Born Punk, Die Punk
By Jasen T. Davis
For Seth Bogart, there was no question he would be in a band like Hunx and His Punx
There are many reasons why a young man in this modern era would decide to be the lead singer of a punk rock band. For Seth Bogart, the fabulous front man for Hunx and His Punx, the motivation is philosophical. “You’re born naked and you die naked, you’re born punk and you die punk,” he says. “I just love my friends and love music and love to be loud.”
The feeling is infectious because the group’s first complete studio album, Too Young To Be In Love, is a combination of pop and punk that has proven to be delectable to the critics who have taste. Dusted, Pitchfork and American Noise have heaped plenty of praises on the LP, which was recorded in New York City by Ivan Julian of the incomparable punk band Richard Hell and the Voidoids.
Bogart calls his style of music “young oldies.” “If I had to perform any other type of music, it would be pop,” he says. His previous bands, H.U.N.X. and Gravy Train, were both post-pop groups that allowed the artist to experiment with what worked and what didn’t. Years later, Too Young To Be In Love is the kind of album that gives you more every time you hear it, thanks to Bogart’s previous musical experiences.
There’s also a distinct ’50s vibe to the LP, similar to the Ramones or a garage band equivalent of The Raveonettes, but the darkness underneath all the glitter is deliciously modern, similar to the whimsical sound of The Dead Milkmen combined with the cynical savvy of The Dead Kennedys. Too Young To Be In Love is the kind of album that looks like it should be next to iconic punk records like Black Flag’s Everything Went Black, anything by the New York Dolls or Bad Music for Bad People by The Cramps.
When asked about what influences him, Bogart’s answer is revealing. “I believe everything influences everyone without anyone knowing it no matter what. The only [influence] I am totally aware of and am constantly trying to completely copy,” he says, “[is] Alvin and The Chipmunks.” Artistic influence aside, Hunx and His Punx are the perfect band for people who like sass in their songwriting. Bogart slings his lyrics with the petulant royalty of a drag queen, delivering vocals peppered with coy references to dirty, kinky, funny sex.
You know you are dealing with a pro when Bogart talks about the importance of punk music. “Punk is whatever you want it to be. I don’t believe in some bands being more punk than others. I think The Germs are as equally as punk as Britney Spears running into a budget hair salon and shaving her head bald and smashing a SUV with an umbrella.” Maybe that’s the secret of the unique genius of Hunx and His Punks. Whimsical nihilism has never sounded so sweet. “Just be yourself and do whatever the f@#k you wanna do,” he says, and his music means it.
The Glass House is the perfect place for any punk show, and Bogart is no stranger to the venue. “I performed there once with my old band Gravy Train,” he says. “I love that venue, and the kids in Pomona are amazing. I am so excited to be able to do my thing there.”
Hunx and His Punx with Shannon and the Clams and the Business Cats at The Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.theglasshouse.us. Thurs, Sept. 13. 7pm. $10-$12.