march 8 1999
When Scott Lucas, singer/ guitarist for Zion, Illinois power-duo Local H, took time out from a soundcheck at the San Francisco nightclub Slim's to do a LAUNCH online chat, participating fans learned quite a few fascinating facts, including the connection between Porky's and H's latest album Pack Up The Cats, the identity of the guy on Local H's answering machine, Scott's obsession with divas Celine Dion and Shania Twain, a rumored Local H/ Vanilla Ice/ 'N Sync package tour, Scott's alleged real last name (which Local H partner Joe Daniels doesn't even know!), and the tender age at which Scott lost his virginity. But seriously, they also received insight into Local H's lyrics, which--judging by the number of questions about the meaning behind songs like "Bag Of Hammers," "Mayonnaise And Malaise," and "She Hates My Job"--are a major part of the band's appeal. One fan even pledged her "undying devotion" to the group whose words and music had helped her through the toughest of times. Here's how the rest of the chat went:
LAUNCH_Host: Okay, here's the first question...
voidsong: Are you surprised by the ton of critical acclaim that your new album got? It was on lots of '98 top 10 lists.
Local_H: Yeah, pretty much because most of the stuff that I like isn't really critically acclaimed. I'm not a big fan of critical darlings.
Logontothis: hey scott why did u use to hang a coat hanger from your mic stand?
Local_H: Because that was THE rock 'n' roll coat hanger.
JackKlugman: Scott-I'm not some muso internet goth turd, but how did you get the guitar sound on the Laminate Man leads?
Local_H: That's a technique called vari-speed. I guess it would be very speeding...It's an old Beatles trick where you play the guitar solo and over dub it at a different speed so it has that George Harrison sound.
unshaped: why did you get an additional guitarist for touring?
Local_H: Pretty much for those guitar solos and things like that. We painted ourselves into a corner--too many guitar things, backing vocal things. And that was the only way to get ourselves out of it. Plus our friend Wes needed a job.
coolmagnet: are there any plans to release a compilation of videos since Mtv doesnt' give the airplay you deserve?
Local_H: Not yet. We don't have any plans as of yet. Maybe we could.
overt6: What kind of gear do you use?
Local_H: Mostly Ibanez copies of Telecasters. And Matchless and Laney amps. And Ampeg is the bass amp. And a Swollen Pickle distortion box.
Witchmagic: I would just like to take a moment of your time to let you know that your musci helped me survive the most difficult time of my life, and for that you have my undying devotion..THANK YOU
Local_H: Well, THANK YOU.
ChatGuest_95045: Im the guy that does local h's local nes from zion newsletter... i want to ask them how long they pan to continue touring, and if they remeber me and have seen the letters since i have met them
Local_H: We plan to keep on touring until the record is dead. And yes, I remember you!
Goldleader: Do you know what Guided By Voices think of your cover of "Smothered in Hugs," and why did you decide to cover that song?
Local_H: Yeah, I met Rob Pollard after a GBV show one night and he told me he really dug it and was into it. He'd taken his son to Sling Blade to see if the song was in it, and then he was really bummed out when it wasn't. And we covered it just because it's such a great song and I loved it from the second I heard it.
voidsong: What does your name mean?
Local_H: My name is Scott, not Local H.
Fah_Q: I heard there's a Cheap Trick tribute album FINALLY coming out? Are you on it? If so, what song do you do, and if not, what song would you have wanted to do?
Local_H: No, we're not on it. I'm not aware of it. We're not on it, but we SHOULD be. We'd probably do "He's A Whore" if we were on it.
MrSocko: how did local h begain
Local_H: Me and Joe met in high school. We started writing songs and recording them on a four-track.
ChatGuest_66050: I've read in an interview that you can play Pack Up the Cats with Porky's and it does some pretty weird things. First, is it true and second, when should you start the CD?
Local_H: Yeah. Basically, start the CD at the shower scene.
ChatGuest_95045: What's the coolest thing that a fan ever did for you guys?
Local_H: I'm trying to think... People give us stuff all the time. One guy gave me an AC/DC shirt recently. That's kind of nice. Somebody gave me a Kyuss bootleg--that was pretty cool.
mercaynin: hey, scott, what do you say during the chorus of "cha!"?
Local_H: "I don't want to live with that; you don't want to take it back; I don't want to be a rat; and you don't want a kitty cat."
Fah_Q: What's up with the title "Pack Up the Cats"-are you just into cats or is that some inside joke?
Local_H: Yeah, it's pretty much an inside joke.
mercaynin: is joe not here?
Local_H: He's playing Dungeons & Dragons. He's in the middle of a very heated game.
voidsong: What do you think of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, who also don't have any bass?
