I don’t remember what song I first heard from your S/T debut, but I knew immediately I wanted to learn more about Hazzard’s Cure. Tell us about this release and give a bit of history on the band.
Chris: Clint, Leo and I were in a band called Orb of Confusion together for a few years and I think a need arose to move in a more epic and heavier direction. The riffs for the song Great Dishonor came up and it really wasn’t woking out with the Orb line up. Orb came to an abrupt end, then we picked up Shane Bergman and finished Great Dishonor and also wrote Prayer of the Hunted around the same time. We liked the sound of the new lineup but didn’t want to do it under the same name as before. Soon came Tossed and Dethroned, Clashing of Hordes, Wolve’s Banquet, and Meet Me at the Mountain which we wrote kinda as one continuous track of different themes that flowed into each other. In the mean time we still didn’t have a name for the band. We played our first show as Wailin’ Jenocide which we had used with the old band before it became Orb of Confusion. A friend of Shane’s suggested the name Hazzard’s Cure as a reference to Linda Hazzard, a sadistic quack who at the turn of the last century was convicted of killing dozens of her victims with some cure all starvation diet and robbing them of all they had. We liked the sound of it and decided on the name. It’s a compelling story really, and she eventually died of her own cure. So you see it has nothing to do with the tv show The Dukes of Hazzard or the band The Cure, nor are we a cure for hazards as some have suggested. It’s kinda funny that Psylocybin which was a thing that Shane had laying around ended up as the first track as it was the last song we wrote for this album and Great Dishonor ended up being the last.
Clint: The Hazzard’s Cure album believe it or not, the basic tracks were recorded in June of 2010, I believe. We were gonna try to finish the whole album in one shot, of course, but that proved to be impossible, because we ran out of money and had to keep going back into the studio and finishing it piece by piece over the course of a year or so. The band was (and still isn’t) making any money, so it’s like whenever we had a little bit of extra time or money, the guitar players would go back in and do a little bit more work. Luckily, we had Greg Wilkinson at the controls, and he was really into the project, he even reconfigured his setup and remixed the whole album for free at one point. We did the final master on October 1st, 2011, about a year and a half after I recorded my drums.
Your influences have been listed as Immortal, Pantera, Johnny Cash, Lemmy and various others. I can hear a touch of each and your sound is unique but how do you describe it?
Leo: Pantera is a huge influence on me, as well as Immortal, Lemmy and Johnny Cash, but not directly an influence in our music… though we do like the badass personas all those guys have. Most of our direct influences are the awesome bands that have been a part of the rich Bay Area metal scene history, as well just really good metal and punk in general. Personally, I’ve been really influenced by the bands that came out of the Napalm Death tree: Carcass, Cathedral and Godflesh.
Clint: What we were trying to bring to the table for Hazzard’s Cure, as far as I can remember, was a mix of NWOBHM, classic doom, old school black/death/thrash (fast, evil sounding shit!) Motorhead is one of my favorite bands of all time, and I consider Lemmy to be a big influence on my lifestyle! I will cautiously admit my respect for Pantera as well, but I don’t consider them too much of an influence on our sound… yet. Ha ha. And why Johnny Cash? Because we have acoustic guitar on one song?!
When writing material, what is in your mind? A specific sound or goal? You sound has a ‘live feel’ almost as though the material is created as a whole group rather than an individual songwriter…
Chris: We generally write as a group. Usually Leo or myself will have a riff and we’ll jam on it and just start adding ideas and seeing what direction it wants to go. We’re made up of four pretty strong personalities and everyone’s got to be into what’s going on or we’ll move on to something else entirely. I think the most important thing we keep in mind when writing is the flow of energy. It’s gotta feel right, natural and not forced. We all have pretty short attention spans so we get distracted a lot (hence our fictional side project DIGRESSOR) but sometimes it’s good to go somewhere you didn’t expect or couldn’t predict you’d end up at.
You have released a demo tape as well as CD and pro Tape versions for this album…how has the material been received? Do you feel the cassette tape will overtake the CD in popularity?
