Nashville rock and rollers Hans Condor barreled out of 2010 guns blazing. By the time I saw them live, they’d already released an insane LP (the aggressively titled Sweat, Piss, Jizz & Blood) and had taken the party on tour.
It was September 2011 – Gonerfest 8 – and I spent the better part of 3 days wasted in Memphis’ Hi-Tone, trampled by a filthy crowd and melted by a constant wave of guitars. For a weekend which included heavy hitters like Jack Oblivian, Human Eye, Shannon & the Clams, and Ty Segall, I couldn’t deny that Hans Condor was the show stealing wild card.
Hans Condor at Gonerfest 8, photos by yours truly.
Something about that performance, like it was both their first and last time to ever hit the stage (then the floor) left a lasting impression. I didn’t waste any time drunk texting my friends about what I had seen. But not even 2 months after Gonerfest, Hans Condor disbanded and fell completely off the map, signing off with a simple Facebook post, “Is no longer available for weddings, birthdays, or bar mitzvahs…thank you all…and good night.”
Radio silence for almost 3 full years.
The album stayed in heavy rotation, but every spin brought the bummer thought, “Man, I wish these guys were making more music.” And then, almost as nonchalant as word of their departure, came a little notification: “Hans Condor has changed their profile picture.” They were playing shows again.
A little research proved a dream come true, the boys were back in action. I jumped at the sign of life and reached out to the band. Was it true? Was new music on the way? What happened three years ago? The fellas, swamped with similar such inquiries, generously agreed to open up and answer a few questions for me.
Here’s the West Ghost exclusive interview on Hans Condor: past, present and future.
WG: Let’s start with 2011. You guys had put in time locking in a ferocious sound, had just put out a solid LP, and were playing some pretty merciless live shows. Just a couple months after I saw you guys, it was lights out. What happened?
HC: Well, in short, life happened, i.e. Charles had a baby. The band had been going full blast for quite some time. We were touring extensively with absolutely no help in regards to a label or distribution, so the only promotion we had were some flyers we sent out, which rarely got hung up. We were constantly getting fucked over and barely paid enough to coast into the next town on fumes. These things are just part of rockin and rollin, eating out of dumpsters and stuff. And we really appreciate the fans that have put up with our antics, but of course, when someone has a kid at home there’s a certain tug there, ya know.
In the 3 year space between then and now, would you say Hans Condor died and was revived, or has it been hanging on to dear life this whole time?
Well, there’s a certain peace in death, and peace is something that has never been apart of the band. I would say for the past three years we have been recovering from a gnarly gunshot wound to the gut.
Now the word is, you’re “back with a vengeance.” Do you feel like you guys are picking up right where you left off 3 years ago? What has changed since Sweat, Piss, Jizz and Blood?
We, Erik (bass) and Charles (guitar), have been a part of the band since the third trimester, so that will always be the same. We have since acquired drummer Ryan Sweeney, of Cheap Time fame, and we could not be happier with his can-do attitude…the dude has got it down to a science, literally. As far as the sound goes, there’s a certain ferocity now that has boiled up and over into the songs and live shows which we seem to be unable to tame, so we just let it happen now. Again, Ryan brings the science.
What was the most challenging part of dusting it off and plugging in again?
Compiling the necessary equipment. Luckily, we commandeered Guitar Wolf’s gear….shhh. Erik has always kept his sexy, so that hasn’t been an issue. Other than that, trying to remember how to play the old songs again, but that wasn’t something a few cases of beer couldn’t fix.
Your old fans/friends are obviously stoked to see you back, but you’re going to be playing to a lot of new listeners in your audience today. What should someone expect rolling up to a Hans Condor show in 2015?
Three dudes acting like idiots for about 30 minutes. More specifically, really loud rock-n-roll – things getting knocked over, climbing on things, guitars being tossed around, the occasional shedding of blood, sometimes a little throw-up, bodily fluids in general, band members being picked up by the audience…show up wasted and ready to have fun, participate in the chaos and be an idiot with us.
Are you guys writing, recording, planning a tour? What’s going on as we speak and what’s on the horizon?
As far as writing goes, to put things in perspective, we wrote and demoed two songs the evening we wrote these responses. I think we are so jazzed to be together in a locked basement full of gear again that we developed a rash. We’re talking to a label as well as a booking guy. We are going on a little run with Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires at the end of March. As soon as we get the record out, we have a Japanese tour lined up and we are trying to get to Europe asap. Things seem to be coming our way, and we are taking every opportunity we can to get out of town. Our plans for recording this year are to put a new LP and re-release Sweat, Piss, Jizz and Blood, as we have sold out of all the copies.
What are you most excited about, now that Hans Condor is back in the saddle?
Honestly, we were not sure if people would respond to our resurgence, however the response has been almost overwhelming. It’s doing things like this and seeing people’s renewed enthusiasm for the band that makes us quit our jobs, dump our girlfriends and go for it like we used to. We are probably most excited about touring again. That’s where we feel most comfortable.
Last question. There’s a resurgence of the americana country sound spreading across the country these days and a lot of it is coming from young bands in your hood. The trend of unplugging has been renewed and I’m curious what you make of it. Has this influence gone so far as to affect Hans Condor?
We think it has the opposite effect on us. We would not be opposed to do an unplugged song here and there in the past, but we seemed to be more electrified than ever. Our deafness and pile of broken cables is testimony to that. To keep the balance in the universe, the more other people unplug, the more we need to plug in. Plus, we could never. Ryan Sweeney doesn’t own a pair of brushes.
All songs posted from Sweat, Piss, Jizz & Blood.