This Friday, April 8th, The Cult will be bringing what is sure to be the biggest ROCK show Philthy has seen all year to the stage of the Electric Factory. However, the band handling opening duties, Des Moines, Iowa’s Holy White Hounds, seem to know quite a bit about ROCKing themselves. Although their debut album, Sparkle Sparkle, doesn’t hit shelves until May 6th, courtesy of Razor & Tie, the origins of Holy White Hounds date back to 2005, when founding members Brenton Dean (vocalist/guitarist) and Ambrose Lupercal (bass) first became friends. Since then guitarist James Manson and drummer Seth Luloff have also been welcomed into the Holy White Hounds family. At times the band resembles an exact fusion of where Nirvana and Beck were at, respectively, in late ‘93/early ’94; on other occasions, they resemble a stoner rock ensemble with a keen understanding of why glam rock rules so fucking hard; and then they sometime sound like a badass brand of blues rock suitable for far more than just dads and uncles.
A week ago I got to catch up with Brenton and Ambrose from the road and when I ask them the highlights of Holy White Hounds Brenton tells me that, with their debut still yet to drop, this tour has pretty much been the best experience the band has had.
“Currently we’re on tour with The Cult, which has been fantastic. It’s been great playing different kinds of venues, like casinos, huge theatres, and rock venues. Getting to play the record and playing these shows has just been great, and then seeing the guys backstage and they’re super nice to us and like to hang out with us and chat about guitars and drums and stuff. It starts to feel redundant when I talk about them because they’re just so cool and nice to us.”
Brenton and Ambrose confirm that their actual musical influences are in the same ballpark as the sounds I previously mentioned (although at the time of the interview I had not come up with those particular parallels), but they also have a few that are likely a bit surprising. Brenton tells me, “Our musical influences go back to when we were kids, like that very first Violent Femmes record, which I’ve always loved, although that was out before my time,” before going on to mention a love of Mastodon and Queen. Ambrose adds, “It’s about trying to find the good bits out of everything. I really like Paramore and The Raconteurs, but also some recent hip-hop and some recent pop.”
I inquire about if there’s anything particularly important for potential fans to know about the still-relatively-young band and Brenton quickly replies, “There’s nothing important about any band [laughs],” but then clarifies that he does think that some concertgoers have gotten a somewhat inaccurate impression of the band, based on their particular onstage manner: “When we take the stage we have a strong sense of humor, we have a good time. And we joke around so much people just think we’re jokesters or buffoons, but when we sit down to write a song, we take it very seriously.” But when I ask what can be expected of their upcoming Philly show, they confirm that a particularly serious set is pretty much the last thing that we should worry about spoiling our Friday night. “We have a lot of fun onstage,” Ambrose tells me, before Brenton quickly adds, “Booty shakin!” and they admit, at the end of the day, for Holy White Hounds, “The most important thing is trying to pick the best tempo to shake your ass.”