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Seattle, Washington, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Seattle, Washington, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Duo Rock Rock




"Hobosexual Selected as one of 7 can't miss acts of Sasquatch! 2014 (Day 2)"

"Saturday brings a list of indie and rock acts, bringing the day headliners The National his third appearance at the festival. And take note: Earlier in the day, Neko Case Sasquatch appearance extended his record eight festivals. Other acts should not - miss Saturday include alt -rockers the Violent Femmes and Band of Skulls, rappers MIA and the owner of Sol Seattle Animal Collective and Panda Bear and founder of rock duo Hobosexual." - Sasquatch Music Festival (Official Blogspot)

"Hobosexual is bringing back the glory days of rock, and fans of big, booming music shouldn’t miss the majesty."

“I hated music!” Ben Harwood exclaims on the phone to me the night before Sasquatch! 2014. “Until I was like 13!”

This is quite different than most origin stories one hears about musicians. But Harwood — singer, songwriter, guitarist and, along with drummer Jeff Silva, beard-bearer of Hobosexual — had a reason to start off aggravated.

“I grew up taking piano lessons, just running scales over and over, and that would go on for like sixteen hours a day. I come from a classically trained family — both of my parents were concert pianists, and one of my great-great-great uncles was actually a king’s court composer, so it runs in my family way back. Which is great, but at first I was like, ‘I hate this.’”

“And then — I heard rock and roll.”

“When I was in the sixth grade, a camp counselor of mine played AC/DC for me, and I’d never heard anything like it before,” Harwood explains. “I didn’t even initially like it, but there was something about it that was just interesting to me, so I kept revisiting it. Like, I secretly went out and picked up copies of Let There Be Rock and Back In Black, and became absolutely addicted.”

After hiding his listening habits for a while, he says, “I had to eventually tell my mom, ‘You know what, I’ve decided what I want to do. I’m gonna play rock and roll, but I’m going to do it different. I’m going to go to school and learn everything about instrumentation, and then I’m going to pursue rock and roll.’ And she was like, ‘OK?’ and kinda laughed.”

Once the secret of his tastes were out, Harwood says, “I started playing guitar, and I picked it up like freakishly fast, so my parents got me lessons with all these different guitar teachers. After high school, I ended up going to work, and studied classical guitar from a guy named Michael Partington, which helped me end up getting a scholarship for PLU.”

Not too shabby for a former hater of music lessons. The bridge that led Harwood’s musical experiences from tedious chore to passionate practice was found when the right channel for his artistic genetics and knowledge was introduced to him. What a perfect example of the importance of sharing musical discoveries with one another.

It didn’t take long for Harwood to dive head-first into his pursuits after college, either. “As soon as I graduated,” he describes, “I just started playing in different bands. It’s been about ten years now since I got going, and things have just never been better. My heart has always been in the deceptive simplicity of rock and roll. To come up with something that’s not overly complex, because I spent so much of my formative years studying that type of music. And in my opinion, what’s actually the hardest to write is something that’s simple and memorable.”

“I do sometimes sneak my training into little parts of Hobosexual,” he states about the decade he’s spent writing music since his formal education wrapped up. “But I try not to veer too much into it, just because our mantra is sort of to bring back that rock and roll vibe that’s bigger than life and unapologetic. You know, like when you watch 80s movies and they have that kind of panache, where you can say something ridiculous but awesome at the same time, and totally get away with it? We try to do stuff like that, but with our sound.”

Crazily enough, the guys have similar tales of getting into rock. “Jeff’s dad played in a Beatles cover band,” says Harwood, “and this was back in the day when they were huge, so they’d play to like, three thousand people consistently. Rock and roll was still a novelty, and The Beatles were the biggest thing on earth, so Jeff was kind of intimidated by it.”

“When he would get home from school, though, his parents would still be at work, and he’d play his dad’s drums to Led Zeppelin records, then put everything back before they got home. This went on for like years! Then one day, Jeff’s dad came home early or something, and caught him just rocking out. He was like, ‘Oh my god! Where’d you learn to do that?!’ And after that, it was all on, you know? Which is what I think is one of the coolest rock and roll stories ever.”

Regarding the formation of Hobosexual, Harwood details, “Jeff and I met via an ad in The Stranger when I was looking for a drummer during the early days after college. He was just such a great, intuitive player and has kind of the same mentality as me.”

“We tend to practice and jam a lot, so we do a lot of improvisation. Sometimes I’ll come up with a riff, and Jeff will just stew on it, and then we come back and work on it here and there. He tends to be the spellcheck, let’s call it, when I’m coming up with new stuff. We try to keep it the kind of way that you’d create stuff if you were still fourteen years old, you know? I think that makes for more of an authentic final product than one person going, ‘OK, you’re doing this and I’m doing that.’”

