You know Local H for their mega hit “Bound for the Floor,” but now they are bound for a stage near you as they join the Back in Your Face Tour with Soul Asylum and Juliana Hatfield.
OC Music News spoke with Dave Pirner and Juliana Hatfield, and both said how much they like the guys of Local H, so we were excited to get the trifecta and talk to original Local H member, Scott Lucas. We talked zombies, being jerkoffs, and their latest album, “Lifers.”
First off, as someone who was a DJ in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, any time Local H’s “Bound for the Floor” was played on the radio, it lit the phones up. Without smartphones, radio displays, and the internet of today, when you heard a song you liked, you had to hope the DJ would announce the band. But usually they didn’t, so then you’d frantically call the station, “What’s that copasetic song?!” Local H’s single off “As Good As Dead” put them in the top five on Billboard’s alternative chart, and the record went gold.
Formed in Illinois, Scott Lucas, Matt Garcia, Joe Daniels, and John Sparkman met in high school, but like many bands that have been around for decades, there have been member changes. Lucas has remained constant and as of 2013, Ryan Harding completes today’s duo. In the decades of Local H, they have had popular songs in addition to “Bound for the Floor.” “Eddie Vedder,” “All the Kids are Right,” “Half-Life,” and “California Songs” have become fan favorites, plus there is their cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic.” With their ninth studio (“Lifer”) album released last year, Local H proves they are more than their popular single.
Traci: Hey Scott! Where are you now?
Scott: I live in Illinois. I’m in Chicago.
Traci: What did you do last year when touring stopped?
Scott: I drank a lot; I watched a lot of movies about contagions and lockdowns, and about quarantines and zombies, and all that kind of crap. Pretty much what everybody else did, I guess.
Traci: Twins on the drink part, but didn’t zombie and virus movies make you more concerned?
Scott: Yeah, I decided to lean into it. I think the first thing we watched was “Contagion,” the Soderbergh movie. Then we watched a bunch of the old George Romero movies like “Dawn of the Dead” and “The Crazies.” I just decided to really lean into it and see how prescient those movies actually were. It’s a lot of whistling past the graveyard. It’s that gallows humor, that I really dig. It was either that or watch the news and that was scary. And it’s still scary to watch the news! Since Fuckface got out of office, I like taking a break from the news, and it’s been good. But then it’s, “Oh shit, everything’s still really bad.” So it sucks.
Traci: And we were so close! We’re going to concerts! We’re so close.
Scott: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s kind of amazing. Some people think that they’re the Joker and they’re just like, “I want to watch the world burn,” and I say, “Great, just don’t get any on me.” I just can’t do it that way.
Traci: Did all the death and destruction and zombies inspire you to write any music, or did you just go, “Nope?”
Scott: You know, it’s really tough. As much as I try not to be a creature of habit, and part of that habit is you make a record, you get out there, and you play it, and then you store up stuff for the next record. But in order to store stuff up, you’ve got to get that stuff out and part of that is playing the record, so that whole apple cart has been upended. We have some ideas and we have a new covers record coming out, but the whole idea of making music was just not where my head was at, especially with a new record coming out.
Traci: I know you had started the tour and you were out with Soul Asylum, promoting “Lifers,” but how far did you get? Was it only a month of touring?
Scott: We almost made it to the end, we had maybe three or five shows left. We got as far as San Diego. We got about as far away as we possibly could and then we had to turn around and come back. And that was an experience too; driving back and seeing lockdowns start to happen and see people start to freak out. It was really interesting.
Traci: Right? People stockpiling the toilet paper for no reason. It’s not a stomach bug, people.
Scott: Yeah, we saw all of that and to see all of that across the country was kind of a fucked-up privilege. It was interesting to be witness to all of that. We saw people still be stupid. We stopped in Denver and we got a hotel and the parking lot at the strip club across from the hotel was packed. It was like 50 percent of the country wasn’t paying attention. And here we are, still talking about it. It’s mind blowing and it’s frustrating and it’s almost comedic.
Traci: Yes, more than once I have thought, “Am I crazy?”
Scott: Yep. Yeah. You know, you might be.
Traci: I spoke to Dave Pirner a couple of weeks ago and he said he looked forward to heading out with you guys again. He said he wouldn’t have gone out with you again if you guys were jerkoffs. But then, he said, “They are jerkoffs, but they’re high-quality jerkoffs.”
Traci: He went on to say he loves you guys, you’re low maintenance, and “people seem to like them.” Again, he was being funny, but it sounds like you guys will have a blast and can wrap up the tour you did not get to complete.
Scott: Yeah. There’s definitely a sense of being able to finish up what we started with those guys in Soul Asylum, and especially Dave. (laughing) The thing was, we had our own tour booked, rebooked and rebooked, rebooked. So then this came down the pike and we were like, “I don’t know…” And then, “Well, Juliana Hatfield is opening.” And then we were like, “OK, we gotta do this.” We’re really excited to do the tour, and we’re also excited to continue arguing with Dave.
Traci: I asked Juliana about the tour and she was excited about it, but she didn’t call you jerkoffs or anything, she just said you guys are cool.
Scott: She would never say that…out loud. Not to our faces anyway.
Traci: She did a song with you on your latest album, right?
Scott: Yeah, she’s on “Winter Western” and she kind of unlocked the whole key to that record, like the idea of the record being about lifers, being called “Lifers” and being this collaboration with all these people that we respect and love and who are lifers. It all came about because of her appearance on the record. Once that happened, we kind of leaned into it, speaking of leaning into things. We leaned into that and that was just kind of all because of her. So going on tour with her definitely makes a lot of sense for us. We’re super excited about it.
Traci: You also have a “Lifers” podcast. How often do you do that?
Scott: We do it every week. We did one last night with Dave. We got on the every week train and we’re trying to keep on it. One of the things that we’re excited about is taking the podcast itself on tour. So while we’re out, the show is going to kind of shift and change and be more about being a working band on tour, and I’m pretty excited about that.
Traci: Is it just you and Ryan on tour?
Scott: It is just us on tour together. We’re very self-contained. When Dave said, we’re low maintenance, we are low maintenance. Which is one of the reasons why people put up with our jerkoffiness.
Traci: When you are on the road, do you do the merch tent after you play?
Scott: Yeah, yeah. I’m at the merch table. When it’s us headlining, I usually just crowd surf back there. I don’t know when exactly I started doing that, but I’ve been doing it for years. It’s actually part of the show. We get done with the show, crowd surf back to the merch table, start selling stuff, set up and start doing business. Everything we do is very, very self-contained. We don’t farm out the jobs; we take them all ourselves.
Traci: Well we can’t wait to see you out there, crowd surfing and tearing up the stage again!
Many thanks to Scott from Local H. See him with his cohort Ryan when the Back in Your Face Tour stops near you. And if it isn’t listed in your area yet, just be patient because more news is coming soon!
Sadly, only hours after this interview, it was announced the first week of dates for the Back in Your Face Tour are postponed. Stay tuned for announcements from the band!