By ROB DUGUAY
They say that good guys wear black and in the music industry, the same can be said for a ton of bands. Rock & roll has always been associated with the leather jacket for decades …
They say that good guys wear black and in the music industry, the same can be said for a ton of bands. Rock & roll has always been associated with the leather jacket for decades while entities of post-punk, new wave and punk rock have used the dark shade as an aesthetic on numerous occasions.
In the world of heavy metal, wearing black is almost a requirement. On a local level in the realm of rock, Providence’s Hope Anchor incorporates this gothic style into a captivating sound.
They’ll be bringing this sonic captivation to Askew on 150 Chestnut St. in the city they call home on Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. with opening acts Kurt Baker and The Fatal Flaw.
I had a chat with frontman Paul Everett and guitarist Terry Linehan, who grew up in Cranston, about crafting the band’s approach to music, other bands they’ve been in and new music that’s in the works.
Rob Duguay: Hope Anchor has a unique sound that blends electric blues with gothic post-punk. When the band first started jamming and rehearsing together what inspired this sonic approach?
Paul Everett: It was originally Terry’s brainchild, he sought me out and I helped assemble the band. At the time, I was also in Blizzard of ‘78, so I wanted it to sound different than that. Terry already had a body of songs that I was reacting to, as was Paulie Myers our drummer. I think our styles merged with Terry’s writing and ideas to produce our initial sound identity.
Terry Linehan: When we first got together I think the onus was a lot more on post-punk influences like Jesus and Mary Chain and alternative rock like The Replacements. Nearly everything we do will have an 80’s backdrop as that’s the era we came of age in. The blues facet was a decided reaction to the Americana resurgence in the late 2000’s and is individual to our second album Never Gonna Let You Go. During this time I had started to play a Fender Jazzmaster live and from a guitar perspective Never Gonna Let You Go is me imagining how Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine would approach the blues. This was twofold in purpose because I was fairly certain we would never hear Kevin Shields approach the blues and it would give us the ability to keep a foot in the pool of public interest without revamping our original sensibilities too much. We haven’t done anything bluesy since that album was an individual statement, however when you mix all this together we can come across like The Godfathers who did something similar in the 80’s.
RD: As Paul just mentioned, he was in The Blizzard Of ‘78 and Terry you’ve been in the punk acts Waterdog and The Frustrators. What makes being in Hope Anchor different than being in those other bands?
TL: Being in Hope Anchor is very different from my other endeavors in that we’re much older. While this band still has the “ride or die” mentality of my youthful bands, it’s somewhat tempered by the reality of age and needs in terms of feeding children, health, etc. Another difference is longevity in the sense that Paul, Paulie, and I have been together for 15 years. In that time we have seen seven members besides the three of us, the end of the music industry as we knew it, and trying to remain creatively active through a pandemic. While these changes have all humbled us, we have made a conscious decision to not let them change what we do. We want this to be our “forever band” as long as we keep making art that matters to us.
PE: For me, coming from what had become a more R&B style, that mixed in some modern elements, as well as country, Hope Anchor allowed me a chance to be less subtle. I growl a bit more while focusing more on anthemic approaches to choruses. It really comes down to different chemistries and ideas, from the start it has been Terry and I leading that charge.
RD: Paul, when did you first start playing the harmonica and what do you think is the most underappreciated aspect of the instrument?
PE: I actually think the harp can be very dangerous. I started really feeling confident about playing harp when I was in a band called Delta Clutch, but had messed around with it since childhood. In Hope Anchor, I didn’t use harmonica on the last record and haven’t yet on the next, because we were sort of moving away from the overt blues thing. If it’s not overused, harp can be great and it’s probably overlooked as a textural element, which I could see happening in future stuff, maybe.
RD: Terry, who do you consider to be your main influences when it comes to playing guitar?
TL: My biggest influence currently is our new guitarist Steve Demers, he really is something. He has an extremely fresh take despite an arsenal of astonishing skills and he has motivated me to up my game considerably. The other influences that will always be a part of what I do are Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine, Brian James from The Damned & Lords of the New Church, Daniel Ash from Bauhaus & Love and Rockets, and of course Robert Smith and Will Sargent of The Cure and Echo and The Bunnymen.
RD: After the show at Askew on December 4th, what are Hope Anchor’s plans for 2022? Can we expect a new album or EP?
PE: We are very much at work on a new CD with new songs and a new direction of sorts. with Steve as our new second guitarist and he’s amazing. I’d also like to play more shows more often and widen our reach, perhaps even do some touring
TL: We have more shows booked for 2022 with our new line up that also features Rob Shaggs on bass. We have a late January show at The Parlour in Providence and we hope to be releasing that CD sometime next year.
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