Houston knows the blistering stoner-jamming American Sharks as the other band fronted by Mike Hardin, a.k.a. Roky Moon of Roky Moon & BOLT!. The latter band, our own backyard Broadway/Bowie/Meatloaf bouillabaisse, has been Hardin's main focal point for the past few years, but the Sharks came first and hardest and still play the stray gig here and there.
I spent plenty nights at Creekside off Red River in Austin watching the band play. How could I have known what that wooly lead singer would have up his sleeve years later?
With his recent move to the state capitol, Hardin and his Sharks mates decided to ramp up their own work, including a cherry Austin opening slot for King Khan & the Shrines and the Jacuzzi Boys, a tour, and readying new music including the upcoming WeedWizard seven-inch.
The band plays Fitzgerald's this weekend with supporting acts Psychic Palms and Bang Bangz, releasing WeedWizard onto Houston audiences.
"We are also making plans to go into the woods at some point this summer and do some drugs and see what kind of songs we can make for our next album," Hardin says of his further Sharks endeavors. "Should we survive the year, I think it will be our most successful yet."
Rocks Off asked Hardin about the working dynamic of the Sharks, their influences, the future of RM&B, and how he is able to wear two different musical faces in a given weekend. Yeah, it got a little cosmic at the end the interview.
Rocks Off: This band has been going for quite a few years with different levels of action. Explain the genesis of the American Sharks...
Mike Hardin: I was working at Starbucks, with this guy Jason Guidry that we called "Monster Baby," and across the street there was this shitty-ass music store that sold these guitars that had speakers already built into them. One was a shark and one was an American flag.
So we decided to start a party-rock band where we would go set up outside of venues while people waited in line and we could play these guitars, and the drums would just be a kick and a snare and the vocals one of those kids karaoke things hung around Monster Baby's neck. Monster Baby and The American Sharks. We still may go back to doing that soon!
RO: What does the band have planned for the rest of the year?
MH: Definitely gonna be a lot of touring for us this year. We will be opening for some big bands this year and we are already set to begin recording a full-length with Jason Buntz at The Bubble in Austin.
RO: The inevitable question I have to ask is about Roky Moon & BOLT! What's going on with that band?
MH: There have certainly been struggles since I moved to Austin, but we recently played a bad ass show at Mohawk out there, and we had a little meeting and things are looking better than ever. I believe this year is going to be a strong one for the band.
We are about to start recording a new album that will be done and out this year. The songs are going to be quite a bit different while still keeping the same feel we have. I've been listening to a ton of Beach Boys lately and it's influencing my writing.
RO: The Sharks and BOLT are totally different. Is there a certain mindset to get into for writing and performing with each?
MH: For sure. I mean, in one band I am playing Satanic punk-stoner-metal shit and the other I am paying homage to the late great '70s. Somehow the two don't mix well. It used to be I could just do lots of cocaine before either one and all was great, but nowadays I try not to stray down that path, so I've got to find other ways to get myself into the groove of the two different bands.
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RO: Which one is more "you," though?
MH: That's hard to say. I definitely have an easier time writing for RM&B, but I write the songs myself. American Sharks feels more like what a real person would be playing these days, and RM&B feels more like a dream I had one night, and then I worked and made a real band out of it. So I guess American Sharks is "real life me" and Roky Moon is my "dream world me."