The HipNecks
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By CHRIS BOECKMANN
Published Thursday, April 10, 2008

Many people like the HipNecks - if MySpace is any indicator, the band has at least 1,500 fans - but enough to start a tribute act?

The HipNeck Tribute Band from Wiesbaden, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, might not sound very good; in fact, it tends to mess up every HipNecks cover it plays. But, its existence alone must be flattering for the Columbia band, right?

Ryan Renne, "our bass player, is a really interesting guy," said singer and instrumentalist Pat Kay. "He has a very interesting sense of humor. He has a cup of coffee and turns into a madman."

In a caffeine-fueled stunt, Renne pulled together the band's most embarrassing on-stage moments - abandoned guitar solos, rhythm-less guitar playing, screwed-up vocals - and pooled them together on a MySpace page, using an online translator to create the HipNeck Tribute Band profile, which often speaks of making music "for the children."

"It's us poking fun at us," said vocalist and guitarist Scott Anderson.

"It's really ridiculous," said Kay, laughing. "I keep meaning to ask him to take it off, but every time I see it, I can't stop laughing."

Kay and Anderson first met at Westminster College. In 2001, the duo started performing "run-of-the-mill bar songs" on a regular basis in Fulton. By 2004, the HipNecks had turned into a quintet, playing venues and leaving its "Free Bird" days in the dust.

The band began drawing inspiration from a variety of genres - including jazz and funk - to create its own brand of fun, rollicking blues rock.

In 2005, The HipNecks celebrated the release of their first album, the raw but promising "Just Another Fine Day," with a show at The Blue Note, selling more than 350 CDs that night. Many of the band's original fans came from Fulton to show support.

"A lot of them, especially at that point of time, had been watching us play since we were really, really awful," Kay said. "We just started, and they came and watched us every Wednesday and saw the whole thing take shape."

Now, Kay said, many of those college fans have moved to different cities, including St. Louis and Kansas City, which benefits the band during out-of-town gigs.

After three years of songwriting, the band is now ready to release its sophomore effort - "American Night" - to those old fans and the new ones it has picked up along the way.

The album, recorded at Bridge Studios and to be released through Hometone Records, is a more mature effort from the five-piece group, which has learned quite a bit since its first recording days.

"Now our writing has evolved into more of a collective effort," Kay said. "The first record was such a whirlwind; there wasn't really a whole lot of focus on content. It was more 'get it done,' 'get more stuff.' "

On "Just Another Fine Day," the band wrote songs individually. This time around, with the help of e-mail and band rehearsals, the band was able to write together. Often, a band member would record a song and send it to the others, who each tinkered with the work until it became something that the entire band appreciated.

This more collaborative effort has led to a more polished sound for the HipNecks. Also contributing to its growth is its ever-expanding musical taste. For this album, bluegrass played a key role.

"I like to think of learning other genres of music the same way I think of learning another language," Kay said. "You learn a whole lot about English by learning Spanish. The same holds true with music."

Outside the HipNecks, Anderson and Kay make a living by performing together on a regular basis as the Hatrick - a trio that includes Sean Canan of Bockman.

"We separated the fun, creative, passionate part of it and put that into the HipNecks," Kay said, "and the Hatrick we do - it is fun - but it's a job."

Tonight, the HipNecks celebrate the release of "American Night" at Mojo's.

"You're closer to the crowd. It's a more intimate and more personal venue," he said. "It seems appropriate for the music we're releasing."

Pianist Wes Wingate and fiddle player Molly Healey of Big Smith join the band for tonight's performance; Wingate will continue to support at several regional shows.

"For the first album, everyone came out to see one show at The Blue Note, one big release show," Kay said. "This year, we are going to be the ones bringing it to everyone through lots of small release shows."

- Columbia Tribune


By Anthony Spina April 7, 2008

This week, instead of the standard 12 Questions, I decided to mix it up a bit and throw out some unfinished sentences to The HipNecks and see how they responded. The group, whose sound has been described as “Jambalaya” and “Country Fried Jam”, will be at Lucas School House this Friday to kick off the release of their latest CD, American Night. Backyard Tire Fire with Joe Stickley is also on the bill for the night.

