During some between-song banter at Red Hare’s live debut at the Knitting Factory last month, the band’s frontman Shawn Brown marveled at the contrast between Williamsburg today and his first time playing CBGB in the ‘80s with his DC hardcore band Swiz.
“I definitely remember the city being a little grittier,” Brown told Bedford + Bowery backstage. “There weren’t any pie shops or knitting shops, or anything like that on the Bowery.”
Swiz broke up in the early ‘90s, but a few years later Brown and his bandmates Jason Farrell and Dave Eight found themselves yearning for the metallic riffs and steam-engine pace of hardcore. They reformed as Sweetbelly Freakdown only to go on hiatus in 1998.
This time around, their return wasn’t as quick. It took almost 15 years, the addition of New York-based drummer Joe Gorelick, and several fragmented recording sessions throughout the US to produce Red Hare’s debut album, “Nites of Midnight.”
Unlike many singer/screamers, Brown’s vocals remain as powerful and raspy as they were in his first band, Dag Nasty. Farrell’s guitar playing continues to be informed by that band as well as by Black Flag, the Damned, even AC/DC, but with just a tinge of country twang.
We spoke to them about what it was like to go on stage after just a few practices as a full band.
Video by Taji Ameen