Knowing they were gearing up for their Sasquatch! performance, I ask Harwood what they strive for during their shows, and if he thinks their music falls into the “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll” sound.

“You know,” Harwood ponders, “neither Jeff nor I are drug users. We’ll drink a little bit of booze from time to time, but that’s about it. Because I’ve found that when you have a really transcendent experience at a rock show, it’s like being high. I went to an Andrew W.K. concert a while back and my friends and I were practically acting like we were on cocaine the whole time, which we weren’t at all. There’s that whole party mentality with some bands, but at our shows, we’re not attempting to create a certain look or image. The best rock and roll isn’t self-conscious. You just go and you have a great time.”

I can personally say that everyone in the crowd at Sasquatch! seemed to be having a righteous experience while Hobosexual slayed the stage. If you had to miss their classic, charismatic, headbangingly-great set, be sure to catch them at one of their upcoming shows, including the beautiful Doe Bay Fest and always-awesome Bumbershoot! Hobosexual is bringing back the glory days of real rock, and fans of beards and big, booming music shouldn’t miss the majesty. - AJ Dent, The Drainage

"a chunky, guitar-god sound"

Seattle duo Hobosexual brought a heavy dose of rock to the Narwhal stage at Sasquatch! 2014, which is featuring much of the local talent at the festival. With a chunky, guitar-god sound, the band drew a sizable, lively crowd. At one point singer-guitarist Ben Harwood pointed out they larger Bigfoot stage had turned up their amps. "We're too loud for them," he bragged. - Genevieve Alvarez, The Seattle Times

"From nearly the first note, the crowd flipped into a full on flailing mosh pit..."

A couple of Pacific Northwest acts stood out at Sasquatch 2014!, amongst the most memorable during the early portion of the day. On the smaller Narwhal stage, rock duo Hobosexual brought the hammer down and drew a sizeable crowd eager for high-tempo energy. From nearly the first note, the crowd flipped into a full on flailing mosh pit and stayed that way for almost all 45-minutes of the performance. - Corbin Reiff, The News Tribune

"The duo has found a perfect mix of nostalgia and novelty"

These guys are storytellers. That was clear on Hobosexual’s 2010 self-titled debut, and is even more so on Hobosexual II. For their sophomore effort, the local duo of Jeff Silva and Ben Harwood took the storytelling thing to the next level, mixing their love of  ’70s-influenced riffs and ’80s glam rock to create a complex story about a post-apocalyptic world. The year is 2071, the protagonist is Kara, and the mission is to save the radiation- and poison-infested earth from the grasp of the “Sex Destroyers” street gang. The scene is set instantly by the aggressive opening notes of “Switchblade Suburbia,” a sonic assault that makes the following track, the rolling, bluesy “The Black Camaro Death,” an even bigger surprise. The album’s high point is “A Motherfuckin’ Song,” a chant-heavy banger that’s part Sabbath and part My Chemical Romance (the catchy call-and-response thing, not the annoying emo-goth thing). It’s this variety of straightforward rock ’n’ roll and arena-ready anthems that makes Hobosexual II so compelling. The duo has found a perfect mix of nostalgia and novelty on this release, and the result is an homage to the greats that showcases just how hungry we all are for another wave of epic, rowdy rock—with a punk disposition, of course. (Fri., Oct. 4, Neumos) KEEGAN PROSSER - Keegan Prosser, The Seattle Weekly

"I haven’t had that much fun listening to an album in a long time."

When I was little, my mom and I would routinely take trips down to the local video rental store, this was before the days of Hollywood video (RIP) or Blockbuster (RIP), and ages before Netflix and Redbox. I would rent the same hand full of movies over and over, I rented them so often, it probably made more fiscal sense just to buy them. What I remember best however, was passing by the posters and cutout’s to the dark and gritty looking exploitation films. Post-apocalyptic, violent, and sexy, with a blazing anti-hero blasting his way through the poster, a naked woman dangling in his unoccupied arm. Occasionally I caught these films on TV and sweat with fear. Looking back I’m not entirely sure that Hobosexual didn’t score these films.

When I received my copy of Hobosexual II in the mail, it was accompanied by a fictional poster, an over-sexualized heroine atop a BMX bike, reminiscent of Nicole Kidman in BMX Bandits. But the page long letter that was also included, painted a far darker picture of a post apocalyptic urban and suburban wasteland with Sex Destroyers, BMX hero’s or anti-hero’s, Creeps, Robots, Hobo’s, BMX bikes, and something called Mechagodmothra. Not surprisingly the song titles correspond with these elements.