Local_H: I think they're great!
Witchmagic: Why do you go by Scott and not David?
Local_H: Because my dad's name is David.
JackKlugman: Will you be recording with Wes Kidd?
Local_H: Not in Local H.
Logontothis: what kind of places do u guys like playin at more bigger venues or smaller clubs?
Local_H: They're both a lot of fun. They both have their plus-es. You can act like a big rock star idiot geek at a big place. That's kind of entertaining. Small shows can get really intense--more punkish.
JackKlugman: Any TV appearances coming up? I need to see you play, because I don't get the chance living in England
Local_H: I'm gonna be on the Cosby show. I'm having an affair with Claire.
coolmagnet: how many of your shows does a guy have to come to before he gets one of those awesome Joe Daniels drumsticks
Local_H: That's a completely random thing. If you get hit in the eye with a stick, lucky YOU. You get to have it.
Goldleader: Did you ever find out what Eddie Vedder thought about the song "Eddie Vedder"?
Local_H: Not really. I heard a couple things, but I did find out that Stone Gossard wanted us to write a song for HIM. So, we named a tune on the new record after him. It's called "Stoney."
nonsuave: Why the hell did you go onto MTV (motherf--king trendy videos) the same network that has Nsync as the #1 on their countdown?
Local_H: Because 'N Sync wasn't there...
HungryHippo: On one of your songs you say "damaged goods are such a steal" whats that supposed to mean?
Local_H: You know, just that damaged goods are usually pretty cheap. They usually have a mark-off. Not as expensive as shiny new stuff.
voidsong: How do you recreate your music live with just the two of you playing?
Local_H: We plug into a bass amp and a guitar amp at the same time.
Logontothis: what would u like to say to the Local H bootlegers of the world?
Local_H: Keep on going, brothers. Just stop charging the kids too much money. Those bootlegs aren't worth that much.
ChatGuest_27916: What is your favorite song that you've written and recorded thus far? Local_H: Probably "All The Kids Are Right." People expect you to name some obscure track other than the single, but I really do like that song.
plug18: Was that Joe talking about getting the really fat chick on the Answering machine.
Local_H: No! No, that was a friend of ours named Chris who was the most popular guy in our class, which shows how far you can go by simply not being an a--hole.
nonsuave: Anyone like Iron Maiden?
Local_H: I do!
Goldleader: Scott, are you still playing with Triple Fast Action?
Local_H: Triple Fast Action is no longer together. That was Wes's old band.
ChatGuest_27916: Who are some of YOUR favorite bands?
Local_H: I realy like Queens Of The Stone Age, Verbena, and Muchacha.
ChatGuest_32040: hey, i think you are a hot babe. doyou have a chick?
Local_H: No, I'm asexual like Morrissey.
mercaynin: what did you think of the show at the roxy that night, and the chick that was feeling up your leg?
Local_H: Oh yeah. At first it scared me and then I started to get into it. LA was pretty good last night. We take back all the bad things we said about them.
Goldleader: This is a weird question, but with all the bands that got dropped after the Polygram/Universal merger, how were you lucky enough to stay on? Are you worried about your future with Polygram?
Local_H: I guess we're still there because we're so f--king good. It's one of those things you have no control over. We could bomb, whatever. I wouldn't know what to do either way. I'm not going to worry about it.
ChatGuest_46119: did scott and joe teach themselves to play their instruments or did they take lessons, and would they consider coming back to austin,tx this year to perform again?
Local_H: Neither of us took lessons. And yeah, we'll try to make it back everywhere we've played.
unshaped: are you guys friends with veruca salt?
JackKlugman: Who would you rather cut- Goo Goo Dolls or Matchbox 20?
Local_H: We live in a society where I don't have to choose which band I'd rather cut more.
mercaynin: have you guys come up with any new stuff for another record yet?
Local_H: There's a few riffs here and there, and we've got some pretty strong ideas of what we'd like to do next. But figuring that out is still a long way away.
glorifiedt: Are you planning a rare songs and B-sides album?
Local_H: I'd like to. I really like stuff like that and I think we've got enough so far that we could do that.
scudscud: Whos idea was to bring the stripper on, in Australia...I was there, it was a great touch!!
Local_H: That was the Superjesus. They were the headlining band. That was their end-of-the-tour prank. Ours was getting on stage and dancing around, jumping off the stage and me breaking my nose. Ha ha.
Fah_Q: How difficult was it for you to walk out of the studio with the album sounding exactly how you wanted it (an even flow thru and thru)?...the interviews I've read make it seem like everyone around you were somewhat discourging.
