Somewhere right now, an artist is trying really hard to make it in the world of professional rock music. And somewhere else, another really isn’t.
Include Seth Bogart of California-based garage-punk band Hunx & His Punx in that second camp. The provocative, hilarious and flamboyantly gay rocker has just shrugged his way through another album in a way few artists would (or could) in this age of conservative, corporate calculation.
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Clocking in at barely 20 minutes, “Street Punk” is a collection of short, fun, insouciant splatters of music from Bogart and partner-in-crime Shannon Shaw (of Shannon and the Clams) that are amateurish even by punk standards. With entries like the surf-bopping, ethos-revealing “Born Blonde” (“I wake up late/ I never show up on time”), the repetitive ode to putrid living conditions “Rat Bag” and the 30-second inside-joke “Don’t Call Me Fabulous,” the album’s carelessness offers an infectious window into what you might think of as annoying things that annoy annoying people. Sounds like punk rock, doesn’t it?
“I think it’s our bad attention spans mostly,” says Bogart via phone from LA. The extra-short songs work nicely with an aesthetic the singer refers to as “Chipmunk punk” — don’t worry, the voices aren’t sped up. “We wanted it to be shorter, but we had to put that really long song [‘It’s Not Easy’] at the end to make it an ‘album,’” he says.
Surely these are the kinds of songs that go over best in the live setting, where Bogart in his Hunx persona mocks and rocks fans with a raw brand of charisma that is rarely seen these days. Yet according to Bogart, most of the songs on “Street Punk” have never even been played in front of audiences. In fact, he reveals, the band plans on relearning most of them days before their first New York show.
“I don’t really care,” says Bogart, bringing to mind again a theme that is starting to sound familiar. “I just like to get the spirit of them. The percentage of our fans that care if we sound good compared to those who just want to be entertained and see us get crazy is so little.”
Like the title of his 2012 solo album suggests, Bogart had recently left his career as a hairdresser. No more appointments, no more coloring, no more days answering the phone at Oakland’s Down at Lulu’s, where the singer worked for 10 years. “It just got old,” explains Bogart. “I just didn’t care what people wanted to look like anymore.” The money from music gradually created enough of a safety net for Bogart to invest in other ventures, such as his line of tasteless t-shirts (“Crotch Watchers Delights,” for example) on his own Wacky Wacko imprint.
Hunx & His Punx
with Chain & the Gang, Juan Wauters
Friday, Aug. 23
Brighton Music Hall
158 Brighton Ave., Allston