- Posted on Mar 4th 2011 1:00PM by Arielle Castillo
As the face of Hunx and His Punx, the sometime hairdresser plays lo-fi, danceable garage-punk ditties in an unforgettably bratty voice. Bogart recently talked with Spinner about the act's genesis, its new dance album and its current backing band of Punkettes.
Where did you grow up, and when did you first really get into music?
I grew up in Tucson, Ariz. I got into music when I was like 14 or 13 or something. That's when I realized I wanted to play it. I started playing guitar and learning Nirvana songs and stuff like that.
What was the music scene like in Tucson? Did you get out much to shows there?
It wasn't that great. There was one place for bands that toured through, but I didn't really start going to see live music until later in high school because I was too young and, like, a loner. But I used to always go see this band called the Drags play. They were a garage band from Albuquerque or something.
At what point did you move to California?
I moved to Oakland when I was 18, right after high school. My dad died when I was 17, and I was looking to get out of Arizona. I wanted to be around art and music, and I always loved California, so I just came here.
What year was that, and how soon after that did you start Gravy Train?
That was in '98, and then I think Gravy Train!!! started maybe two years later. I had this organ that my friend gave me in high school that's a Farfisa, a '60s organ. I always played that, too, and I started writing weird keyboard songs for Gravy Train!!! and then I started doing more and more of the music for them. Then Gravy Train!!! broke up last year, but we hadn't been doing anything for a while. The last tour we did was in 2008, and then the singer moved to L.A.
But you had already started writing some of the Hunx and his Punx material before that, right?
I had written some of it and recorded a lot of it but didn't really know what to do with it. Then I approached a couple of labels that were my friends to release some singles. That's kind of how it happened.
At the time, it was just me and my friend Justin, who goes by Nobunny. He originally wrote four songs that he wanted to approach some unknown high school girls about recording, but I think he was too weird and creepy. So he was like, "You sound like a girl, so you should just record these." They kind of worked for me singing them, because they were from a girl's point of view. I kind of translated it to be kind of gay, you know?
I wrote some of the lyrics to the songs, and then I wrote a couple of songs of my own. We recorded them in Tucson. Those were songs like 'You Don't Like Rock and Roll,' 'Gimme Gimme Back Your Love' and 'Hey Rocky,' songs like that.
Who wrote 'You Don't Like Rock and Roll,' which has been more or less your signature song? Did the lyrics come from a specific incident?
He mostly wrote that, and I wrote some lyrics. It was his idea, and I thought it was funny and related to it because there's been so many times I've met gay guys that only like dance music.
You've said in the past that you had two albums coming up, a rock album and a dance album. Is each still happening?
It is slowly happening, but I actually wrote a whole new album that's kind of like Hunx and his Punx, but more poppy. I ended up recording that recently, and then I've been working with a bunch of people on the dance album. But I don't really know when it's going to be finished now. It's probably going to be under the name H.U.N.X.
The pop album's mostly songs that I wrote in my bedroom. It'd be late at night, and I'd just write these sad songs and record them.
What about the new Hunx and His Punx album that's coming out? How does it sound compared to your first crop of songs?
I have an all-girl band now, and it's totally different. All the girls sing on it, so it's kind of girl-group-sounding, and there are a lot of slower, sadder songs and a lot of harmonies and stuff. I like it better.
Where did the sadder songs come from? The earlier songs were mostly happy, or at least positive about the end of a relationship gone bad.
I guess it was just being in two long relationships that didn't really work out. I was down on love and feeling kind of heartbroken. I also feel like I'm always doing everything really happy and positive, so I just wanted to show a different side of myself.
The last record was called 'Gay Singles' and seemed intentionally sexually provocative, and you seem to have toned that down a bit.
Yeah, I don't know if I'm older or something, but I'm kind of over that. This record's really not about that. It's more about love and heartbreak than it is about hooking up with dudes.
Catch Hunx and His Punx's SXSW Set on Friday, March 18 at Red 7 Patio (611 E 7th St.) 10:15PM.
Keep Austin Weird: Fun Things to Do at SXSW | SXSW Survival Guide: Advice, Tips and Tricks From Artists | SXSW Road Trip Guide | Top 100 Bands at SXSW 2011
Latest SXSW News | All Things SXSW