Mick Rhodes & The Hard Eight

By Waleed Rashidi

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Posted June 16, 2011 in Music

MEMBERS & INSTRUMENTS:

Mick Rhodes (vocals, electric and acoustic rhythm guitar); Brian Hall (electric lead guitar); Wyman Reese (piano, organ); Brian Wells (drums); John Sleeger (bass, backing vocals); Steve Sturgis (backing vocals, acoustic guitar).

CITIES OF ORIGIN:

Claremont, Chino, Pomona, Upland.

RECENT RELEASE:

’Til I am Dust (Hot Tramp, 2010).

KINDRED SPIRITS:

Replacements, Lucinda Williams, Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, Faces, Minutemen, E.L.O., tube amplifiers, summer, heartbreak, family.

WEBSITES:

www.facebook.com/MickRhodesAndTheHardEight; www.hottramprecords.com.

For Mick Rhodes, a longtime musician in the independent scene, launching his solo effort was a return to form of sorts. Having spent his formative years in the ’80s via Human Therapy, his local legacy spans decades. And his formation of the Hard Eight, a band that’s a change from his punk-infused launch pad, shows his strengths as an important player in the area’s colorful sonic history.

In fact, Rhodes was so stoked about his affinity for the Claremont circle (“I knew this was a tiny town disproportionately full of amazing musicians” he says), he even penned a tune called “Back to the 909,” previously living in Venice, Calif.

“I was writing about how happy I was to come home,” he says. “I knew then I was making a great move both for my family and for my ‘career.’ I think we have a pool of musicians out here, in the Claremont/IE area that are serious, world-class artists. People that, if not for a misstep here or an unlucky break there, would be household names.”

And there’s no reason why Rhodes can’t be a household name, too. Starting as a recording project in winter 2008, Rhodes had a “dream list” of area musicians to work with, many of whom have also clocked in dozens of years. After the first couple recording sessions, says Rhodes, “we all got a little dizzy and decided we should start playing live.”

Rhodes’ current gig is rather different from his earlier work, which he attributes to age and broadening his listening base, realizing his love for playing more than just punk. (Still, he hasn’t entirely relinquished his roots and it’s apparent with his cover of a Replacements track.) And he’s halfway through recording the next record, dubbed A Thousand Ways, slated for an August release and a follow-up to ’Til I am Dust.

“It’s a line from one of my songs,” says Rhodes of Dust’s title, “and it’s about the two things that push me forward: love and rock ’n ‘ roll. I’m gonna do both the best I can until they put me in the ground.”

Mick Rhodes & the Hard Eight at The Hip Kitty, 502 W. 1st St., Claremont, (909) 447-6700; www.hipkittyjazz.com. Thurs, June 23, 8:30PM. 


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