If you went to the Festival of the Arts Damaged Music Show this spring, you'll recognize Hair Police from their violent, frenzied set, which featured probably more shirtless writhing and irresponsible, spontaneous use of pyrotechnics than the Divinity School building will ever see again. Singer and bassist Mike Connelly, who also runs the tape label Gods of Tundra, was kind enough to offer Voices the following interview. Of course we're going to plug not only their new CD Blow Out Your Blood, on Minneapolis's Freedom From label, but also their upcoming show at the Empty Bottle this July 4th. That event, doubtless the best show Chicago will see this summer, will also be graced by such notables as Wolf Eyes/Violent Ramp electrician Aaron Dilloway, New York-based guitar-skree trio Sightings, the laudable Nautical Almanac, Michigan's solo dance-noise MC Mammal, girl/boy death dance duo Neon Hunk, Son of Earth/Flesh on Bone, and between-set DJ Weasel Walter (Flying Luttenbachers, Hatewave, Lake of Dracula, To Live & Shave in LA 2). Blow Out Your Blood, which I was lucky enough to acquire prior to its official release, is the hardest-core noise-rock record I've heard yet this year. Toy instrumentation serves Hair Police well, and the results come out like something you'd expect of Charles Bronson if he smoked PCP with the villains from their namesake's films. Comparisons have been made most frequently, from what I've seen and heard, to Harry Pussy and Pussy Galore, but Hair Police's brand of overdriven electronic red-lined cheese-cum-trucker speed drumming is really more its own thing than any kind of distillation or combination of other sounds.
Voices: According to MP3.com, you guys are the most popular band based in Lexington, Kentucky. Does that mean the scene there is pretty good, such that you guys get tons of local gigs, groupies, free drugs?
Mike Connelly: Ha. I had no idea. In actuality no one really likes us in Lexington. Well, all these killer punks found out about us and are totally into it, but that's about it. So drugs and sex have to come from friends, not fans.
Voices: So, listening to Blow Out Your Blood, I couldn't quite decide whether you guys were into metal or hardcore in high school.
Mike Connelly: Speaking for myself, I was very much into hardcore, among lots of other shit. Black Flag and Minor Threat were like my favorite bands. It was only recently that I started listening to metal, and a hell of a lot of it. But I still listen to a lot of 80's hardcore. In fact, the last album I bought was a Black Flag album.
Voices: How did you all get into noise or whatever? What kind of stuff do you guys listen to outside the whole Freedom From, Load, Bulb, Hanson thing?
Mike Connelly: I got into noise from my friend Ross Wilbanks who has since moved to North Carolina. He did a tape label, Free Sound. I had never even heard of tape labels or any of that shit before him. This is '98, I was 18, fresh out of high school. He had a nice record collection, so really I just took his cue. I owe a lot to him. The RRR catalog helped a lot as well. As far as Hanson and whatnot, I was able to see a ton of bands I had never seen/heard of in one night in Chicago. It was the Black Friday concert and everybody played. Universal Indians, Nautical Almanac, Wolf Eyes, Metalux, Flossie, Quintron, 25 Suaves. That had a huge effect on me. What I listen to otherwise, well recently it's been a lot of black/death metal, Black Flag, Augustus Pablo, Lee Perry, Sparks, ABBA, and Whitehouse.
Voices: This summer's is, I'm assuming, your first nationwide tour. Where and with whom are you guys especially looking forward to playing? What have been some of your favorite past shows?
Mike Connelly: Yes, this is our first big tour, and I can't fucking wait. Our label guy Matt St. Germain set the whole thing up. Huge fucking props for that, and of course for putting out our CD. We'd still be playing to ourselves in our barn if it weren't for him. Anyway, I can't wait to play EVERYWHERE. A week in California, going to Miami, it's gonna be great. Everywhere is gonna be killer. Doing a week with Nautical [Almanac] is gonna kill. Oh yeah, we're playing with Neil Hamburger! Entire Hair Police conversations revolve around Great Phone Calls, so we're hoping not to slip up and quote him in front of him! Playing all these shows with Neon Hunk and Mammal is gonna rule too. I've already done 10 dates with Mammal a few weeks ago, with my solo project Zombi. I'll be with him way more than my girlfriend this summer (disturbing). Best past show is the legendary New Year's Eve gig in Ypsilanti, Michigan last New Year's. Oh my God, it was the sickest, most intense show ever. No Doctors, Mammal, us, 25 Suaves, and Violent Ramp. The place was destroyed, ceiling came in, everything broke. My all time favorite HP set, documented on Animal Disguise's Fog People Vol. 1 compilation.