You can make history in just one day and you can make history as a band in just two years and one album. Or maybe two albums if you decide to partner again with that band and release a revival that meets all expectations, a celebration of friendship (something that’s sometimes scarce thanks to musicians and their egos). Hoover is a legendary hardcore (and its variants) band from Washington D.C’s nineties. But, most of all, it’s a group of friends that have decided to keep on composing together, with other names, or even by recovering their second and last album and reissuing it with BCore. The reason? The independent record labels 300th record edition. Here we chat with Joseph Redmond, voice and guitar of Hoover, 18 years after the release of the album we can all enjoy again.
I moved down to DC from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I was in Admiral and Victor Deluxe before that. Al moved from Phoenix, Arizona and showed up one day in DC and moved into my house. He was in Wind of Change and Fuse before that. Fred moved from Omaha, Nebraska to go to the University of Maryland and played with Hoonah. Chris grew up in Suitland, Maryland a suburb of DC and played with Fine Day.
When I moved to DC with Geoff and Amy Farina, Geoff and I already had plans to start a band. We were introduced to Chris Farrall by Laura Solitaire our first weekend in town and got to see Fine Day play. We asked Chris to help us out and he did and that band became Victor Deluxe. We played 2 shows and then Geoff decided to move back to Boston. Fred was at the last Victor Deluxe show at DC Space and introduced himself and we started playing music together the following week. We were a 3 piece until Al moved into town and into my room. He would play his guitar really loud after our rehearsals, so we asked him to join the band.
About the name:
I think Al really liked the Hoover vacuum cleaner logo.
About Ian McKaye:
Fred, Al, and myself came to DC from out of town and at least Wind of Change and Admiral opened up for Fugazi at one time or another. The first time I saw Ian play was an early Fugazi show in Frederick, MD and was surprised and a bit disappointed that he had long curly hair and was wearing a headband. Guy was off to the side kind of just emphasizing certain words. They mostly seemed like the back up band for Charlie Moats’ dancing at the time. With a bit of a reggae feel. I don’t really remember meeting him when Admiral played with them, but I do remember him coming up to me after a Hoover show in DC and saying it was awesome and when were we going to put a record out. He helped us get started with that.
About the break-up:
Chris quit the band after our second tour, and we decided not to replace him. A few years later, since we continued to play together in various bands and still liked each other, we agreed to record the remaining songs we had written but never released. It took us then another 7 years to agree to tour again together in 2004. We work very slowly but we recorded very quickly, it was not weird to get together, we were still friends who saw each other all the time, and played in each other’s bands.
We typically brought our same instruments to other bands. I learned that it’s stupid to break up. Fred and I brought each other to our next band. And then a few after that.
About the influences:
Between us we liked all of the hardcore bands and generally most punk rock. We did listen to a “5 song Punk Tape’ in the van a lot that had the Circle Jerks “Red Tape” on it, and Bad Brains “Pay to Cum”. From the early 80s on we probably bought or taped all of the hardcore records. Standouts are The Faith, Battalion of Saints, the Necros, Negative Approach, the Minutemen, the Adolescents. Ruin, The Dicks, Nardcore, on and on and on.
This part could be answered forever, so to make it simple we also listened to Soulside, Ignition, Talk Talk, that Steven Jesse Bernstein record on Sub Pop, REM, the JBs, the Beastie Boys, the Clash, Reggae Music, Dave Brubeck, other Jazz music, Public Enemy, and Sonic Youth. And some other stuff.
And the band we consider part of our family are Karate, Phleg Camp, John Henry West, Trusty, Greyhouse, Junction, and Chicken Shit Logjam.
About their reunion show in Barcelona w/ Nisei:
It’s sort of a blur because we flew from the UK, but didn’t Bluetip play that show too? I remember Al’s Marshall head blew up and ending our set early. It was not one of our better shows, but it was very good to see everybody there that night and at the after party at the Sidecar (I think). Al and I stayed up all night and had some police involvement very early in the morning. It took us forever to find our hotel room that night. I still have towels from that place.
Where are they today?
Al’s a self employed carpenter, Fred I believe is a carpenter too and has Freddie T. and the People, Chris is playing with 2 guys from Shortstack and they’re called Santics, and I’m about to open a health grocery store as well as playing bass in Colonel Josh & the Honky Tonk Heroes and in The Bachelor & the Bad Actress, and playing guitar and singing in Rancho Notorious.