Gig Seeker Pro


San Francisco, California, United States

San Francisco, California, United States
Band Pop Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Fun Lovers behind PIECECHOW // SF Chronicle"

Disregard, if you dare, Battlehooch's corrosive blast of art-rock and the Captain Beefheart-style proto-punk, damaged-blues cacophony. The main question when confronted with "Piecechow," the San Francisco band's recently self-released debut, is, what the heck is a piecechow?

"A piecechow is an individual - could be an animal or an individual - who is so eccentric that they have no idea they're eccentric," says keyboardist and costume maker Benjamin "Pepsi Clear" Juodvalkis. He's huddled around the phone with his five bandmates at the Battlepad in the Sunset District. "We can all name a piecechow. My choice for piecechow is ... Prince."

"My choice is Rosie O'Donnell," declares bassist and mask wrangler Grant Searcy Goodrich.

"My choice," says lead vocalist Patrick Dale Smith, "is Gavin Newsom."

Homo sapien, Homo sapien sapien and then piecechow - that's the evolutionary thread the fun-loving, anarchic Battlehooch is riding, whether its members - who initially met at UC Santa Cruz - are busking on acoustic instruments, pots, pans and toy drums in front of the Church Street Safeway to a crowd of dancing fiends, or pranking the audience at Slim's by sending out a mob of 9-year-old would-be show-stealers in their stead.

"We have a reputation for inciting ridiculousness, which, I think, is a good thing," guitarist AJ "Fats" McKinley explains. "We try to kick against standard expectations."

"Endorphins," says drummer Ryan James Huber, "are what we're going for."

But don't get it twisted: there's much musical ambition, along with jillions of overdubs and the odd nod to angel-headed pristine pop, on "Piecechow" and Battlehooch's 2007 EP, "Oof Owf." The band's spastic genre-slicing-and-dicing recalls the Bay Area dada-rockers like Les Claypool, while touching on the restless abandon of contemporaries like Maus Haus. In fact, the latter group's Jason Kick will produce Battlehooch's next recording, which the combo promises will eschew the edit and aim to capture its live performance.

Battlehooch may have acquired a rep as a party band, but don't be surprised if it tries to reach out and touch you with its music. "I don't think 'party' implies a lack of seriousness," says Smith. "We take our music and our performance very seriously. It has moments of being ridiculous, but that's part of being human. Like six grown men sitting around the phone is pretty ridiculous, too."

9 p.m. Fri. Free. With Wallpaper, Somehow at Sea and Suicidal Barfly. Uptown, 1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. (510) 451-8100.

- Kimberly Chun,

- SF Chronicle


September 11th is a day many Americans memorialize in one way or another. They wear patriotic pins, decorate their houses with flags, and powerful lights shine into the sky at ground zero. At the Echo Curio, a shirtless guy donned a tattered American flag as a cape. I don’t know if he was expressing himself or making a political statement, but there it was on Sunset Blvd.—Old Glory waving valiantly on the back of one of her children. Let freedom ring.

It turns out the flag-wearing, shirtless guy was also the saxophonist for Battlehooch, a band from San Francisco with a sound like the musical score to a ’70s cop drama. As I stood there watching them, images of Dirty Harry started popping into my head. Brown tweed suits, high-powered handguns and a vigilante, take-the-law-into-my-own-hands attitude. I shoot the bastard, that’s my policy. The bass was grooving, the guitars were jangling, and the sax was smoothing. Which made it all the more surprising when they switched gears and played a song akin to an Eastern European drinking dirge, complete with crying from all the members. Every person in the crowd was moving to the music—it was hard to resist. Even after they finished, my foot was tapping to the ghost of their set.