The name of the group is the love child of Hippie and Redneck, which is accurate considering their sound is a fresh mix of mandolin, guitar, harmonica, keys, drums, banjo, bass, and vocals. Not only is the sound unique, but their booking is as well. They have been on previous tours that included The Ying Yang Twins and Bubba Sparxxx. I am right here and now suggesting a HipNecks cover of “Ms. New Booty”. Just a thought.

Come out and see The HipNecks deliver their unique blend of “Country Fried Jam” this Friday, April 11 at Lucas School House with Backyard Tire Fire and Joe Stickley. Pat Kay, who does vocals, mandolin, Harmonica, Guitar, Banjo and Djembe for the group, was nice enough to finish 12 sentences for me. Here they are in their completed form. Enjoy.

1. We are…a band of undercover gypsy's and one felonious monk, otherwise known as The HipNecks.

2. Our band consists of…all the flavors of wonka land.

3. Musical influences include…Ryan Adams, Wilco, The Band, The Black Crowes, Radiohead, Phish, Blues Traveler, Big Smith, The Kings of Leon, The Clash, Dave Matthews, Union Station, etc.

4. Some could say we sound like…trash can Americana.

5. My mom says we're cool because…we play past her bedtime.

6. The wildest thing we have done lately is…knitted the drummer's girlfriend a really handsome sweater. We also did a "dive bar tour" over the winter where we played tiny bars out in the middle of nowhere. While we were loading up one night, we watched a drunken local drag race tournament...in 6 inches of snow. It was rad. A girl in a mustang won. She looked like she could have beat us all up.

7. St. Louis rocks because ...of toasted ravs and the Cardinals.

8. The first album we released was called…Just Another Fine Day.

9. Our next album is called…American Night.

10. It is released… this Friday, April 11 @ Lucas School House with Backyard Tire Fire, Joe Stickley, and punch & pie. Everything is better with punch & pie.

11. You should see us play at…night...we all look better at night.

12. Check us out on the web at…www.dropitlikeitshot.com. And when that doesn't work, www.thehipnecks.com and www.myspace.com/thehipnecks.

Want to see a HipNecks cover of "Ms. New Booty"? Let me know: anthony.spina@insidestl.com


- INSIDE STL


CH: How long have you guys been playing together? How did you meet? Why did you decide to become a band?
Scott: we have been playing together for six years. pat and i started 8 years ago, gradually picked up the stragglers along the way. we started the band as musical outlet for our different personalities.
Pat: "Why," you ask? I guess if I had to answer why we did it... For me, Its because I'm completely obsessed with making, playing, listening to, watching, experiencing music by any means available. Its a sickness.

CH: How did you come up with the name The HipNecks ?
Scott: because Creed was already taken.
Pat: Well, there is that... and a Funny Story: We didn't have that name until mere weeks before we released our first album, Just Another Fine Day, in 2005. We went by "The Farmhouse" for over a year, and then Harrison taught us about Phish. That obviously ruined it for us as we didn't want people to think we were some kind of tribute band. So... we had a big pile of names, and everybody liked a different one. It was a nightmare. We did one last show at the bar where we first started playing several years before (which we still frequent), and we let a rowdy crowd vote on it by measure of applause taken by our applaus-o-meter, Peter Works-Leary. The name "The HipNecks" won, and that was that. Our fans voted on it, and I can't think of a more appropriate way for it to have been settled.

CH: Who are some of your major influences ? (why?)
Scott: belinda carlisle is a big influence of mine. and ghandi. Stubbs: Dennis Chambers, Phish, Burning Spear, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Who. I always look up to musicians who go outside of the norm, perhaps push the envelope of the standard 4/4 time. John Fishman and Dennis Chambers are two of my favorites who really go beyond traditional rhythm.
Renne: Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Wilco. The things they can do creatively and emotionally in a 4 or 5 minute song are incredible.
Pat: Big Smith, Led Zeppelin, the Band, and most importantly, everyone I have ever played music with.

CH: What is that song "takin out the trash" about? (who wrote it? Does it stem from real life experiences? etc....)
Scott: I'm sorry, i can't reveal that. It does stem from real life experiences, but the subject matter is an inside joke and i am afraid it will have to remain that way or my mother will be seriously dissappointed in me.

