His Last Words reminds me of my first real band, Johnny Incognito. That’s a huge compliment, because I am clearly an egomaniacal prick. The differences are that His Last Words:
a) still play shows
b) have a bright future
c) are actually worth seeing
I chose today to talk about them because I thought it only fair, having yesterday begun the Local Bands I Have Loved series with their opponents in tomorrow night’s Punk Vs. Metal: CARNAGE tournament, but they would have been a band I quickly got to no matter what, because I just think they’re cool. The first time I saw them, I couldn’t help but think of Johnny Incognito. They weren’t very tight, they don’t really look like a hardcore band, and they have a singer that surprises you.
I remember well the first Johnny Incognito gig; it was a Bandwarz at The Shamrock, a venue that Heavenly Father has since chosen to smite with fire, and I will gladly admit that I was perhaps the single worst front man of all time at that point. The entire set had my hand firmly stuck in my pocket, and I just stood there making my throat-noises like a bleating lamb fully aware that the next bullet is the finisher-offer. Fortunately, that gig was captured for posterity and aired as the “local flavor” during the credits of Sports At 11:30, so my suckage was easily accessible. When I watched that tape, the biggest thing I took away from it was that I couldn’t just stand there like a cock, I had to move around. So I made it a point to be as wild as I could on stage. Mostly, this meant pacing, thunder-jumping (I was >300lbs back then, so when I came down hard on a stage for punctuation, you knew a large mammal was commanding your attention), and making my eyes as Steve Buscemi creepy as I could. For those audiences that saw us after that, the biggest thing I heard was how unexpected it all was. We looked like nice enough people, but when we started playing and I started in, you just had to take notice.
So it is with His Last Words, particularly their singer, Richard. And no, that’s not cuz we’re both big guys, it’s because he sort of comes across like the kind of guy who loves his parents and plays D&D a lot. Nothing’s wrong with that, but he seems very gentle. And then the band starts playing, and this evil emits from his throat, and you just wonder where in the blue hell that came from. But as I was saying, when I first saw them, they were a lot sloppier and sort of directionless, and they really didn’t make any impression on me. I don’t know if they wound up playing over the credits of Sports At 11:30 or not, but something changed in them, and they have become a band you can’t help but take notice of.
Now, I’m an outsider, but I think it might have a lot to do with the new bass player, Dave. Dave also plays in stab.twist.pull, and it might be unrelated, but it seems to me that when he started with the band, that’s when things started to pick up for them. Whether he as that missing thing that brought the band together or not, Dave’s a ridiculous bass player. He comes to the Keith Morrison Band open jams every other Monday at The D, and each time he does, I suggest he should try out my upright bass. Something tells me it’d take him all of eight minutes to be better at it than me. Sick with talent.
In reality, the whole band is fantastic, and they’re really great guys. The first time I really met drummer Brett (I mean, we’d hung out at shows, but this was the first time we got to chatting) was at Three Days Of Dissent, and he just struck me as a decent, interesting cat. Watching him play makes me happy. He does exactly what a drummer should do, keep the band together and throw in just the right amount of flourish.
And Ryan? Ryan’s a guitarist… I mean, who doesn’t like guitarists? I kid, of course, nobody likes guitarists, but Ryan’s great. When he’s on stage, I often have trouble reconciling that there’s only one guitar on the go. His riffs are often very controlled, something I don’t see in a lot of bands in the underground music scene.
One area they need to do better at is the interwebs. Type in his last words band into google and you get nothing. It’s even better when you go to the images tab and see these guys:
On the youtubes, I wasn’t able to find the band playing, but I did find a hype for their recently-released album, Sapience, and it sounds pretty sweet: