Early last week, to very little fanfare, the members of the emerging Memphis hard rock/metal act Hosoi Bros quietly placed copies of the band's debut 7" single, "Wine Witch" b/w "Yellow Fever," in record shops around town.
It may be the only low-key decision the band has ever made. Otherwise, Hosoi Bros is fairly well-established as one of the more raucous heavy acts in the city.
"We try to pair humor with serious riffage," says singer/guitarist Severin Allgood. "I would say the sound of Hosoi Bros is akin to Motörhead, Thin Lizzy, and Black Sabbath in a steel-cage death match."
The band formed in 2010 after the demise of Evil Wizard Eyes — a band that featured Allgood and current Hosoi Bros members Drewbie Crenshaw (bass) and Shawn Apple (guitar), as well as drummer Zach Payne.
"We were awful," Allgood says. "It was a 'let's get wasted and make a lot of noise and be real annoying' type of band. For some reason, that appealed to a few people. Once Zach moved to France, we decided to start a real band with a real drummer and try not to suck."
Eventually, the trio found Jimmy Blasingame, a seasoned local veteran who had previously manned the kit for local bands like Noise Choir and Reginald. Rechristened as Hosoi Bros (a tribute to skateboarding legend Christian Hosoi), the revamped quartet forged a tighter, less chaotic path while still maintaining the brutality of Evil Wizard Eyes.
Which is not to say the band matured. It just cleaned up its act a little.
"We keep our lyrics pretty stupid. The less seriously I take this band, the more fun it is. I wish I'd realized that approach to music when I was younger," Allgood says.
After playing around town enough to gel with Blasingame, the group decided to go into Ardent Studios with local producer/engineer Alan Burcham for one session in September 2011. The results would become Hosoi Bros' ferocious debut.
"Alan is awesome and did a really great job," Allgood says. "Ardent is strange because of the rich musical history there. There are ZZ Top and Big Star albums on the wall next to contemporary Christian and indie rock bands that recorded there more recently. It weirded us out a little. But there is no denying the quality of that studio. It is top-notch."
Hosoi Bros will officially celebrate the release of "Wine Witch"/"Yellow Fever" this weekend with a release show at the Buccaneer Lounge. The band also has lots of tour dates scheduled for later in the year, which should see Hosoi Bros travel around the South, Midwest, and as far north as Canada.
But don't expect to see the band booking a ton of gigs in town.
"We try to play in town only once a month," Allgood says. "I think a lot of local bands don't understand the overkill effect. People get sick of seeing you. They don't want to hear and see the same band three times a week. Trust me."
Hosoi Bros' record-release show is Saturday, February 11th, at the Buccaneer. Hedegecreep opens the show, which starts at 11 p.m. Admission is $5. For more on the band, see hosoibros.bandcamp.com.
— J.D. Reager
Congratulations are in order to the winners of the 28th International Blues Challenge, the finals of which were held Saturday at the Orpheum. And while none of the three Memphis-connected acts in the competition made the finals, the tri-state area was well-represented among winners.
Taking first place in the band competition was The WIRED! Band, representing the Washington Blues Society, while the solo/duo winner was Ray Bonneville of the Ozark Blues Society of Northwest Arkansas.
Runners-up in the band competition were the Bart Walker Band, from the Nashville Blues Society, and, in third place, Paula Harris, from the Golden Gate Blues Society. The second-place finisher in the solo/duo contest was Dr. Don's Double Dose, representing the Sydney Blues Society.
Nashville's Walker also took the Gibson Guitarist Award, while Randy McQuay of the Cape Fear Blues Society won the Lee Oskar Top Harmonica Player Award. The award for Best Self-Produced CD went to Dave Keller for Where I'm Coming From ... .
— Chris Herrington