Not many people had ever heard of Zion, Illinois, let alone cared, before a band comprised on two members both from said town began to make a name for themselves. and what does their hometown make of their alternative export? "I don't know. I haven't spent a lot of time there, you know, and I'm really not sure," admits singer/guitarist Scott Lucas as we sit on a park bench outside the chain-link confines of Blocktoberfest. He doesn't seem ill-at-ease or ashamed of his answer -- more relieved than anything else as we continues. "I think there are kids there who are genuinely excited. I mean, the only think I can think of is, like, when I was growing up, the SHOES had gotten a major label deal and it was really encouraging to see a band do that ... or, when I was in high school MATERIAL ISSUE recorded a record in Zion and we were really excited about that. I mean, I can only guess that's what people are thinking."
Meet LOCAL H ... two down-to-earth guys making some incredible music and earning themselves a substantial following in the process. As we were introduced by the band's "road dog" and occasional member, Gabe Rodriguez, it becomes VERY apparent that the group of kids fast approaching know exactly who these guys are. About two dozen autographs are signed, and along our route several others run after to beg the same ... and they're all obliged. Scott Lucas comes across as very humble, but in no way lacking a dry and cutting wit that rings of the truth in very plain terms.
"People from all over the place are always giving demo tapes to me ... and ," he hesitates, smiling. "... I really don't listen to a lot of them. I just don't, because ... I don't know. I'm not really a music critic, you know. If I want to listen to something, I'm going to have to do it on my own time. It's like ... the stuff I have listened to is so fucking bad it's not funny ... you're never going to hear anything good from anybody." Scott Lucas, the band's singer and guitarist, took the time to find a relatively quiet spot in downtown DC and discuss his perspective on music, the media, and the fans of LOCAL H ...
Indie Press = IP
Scott Lucas = SL
IP: I noticed that you've been playing some one-off gigs like the HFStival and Blocktoberfest, do you enjoy doing this sort of festival?
SL: Usually, yeah, because it just, like, offsets the boredom. You don't have to play the same set every night, you don't have to ... you usually have to change the set in some way to fit it down into a shorter timeframe, something like that or ...you know, whatever ... it's just a change of scenery, basically. We did this thing last year and had a good time, thought we'd do it again.
IP: I saw that some of the fans were coming up to you and that you're a little less anonymous than you have been in the past. Does that bother you?
SL: Not really. I mean, it's not like it's a horrible thing, it's ... you know, I mean it's makes getting around a little slower, but it's not like you've got anything else to do. It's no big deal.
IP: Your fans have a number of websites dedicated to LOCAL H, do you all go and check those out from time to time?
SL: Yeah, you know I'll check them out. I don't really know a lot about anything as far as computers go, but I'll just go on there and answer people's questions and stuff like that. It's a good way to do that.
IP: Are you pleased with the reception the last album, "As Good As Dead?"
SL: Yeah, it did a lot more than I thought it would. You know, I mean ... you know, I had an idea in my head of what we would do and we passed that a long time ago, so ... I think we're doing fine, you know, nothing's gotten out of control ... everything's gone at a pace that we could handle. So everything's fine.
IP: You're actually getting attention on MTV now and your videos are actually being shown on "120 Minutes." Do you feel that LOCAL H is finally getting the media attention they rightfully deserve?
SL: I don't think so. I don't think that we're a media type of band. You know, I mean ... I don't know, I don't think that the media's embraced us, I don't think MTV's really embraced us. I mean, they'll play us on "120 Minutes," but that's basically the alternative ghetto, you know, so it's just kinda like ... You know, we're a rock band, like, if you look at the kind of media coverage that AC/DC would have gotten when they started off, you know, it was nothing. So I mean, I'd rather go along the lines of a band like that, you know, then be some band where everyone's so sick of us and we're so over-exposed that they don't ever want to buy our next record.
IP: How did you enjoy doing the "Oddville MTV" spot?
SL: It was fun. It was a good time. I like that show a lot. I was happy to be on it.
IP: It's definitely one of the more inventive shows that they've got now ... not the "Real World 10.5" or -
SL: Yeah ... well, see, I like the fact that they're not judgmental on that show. That the people that come on that show do the stupidest things and no one's going to say, "You're a dork" or "You're an idiot" and they can do whatever they want. And that guy (the host) doesn't say anything's really funny and it's good ... good show.
IP: You've got two tracks on the "Gravesend" soundtrack, how did that come about?
SL: I got a copy of the movie sent and we wrote a song for it, and then the director wanted us to re-do a Christmas song ... and from what I understand, he hasn't used either of the tracks in the movie. It's kind of upsetting when, you know, "If you're not going to use those tracks we could use them for something else, you know?" But, I mean, they're on there. Maybe we'll put the Christmas song out like, near Christmas or something.
IP: And I understand that you all are going to be involved in a Prince compilation album?
SL: Yeah, where did you hear about that?
IP: Just picked it up surfing the 'net that you all were going to be
SL: Yeah, a friend of mine who did the cover of our record, he ... I went to school with him and he's got a label out of Madison, Wisconsin and he's gonna do this string of 7 inches ...you know, we did "Pop Life" and ... I like it. It was really good. It'll be, like, really low-key, limited. Maybe we'll put it out sometime down the road, but as of now you'll only be able to get it in the certain store that they send it to.
IP: Where are your influences coming from now?
