Published Aug 01, 2005In a Canadian musical climate that seems to get a little more elaborate and overwrought with the emergence of each new Broken Social Scene side-splinter, its reassuring to see there are still bands like Whitey Houston around to keep things from getting too precious. The Edmonton bassndrums duo of Lyle "Whitey Bell and Rob "Gravy Hoffart have been smashing out their 70s boogie-rock beating up 80s metal brand of party music since 1999, and the energy of their stage show makes the translation onto their self-titled 12-song debut with nary a scratch. Opening with the swaggering bass line and strained, wailing vocals of "They Got Cameras In Their Pockets, and following up with the chugging blue-collar revenge anthem "I Got Fucked By Liberty Mutual, the discs stripped-bare production value almost lets you feel the sweat flying off their brows. With their boundless energy and seemingly dead-on sense of whatll get asses shaking, Whitey Houston have produced an album that will resonate for anyone whos been wondering lately when the French horn will start being uncool again.
Why did you guys decide to go with the two-piece format? Bell: Gravy and I had played together in lots of other bands, and when those bands disintegrated we just kept playing together. But its not like it was a lucrative format at first; there were times when after our first set at a bar, the owner would tell us to go home. Then we started running the bass through a bass and a guitar amp, which made us sound less shitty.
Was it difficult getting your sound onto an album? With two instruments, you cant get into a lot of textural stuff or go too far afield; everythings gotta be full-on stomp, so it can be tough to create something thats interesting to sit down and listen to. There were a couple of parts we had to beef up, but we tried to keep the whole thing as authentic as we could.
Did you actually get fucked by Liberty Mutual? Oh man, I got totally fucked. They cancelled my car insurance without telling me, and I didnt find out for three weeks, so I had this three-week gap in my insurance record which meant I now had to pay high-risk rates despite my perfectly clean record. Its just a fucking enraging industry that I still get mad about no, actually, I get mad about natural gas prices; the insurance industry makes me go berserk.