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All Roads Lead Home: Dave Hause Talks 'Bury Me In Philly'

Thursday, 02 February 2017 Written by Huw Baines

A few months ago, Paint it Black offered to perform a public service. “At a movie premiere and Springsteen is here,” the Philadelphia hardcore band posted on Twitter. “If this gets enough RTs I'll punch him in the dick for ruining punk!”

It's a good line. It's funny because it's true. Invoking the Boss in a punk song is old news. It's an easy out for any chancer with a denim jacket. The first response to the tweet came from Dave Hause, who played guitar on Paint it Black’s first LP, ‘CVA’. “Good lord,” is all it said.

Hause, both as frontman of the Loved Ones and as a solo performer, has long been one of the exceptions to the punk/Springsteen rule. His music has always acknowledged a deep love of blue collar rock and songwriting chops, even when his records were being sent into the world by iconic punk labels like Fat Wreck and Jade Tree. “Well I got this guitar and I can barely play,” he sang on the Thunder Road-referencing Jane, a highlight on the Loved Ones’ debut ‘Keep Your Heart’. They were a band happy to be torn between the scene they inhabited and the records that informed their music.

Years ago Hause picked up a nickname from the Bouncing Souls’ Bryan Kienlen while serving as their guitar tech: the punk rock Rick Springfield. It’s was a light-hearted dig from a fan of his writing that, like Paint it Black’s dick punching offer, is funny because of the truth at its heart.

“I don’t count it as a bad thing,” Hause laughs. “There’s a pretty short distance musically between what Rick Springfield and Bryan Adams do and Bruce Springsteen. I just think he’s cultivated his career a little more, he’s been more consistent and his lyrics are more poignant. But by and large it’s the same formula. It’s Telecasters, melody and a driving beat.”

‘Bury Me In Philly’, Hause’s third solo record, is perhaps his most concise love letter to rock ‘n’ roll to date. Like ‘Devour’, which was released in 2013 and took the necessary step of bolstering the beginnings established on ‘Resolutions’ with a full band, the record is happiest when pulling some Big Rock Moves™.  You can trace a through line from a song like The Bridge, from the Loved Ones’ ‘Build & Burn’, to here with little deviation, which is testament to Hause’s songwriting voice given his recent, distinctly more punk, outings with the Falcon, the All Brights and (briefly) a reformed Loved Ones.

Songs like Dirty Fucker and My Mistake have swagger, heart and the loose-limbed nous of producers Eric Bazilian, of the Hooters, and William Wittman, a pop-rock veteran with records by Cyndi Lauper and many more on his résumé. Bazilian’s involvement, in particular, took Hause full circle back to a time before punk rock gave him the guts to get up on stage and play. The first show he ever went to, aged seven, was the Hooters at the Tower Theater in Philly.

“Those first two Loved Ones records, I would get really frustrated because we were marketed as a punk rock band on a punk rock label opening for punk rock bands,” Hause says. “This is part of the reason guys like me or Chuck Ragan, or fill in the blank, have gone solo. You spend so much time on lyrics only to sing them too loud, too fast for people to pay attention. At least for a lot of people.

“It becomes more about genre-specific sounds or politics than it does about music. For me it’s always been about music. Of all the punk rock luminaries, Joe Strummer is always at the top of the food chain for me. The Mescaleros stuff sounds like a mixed bag of all kinds of wonderful music. The Clash employed that really early. Over time I’ve gotten more and more confident to do whatever it was that I wanted.”

The title has a similar circular meaning. If Hause’s musical choices are influenced by the bands who shaped him prior to his discovery of Van Halen, then ‘Bury Me In Philly’ is an acknowledgement that no matter how far from home you travel, the streets that were under your feet at the start are the ones that know you best. These days Hause lives on the opposite coast, in Santa Barbara, California, but his words and actions still speak of Philly and the day-to-day lives of his friends, family and others just like them. “I need a friend right now who reminds me of my home,” he sings on the opener, With You.

“That doesn’t ever quite go away,” he says. “Neither does a religious upbringing. That stays with you, those images, those stories, those fables. They stay. That’s part of your make up. I’ve distanced myself at this point. It’s years and years since I’ve had to swing a hammer for a living, do carpentry or remodelling. That’s in there, too. It would be foolish to forget. People often ask me why I tour so hard and play so many shows. Well, that’s the way I was raised. That’s how I derive a certain level of self-worth or pride: how hard you work at what you do.”

Helping bridge the distance between coasts on the record is Hause’s younger brother, Tim, who’s been playing on and off with his band since the release of ‘Devour’ and still lives in Philly. One of Tim’s big contributions to the LP, among several co-writes, was the lyrical conceit at the heart of Divine Lorraine, which uses the long-neglected Philadelphia hotel, currently under renovation, as a metaphor for the American working class.

Much like The Great Depression, from ‘Devour’, it’s about people who’ve absorbed some punishment in the last decade. “We’re the ones whose work you put your name on,” Hause sings on Divine Lorraine. “The factory's gone, the loans are foreclosed. But there's some places left that remind me of home,” runs the kicker of The Great Depression.

But, here in 2017, Hause will be dismissed by some (including legions of Twitter eggs) as part of the 'liberal elite that Donald Trump, noted man of the people and definitely not a racist, misogynistic billionaire New Yorker, ‘took on’ during his run to the White House. And yet the reality is that, as someone who’s worked construction jobs and knows what it’s like to have them dry up, Hause wants to better understand why the terrifying Trump reality happened by reconnecting with people. That, he says, will be "part of the job moving forward".

“Admittedly, I live a little bit in a bubble," he says. "I spend my time at home in Santa Barbara, I spend a lot of time in Philadelphia. When I’m travelling I’m usually in town centres where left-leaning people are and I’m playing shows to people who are interested in rock and roll. I’ve been in a bubble for years. I’m well aware of my cousins and uncles, especially, in Pennsylvania. I’m well aware of lots of my own friends and people I’ve worked with who maybe don’t have as much opportunity or who’ve fallen on harder times in labour-specific jobs that they counted on. I need to tune back in to that in order to understand it. We do have a big divide.

“Perhaps ‘Devour’ should have come out this year. There’s a lot of those themes coming home to roost. I could see the pressure cracks. I don’t think that I can, with a clear conscience, just keep playing Europe, the coasts of America, Chicago and Australia and Canada. There’s work to be done in the places where it’s harder to be an American. There’s a lot of confusion about why it’s hard there. There’s a lot of confusion about who’s going to save them.

“It’s certainly not the guy that got elected. The guy that took over. It’s going to mean sacrifice. I’m going to need to go there and be OK with making considerably less money and playing to less people. I need to serve my artistic muse and the working class culture that gave birth to me and helped prop up a lot of these ideas. There’ll be more shows in Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. We’ll see how that goes.”

These days, a decade on from Jane, Hause is getting closer to making that guitar talk. Music, we’re often told, is a universal language. He’s about to find out if that’s the case.

Dave Hause Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sun March 12 2017 - BRIGHTON Haunt
Mon March 13 2017 - LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Tue March 14 2017 - MANCHESTER Gorilla
Wed March 15 2017 - GLASGOW King Tut's
Thu March 16 2017 - LONDON Garage
Fri March 17 2017 - BRISTOL Thekla
Sat March 18 2017 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy2 Birmingham
Sun March 19 2017 - NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms

Click here to compare & buy Dave Hause Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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