Hell & Hollar draw from their many influences that span the areas of blues and heavy stoner rock, they are developing a brand of rock all their own. Their heavy yet inviting sound is a refreshingly straight forward rock music that anyone can have a good time with. This force to be reckoned with has an old school heavy rock vibe with an open eye on the future.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Blake Burns: We are getting ready to head out on our Why The Hell Not Summer Tour. We will be in Johnson City TN on June 26th at The Hideaway, Summerfest in Milwaukee WI on June 28th, Raleigh NC on July 2 at The Pour House, and Atlanta GA on July 4th at Smith’s Old Bar. We might be adding a couple of dates before we head out also. So follow our social channels to stay up to date. Other than that we are working on a new record and will be dropping a new single some time towards the end of summer. We are looking to release a full-length LP early next year.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Blake B: I started H&H with my good friend Jean Lacerte about 6 years ago. We started writing songs as a 2 piece and then we met Johnny Dusko who has been the bassist ever since. Jean had to move, which is when we asked Nate Largent to join. Then we brought in Ian Pattison as a second guitar and to share the lead’s and that’s completed the band really. So the band has been in existence for about 6 years I guess you could say.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Blake B: I was playing bass in a band. But I am a guitar player since I was young and that’s really what I wanted to do. So when that band ended, I immediately started H&H. I actually wrote Low and Slow and Doublewide Party while I was in the other band.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Blake B: I had an attraction to instruments at a very young age. My parents got me a plastic kids guitar when I was really young. I remember it had these nylon strings on it and it was yellow. I fell in love. I started making sense of the notes and my parents figured they should get me a real one. So then I started taking some lesson’s which didn’t last long because I couldn’t grasp reading music at all. But I could play anything you showed me and could learn anything I heard on my own. So the teacher just taught me all the chords and let me go. I pretty much taught myself from there and came up with my own thing through that. I have always been a closet singer and wrote lyrics on the side. I was very into writing songs when I was a kid. I loved dissecting my favorite songs and reading all the lyrics in the sleeves. I still do that. Hahaha!
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Blake B: I’m not sure how to answer that. Positive, progressive, fun-loving rock and roll I guess. To me, it depends on how each individual see’s it. I’m sure it’s different depending on the person you ask.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Blake B: Work hard and create as much as we can together. Hopefully, people enjoy what we do and we can keep doing this for a long time. We are lucky to be able to do what we do together.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Blake B: To me you can’t compare the two. They are both the best feelings in the world. I love to do both. It’s just two different things.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Blake B: Whatever I’m feeling at the time. I don’t like to put things in a box and label it. You never know what’s coming next and that’s exciting.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Blake B: The people and relationships that you are fortunate enough to have in your life from being in the music scene. It’s a community of wonderful creators all doing their own thing. It’s a beautiful thing.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Blake B: Well SXSW is pretty outrageous. I can’t really explain that one. You just have to check it out yourself. Other than that not really. I guess when we rented Johnny a full face MTB helmet and all the gear and put him on a chair lift with a bike was pretty outrageous considering he had never gone downhill mountain biking before. The other 3 of us are experienced and we kinda hit the trail and took off because it had been a while for us. We got halfway down and there was no Johnny.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Blake B: This one show I had my wife running our merch table and she had my phone to run the square swiper. I announced that we were going to be filming the video for Showdown during the show. At the end when we were packing up this blonde college girl comes up to me as says that Showdown is her favorite song and she would really love to be in the video. Followed by can I give you my number. Me being married and oblivious after an hour of sweating it out on stage just came right back with, that would be great! My wife has my phone over at the merch table. So go ahead and leave it with her and I will give you a call when we are ready. She kinda walked away defeated. Then came back 5 min later and handed me her number on a piece of paper. We all laughed pretty good at that one.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Blake B: Yes, I am lucky that my family all are supportive. Even my mother in law is a fan and comes to shows to dance. I love that. Always makes me smile.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Blake B: It’s not going to be easy. But nothing worth doing ever is. Just be true to you and what you believe in and stay the course. It is true that most people give up right before they were going to start picking up momentum. There will be lots of ups and lots of downs. Don’t let that get to you. Put your head down and work hard. Do your research on the industry and know what you are dealing with.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Blake B: I love playing all of them. But I probably move around the most when we play Showdown and That’s Not Right(new song).
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Blake B: Too many to name. But I’d say QOTSA. Their performances are always amazing without having to depend on smoke and mirrors. I feel like if you take away the lights and the video wall and all that jazz it’s still an amazing rock show. That’s so important! It’s great and fun to put on a big production. But let it accompany your musicianship. Don’t hide behind it. They display that to me.
Hell & Hollar is:
Guitar and Vocals: Blake Burns
Bass: Johnny Dusko
Drums: Nate Largent