SL: Pretty much from a lot of classic rock. I mean, I've really been digging back into what made me like rock in the first place. Because I just can't stand anybody making music right now and I don't want to be part of this whole third-generation PEARL JAM movement. I just don't want to make HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH records. You know, a lot of the bands that are selling records right now suck, like HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH do. And, I mean, they're not even sounding like PEARL JAM anymore, which used to annoy the Hell out of me. Now they just sound like carbon copies of those bands. I don't want to do that. I just want to listen to CHEAP TRICK and old PINK FLOYD and old ROLLING STONES stuff ... and I want to take all my cues from that, rather than whatever came out three weeks ago. It's not good.
IP: It's amazing to me to go back and listen to something like "Wish You Were Here" by PINK FLOYD. I think it was one of their most under-rated that they'd done.
SL: That's a really good record, but as far as I'm concerned, I think "Dark Side of the Moon" is like the most perfectly realized record that they've done. "Wish You Were Here" is great, but when you get right down to it, it's got three songs, well actually four songs, and there's a lot of jamming; whereas "Dark Side of the Moon" is like, so completely well thought out, it's so amazing the way, you know, all the songs run into each other. I'd really like to do something like that, so we're kind of looking to do something like that on our next record.
IP: So, you see that it's sort of the way LOCAL H will hopefully be moving?
SL: Yeah, we wanna make a classic rock record next time. Just, I don't know if that's what we want to do forever, but we don't want to keep making the same record. So, I mean, that's what we really want to do. I would find that interesting to make a "Dark Side of the Moon" type record, or something like that.
IP: If you could abolish anything musically, whether it's an artist or song or album, what would that be? Wipe it off the face of the Earth ...
SL: Umm ... I don't know, I mean ... sort of nerdy, college rock type of mentality. You know, people come here ... guys in their college sweatshirts ... and their turtlenecks ... all that kind of crap. You know, it's just like you listen to all these alternative (radio) stations and they've got commercials for frat bars and things like that. And now it's hurting everybody, everyone's like ... everyone's getting choked by all this crap. I mean, it's everybody's fault. The media doesn't really know what they like, so they go "Oh, I like rock this week" then it's, "Oh, I like Techno" when they don't know what the fuck they're talking about. And the people who sit around and let their noses be lead by them, they don't know what the fuck their doing. Nobody knows what they're doing. I'd just rather get rid of all these ... but you can't because ... they're there. You can't say, "I'm making music and you people -- get out." I've never been that way. We played a show last night and the VIOLENT FEMMES were there and it's just .. there were three Muppets up there, and it's just like (shakes his head in disgust) ... then you watch a video of like THE WHO, you know, like back in their day and they're like flying through the air, they're ripping their fingers off, and things are falling apart because they're playing it too hard ... and it's like, yeah ... great ... I mean, I don't think you should probably get rid of anything, because then you wouldn't have the great stuff to compare to the shit. So, it's gotta be there.
IP: So what are your plans after the tour is over?
SL: Start working on the next record. I keep thinking about that. I think we're about half way there ... maybe a little over half way, it's just getting the songs ready for the next record. It's going to be a matter of trying to make them fit in together and then we'll start working on it ... hopefully ... hopefully, we'll have the record ready to go by the spring or summer.
IP: Do you have any prognostications as to what the future holds for LOCAL H?
SL: No. We could either keep going at this rate or we could just be a one-hit wonder band or something like that ... I mean, I don't know. Maybe we get together in Hawaii, or maybe we get to go to Abbey Road and do it. You know, who knows? At least one of the things would be cool.
IP: Is there a place that you would want to record the next album?
SL: Not really. I don't really care where we do it. It just doesn't matter. I mean ... we could be anywhere. As long as we've got the right equipment, it will come out the same and it doesn't really matter. Maybe I'm not putting enough faith into the atmospherics of the place, but ... I mean, we could go to Hawaii and it would be nice there and it would be a little vacation, or we could go to New Orleans ... and there'd be that. I don't know. We could go to Minneapolis ... there's tons of things, but ... we definitely know what we want to do. Someone had the idea to go to Abbey Road because of all the things that ... that's pretty funny. I think that's a funny idea, whether it actually happens, we'll see. I mean, it's such a stupid idea, I'm like, "Yeah, I think that's a good idea. Let's do it." Just stuff like that, that's what I'm into.
IP: Is there any artist that you would want to work with in the future?
SL: Do you mean producing the record or being with them in a band?
IP: Either or.
SL: There are a lot of bands in Chicago that I think are really great. Um ... I don't really know anybody out there that I think is really good that I would feel ... I mean, we've played with some great bands, I don't know if I could see myself working with them, you know. As far as producers for the next record, I don't want to work with anybody who's making the hip record of the day. I want to work with people who've made really good records ... like Todd Rundgren.
IP: He has a wonderful studio in Primrose Hill (England), the Utopia studios.
SL: Is that in England?
IP: Yeah. In Primrose Hill ... North London.
SL: I know he works a lot in Hawaii. Then he's got a studio in New York. So he's got stuff all over the place. He sounds like a good idea to me, like the stuff he did with the XTC record, and he recorded GRAND FUNK ... things like that ...
The volume of the band on the stage adjacent to where we are sitting begins to increase, so I thank him as he grins and walks away, disappearing into the ever-growing crowds ... and probably into another swarm of devotes hungry for a moment of his time and an autograph he is not reticent to give.