Local_H: It wasn't too tough. We had an exact sense of what we wanted to do walking into the studio. If you could hear the demos, the general ground work was there and we just followed that blueprint. We were left alone. People were excited about the record and nobody really told us what to do. I don't know what interview you read, but you may have gotten the wrong impression. This record was WAY satisfying.
tom-ass: Scott, so what's up with u guys and SILVERCHAIR?
Local_H: I'll see them anytime I can, like if I come to their town, and they come to my town. But we have no plans to tour together.
unshaped: a lot of people have labelled you as grunge. do you feel that's a fair assessment?
Local_H: Yeah. Whatever. I'm not too bothered by labels. I remember in high school the punk kids didn't want to be called punks. That's normal. But you have to remember, that anytime somebody comes up with a label, it came from a journalist, not a musician. It's all basically rock anyway.
made2fade9: hey scott -- would you ever considering re-recording one of the songs off of drum to put on another album?
Local_H: It's best to leave those things alone.
overt6: When your rockstar careers run out (if they do), what else will you do? Skills? Hobbies? Other career aspirations?
Local_H: I could go back to work at Subway, I guess. I'm still a damn fine sandwich maker. A sandwich artist, actually.
ChatGuest_27916: What's your view on Local H fanatics--do you see us (myself included) as flattering or annoying as hell?
Local_H: It's very flattering. Even to be chased around with a butcher knife is still flattering. But don't do it!
unshaped: do you feel you've improved your songwriting style since the days of ham fisted or as good as dead?
Local_H: Yeah, I guess so. The intent has always been the same, but I think the song craft is definitely better on this record.
plug18: What do you eat on the road?
Local_H: Pizza. Tuna fish. French Fries. Yogurt. Beer. Cheese sticks. Calamari. Grilled Cheese. Soup. Etc.
ChatGuest_66050: What is your favorite toothpaste?
Local_H: Toothpaste? I gotta go with Crest.
plug18: Do the Ladies flock to you guys?
Local_H: No. We have a saying, "Local H is coming. Hide your sons."
coolmagnet: is it true you are planning your next tour to co headline with Vanilla Ice?
Local_H: I would do that! [laughing]
plug18: Do you play with 3 bass and 3 guitar strings
Local_H: It's all guitar strings and the bass pick-up just picks up the bottom two strings.
overt6: What's the scariest thing that has happened on tour?
Local_H: When I woke up one morning and realized that I was turning into a bug.
ChatGuest_95045: What were your thoughts about the presidential scandel
Local_H: That's funny, because I was just watching that Monica Lewinsky interview last night and it occurred to me how disturbingly interesting it was. Because Barbara Walters really does sound like Gilda Radner. How about Monica's teeth? What the hell was going on with those teeth? She's got a weird teeth thing happening. There's too many.
glorifiedt: How do you keep your material fresh to yourselves, even after touring almost non stop?
Local_H: I don't know. We try to change things up. We try to be flexible with the set list, throwing in odd songs and odd covers.
gorgo: If there were more guys in the band, would you ever be Regional H?
Local_H: I don't get you.
Fah_Q: do you find to be much easier in the studio with just the two of you, or is it just that much more work?
Local_H: I like being in the studio. I like playing live too. It's one of those things where I don't think you necessarily have to choose. You can do both--just like ragging on bands. The fact that there's two of us doesn't really make it harder or easier. With the two of us, we know pretty much what's going to happen at all times.
made2fade9: whats the most obnoxious thing a fan has done to you?
Local_H: I don't know. I mean, being on the Internet sometimes can be pretty obnoxious or irritating. If you are reading your e-mail and someone is instant messaging you and you don't get back to them right away, they get really offended and bitchy and that can be really annoying. Like they don't understand, there's like 50 kids instant messaging you at the same time.
JackKlugman: I saw a clip from the cynic video the other day. What's that Robot thing all about, because it looked cool?
Local_H: That was the director Jodi Willie -- it was her idea. It was meant to be the ego out of control. People killing cops and stuff.
ChatGuest_46119: are most of your lyrics on ham fisted and good as dead basically about the two of you?
Local_H: The lyrics on Ham Fisted are kind of about just being in your 20s and trying to figure out what you're going to do, what kind of job you're going to have, what to do with your life. And As Good As Dead is about getting married too early, being stuck in your hometown and getting a job at the power plant.
ChatGuest_27916: Who were some of your more embarrassing early influences (e.g. New Kids on the Block for some others)?
