Hot Water Music – Retrospective Vol. 3

Posted in Spotlight by unartignyc on 2009/09/10

Volume 3 of (((unartig)))’s Hot Water Music retrospective offers another slew of “No Division” shows, this time from the tour’s U.S. leg, which was at least as crazy as the engagement in Europe a few months earlier. Also featured in this edition is footage from the European tour with Leatherface in 2001 and words by Eric Weiss of Rumpshaker Zine and Walter Schreifels of Quicksand, Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Rival Schools, Moondog.

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[Walter Schreifels]
My first impression of HWM was the symbiotic relationship they had with the audience. I had seen this in HC before but not for some time and HWM weren’t simply HC they were in many ways a rock band which I think speaks more broadly. Working with them on No Division is a time I will never forget and will always cherish. At the time, I felt we were making a record (No Division) that would have a great and long lasting impact, I still feel lucky to have been invited. It’s been a blessing to continue to see those guys over the years and to watch their progress as musicians and individuals. I think that the relationships that they have built over the years with friends and fans alike continue to be very important to them. They have created something that continues to be important even though they aren’t an active band which is rare. I only hope I get to see them again at one of there rare appearances, meanwhile I’m into all their individual projects. Live your heart and never follow!
Walter Schreifels | September 2009

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[Eric Weiss | Rumpshaker Fanzine]
I’m no sneakerhead, but there’s just something special about a new pair of kicks in the summer. They really do give you a boost of confidence in hitting the streets. So it was no surprise I was rocking my new sneakers as I head out to see Hot Water Music that summer day. Why not feel good and look good to boot?

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The Melody in New Brunswick, NJ wasn’t that far from where I lived in Queens, NY but for me and my friends, going to shows there always felt like an event, something worthy of planning out, if only to build the excitement. “Who’s driving? No one’s got a car? Screw it, let’s take New Jersey Transit! Where we gonna eat before the show?  If you’re picking me up at my place make sure you’re on time, I read in some zine the opening band’s demo is amazing. Who are they? Shit, I can’t remember but get here early!”

Hot Water Music played the NY / NJ area pretty often but as any HWM fan can tell you, all of their shows had a way of feeling special.

So when we rolled up to the Melody Bar that day and heard the show was in jeopardy due to a small fire there earlier, we were bummed. Had we driven to dirty Jersey for nothing?

Luckily, the New Brunswick scenesters immediately kicked into gear and word spread fast that the show had been moved to a local basement. Holy Shit! What a turn of events… not only were we still gonna see HWM, but we were gonna get them in a basement! Hell, a convincing argument could be made that basements were actually invented for them. Certainly no club setting could capture the raw intensity that was Hot Water Music… Hell yeah… to the basement!

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Upon arriving, my excitement tempered. This basement was small. And the crowd was big. And damn, I was wearing my brand new sneakers, awesome vegan kicks to die for. Hell, within the comfy settings of the Melody, new sneakers made sense… I was sure to be able to find a spot where I could totally enjoy the show and keep my new shoes shining. But in a cramped, sweaty basement while HWM were playing? This was gonna be tough.

The first few bands were easy… people came and went and the basement never quite filled to capacity. But right before HWM went on it seemed everyone head down that narrow, steep flight of stairs (damn the fire code). I did too, laying stake to a somehow unclaimed spot right in front of Chuck. Awesome. Not only would I be able to sing along with ease, but I was in the front row, away from moshing feet and sloshing beers that could quickly transform new shoes into old.

The band was ready. The crowd was ready. I was ready. Anticipation no more, here we go. The basement walls melted with sweat as we all embraced the moment… the heat, the music, the raw passion that Hot Water Music could have sold stock in. With each song, the crowd and the band melded more and more into one and the room became a mess of bodies, sweat and raw emotion. The few feet between Chuck and I became mere inches as the space between our feet became non existent. Chuck’s floor space became my right foot. Each anthem, each sing along was emphasized not just with words, but with his tour worn shoe coming square down on mine.

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By the end of the show, the room was collectively exhausted. Hot Water Music in that basement was everything we could have hoped for. We grabbed for our waters as we scuttled back up those narrow stairs as quickly as possible to cool off in the summer heat, feeling great about life, if only for an afternoon. Hot Water Music had brought us all together on that hot summer day in New Brunswick, NJ. It was glorious.

Once I ascended into the light, I looked down at my right shoe and it was as filthy as can be. It was new no more. In fact it was virtually ruined. Yet all I could do was smile and let out a little laugh as I thought, “No matter what the setting, why would I ever wear new shoes to see Hot Water Music?”
Eric Weiss | Rumpshaker Fanzine | Queens, NYC | September 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Volume 1: Europe 1998 & 1999 w/Liner Notes by Daniel of Lay Screaming
Volume 2: Europe 2000 w/Liner Notes by Nagel of Muff Potter
Volume 4: Europe 2001 & USA 2008 w/Liner Notes by Scott Stimac of Wallside and David Lee Burdon & Andrew Lainey, both of Leatherface fame

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