"Feeling a Little Hoarse"

by Cathy Clause

OK, I don't normally offer completely unsolicited opinions about bands (well, I try not to do it in print), but I just wanted to start off this article by saying that Hoarse KICKS ASS!!! And if you haven't already, you should immediately go out and purchase their new CD, HAPPENS TWICE, and you should definitely check them out live next time they swing through town.

Hoarse is a three-piece out of Detroit that plays pop-punk songs with great melodies and driving rhythm lines. Singer/guitarist John Speck started the band in the spring of 1993, and bassist Robby Graham joined soon after (i.e., right after the band's first gig). Fast forward a year or so and a couple of stints in other Detroit-area bands, and the guys hooked up with drummer Jimmy Paluzzi, a guy who, as John describes, represented "everything we didn't have: a drummer, a second singer, a practice space, a PA, and transportation to the gigs. We were so stoked."

And the rest is relatively recent history. The program director from Detroit's 96.3 The Planet caught a live show and asked for a song to play. The station then put an earlier version of "Diamond," the first single off HAPPENS TWICE, into regular rotation, leading to a positive listener response and major interest from several major labels. The band signed to RCA, spent some time in the studio recording their first full-length CD, and then spent even more time waiting for the release date, although John says that, in the end, the waiting was a good thing. "We have a lot better chance of hopefully selling some records and reaching a wider audience because they've [RCA] put a lot of work into planning this out. And we're way better as a band. I don't have to scream all the time and jump around like a lunatic because the melody and the song can do a lot of the legwork for you." As for the relationship theme, especially bad or challenging relationships, on many of the songs on the CD, John explains, "I know that's a really overplayed topic, but you have to understand, this is our first record and you have a lifetime to write your first record."

The band is about to hit the road in support of the CD and has already played a few dates in the region opening for the Voodoo Glow Skulls and Goldfinger. Although things are really happening for Hoarse, they still appear to be just some stand-up good guys that love music and really enjoy playing in a band together, and hopefully that will never change. John describes the title track off the CD, "Happens Twice" as being about "stopping to take it all in while you've got the chance, just enjoy it. It's like, is the glass half empty or half full?". For Hoarse, as well as for their fans, it seems like the glass is about to overflow.

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