—Steven Martinez - LA RECORD // September 16th

"Preview: Battlehooch's Piecechow // KQED"

By Ben van Houten | Jun 23, 2009

There may be a chicken-egg debate about whether Battlehooch the identity (lifestyle? performance art project?) preceded Battlehooch the band, but I know that the former was definitely what I saw first, as the band's members grabbed the attention of members of the local music community by attending local shows in packs, dressed in headbands ("Battlerags") emblazoned with the group's name. With home-engineered generators, the sextet has developed a reputation as play-anywhere street performers, but I first saw the band live at Bottom of the Hill, where they'll be celebrating the release of their new album on June 24th. It was there that their reputation became truly musical for me, as the group delivered a blast of frenzied compositional art-rock that could have been either one song or one hundred, with few breaks and overwhelming enthusiasm throughout.

After a limited run debut EP titled Oof Owf, Battlehooch are self-releasing Piecechow this month, a full length debut that finds the band applying a kitchen sink approach to create a batch of highly enjoyable and fully-formed songs out of layers of guitars, horns, woodwinds, and electronic instruments. Time and again, the sextet tempts chaos on the album, as they avoid repetitive verse-chorus-verse songwriting and seem unafraid to tackle any instrument. Is it a surprise that they're former music majors who all live together in a Sunset District house where they've written and recorded both releases? Or is it more surprising that they've found a way to create something that's as brazenly funky as it is proggy? It's difficult not to be reminded by the band's sax lines of James Chance, the late '70s No Wave artist who composed nervy R&B as tense as it was soulful. Battlehooch carry that torch forward on Piecechow, adding layer upon layer to create engaging, melodic mini-epics that further blossom in the live setting. - KQED // june 23rd, 2009

"Battlehooch - Piecechow // KXLU new ADDS"

This is a stellar new release from San Francisco band Battlehooch. Really and truly, it's one of the more unclassifiable albums I've heard recently. While these folks certainly love to rock out, their music is complex and advanced far past straight up rock and roll. The vocal stylings are at times rich and harmonious and at other times reminiscent of David Byrne or Danny Elfman at their wildest. The songwriting is similarly diverse, ranging from full fledged glam rock to chaotic psych-noise and mostly everything in between. This album may be hard to stomach at first, as it tends to jump around quite a lot in its tremendous variety, but it's got a little something for everyone, and I highly recommend taking some time to fully experience it.

4 stars

-Lincoln Mendell - KXLU reviews / new Adds

"Battlehooch (Podcast #169) // The Bay Bridged"

full article + podcast file

This week, we’re excited to feature Battlehooch, a band whose sound and antics border on the indescribable, combining elements of art rock, prog, and pop to create funky, winning songs. After building a strong reputation as an energetic live band, who often performed on City streets with a homemade generator, the group released their debut EP, 2008’s Oof Owf. This week, the band returns with their first full length album, Piecechow, which maintains their trademark kitchen sink approach, with a variety of horns, synths and drum machines, while staying catchier than a lot of proggy music. That’s no small feat, especially considering that the band challenges itself to avoid ever doing the same thing twice.

If you haven’t experienced Battlehooch before, our interview will make clear that the band is comprised of some eclectic characters (which may be something of an understatement). The guys met in Santa Cruz, where they were music students at UCSC, and emerged as Battlehooch upon moving to San Francisco in 2006. Most of them now live and record together in a house in the Sunset District, and the close quarters have no doubt contributed to the guys’ development of a shared vocabulary of Battlevans (their tour van), Battlepads (their home), and Battlerags (the distinctive headbands group members wear). But behind their eccentricity, there’s a wealth of musical talent and inventive compositional ideas, fused into a unified aesthetic of do-anything musical freedom now captured on Piecechow.

We sat down with the band at The Bay Bridged Studio recently to discuss their origins, the meaning of “piecechow” and more. We’ve also included four songs from Piecechow in the episode. - The Bay Bridged

"Battlehooch is San Francisco Music / july 28th / SPIN Earth"

If one piece of merch can scream the calamity of a band, it's the scrappy Battlehooch Headband. They're worn with the intention to jam San Francisco streets or sweaty packed venues. They are the markers for their weird determination for experimenting with rock, funk, psychedellia and infectious crowd-forming antics.

SPINearth had the full pleasure of strapping on one of these grungy pieces of fabric and following the band around for an impromptu street jam. The whole presentation of this gang makes you listen. They dress somewhat randomly, they jump around and dance funny, they beat each other with their instruments.

And when we joined the release party for their LP Piecechow, dozens of headbanded recruits bounced around! All photos were provided via a special collaboration with the band's Flickr group and we must thank them for all the good fun!

This local boy band (in the up-most non-pop and underground way) is a fantastic make-up of jammers and hootin-howlers wIth AJ Mckinley rallying the guitar and vocals, Ben Juodvalkis smashing the keys and accordion, Grant Goodrich bumpin' the bass, Pat Smith providing more vocals and skillfully rockin' the Termin (see it to believe it above), Ryan Huber pounding the drums and headbanging and lastly, but definitely not leastly, Tom Hurlbut mouthin' the brass (he'll bust two at a time when needed!). Though still riding SF's wave of local venues, they've recently just finished a sweet-succcess tour on the West Coast in support of Piecechow and will be playing soon again in August (keep an eye on them here).

VIDEO of Street Performing too...

What you need to know and have a listen to is their self-recorded debut LP release Piecechow -- available now! Plenty of electricity and kazoo-like shouts simulate a new psychedellia for this evolving jam-band. Terrific jam-outs are the high-energy "The Special Place" (must-watch accompanying music video) and the playful noise of "Looks You Can't See." Though the must-of-the-must is to scour the streets on a Friday or Saturday night in the Castro or Mission for an improv get-down ! - SPIN Earth - North America

"NASCENT Magazine OOF OWF Review"

Battlehooch's debut EP OOF OWF has already garnered much-deserved respect within the Bay Area and beyond. It is a self-made wonder-work of psychedelic rock, funk, and unabashed nonsense. All four of the disc's creations are heavily orchestrated movements featuring all manner of percussion, guitars, and driving bass, with some classy Zappa-inspired horns popping up whenever necessary. Vocals are present but one gets the feeling that the listener is less expected to sing along than they are to dance. (more >>)

Opener "Boog Woogily" is one of the highlights, both live and recorded, and begins with a few stuttering yells and instrumental guffaws, on its way to becoming what on first listen could be mistaken for a more lucid reworking of The Simpsons' theme song. All of the "kitchen sink" percussion, plus the band's live theatrics (headbands, face-paint, sillystring?) bring to mind acts like Man Man and their own musical influences. Unlike Man Man, who seem locked to an indie-rock adaptation of Captain Beefheart et al, Battlehooch isn't willing to become pegged to a single sound or even a singular grouping of sounds, as OOF OWF closer "When We're Trying to Be Quiet" is rooted half in '60s psychedelia and half in early-'90s grunge. This last track had me coming back for repeated listens, most likely due to the strong vocals and because it sounded vaguely similar to San Francisco psych project Sleepy Sun, of who I am very fond.

Taken as a whole, the most impressive thing about OOF OWF is that as such an ambitious first release, it still manages to leave room for further exploration and growth. Furthering this is the fact that in order to really understand and appreciate the album and the band you can't merely listen to one song on MySpace. OOF OWF demands to be heard from front to back, back to front, and then only with an accompanying trip to a live performance will the listener truly be able to understand and appreciate one of the most unique and talented bands the Bay Area has to offer at the moment. Battlehooch is definitely going to continue to ask for, and get attention. - Tyler Corelitz

"The Deli SF review of OOF OWF EP"

I officially proclaim the self-released debut EP OOF OWF from San Francisco's Battlehooch a "must listen." Why? OOF OWF is not your average self-released debut EP. As a producer-engineer who's spent many an endless hour behind the scenes working with local bands on self-released endeavors, I can testify that Battlehooch goes above and beyond. Creative on many levels, OOF OWF makes multi-dimensional use of instrumentation and effects to sculpt intricate arrangements. What is even more impressive is that Battlehooch not only self-released this debut recording, they also did all of the production and engineering themselves. With the accessibility of digital technology these days this approach is indeed becoming more and more common and bands are gaining a lot of technical savvy about how to handle the recording and mixing "in-house." However, I venture a guess that there is a budding new engineer/producer in the midst of the Battlehooch personnel – kudos to you!

