Eleven Alive-The Doug Hawk Interview
by Ryan Woodring
Check out The Elucidator website here: http://elucidator.net/
Sitting in the Elucidator offices head in hand looking at the mess Carter left from his stint as guest Listener. Did he have to leave a half-eaten Paula Deen brand Honey Baked Spiral Cut Ham out on my desk all winter break and chew all of my Juicy Fruit? Probably not. The phone rang. It was my old pal Doug Hawk.
DH: Hello, man-friend. So, my new cd is coming out this weekend. Any interest in doing a small review for The Lucid-dater?
RW: Dude. I am a primed for a review for the Luddite-dater. Can you drop the CD off for me?
DH: I’m not producing an actual, physical CD. I can drop off a burned copy so you can listen in the car. Or at the gym. Or at the waxing salon.
RW: If I can stream it from your site, that’s cool, too. My waxing salon is also an Internet cafe and a taco stand so I get Wi-Fi and Carnitas there.
DH: Don’t get any hot sauce in those freshly raped follicles! Yeeeowww!!! I just posted the new tunes to my website — www.doughawk.net.
RW: (Typing) Yo, Bro-man Polanski — so a quick scan of the Internet reveals NOEL JONES beat me to a review of your album. Stick to griping about the mayor, lady! Maybe we should do an interview instead.
DH: OK — whatever you want to do is cool.
RW: (Composing myself) How did the idea for a live album come about?
DH: The logic behind the live album was that I had a shitload of songs that I was itching to put out. I had basically re-invented myself as a songwriter over the last couple of years and was anxious to get some product out there. Plus, a lot of my lyrics are politically topical and seemed more relevant than ever. Factoring in costs and such, I figured doing a live album would give me the most bangs for my buck. I had never done anything live before and it was a bit of a risk — but it ended up coming together very nicely.
RW: How did you choose Black and Blue as your venue?
DH: I chose Black & Blue for a few reasons. I really wanted to record in Easton. I have lived here for most of my life and it was important for me to produce this ultimate form of self-expression in front of family and close friends. People tend to have expectations about who you are and expect you to be a certain way according to their view. I wanted to make sure they knew what I was really about and this was a perfect way to do that. I also wanted to do it at Black & Blue because I have a great relationship with Kelly Jo and I love the sarcasm and Pagan debauchery that goes on there. They also had the perfect room to do it in.
RW: I assume the title “Eleven Alive” is a reference to television affiliate WPIX and has no allusions to 9/11 or anything esoteric and it’s just a reflection of your love of MASH reruns, televised Yule Logs and the Magic Garden.
DH: The title is related to the date it was recorded on as well as the number of tracks on the album. My girlfriend is pretty into numerology and 11/11/11 just happened to be on a weekend. All of those ‘ones’ represent new beginnings or stepping into one’s true self — something that was very appropriate for me at the time. It’s funny because I did research the title to make sure I wasn’t infringing on anyone’s copyright or brand or something and the only thing that came up was the WPIX stuff.
RW: Speaking of WPIX, when you were a kid did you ever call in to play that PIX game they hosted between shows in the afternoons?
DH: I don’t remember the PIX game. I just remember that they would show Yankees games and I fucking hated them.
RW: How did you get Matt Nixon to do the cover art? Oh, right, I MADE THAT HAPPEN. I forgot. Never mind. Were there any challenges recording live that you didn’t expect?
DH: It was a little nerve-wracking doing the actual recording. Ideally, you would record something like this over the course of a few gigs to make sure you got the best takes. We were only able to get two takes per song with no overdubbing or anything like that. It was definitely a challenge but well worth it. Jim McGee, the audio engineer, is a goddamn ninja when it comes to stuff like this and got some amazing sounds. Most importantly, the band played their asses off. I think we were able to capture a great energy that is hard to reproduce in the stuffy confines of a studio.
RW: Tell me about the Easton All-Stars you pulled together for the gig.
DH: Actually, the guys in the band are from all over. Mike Lorenz, the guitarist lives in Philly. Bassist Lee Clarke lives near Doylestown and drummer Paul Wells is from Hell (Allentown). This is pretty much the core band. I’ll have a different bass player at the CD release party and occasionally use a different drummer depending on everyone’s availability.
RW: What does 2012 have in store for you, aside from the possibility of a President Gingrich and the Mayan apocalypse?
DH: 2012…oh, boy…I actually feel pretty positive about it. People seem to be waking up en masse to the fact that their minds are being occupied by exploitative entities. I’ve read a bunch of stuff that rejects a lot of the doom and gloom being propagated about this year. A lot of the old stuff is breaking down. A lot of the old systems are breaking down. As Bill Hicks said, “We didn’t stop evolving just because we grew thumbs.” Although, if Gingrich ends up being President ignore everything I just said and run for the hills. Y’know, Gingrich could be the first politician sponsored by mashed potatoes. He looks like someone just dumped a shitload into a suit and somehow got it to stand erect.
RW: I think he looks like old dough that wasn’t punched down enough and now is just out of control. That is, if dough could be rich and racist.
DH: Maybe he can create a dough manufacturing plant on the moon.
RW: Aside from your site, where can your fans pick up a copy of “Eleven Alive”? And do you have any last words before I hang up on you? I have to get back to scraping gum off from under my desk.
DH: Yes – you can buy it on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, Napster and Spotify. A central reason for doing this album was to explore what it means to be a full-time artist – to truly go all in. I am hopeful that this album can take me to a different level with higher profile gigs and a better internet/radio presence — maybe sell a shitload of music??