Local_H: I'm not really embarrassed by any of the bands I listened to. I was heavily into REO Speedwagon. Abba too. I think it's more embarrassing to have a Hole CD in your collection, which I do. I find that more embarrassing than to have an Abba CD. That's not necessarily a slam on Hole by the way...
tom-ass: Did NIRVANA influence u guys in anyway?
Local_H: Yeah. All those Sub Pop bands were big influences on us.
unshaped: how do you feel about people like marilyn manson? is he a good role model, just out to get publicity, a comic show, or what? is he giving rock n roll a good name?
Local_H: When I was growing up, Ozzy would piss on the Alamo or bite the head off a bat and he'd be all over the news, and that was cool. I mean, that kind of thing has happened before, and you know, it's cool if he's doing that. I just don't like when there's a small group of rock stars at the top and you'll read an interview where they claim ROCK IS DEAD and they are the champions of it. That's just stupid. If some of these guys would just go back and hang out in some clubs and see some of these unsigned rock bands they would realize how wrong they are.
made2fade9: favorite black sabbath song?
Local_H: Symptoms Of The Universe.
Goldleader: Is there a group that you'd kill to open for?
Local_H: Hmmm...I don't know. Actually, anybody that will get us in front of people and help us sell records. 'N Sync maybe.
ChatGuest_22960: i used to work at burger king and mayonnaise and malise reminds me of fast food work is that what its a bout and if so who worked where
Local_H: That's exactly what it's about. Working fast food in your 20s and having people from high school come in and order something from you.
ChatGuest_95045: Who is the most coolest celeberty you have ever met??
Local_H: Coolest...There must be somebody. Who's cool? Kim Deal was cool. Robin Zander is cool. Meeting Krist Novoselic. That was pretty great.
voidsong: Do you ever listen to 60's pop/rock like the Kinks, Beatles, Pretty Things, etc.?
Local_H: Sure. I really like the Who.
glorifiedt: Did you know that stoney sounds almost exactly like "By, you" On Fugazi's Red Medicene album, Are they influential to you?
Local_H: I wasn't aware of that. That whole thing started out as me writing theme music for a horror movie, like a Halloween type of thing. I do like Fugazi though, I wouldn't necessarily call them an influence.
ChatGuest_66050: I understand you both write the music. Do you also share writing the lyrics?
Local_H: No. I guess I always write the lyrics, because I'm the one who's gotta sing them.
made2fade9: now that you're getting more well known, do more people recognize you when you're out?
Local_H: Depends on where I am. If I'm at a Taco Bell, everybody knows me.
ThatGrrl: I really like the song "She hates my job"....so what's that all about? heh
Local_H: Just about how touring can really put a strain on relationships. Just talking about things like that. We try to be funny. I guess it's no different from a JOURNEY road song.
Goldleader: What is the last CD you bought? Current favorites?
Local_H: Last CD I bought was probably the Rushmore soundtrack. Other CDs I dig...Queens Of The Stone Age are probably the best thing out there right now.
ChatGuest_27916: Who is your favorite band that you've toured with and why?
Local_H: I enjoyed the Silverchair tour. It kind of reminded me of what I liked about touring and rock shows in the first place.
mercaynin: do you play the drums? I saw an odd pic of you on the drums for figdish, but a while back you said you didn't know how...
Local_H: I don't know how to play drums. I don't remember playing drums with figdish.
Goldleader: If Weird Al wanted to make a parody off of one of your songs, would you mind?
Local_H: I guess I wouldn't mind. But what song? I don't know. I don't have that steel trap mind that Weird Al has. I wouldn't necessarily see the humor that he does. I guess the drummer from Veruca Salt walked up to him once and said, "Nice career," and walked away. I thought that was kind of an a--hole move. I want to do serious versions of all of Weird Al's songs.
unshaped: how do you feel about techno music? there were a couple of computer generated music things on pack up the cats
Local_H: There's NO computer generated things on that album! I dare you to find a computer generated thing there. That's the whole idea. You CAN make sounds like that with real guitars and guitar effects. I have no problem with techno. I think it's great. But I think it would be dishonest and stupid to jump on the techno bandwagon. I like trip-hop more. That last Massive Attack record was amazing.
unshaped: at what age did you lose your virginity?
ChatGuest_95045: Do you listen to what teh critics have to say??
Local_H: I don't necessarily listen. I'll read the things that are written about us, but it doesn't really influence what I do. What people write about you tends to say more about THEM than about US.
Slanted23: Do you consider your new album a conceptual album? If so, were did the whole cats motif come from?
Local_H: I do. The cat thing just kept coming up. It wasn't necessarily the theme of the record, but it added a little color...
ChatGuest_66050: What is your favorite cartoon?
