[CRUNCHY POP] "Not sure if you're hoping to uncover the next great Portland icons," emails Honus Huffhines drummer Joe Kobjerowski in response to WW' s interview request. "That's probably not us. Unless you're a really, really amazing (like 'God's own,' as Gram Parsons would say) writer."
For the most part, Kobjerowski is right: The Honus Huffhines would be poor candidates for Hipsters of the Year. At 37, Kobjerowski is the youngest member of the year-old crunchy-pop band; the oldest member, keyboard and guitar player Dave Sullivan, is 45. Every member has been playing music for over 20 years, and each is gainfully employed with a real career, including bass player Sean Mesereau, 40, who works as an oncologist at OHSU and Providence St. Vincent Hospital. And one member—although Kobjerowski will not disclose who—is known to wear socks with his Teva sandals.
But for a band that scoffs at being labeled "the next great Portland icons," the Huffhines are embracing new ideas about alternative music. Sounding like a rougher-edged Elvis Costello&the Attractions, the band is not looking for a great record deal or even to embark on monthlong tours. This is partially because its members are more settled—Kobjerowski says he'd be reluctant to give up his job as a project manager or his home in North Portland to become a professional touring musician—but also because the Huffhines are interested in having fun more than anything else.
For one, vocalist (and Portland Business Journal reporter) Andy Giegerich, 44, writes and prints a band newsletter called "Huffin'&Puffin'" for each show's audience. It includes a set list, the wordsmith lyrics to all songs played (example: "That coat's been borrowed/ Cloaking better souls than her") and fake articles about the Huffhines' recent exploits. The band has even written a radio-theater-style script to perform at its next show.
Despite the humorous lyrics and stage gimmicks, Sullivan contends that there's no smoke and mirrors when it comes to the Huffhines' well-crafted pop songs. Of the band's spot-on harmonies and simple guitars, he says, "We're pretty real. There's no catchy way of saying it. I feel like when you see a band and you really love them, it's because they are honest." And, with stable lives and years of experience, this pack of honest guys truly has nothing to prove. We should all be so lucky.
The Honus Huffhines play Saturday, Oct. 27, with Laud Sonance, Trophies at the Red Room. 9 pm. Free. 21+.