I found employment with Hazel by way of appearing as Cupid at their debut gig, Valentine's Day, 1992. Theoretically, dancers sweeten an already harmonious chemistry between musicians and between musicians and audience, providing nuance and fuel to the emotional peaks and troughs, subtly or not so. In our practice, this being stupendously passionate and hilarious Hazel, it's a matter of exemplifying. Neither am I so modest as not to note that in shielding Jody and the other boys from normal scrutiny, I create for them a more private arena in which to effect their outrageous alchemy - i am the mortar, they the pestle. On a good night, absolutely fuel-inject their speed, their power, their counterpoint. (and on a bad night - cf jon pareles - turn lead into shit)
We came out at the time of one of those sicko anti-gay local ballot-measures (against the backdrop of the now-receding AIDS plague), and into a music scene under siege from lethal multi-national music-business sharks (ironically, courtesy of Mister Cobain's funny homosexual antics). A slightly fanatical cult-following descended from that very first show, and imposed on us a brutal mandate to burn down every house in reach, particularly targeting the macho frat-boy rock-pose and foul business 'advancement' infecting the commercial rock world from time immemorial.
Talk about biting off more than you can chew.
Unfortunately, we ended up caving a little on the oxymoronic business reality end of things: a) We didn't begin to appreciate the amount of pressure required to bring to bear upon our pathetic record-label sufficient to force them to let us title our first disc Buttfucking With Hazel. b) We cut a series of Nike commercials featuring the repugnant Dennis Hopper, and c) We let London Records tease our cock for what felt like a decade.
[My personal business-of-rock epiphany came one evening at the historic Los Angeles dive Raji's. The buzz on Hazel was peaking and a pack of disreputable-looking millionaire record-scouts (before we started, I remarked to Brady what a lot of junkies there seemed to be there. He goes, "those aren't junkies - those are A & R guys") from the larger record companies had come to scope us out. And while we definitely rocked the house that night, the band up next, a local band called Loser - which by the evidence of its name understood the situation all too well - came on and tore the place apart. Of course, the recording scouts had all managed to split in search of their dealers by the time Loser took the stage]
Touring in North America is high-stress. One quickly learns strategies to avoid the omnipresence of bandmates. Most musicians use alcohol and worse (tv). One tour I spent my entire proceeds on rental cars. I bailed out of the Veruca Salt Tour at least four times, and more times than that came this close to making Pete bail permanently. Eventually I learned to bring along a folding-bike and a notepad - for a little recording of my own.
The Europe tour in '97 was the last time we played regularly. Til '05 we averaged a couple of shows a year. We were, and are, unhappy with our 2 LPS. The opacity and passive-aggressive sabotage of the businessmen whom we had to please in order to release them leaves a foul taste. One day, one of us will have the time and sense to mix up a more viable compilation.
Pete Krebs plays guitar and does most of the singing and songwriting. Jody Bleyle is our iconic drummer and sings lead, harmonies, duets, and backup. Brady Smith plays bass like Ichiro plays ball and sings a little and wrote one of our most passionate songs, cround. Athletes all, but I'm the fucking dancer.