The seven-minute epic "Irreconcilable Differences" became a personal favorite for me. Not to overuse the term but my notes are peppered with different versions of the word "impressive" and in particular I noted that I was "very impressed" with the variety and complexity of the soundscapes in this tune. Some of the sequences remind me of the music in the blue-lit lab scenes in CSI, but more elaborately developed. "Irreconcilable Differences" uses horn lines reminiscent of Ani Difranco's 2003 album Evolve. (Obscure reference I know, but worth checking out if you're an Ani Difranco fan and appreciate an artist who can effectively continue to evolve her approach to production.) Speaking of evolved production, Battlehooch once again takes it to the next level with a fairly advanced use of spatialization. Take a listen to this tune in a pair of headphones or in front of a pair of decent speakers and you'll know what I mean. "Irreconcilable Differences" also features moments of very unique percussion, i.e. not your typical shakers and tambourines. While "typical percussion" has its place, I salute Battlehooch for making me wonder what exactly they're tapping out that rhythm on – could be something designed to function as a percussion instrument or could be something they found in the kitchen or dragged out of the garage…now that's what I call percussion!

Though there are only four tracks, this EP is action packed from start to finish. I sense that Battlehooch likes to crank the intensity dial to 11 on most things. Listening through the first three tracks I was starting to wonder if mellow was even in this band's vocabulary. Then I got to track 4 and couldn't help noting the irony in the title "When We're Trying to be Quiet." Ah, the relief I was seeking! Now don't get me wrong, I like to crank things up to 11 from time to time but ultimately life is about balance, right? So bottom line, track four is a lovely contrast to the intense foray of high energy soundscapes served up in the first three tracks. "When We're Trying to be Quiet" offers a more traditional approach to the song structure with cinematic instrumentation and outstanding engineering on the drums for this level of production. While I enjoyed this tune on a variety of levels, my favorite part was the little acoustic guitar riff and dropping of drum sticks that punctuates the end.

Battlehooch is taking the stage at Edinburgh Castle this Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 8pm.

Rachel Allgood is a San Francisco-based producer-engineer. She's worked with artists such as New Order, Vanessa Carlton and many members of the local scene.
Published - Rachel Allgood// The Deli SF

"Wiretap Music Feature on Battlehooch"

Battlehooch reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Revenge of the Nerds. They're a bunch of band kids, guys who grew up studying music on trumpets, saxophones, flutes, and pianos, who hung on long enough to outlast the stereotypes. Now, having been embraced by the underground music community, they're leveling the scene with a sonic assault that feels like a caged animal let loose in a club full of jaded music snobs. No band wants to play after Battlehooch, because they tear through crowds, leaving audiences limp and giddy from the spastic dancing necessary to keep up with their music.

Battlehooch live truly is a physical experience. You will feel them, they will touch you in a tender and possibly uncomfortable way, and just when you think you've got a hang on the groove, the band whips the steering wheel and floors it in the other direction. Trying to dance to their incredibly dance-provoking music can be difficult, like dancing on a variable-speed carousel that also spins in different directions. You just have to throw your body into it and accept that you will get fooled when they point in one direction and then explode behind your back with a blast of funky horn-vocal harmonies over slamming, loose-limbed jazz drumming.

Musically, these guys are prog rockers. Battlehooch's musical starting point is miles beyond where a typical rock band evenpict_01.jpg strives to be. You can hear it clearly on their self-recorded EP, Oof Owf, which has a professional sound quality that betrays some knob twisting genius inside the Republic of Battlehooch. Each of the four songs has a unique feel, from the zany introduction of “Boog Woogily,” with it sound effects like a Looney Tunes sound track, to the aggressive “Deep Knee Bends,” and the sheer power of “Irreconcilable Differences.” A homemade debut EP of this caliber is almost unprecedented, it shows a ton of promise for this band, and displays their self-sufficiency: they’re doing it themselves and getting professional results.