CH: Where is your favorite place to play?
Scott: I like Lucas School house in STL, it is my favorite room to play. the sound is great and the crowds always seem to have lots of fun. I also like playing at the blue note, everytime you go on stage it is fun to just think about all the other great acts that have played on that stage before you.
Renne: Shiloh's is up there. The crowd always has a great energy and are always receptive. When we knocked the power out a few years ago and all our instruments went dead, they kept chanting the lyrics until power came back on. Crowds don't get much more supportive than that.
Stubbs: Anyplace we have never played before. Its always a great experience being taken out of your comfort zone and playing to new faces and a new environment. Harrison: any place where people appreciate music and live entertainment.
Pat: anywhere that allows music... the Blue Note will always be my favorite stage. The place is oozing with nostalgia.

CH: Do you use any particular brand of instruments. If so, what? Any particular reason why?
Scott: I like to play guitars that sound good onstage, but are not too expensive that I can't be scared to beat on it and toss it around a bit. My ibanez acoustic has been the best to this point. Pat: "When I was in China on the All-America Harmonica Team, I just loved playing music with my Hohner Special 20 Harmonica." (big smile for camera) I just bought a Collings mandolin that cost more than my truck. I will never again feel as satisfied with a purchase as I did that day. The playability of an instrument really makes a difference. The top on my last mandolin caved in, and I had the bridge propped up with dimes, nickels and paint stirring sticks I found in the closet of the Fieldhouse when we were doing a Hatrick show there. I still have it, it sounds awful.

CH: How would you classify yourselves in the musical world? (country, rock, indie etc.)

Scott: Midwestern rural americana rock or Trash Can Americana Harrison: Traditional rock based with country/mountain music vibes. Pat: Good question.
CH: Can you tell us about your upcoming album? (title, major inspirations, differences from the last one etc)
Renne: The new album is considerably different than our first. Where with the first, we recorded all our tracks within a 2 or 3 week period. Here, we've been recording and revising our parts for nearly a year now, and the extra time has really paid off. The hastiness in which we recorded our first album gave it an improvised feel, which worked out great for a first outing. The material was straightforward and we were simply adding to the main elements of the songwriting. Now, we've taken the songwriting and pushed and pulled it in each of our own directions to create something more complex. The main elements of the songwriting are still very much there, but they now have an expanded purpose. We've also been adding instrumentation that wasn't there on the first album. That coupled with a healthy dose of experimentation has resulted is something you can't listen to once to pick up on everything.
Harrison: I think its typical of the sophomore effort, more collective song writing and diversity with the overall emotions of the songs. We tried to focus on what the core elements of the song were and only add what was necessary, instead of trying to pack every option available and ending up with something sounding busy. But overall, we wanted to make sure we still had great energy throughout the album.
Pat: There are still incredibly busy songs on there, we didn't learn the true potency of brevity until we arranged "A Day is an Inch" and "AM Gold." I'm excited to carry that lesson into the next project.

CH: Are you a signed band? If so, what label?
Scott: not signed as of right now, but we are always open to new and exciting offers.

CH: Any amusing anecdotes you care to share? (on the road? local?) Scott: never go on the road with sean canan. he smells like burnt turnips. oh...and when in colorado...drink beer or alcohol brewed or distilled in colorado, it is never better than in the mountains. come to think of it...EVERYTHING is better in the mountains.
Pat: Don't do "chili night" on the road when you have a van full of 5 grown men... Then after you learn your lesson, don't be so careless as to do it again the following week. --We are referencing the work of Einstein in developing way to 'skip' the drive through Kansas...folding space, time and all that jazz. Due to inadequate inventory of current assets, we don't yet posses the means nor the resources to construct our space/time continuum folding machine. But once we do, everyone in the world will finally be able skip Kansas in their travels... and suffer uncontrollable fits of joy in regards.

CH: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. (All): thank you. - Como Music


Many aspiring musicians claim to have the best garage band in the nation. But only one local group can prove it.

Hailing from Fulton, the five-member group The HipNecks outplayed 126 other home-grown bands in the sweltering heat at the first annual Garage Stock at Camp Zoe in Salem.

Sweating through temperatures reaching triple digits, musicians from Georgia to Oregon showcased their talents garnered in garages where lawnmowers and garden rakes doubled as groupies.

