HARD FEELINGS
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HARD FEELINGS

Band Rock Punk

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There is something to be said for comfort. Sure that new pair of shoes looks good, drinking at that new pub makes you seem hip, dancing at a club to your friend’s electronic project impresses the 19-year-old girl who doesn't know half the bands in your record collection, strategically placing that edgy book on your table at the coffee shop raises an eyebrow, and pedaling around on your $2,000 custom cruiser bicycle embodies your sense of style while you exercise marginally.

But do you really like any of those things? Your beat-up pair of Chucks or Vans, your dark and dank watering hole where the regulars know you, eating perogies, and punk rock are similar, if not superior, to the aforementioned activities. They’re comfortable and better – they’re honest.

Hard Feelings are comfortable, like that pair of cut-off shorts. Hard Feelings are honest, like that friend who will call you on your shit, even when you don’t want him to. The East Vancouver three-piece punk band takes the simplest of things – guitar, bass, drums, and three bodies – and makes forceful, direct music with them.

The brainchild of Al Boyle, Hard Feelings was born from the fact that Boyle “had some song ideas that didn’t go with any other bands I was in, and I decided to make it a recording project. I recorded all the instruments except bass, where I asked my friend Steve Matheson (the WPP, Ghost House, Weathered Pines) to play on it.”

Luckily, the “recording project” status was redacted. “About a year (went) by, I changed my mind and decided to make this a real band,” remembers Boyle. “I asked Rick O’Dell (Taxes) and Devon Clifford (You Say Party! We Say Die!) to learn two songs I had, and see how they like it. That was last year, and together we have written about 16 songs. After our first couple of rehearsals, things gelled, and I never would have done this alone or as a recording project. In late spring we recorded live off the floor at the Hive with Jesse Gander.”

Listening to Hard Feelings, there is a definite feel of a certain time period in punk rock, before the genre exploded into the mainstream. Boyle admits, “I would have to acknowledge the (San Francisco) Bay Area sound, because I got into playing music at age 14, which was 1994. Remember ‘94? I love early Green Day and Rancid for sure, but I would say as a band and individuals we all like Fugazi, X, the Replacements, and a boat load of other bands that don't sound like Crimpshrine or whatever…but I do think we always had a rough idea of a “three-piece punk band” sound.

“Plus, individually we have played in a lot of post-punk bands. Rick and I used to play in Taxes. Rick and Devon used to play in Cadeaux.” Listening to Hard Feelings’ songs, it’s evident they channel all their mentioned influences without hijacking them outright.

While some may sniffle at the idea of punk rock, Boyle defends it with an obvious sense of DIY ethic and lack of self-consciousness about current trends: “Punk rock is totally still valid. If you like punk rock, play punk rock because it’s valid to you. Do what you want to do and what makes you happiest. People say punk rock is a youth culture movement, but I disagree, because at what age do you have to stop? Is NoMeansNo stopping? Am I going to? No.”

As for playing punk rock in notoriously cutthroat Vancouver, “(a) lack of venues…is nothing new. Things open up…things close…(we) got to have a positive attitude in this city. I think Vancouver has some of the best bands I know at the moment, but I am biased because most of them are my friends,” laughs Boyle.

Some things, you never outgrow. Your favourite beer will always be your favourite beer, your best-loved book will always be that book, and your favourite records will always be your favourite records. And if you ever form a band that sounds like your favourite records, you’re probably playing in Hard Feelings - Spencer Brown - Beatroute magazine


Discography

10 song CD.self-released.

Photos

Bio

Hard Feelings get it. Punk bands are a dime a dozen, often simply treading water in the overpopulated three-chord lake. Hard Feelings set themselves apart by knowing when to get aggressive, when to get technical (at least, as technical as a punk group should be), and knowing how to craft an engaging tune. Kudos. (DF)////////////////////From Beatroute magazine