5 Questions with Rags #49 - The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer (Shawn Hall, The Harpoonist)

The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer have been the most exciting, innovative west coast blues act for awhile now. The need to have my face blasted off overtakes me fairly often, and these two cats have been a go-to since I first got the stellar A Real Fine Mess into my ears a few years ago. A few months ago I caught the video for “Forever Fool,” (Which is amazing and you watch it now) the first single from their latest album, Apocalipstick. That's also when I found out the title for the their new album, Apocalipstick. What was that title?! What was happening to this bad-ass blues band that I loved so much?! Then I listened to the album and sweet Jesus, it's the most perfect title for maybe the duo's most bad-ass record yet.

“I used to fool around with this line that said, 'She kept me up all night in a post-apocalipstick, she held me in her fingers like a chicken in a chopstick.'” says Shawn Hall, the Harpoonist, talking to me from Regina, a brief stop in the band's current tour. “Matt [Rogers, The Axe Murderer] came up with the name for the record. It's like the inescapable grip of road life, the grip of that style of relationship people can have – the toxicity, the skin-deepness of that kind of allure,” explains Hall. “It's open to a lot of interpretation but that was where Apocalipstick stemmed from. You think about what's going on what whores we are for attention on such a minute level of detail, then moving on to the next thing. This vast, vacant consumption of everything.” Apocalipstick is a goddamned burner, their finest album yet. And that's saying a lot.

“We've been working on it forever. It's not a dinner party record. We don't fucking care. I hadn't listened to it for a bit until we got it on vinyl and I was like, 'Holy shit, that sounds wild!' I totally forgot.” With the release of a new record comes a new tour, and this one is unlike anything the band has done. “We're just making sure we can really bring it. Being able to bring these new songs on the road with a second drummer is unreal. People are just used to hearing Matt play the drums with feet and now they can hear Matt with his feet plus the drummer behind him who's also playing bass synth with his left hand, and singing backups. You can't join our band and just play one instrument. You gotta be able to do the whole thing!”

1. What's your best memory of an elementary or high school teacher?

The best memory I have is when I was 19, my grade 8 school teacher sat down next to me at the Alma Combo in Toronto. I was watching Albert Collins, the blues guitar legend. Right after my teacher sat down next to me, the Black Crowes, the fucking Black Crowes at the peek of their heyday, sat down next to me at an empty table. That wasn't a teaching moment, but it was a pretty unique experience.

2. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

The first album I bought with my own money was the soundtrack to Stayin' Alive. Stayin' Alive was not Saturday Night Fever, but it was the sequel. And it was horrible.

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5 Questions with Rags #15 - HighKicks

Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a big fan of Calgary. The couple times I’ve been there haven’t been stellar. I never feel like I fit in, but apparently I’ve been going to the wrong places there because this is the city that helped breed HighKicks, stonerfuzzrock extraordinaires. (Also, Calgary is home to Sled Island, a thing I should probably be going to sometime soon.) These guys kick way more ass than any two people have the right to be kicking with their catchy, brash Keys-esque rock ‘n’ roll. I didn’t know who they were until a few weeks ago but I’m super glad to know them and their music now and hope that you have just as much fun getting to know them as I have been.

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1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?

Danny: This is totally dating myself but the first album I bought with my own money was back in the days of Columbia House. Among others on that list was License to Ill by Beastie Boys and, I’m not even ashamed to say it, but Bobby Brown’s album from that time, whatever the title was.

Whatever, man. Bobby Brown had some great stuff. “Humpin’ Around” still kicks ass.

D: I know, right? It’s great. I wanted some parachute pants right then.

Did you ever manage to fulfill that dream?

D: <laughs> Yes I did, actually. There was this bullshit in our local mall called Stitches where you could get all the black and white rayon shirts the kids were wearing and girls could get $5 pleated skirts. And I nailed down some rayon/silk parachute pants when I was in junior high. Everyone gives Hammer credit but I think it was Bobby Brown who kicked it off.

Matt: Mine was Appetite for Destruction by Guns ‘n’ Roses on CD. I still listen to it. I’m happy with my first choice. To this day it still sounds pretty kickass.

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