But from July 21-24, instead of performing on stages comprised of oil stains, unhappy neighbors and dim lighting, these bands entertained under the bright lights to both peers and curious fans.

And when the last symbol had crashed and vocal been uttered, The HipNecks found themselves victors, the kings of the garage bands.

"What was most astonishing to me was how many people with face piercings, tattoos and mohawks were screaming (in support) when they called our name," said Pat Kay, who contributes vocals, guitar and even the harmonica.

Dubbed "the country rockers" at Garage Stock, the band hit a cord with the primarily heavy metal groups in attendance. The HipNecks combine sounds conjured from Midwest rock, blues, jazz and bluegrass, and lead guitarist Zach Harrison said he was surprised by how much support they received from other groups. Two of the three rounds were voted on by the audience, including the final round.



The band initially had intentions of playing at the festival to make contact with other musicians in hopes of playing in gigs around the country. But when the crowds kept turning out for their performances, the band members knew they had a chance to win.

During the first round, The HipNecks played at midnight, on the outer edge of the performing stages. It was a bad sign to play to an open field, as it was the audience determining the top 10 groups.

But as The HipNecks began performing, the crowds came in out of the dark, choosing to listen to the Fulton band rather than the others playing around the camp.

"We drew one of the larger crowds of the night," said Harrison.

It was a turning point for the group as few of its fan base attended the festival. The HipNecks said it means one thing to have the locals praising its music. It means something completely different when bands across the nation recognize the same talent.

"For the first time, we were removed from local support," Harrison said. "The most motivating thing was coming away knowing people completely unconnected with our music found enjoyment in it."

After the festival producers narrowed the final 10 down to three, The HipNecks performed a second time, ultimately winning over the crowd and placing first.

"They are a phenomenal band," said Daniel Brewster, owner of DiMBy, sponsor of the event. "They embodied the bands that are ready to make a living at this profession."

The band is not yet ready to try to turn their performances into a career, but the members are looking to expand their playing area as they seek a company to distribute their CDs.

"None of us want to think that we can do this seriously and full time," said Harrison, explaining that there are thousands of bands with potential around the nation, but only a few are discovered. "But every time we perform, the results suggest we can."

The HipNecks, embodied by Harrison, Kay, Scott Anderson, Zach Stubbs and Ryan Renne, will be playing at the Mid-Missouri Music Festival held Aug. 13 at Veterans Park in Fulton.
- Fulton Sun


Midwest music maestros blend urban and rural sounds in their musical jambalaya

The HipNecks float among the definitions of hippie, hipster and redneck. The band members are small-town Midwestern guys with serious musical training, and their genre-bending tunes pay as little attention to pigeon holes as they do.

“A lot of our sound comes from the fact that we blend a lot of different musical tastes,” says Scott Anderson, co-vocalist and rhythm guitarists. “Everybody in the band draws from different inspirations.” Elements of bluegrass, rockabilly, hard rock and the blues find common ground in The HipNecks’ songs.

“I kind of like to think we take the better aspects of different kinds of music and try to put everything together in a format that your average listener can key into pretty quickly,” says Pat Kay, who is co-vocalist and plays the rhythm guitar and harmonica.

Band members cull inspiration from a diverse list of artists that includes Phish, Ryan Adams, Dave Matthews and Led Zeppelin. Many of them also play a variety of instruments and have training in various musical genres. Anderson and Zach Harrison, lead guitarist, both studied the piano for more than a decade before switching to the guitar. Kay started playing music when he was 12 and has dabbled with the mandolin and banjo. Bassist Ryan Renne has a background in jazz.

Harrison explains that the band’s upbeat music is written collectively so that no one style dominates.

“It’s kind of like a jambalaya,” Harrison says.

Since The HipNecks released their CD, Just Another Fine Day, Columbians can help themselves to this melodic stew whenever they want. The group recorded the CD this year in Columbia. The release party was held at The Blue Note on April 12, where The HipNecks drew a rowdy crowd of 300. Both Slackers and Streetside Records sell the CD. Kay and Anderson will play a two-piece acoustic set at Shiloh Bar and Grill tonight, and the whole band will play at Whiskey Wild in Fulton tomorrow night.