So this is a concept album, and it sucks right? No way! First, I want to see this movie, second, I want Hobosexual to score every second of it! Hobosexual II, the follow up to the impressive and underrated 2010 album, Hobosexual, grabs you by the balls during the slow thundering of Switchblade Suburbia, chainsaws through your chest, and doesn’t let go of you until you’re a heap of bones, blood, and guts, sobbing at the final moments of the nuclear explosion that is Mechagodmothra.

This rarely happens, but as soon as I got the album, I popped it into the computer and listen to the whole thing, all the way through. I haven’t had that much fun listening to an album in a long time. It was equal parts bloated ass-rock, nostalgia, and sweet, sweet satisfaction. The way people talk about the heavy explosiveness of TAD, and the quirky metal grind of the Melvins, is exactly what I got from Hobosexual II. Sometimes you just want to rock out in an unapologetic way, whipping your hair around and stomping your feet, and here I argue that there is no better album to do this to, than this.

Those familiar with Hobosexual’s debut album, know that it had this kind of gritty, treasure-pulled-from-the-trashcan feel. See Van Candy or Sonata for the Working Man. Hobosexual II feels immense in its scale, for just two guys, Ben Harwood and Jeff Silva, and a studio, they manage to fill a lot of space. Hostile Denim, Sex Destroyer, and my personal favorite Squish It, all capture a colossus in size that far outweighs their minimalistic makeup.

I kept waiting for something on this album to stumble and feel out of place, but it just doesn’t exist. Black Camero Death, might as well be the trailer music for all the 80’s exploitation films I used to see on old VHS rentals. A Mother Fuckin’ Song About Robots? This is clearly what plays during a montage of our hero with machine-gun-hands, as he mows down a battalion of rust thirsty robots. Every song flows nicely into the next, nothing feels jarring or from out of nowhere, it just…works. Perfectly.

The whole album can be summed up around the two and a half minute mark in Squish it “Now I know what you’re thinking slappy. How did Hobosexual create such a fine piece of culturally relevant, simultaneously significant, yet so elegant ever so eloquent musical perfection? I’ll tell you baby…” it only gets better from there. If you get this far into the album and you’re not blown away, you might be in a coma. In fact your probably in a coma, because you’d be hard pressed to find another album as hard rocking, nostalgic, and fun as this. Let’s all rejoice the release of Hobosexual II the foretold savior of a future urban wasteland. - Brian Snider, Secretly Important

"The hilariously named Hobosexual's songs aren't funny at all—they're full-on, fuzzed-out classic-rock beasts."

The hilariously named Hobosexual’s songs aren’t funny at all—they’re full-on, fuzzed-out classic-rock beasts. - The Stranger

"Harwood isn't hiding behind his volume, he's manipulating it like few venture to accomplish."

Hobosexual went all out for their set starting off with a solo acoustic shred lesson courtesy of Ben Harwood before laying into the massive triple-stack of amps. The acoustic moment brought Harwood’s education in composition into focus, but his theoretical prowess was quickly and easily eclipsed by his actual prowess in wielding his right-handed guitar left-handed. Each stack contributes its own texture, and in contrast to the claustrophobic tavern spaces they might usually inhabit, in a space such as the Columbia City Theater those textures have room to distinguish themselves fully. Harwood is not hiding behind his volume, he is manipulating it like few venture to accomplish. Hobosexual brought on the soul sisters of NightTraiN as special guests, helping Harwood to realize a goal of taking his songs to the next level, and making them as grand and gargantuan as they could possibly be. - Josh Lovseth, Sound on the Sound

"Let's get this out of the way, Hobosexual is a band that needs to be on your radar."

The duo of guitarist/vocalist Ben Harwood and drummer Jeff Silva showed a packed room inside a sweltering 2 Bit Saloon that they are more than simply a clever name. Not quite metal, not quite garage rock, the group is just one hairy, sweaty mass of amplifiers, drums and guitar that exudes the essence of rock and roll. The band’s raw and unpolished style is its secret weapon and it will leave you with your jaw on the floor. Rob Reiner didn’t know it at the time, but Hobosexual is the reason why Spinal Tap’s amps go to 11. - Travis Hay, Seattle Weekly

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is what rock and roll is all about. Hot, stinky, sweaty, head-banging, ass-shaking rock and roll. These are some badass sons ‘a bitches."

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what rock and roll is all about. Hot, stinky, sweaty, head-banging, ass-shaking rock and roll. These are some badass sons ‘a bitches. - Guerrilla Candy

"Seeing Hobosexual for the first time live will be a turning point in your rock n’ roll concert going – sometimes bands will exemplify the entire atmosphere of their genre and these two are natural born rockers"

Seeing Hobosexual for the first time live will be a turning point in your rock n’ roll concert going – sometimes bands will exemplify the entire atmosphere of their genre and these two are natural born rockers - SSG Music

"Hobosexual are a band, a loud ideal, a state of mindfucking."