While Battlehooch is a congealed musical unit with a singular artistic vision, each individual seems to have a fully developed sense of his own playing and brings a unique personality and vigor to the music. For example, the lead singer is a sort of California nature boy, a thrift store lifer with a homemade hairdo, a moustache, and the far off gaze of one whose life is in the hands of the band. He is their spiritual leader. The guitarist's rock maneuvers come across as tongue-in-cheek at first, yet he plays with such joy it's like a nine-year old dancing in his bedroom with a brand new guitar that he hasn't yet learned to play. These moves are on top of his superb playing style that is fresh and original, yet full of classic rock and funk jams. The horn player is a wild man sending out sonic smoke signals and providing some of the music's most powerful lines with his saxophones and flute. Sometimes he evens plays two horns at once – seriously. His wildness is a driving force wailing like a siren and leading the band into a spacey territory on "Irreconcilable Differences." The rhythm section is tremendous; straightforward and funky, yet with a delicate melodic underpinning that helps the horn, guitar, piano, and vocal melodies really soar. The keyboardist seems to be either the evil genius or the heart of the band, or both. pict_02.jpgHis style of free-form playing and sound effects tempered with just the right mix of subtlety seems like the personification of Battlehooch. He manipulates live sound, generates sound effects on the laptop, and plays some pretty hot chords that alternate between "inside" and "outside" tones that contribute to some of those jolting changes, and to the sheer power of their huge melodies.

Lyrically they bounce some pretty sharp wit around. In "Boog Woogily," they describe with humor a bungled romantic encounter that really doesn't satisfy. They shout against our military-obsessed culture, and question gender roles in "Deep Knee Bends," and when they try to be quiet on "When We're Trying to be Quiet," the abstract and wistful lyrics stretch a mellow haze across the stereo.

While the music community can sometimes feel overrun with myspace bands in this guitar-hero era, Battlehooch's exquisite playing and their blend of textures and influences is a refreshing reminder of why I love music.

[Jeff Bissell - Http://

"The Bay Bridged Live review of Battlehooch (2/7/08)"

Battlehooch, who has literally hooted and hollered its way into the local spotlight over the past year with its pure live inhibition and a loyal legion of sweaty fans clad in tattered orange headbands, followed Maus Haus’ set with their version of the house party at the club. For a minute, you might mistake their zaniness for intoxication or posturing, but then you start realize these guys are actually rad as hell, and they could care less if they or you forgot to wear your coolest jeans to the show that night. Slightly less abrasive vocally but equally as kooky as Man Man, and inspired but not bogged down by the arty art rock of Roxy Music, the Hooch use horns to sex up their sound, not sax it out. I thought I even heard a few new numbers among the bunch which pushed the dancefloor a little more than some of the ambitious compositions on their heralded 2007 EP, OOF OWF. It’s hard not to imagine many more orange headbands in the Hooch’s sea this coming year. - The Bay Bridged (


Self-Released :
--- 2007 // Oof Owf EP (October 2007)

--2009 // Wiretap Music Presents Covers
"only baby sharks" by Chairman Wow
(march 2009)

---2009 // Piecechow LP
(June 2009)

--2010 // Self Titled LP
(April 2010)



Battlehooch unabashedly walks the line between pop sensibility and avant garde experimentation, bending the chaotic into the melodic and evoking passionate responses in everyone that hears them. Battlehooch describes their sound as "shape-shifting orchestral rock," characterizing the band's tendency to write stylistically varied songs with unique arrangements, and their ability to adapt to any performance environment.

During the latter half of 2010, Battlehooch expanded their national audience with a 4-month American odyssey, playing in 40 different cities in 38 states. Video footage collected by each band member has been providing raw material for both an episodic tour documentary and the Desolation Video series of live off-the-grid performances in remote, iconic locations. Visit the Battlehooch YouTube channel to see the lads playing in unlikely venues ranging from an abandoned car factory to a southern swamp.

After 15,000 miles of road-testing new material, the band is now back at their headquarters in the foggy outskirts of San Francisco. They are currently engaged in their most ambitious recording project to date.