy, Interesting Lives: The Honkys

It’s Bret Hazzard on the phone talking about the Honkys from his home in the north part of Oceanside, near enough to the coast to hear commuter trains passing in the night.

Years ago when the Honkys began making their rootsy freestyle rock with electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, and acoustic bass they had no idea what was going on in the UK. The trendy West London folk scene would emerge eventually and foster such bands as Mumford and Sons, Fleet Foxes, and the Dunwells.

Meanwhile, here in the states the Honkys were on the cutting edge of a similar sort of music that was hard to categorize. Fans and promoters reacted by lumping them in with the rockabilly nation.

“We don’t claim to be a rockabilly band,” says Hazzard, “but we fit into a lot of those types of [rockabilly] events.”

Hazzard’s played in bands with his brother since high school (in 1982 they called themselves the Bel-Aires.) Broy Hazzard plays acoustic guitar. “Same one he’s had all his life.” Sean McCarty, on upright bass, completes the Honkys.

If they are not well known throughout San Diego it is because the Orange County natives still travel north to gigs up in the Inland Empire venues they started out in. They rarely travel south, he says.

“We’ve played events in Oceanside, and different things like that.”

Hazzard mentions car shows and civic events like the Oceanside Turkey Trot, for example. A quick perusal of the web shows the trio has booked, if infrequently into a handful of local venues including the Zombie Lounge and the Tower Bar.

Nothing against the southern part of San Diego -- Hazzard has a reason for playing out of the market. “When we book shows I like to go far, even spend the night. It makes it feel more like a music thing.”

There are no drums in the two-guitar-and-bass lineup. “We’ve had a drummer sit in with us for live shows,” Hazzard says. “But we also bring suitcases full of instruments and things like washboards, shakers, tambourines. People come up from the audience and play what they want.” He calls it an inventive thing. “It works well. My brother is a strong rhythm player. That generally tells people where to go.”

The Honkys have a true grit thing going in their sound, but it is much less rockabilly than one might expect. “We all like raw, old music in lots of different ways.” He speaks of the recent loss of McCarty’s father and brother as a source, perhaps, of some of the darker bruises in their songs. Otherwise, Hazzard offers up a random list of influences: Ernest Tubb and Elvis, Eddie Cochran, Duane Eddy, Led Zeppelin, and early punk bands.

“And my brother and I both liked the Grateful Dead. We improvise quite a lot when we’re playing live. Our live shows are definitely different than our recordings. All the stuff that happens,” he says, “all that energy.”

The Honkys just finished a record in January, their second. “We’re making a new record even as we speak. We record constantly.” So far the working title is The Honkys Vol 2 and the release date is set for some time in February. They use Thunderbird Analog Studio in Oceanside almost exclusively, which is owned and operated by Paladin’s bassist Thomas Yearsley. The Honkys’ first album was in fact released on Yearsley’s Lux Records. The second will be released by Lux Records and presented by Tasty Wax Recordings, a San Diego label owned by Phil Needleman.

“We live these crazy, interesting, busy lives,” Hazzard says. “It’s been pretty cool. A lot of crazy things happen,” he says of his music career in general, “but it’s kind of serious, playing music.”

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It’s Bret Hazzard on the phone talking about the Honkys from his home in the north part of Oceanside, near enough to the coast to hear commuter trains passing in the night.

Years ago when the Honkys began making their rootsy freestyle rock with electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, and acoustic bass they had no idea what was going on in the UK. The trendy West London folk scene would emerge eventually and foster such bands as Mumford and Sons, Fleet Foxes, and the Dunwells.

Meanwhile, here in the states the Honkys were on the cutting edge of a similar sort of music that was hard to categorize. Fans and promoters reacted by lumping them in with the rockabilly nation.

“We don’t claim to be a rockabilly band,” says Hazzard, “but we fit into a lot of those types of [rockabilly] events.”

Hazzard’s played in bands with his brother since high school (in 1982 they called themselves the Bel-Aires.) Broy Hazzard plays acoustic guitar. “Same one he’s had all his life.” Sean McCarty, on upright bass, completes the Honkys.

If they are not well known throughout San Diego it is because the Orange County natives still travel north to gigs up in the Inland Empire venues they started out in. They rarely travel south, he says.

“We’ve played events in Oceanside, and different things like that.”

Hazzard mentions car shows and civic events like the Oceanside Turkey Trot, for example. A quick perusal of the web shows the trio has booked, if infrequently into a handful of local venues including the Zombie Lounge and the Tower Bar.

Nothing against the southern part of San Diego -- Hazzard has a reason for playing out of the market. “When we book shows I like to go far, even spend the night. It makes it feel more like a music thing.”

There are no drums in the two-guitar-and-bass lineup. “We’ve had a drummer sit in with us for live shows,” Hazzard says. “But we also bring suitcases full of instruments and things like washboards, shakers, tambourines. People come up from the audience and play what they want.” He calls it an inventive thing. “It works well. My brother is a strong rhythm player. That generally tells people where to go.”

The Honkys have a true grit thing going in their sound, but it is much less rockabilly than one might expect. “We all like raw, old music in lots of different ways.” He speaks of the recent loss of McCarty’s father and brother as a source, perhaps, of some of the darker bruises in their songs. Otherwise, Hazzard offers up a random list of influences: Ernest Tubb and Elvis, Eddie Cochran, Duane Eddy, Led Zeppelin, and early punk bands.

“And my brother and I both liked the Grateful Dead. We improvise quite a lot when we’re playing live. Our live shows are definitely different than our recordings. All the stuff that happens,” he says, “all that energy.”

The Honkys just finished a record in January, their second. “We’re making a new record even as we speak. We record constantly.” So far the working title is The Honkys Vol 2 and the release date is set for some time in February. They use Thunderbird Analog Studio in Oceanside almost exclusively, which is owned and operated by Paladin’s bassist Thomas Yearsley. The Honkys’ first album was in fact released on Yearsley’s Lux Records. The second will be released by Lux Records and presented by Tasty Wax Recordings, a San Diego label owned by Phil Needleman.

“We live these crazy, interesting, busy lives,” Hazzard says. “It’s been pretty cool. A lot of crazy things happen,” he says of his music career in general, “but it’s kind of serious, playing music.”

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Comments
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Here's a little taste from Volume 1. Volume 2 will be out soon.

http://www.archive.org/details/TheHonkys-StudioSampler

Feb. 8, 2012

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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