Clint: Nothing has been received as well as I was hoping, but I’m an egomaniac, heh heh… But really I see CD and cassette as merely a stepping stone to vinyl, which I regard as the ultimate medium. Everything is just leading up to that. CD and cassette are just about affordability and accessibility. I think we’ve actually sold more copies of our album as an mp3 download at this point than anything else.
Leo: No one said it was unlistenable, so I guess fairly well! Seeing as the word “cassette” was eliminated from a certain edition of the dictionary, that would be cool if it became popular, but I doubt it.
Tell us about the label who is releasing the material. Are they based in San Francisco, as yourselves? How did that relationship come about?
Clint: Lummox Records and Stop Go Destroy Tapes are both run by me. I formed Lummox Records back in 2004 to release the Hotblack Desiato CD, and it’s been in hibernation since then until I revived it to release the Orb Of Confusion and Hazzard’ Cure CDs in 2011. I’ve been releasing stuff on and off on Stop Go Destroy tapes since 2005, probably. It’s just the label that I use whenever I do a tape release. I have big plans to re-release some classic Bay Area metal albums on Cassette via SGD, but pipe dreams are easy, right?
There is strong psychedelic vibe to the album, such as the instrumental ‘Meet Me at the Mountain’, which segues nicely into the following track. How do hallucinogens and other mind altering substances factor into your art?
Clint: There are so many levels of knowledge to explore, and as a musician or any kind of artist, I believe it’s really important to break through the barriers of common perception and get past the ideas that are force fed to you by the media and society at any opportunity. There is a world beyond from which guidance and answers can be gained. It’s also safe to say that we make good use of the many fine ”medical” amenities available here in the Bay Area.
How would you describe your music lyrically? The vocals are very up front and intense but the music is so varied, any stereotypical subject matter is not applicable…
Chris: I see the lyrics as describing the landscape of the music. The music kinda tells us what the lyrics are about.
Leo: Drugs, death and mountains. Demons are soon gonna be added as well.
Tell us about your live shows. You have one in a few weeks, correct?
Leo: Our live shows start with a plume of smoke, then screaming echoes of feedback while rivers of alcohol come running down from the heavy fur of rock. They end with feedback and more smoke.
Clint: We’re all pretty busy with all kinds of stuff, so we don’t play live as much as I personally would like to, but that’s the way it goes. We’ve managed to play Oakland and San Francisco on a regular basis, as well as making three trips to the Pacific North West and one trip to LA so far. We’re playing in a few weeks for Leo’s birthday at Bender’s Bar and Grill, which is one of our favorite hangouts in San Francisco. Kind of a sleazy place, where you’re not embarrassed to fall flat on your face or piss your pants.
What is the hardest part of being in Hazzard’s Cure? What is the easiest? What is most rewarding?
Chris: Chris: For me the hardest part of being in Hazzard’s Cure is staying sober enough to drive home from the shows since I have the van. Where’s the straight edge person who likes us and want’s to drive us around and move our gear? The easiest is knowing that Leo always has weed. The most rewarding is when people show enthusiasm for our shows.
Clint: The hardest part of Hazzard’s Cure is dealing with everyone’s busy schedule and the fact that we can’t rehearse or play live as much as I think we should. The easiest part is being on tour, because once we get on the road, we go into party mode, and we are like the best friends that you could possibly imagine, constantly entertaining each other and acting weird.
Leo: The hardest part is having to do everything out of pocket and having to meet the high standards set by the bands in the Bay Area. The easiest is playing with these guys. The most rewarding is when people say they enjoy what you do.
Tell us about upcoming shows, new material, tours, splits, side projects and immediate plans!!!
Clint: We are planning on doing a split 12” with our good friends, another excellent Bay Area band called Badr Vogu. They are like, classic Oakland street sludge. We love those guys. Plus we are more than half done writing our second LP, which is gonna be way faster and thrashier than the first one, so we’ll see where that goes… Everyone in Hazzard’s Cure besides Leo plays in other bands, which I don’t have the patience to talk about right now… we’re all spread pretty thin.
Your last words!
Clint: Thanks for the interview
Many videos, reviews, flyers and a bio can be found at www.hazzardscure.net