Five years ago Anderson and Kay were making rounds on the Fulton bar scene as a duet. Since then, they’ve joined with Harrison and also recruited Renne, drummer Zach Stubbs and hand percussionist Jake Allen, whom the band affectionately refers to as “the caveman.” They first took the stage together during a battle of the bands at the Bagnell Dam at the Lake of the Ozarks in July 2003. The band, then known as The Farmhouse, won that contest and has since garnered a sizeable local following.

The HipNecks will focus future efforts on compensating for production costs and publicizing their CD, as well as getting gigs at larger venues. The band submitted Just Another Fine Day to local radio stations, and the CD’s first track, “Takin’ Out the Trash,” has already been played on KBXR 102.3/FM. The band’s music continues to be characterized by the easy camaraderie that first motivated The HipNecks to play professionally.

“It was a really fun job during school to go out at night, play in bars and essentially just hang out with all our friends and get paid for it,” Kay says.

- Priya Ratneshwar

- Vox Magazine


Discography

ALL TRACKS ARE STREAMABLE ONLINE.

LP: Just Another Fine Day [April 2005]
1. Takin' Out the Trash (ON AIR)
2. Rocket
3. Maria (ON AIR)
4. Everything
5. The Outsider (ON AIR)
6. King of the Week (ON AIR)
7. Let Go
8. Fairytale (ON AIR)
9. Blown Away
10. Bartender (ON AIR)

LP: American Night [April 2008]
1. Long Day (ON AIR)
2. Other Tongues (ON AIR)
3. Lola
4. A Day is an Inch
5. Soiree
6. City Limits
7. City Lights
8. Tricerimotor
9. AM Gold (ON AIR)
10. American Night

Unreleased Tracks:
Mighty Mississippi
Sni-A-Bar Stomp
Svata
Trainstops & Alleyways
The Water Ain't Right

Photos

Bio

"...absolutely twangy, good old-fashioned American Rock & Roll - a sound that makes sense when you consider their name, a combination of "hippy" and "redneck." Their enthusiasm for their craft is obvious and infectious," Jambase.com.

“Combining musical elements of Rock, Jazz, Funk, and even Bluegrass, the five members of The Hipnecks have conjured a sound all their own," -Vox Magazine.

That sound has been called a "jambalaya" by press and "country fried jam" by fans alike. Take it from the name, The Hipnecks, which combines the words "Hippie" and "Redneck" as affectionately as it unites trucker hats and flip-flops. Within that sentiment lays their genre-bending approach to making music. Music that is, in every way, firmly rooted beneath their feet in the fertile ground of the American Midwest near the Ozark Mountains.

No sooner than their first performance in 2004, the Hipnecks broke ground on their first album, Just Another Fine Day, and released it feverously in April of 2005. After selling over 400 copies the night of the release show, the band stormed the Midwest for 2 years completing several small tours that brought them as far out as Colorado’s Front Range (twice) and winning a National Battle of the Bands along the way. From 2007 to 2008, the Hipnecks were holed up in Jamestown, MO’s Bridge Studio, whipping up another batch of that “jambalaya,” this one more potent than the last. With new ingredients of mandolin, strings, and piano the Hipnecks sophomore creation, American Night, was released April 10, 2008.

“Many aspiring musicians claim to have the best garage band in the nation. But only one local group can prove it,” –The Fulton Sun.

“The band members are small-town Midwestern guys with serious musical training, and their genre-bending tunes pay as little attention to pigeon holes as they do.” –Vox Magazine.

"They are a phenomenal group. They embodied those bands that are ready to make a living at this profession," -Garagestock.

This Hipnecks have shared stages with Cracker, Little Feat, The Music Mafia (Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, James Otto, Cowboy Troy, Jon Nicholson, et. al.), Dr. Zhivegas, The Red Dirt Rangers, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland & the Stragglers, and have been on tours that included Bubba Sparxxx, Tech N9ne and the Yin Tang Twins.

They have also been fortunate enough to participate in such festival events as the Columbia, MO 9th Street Summerfest, the Euphio Campout, the Lifestylez Snodaze Tour, Bluebird Music & Arts Festival, Bachannalia Music Fest, Dogstock, and more.