ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JAN. 30, 1997
Thanks to the popularity of an angst-ridden grunge-pop ditty called “Bound for the Floor”, Illinois rock duo Local H is making tsunami-sized waves on North American radio right now. The group is also garnering attention for its unusual configuration, although vocalist-guitarist Scott Lucas and drummer Joe Daniels didn’t go the twosome route in order to be seen as wacky and different. When the former quartet’s bassist and second guitarist quit, Lucas and Daniels just stuck it out.
Considering the tiny talent pool in their hometown of Zion, they didn’t have much choice.
“The town we’re from, there wasn’t a lot of people to play with,” says Lucas, calling from a sound check in Milwaukee before the first show of a seven-week tour that visits the Town Pump on Saturday (February 1). “We didn’t know any bass players, and that was basically it.”
When Local H plays live, Lucas has a bass pickup in his guitar that is fed through a bass amp, and—with his instrument also hooked up to a standard guitar amp—it sounds kinda like he’s playing bass and guitar at the same time. That’s how the duo pulls off the power-trio illusion onstage and on certain tunes from its sophomore release, As Good as Dead.
“When it came time to record, we just did whatever sounded good,” says the 26-year-old rocker, “whatever we needed to get it to sound as big as possible. Later on we worried about what it would sound like live.”
Although Lucas cites such ’70s-rock stalwarts as AC/DC and Pink Floyd as early influences, he also points to the early-’90s Seattle scene as being inspirational. Stylistic similarities to Nirvana abound on As Good as Dead, and there’s even a song titled “Eddie Vedder”, in which Lucas croons: “If I was Eddie Vedder would you like me any better?”
“That was like the first punk movement that I really identified with,” he says of grunge, “ ’cause I felt it spoke to metal kids and stuff like that.”
One of the more abrasive tunes on As Good as Dead is “High-Fiving MF”, which makes frequent use of angry swearing to lash out at what Lucas calls “big over-the-hill jock types”. That song was the main reason Local H was required to include a warning label on the CD, although it doesn’t carry the “Parental Advisory: Explicit Content” message seen on most discs. The label on As Good as Dead reads, “Yeah mom…the F-word’s on this record.”