Formed from the remnants of Iceage Cobra and Vindaloo, Hobosexual (Ben Harwood and running mate Jeff Silva) have released a self-titled album of mad, scattered, full-frontal rock attack. It's a sound with scurvy, a creaming of fuzzed amplification that builds and fans out. Way out. Think Thin Lizzie and Black Sabbath burning on a pyre of Lincoln Logs. It's a bloodletting of wattage with loping, chunked stacks of heaving guitars. Harwood and Silva are possessed by one purpose: to deliver rock. Their creed is "Fuck anything that doesn't have some good, old, sturdy wood-grain paneling." For singer/guitarist Harwood, music is the passion of his Christ. He bleeds with it, screams with it, and fires it off. The Hobosexual sound is hard to follow, and Harwood, who went to Pacific Lutheran University on full scholarship for composition and performance, wants it that way. If you're afraid of the rock, don't listen. - interview with Trent Moorman, The Stranger


2010: Hobosexual: Hobosexual (self titled LP) (available at www.cdbaby.com, itunes, and amazon.com)

2011: Hobosexual: Live at CCT (available as a self released Cassette Tape with Download Card). Download available at www.cdbaby.com. Cassettes available at Bandcamp.com (keyword Hobosexual) or any Hobo live performance.

2013: Hobosexual II: Recorded at The Kill Room Studios by Benjamin Donald Jenkins. Engineered by Ben Jenkins. Mastered by Martin Feveyear at Jupiter Studios.

Track list:

1) Switchblade Suburbia
2) The Black Camaro Death
3) Squish It!
4) Hostile Denim
5) A Motherf#%kin' Song About Robots
6) Bums of 2071
7) Sex Destroyer
8) The Creep
9) BMX
10) Mechagodmothra

Note: The tracks "Annihilator" and "Ghettoblaster" (as listed and referenced on the LP and CD jackets) are simply 2 separate instrumental interludes/guitar intros, and have been attached/included within the tracks "Sex Destroyer" and "Hostile Denim," on the SonicBids Audio preview page.



When's the last time you saw a rock n roll band that just annihilated you live, THEN managed to deliver recordings that kept you coming back for more and more; like the crack cocaine infused riff n roll of the big label hair monsters circa 1975 through 1995: Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Soundgarden, KISS, The Beastie Boys, or Led Zeppelin?

At a loss? When you REALLY start to think about it, you realize there's been very little that truly rad in almost 3 decades.

Your parents had all the fun. And if you're over 45, you haven't had that much fun since 82'.

These days, people listen to and appreciate deliberate cliche' approaches to guitar driven rock n roll, and an appropriate "look" more than they understand true originality, deceptive simplicity or taste. This isn't to say in the least that instrumentally driven, brain caving, hair whipping Rock N Roll can't be FUN, but there's a fine line between fun, and humiliating an entire genre via inept caricature.

It's gotta be "clever for the sake of being clever", "totally brutal video game metal", "safe, floaty, endless tones," the world's 9000th "low-fi" or "white stripes covering the black keys" duo, (or insert your force fed, overtly obvious preference as subtle cliche' here). It's an endless string of bands with front loaded talent and a 0.0 understanding of history, vying daily for your attention on vapid social network platforms, which in turn, promote music as a way to accessorize your digital wardrobe, corporatize your presence, or enhance those clever 1 liners on Twitter.

Let's be honest here Skippy, "the man" bought rock n roll a long time ago. Then he hired Michael Bay to direct and produce the talent, and somewhere along the line, corporations managed to steer the "cool" of our youth into an oblivion of self worship, vanity, and ignorance via a double speak marketing rhetoric that preaches on the fly google searches over an absorbed, learned, hands on history of music, art and culture.

Oh, you may THINK you like things the way they are, ...everything seems so clean, instantly graspable, "unique", and safe, but we both know the only REAL thing that brings a smile to your face, your dad's face, and your hot mom's face...is when someone throws a little Zeppelin on, hands you a smoke and a beer, and cranks "Presence" to a point at which your brain feels like it's caving in.

Maybe you've forgotten how Rock n' Roll really looks and sounds?

Maybe you never really knew until now...

It's time for a return to Rock N (fucking) ROLL.

Put on those tan tint aviators, grab a glass a whiskey, and take up smoking and red meat again.

You deserve to be rocked. You deserve to feel something REAL. You deserve to live a life with 0 regrets at missed opportunities and die of a heart attack at 55, holding a beer, with a HUGE smile on your face the way our fore fathers did!

It's time you heard, saw, lived and loved, Hobosexual.

Band Members