For the guys in the Hillbilly Rockets, music isn’t just what they do; it’s how they live.
“Life without music is boring,” says Jim, guitarist.
“Yeah,” adds frontman/guitarist Hugo. “Without it, Jim would probably be dead by now, and I’d be a Buddhist monk.”
He’s not joking about the monk thing, but that’s another story for another day.
Today, we are sitting on the patio at L’Esco, a fixture in the Montreal indie scene, and a spot where the member of the Hillbilly Rockets have played on an off and in varying incarnations, for the last 15-20 years.
The basement bar, with its ancient-looking stone walls and dim lighting, evokes a sense of “go hard or go home,” and Hugo and Jim are quick to attest.
“Rock and roll has always been rebel music,” Hugo says. “So you have to…”
“Get angry!” finishes Jim. “If we don’t finish the set completely soaked in sweat, it’s not a good show.”
The band’s vintage, gravelly rock and roll sound is filled out by JP on bass and Eric on drums.
“JP is very talented and dedicated,” Hugo says.
“He makes our sound more unique and inventive,” Jim adds.
As for Eric, “he’s a machine,” Hugo says.
“His laid-back, swingy rock sound is definitely from a different era,” Jim continues.
With an EP under their belts so far, the band hopes to lock themselves in a cabin this summer to complete a full-length album.
The whole project will be DIY from start to finish, and as raw and pure as possible.
“Hopefully, it will be reminiscent of early Decca recordings,” says Jim. “And it definitely won’t be hi-fi!”
Oli Pomerleau will be subbing for JP over the summer, and the fun (and sweat) continued Friday, July 13, when the band took to the stage at L’Escalier and again on Sunday the 15th at Cabaret du Musée du Rock and Roll. See you at a show this summer!