Local_H: The Simpsons. I even hesitate to even call it a cartoon. It's so right-on.
unshaped: i heard on some internet interview that "new york pizza is good for a slice, but chicago pizza is good for a meal." why?
Local_H: Yes. If I said that, I was so right that it makes my head spin.
GR8LIFE: Are your groupies hot, or kinda schwaggy?
Local_H: They're schwaggily-hot. With a surprisingly large amount of body hair.
Slanted23: Do you have a cat? What's its name?
Local_H: No, I have no cat. But if I did, I'd call the cat Maude.
ChatGuest_52012: What was the first album you ever bought?
Local_H: "Album" by Abba.
Logontothis: is there any way us the fans can get a copy of "drum" your demo
Local_H: No. Not at all. Stay away.
voidsong: Tell us something you've never told anybody else, not even Joe!
Local_H: That my last name is actually Lukowski...Don't tell Joe!
ChatGuest_78495: Who was the inspiration for 'Bag of Hammers'?
Local_H: This kid who sat on my arms--this older kid--he pinned me down and wouldn't let me up and kept punching me. So one day I killed him.
unshaped: how do you spend the money you make from albums and tours? do you save it or spend it extravagantly?
Local_H: I just blow it all. I have a crazy magazine habit where I just gotta go to the newsstand and buy every copy of Vanity Fair. VF, by the way--is that a men's or a women's magazine?
made2fade9: whats the most interesting thing you've autographed?
Local_H: A newborn baby's head.
ChatGuest_95045: What will the next song that you will release be??
Local_H: It should already be there, it's "All Right, Oh Yeah."
mercaynin: did you and kathleen hanna ever go out? how did she view "grrrlfriend"?
Local_H: No, we never went out. I don't think she's aware of the song. I was just a Bikini Kill fan and I was one of their fans. I asked for a sticker, she was handing out homemade stickers. When she handed it to me, she had this look in her eye like, "is this who I want in my audience?" So, that's why I wrote the song. She gave me the sticker anyway.
voidsong: What do you think of bands like Korn, Deftones, Orgy, Limp Bizkit, etc?
Local_H: I like the Deftones. I think Limp Bizkit is taking over the void that Weird Al has left.
overt6: Do you sometimes get tired of music talk and playing music, and just want to plant a garden?
Slanted23: I'm a fellow guitarist, how do you rig your setup to get a fuller sound live?
Local_H: I put a bass pick-up in the guitar. It has a separate jack that picks up the bottom two strings and it goes through a bass amp.
ChatGuest_78495: How did you get your guitar to MEOW on "Pack Up the Cats"?
Local_H: I kicked it. No, actually, I gave it some milk.
plug18: What do you mean by saying "You know I am as Good as dead"
Local_H: The lyric is "YOU'RE as good as dead." Basically, I guess I mean that you are, not me.
made2fade9: if you ever met that guy from matchbox 20....what would you say to him?
Local_H: I'd say, "you look very sweaty and uncomfortable."
JackKlugman: What's your favourite beer?
Local_H: Depends on where it's from. Lately I've enjoyed a nice Heineken. Old Milwaukee is always fine.
LAUNCH_Host: We'll take a few more questions...
Logontothis: do u ever get pissed at fans for askin dumb questions like this 1?
ChatGuest_95045: What is your favorite song to perform live??
Local_H: Probably "Fine And Good."
unshaped: do you absolutely hate anyone? who and why?
Local_H: I know there's somebody who's just wrangling me right now. Who is it? I don't know, there's a lot of people I just can't stand. Somebody...
Witchmagic: What are your favorite clubs in Chicago?
Local_H: Liar's Club. Metro.
made2fade9: that celine dion shirt--did you buy it or steal it or what?
Local_H: I bought it. Celine jams! I'm all about the divas. Damn, I missed the Shania Twain concert special. Man! I was SO gonna watch that!
voidsong: Have you experimented with mind-altering substances?
ChatGuest_95045: Yo, I know this isn't a question, but I just want to thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule to spend some time with some fans talking...Thanks Scott, u rock!!
Local_H: Thank you!
Logontothis: whats your favorite web site on the net?
Local_H: I don't know. I'm such a computer moron that every time I try to download one, my friend's computer crashes.
LAUNCH_Host: We'll do one more question, then Scott's gotta go...
coolmagnet: Are you ever uncomfortable doing your songs when your parents are in the audience?
Local_H: No, I get a perverse thrill out of it actually. Well, I'm leaving. No parting words. See you guys later.
LAUNCH_Host: Okay, Scott's got to go now. If you're in San Francisco tonight, catch Local H at Slim's. They rock!!!!