The Hood Gang
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The Hood Gang

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Band Pop Comedy

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"CMU Spring Carnival Review by Kristine McPherson"

On a brighter note, the next performance was entertaining from the start. Inside the tent, surrounded by people, was a man in gold sneakers and gold tights walking around the crowd, banging a tambourine. Another man, wearing a cape and a helmet, was standing on stage holding a microphone. The guitarist was in a dress, the drummer was wearing a bowtie with no shirt, and the bass guitarist wore a Fred Flintstone outfit with a thick black mustache and muscle sleeves — and that’s not all — the man on the bongos wore a pajama suit with slippers and a matching hat. These are the members of The Hood Gang.

The band calls itself the “undisputed No. 1 Most Partyingest Band” on its MySpace page. Needless to say, the band gives off the air of being able to easily entertain. The progressive/glam/crunk band from Pittsburgh, no doubt, was prepared to show the audience why they were the “most partyingest band” in Pittsburgh.

The music was pretty thrilling and the performance was very exciting. Although there was some jumping into the audience and rolling on the floor, none of the audience members were seen getting up and running away from the performance. In fact, the more they performed, the more of an audience they drew in. Bystanders and carnival-goers stopped to listen to music and look at the show. The performance was more of an engaging one, but it did not last very long. The band played for 20 minutes and then the performance was over.

The crowd was clearly entertained and wanted more, but the band was finished. The band did start back up after stopping three times though, tricking the audience into thinking they were going to continue their performance, only to be fooled by the cessation of the music.

The Hood Gang appeared to be a hit with the crowd as audience members walked away singing “partaayyyy, parrttaayyyy,” a line from one of the band’s songs.

SOURCE:
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.thetartan.org/system/assets/0002/4875/pillbox_side_stage_DSC_1779_small.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.thetartan.org/2009/4/20/pillbox/bands&usg=__jwtG1PNSwgMHJLOSRzs-SGuML9c=&h=482&w=320&sz=56&hl=en&start=15&um=1&tbnid=MaPKrA_wCyr-1M:&tbnh=129&tbnw=86&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dthe%2Bhood%2Bgang%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26um%3D1 - The Tartan


"The Hood Gang: Q&A with Violet Shuraka"

the hood
gang
Q and a with Violet Shuraka
what would you want to know about the hood Gang?
S. Party. The Hood Gang is a band. A very serious Party band
from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There are 7 people in The Hood
Gang. Everyone is in The Hood Gang. The Hood Gang loves Toto.
One of their singers, Drunk Munky, is a superb air-guitarist and
does an impeccable Pee Wee Herman impression. The Hood
Gang has been known to dress in costumes. They write thick,
progressive, synth-laden music with complex vocal and instru-
mental arrangements. The songs are almost all anthems about
subjects like Parties, Michael Jackson or Fanny Packs.
SM. The Hood Gang loves you all very, very much!
have the hood Gang spread their love on the world wide web?
where can we stalk you?
SM. “We got a myspace...”
S. Myspace. http://www.myspace.com/thehoodgang
SM. “...but we don’t do friendster.”
do people find out about you through websites (like myspace)
or do you gain most of your fans through live shows (or by cast-
ing spells or something)?
SM. Mostly by casting spells during live shows. The transfer of
energy that occurs during our live performances results in an
ultimate love communication.
S. Our band’s strongest point is our live performances. We invest
most of our literal and figurative energy into our shows.
who are the is official members of the hood Gang?
name/role in band?
SM. Everyone is in the Hood Gang. But mostly, the offical mem-
bers are Sneaky Mike – vocals/energy conduit, Drunk Munky
– vocals/air guitar Sam McUmber - keyboards/guitar/vocals,
Izzy Arlet - guitar/vocals, Cha (Miguel Sague) - vocals/percus-
sion, Justin Brown - bass, Dylan Aragon - drums. If you come to
our show you automatically join our band; in turn we have the
world’s largest band, and by extension the world’s greatest band.
are members currently in other bands too?
well, tell me a bit about them...
SM. Sneaky has an electro-hip-punk-hop project with former
(current) lover Juliet aka Mizz J called What’s What. Plus Sneaky
solo songs are coming soon. Izzy’s in at least two country-disco
bands and a swing-for hire band called Doctor Zoot. Sam’s in this
bad dog band called Mariage Blanc. They’re like Wilco meets the
Beatles circa 1962... needless to say they are dreamy. Drunk Mon-
key has a post-noise band, Frog On Acid... (Bjork meets Michael
Flately} and an America lovin’ terrorist stompin’ whiskey swiggin’
sister datin’ hoot and hollerin’ country band called, Drunken
Country. Toby Keith says, “It’s Ford Tough!” and Rusty Wallace
raves, “That’s Fast!!”
S. The latter half of what he just said is not true at all (from where
he mentioned “Frog On Acid”). Cha regularly books mariachi and
salsa groups in addition to performing Cuban music himself, and
our bassist plays in a few other jazz/rock combos in Pittsburgh.
SM = Sneaky Mike S = Sam
how did y’all meet and decide to form the hood Gang?
SM. Ever see Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? If you haven’t, you
should. The movie is based on our origin.
S. Sneaky has remarkable musician-hoarding abilities. The Hood
Gang is a result of years of hunting-and-gathering for musicians.
Plus, some of the other members of the band - myself not included,
being by far the youngest here - went to CAPA together, the Arts High
School in Pittsburgh.
how long has the hood Gang existed? who came up with your name?
SM. Est. Deuce-Thousand-and-Deuce. Sneaky Mike and Drunk
Monkey used to be really rough and tumble gangbangers on the
mean suburban streets of Beechview. Luckily they have found Jesus,
Budha, and Tom Cruise. They are currently working on tracking down
Vishnu... How’s that for a super-group?
S. The Hood Gang has existed for around six years in different permu-
tations. In a way, we are constantly shifting, organic entity. The band
played shows where members have been missing or switched roles
with successful results. Our lineup has changed several times over
the years, and from a writing standpoint we often operate as a collec-
tive, with each member contributing his own input in shaping a song.
does the hood Gang have a band philosophy?
SM. Love everyone. Party. When in doubt, buy 50 pairs of rollerskates.
S. Maximum fun.
how would you describe your sound? Party-core?
Pop art dance rock?
SM. Purple Rain meets Wish You Were Here meets Please Hammer
Don’t Hurt Em. Pet Sounds meets Slippery When Wet.
S. Toto IV meets Ill Communication.
SM. Dance-Party Glam-Fusion.
S. Ultimate Electro Party Unplugged.
SM. Hipster Hop. Progressive Prankster Rap. Hair Rap Jam Crunk.
Classic Hair Funk. Classic Hair Hyphy. DIY Corporate Rock.
S. Math Crunk.
SM. Let’s just go with Partycore
tell me a bit more about the documentary about the hood Gang.
how long did it take you to make it?
SM. Too long! But then again, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
was there a specific reason for making it?
SM. Yes... I was convinced that if I submitted this documentary to
Finding the Next Great American Band that we would not only get
picked to appear on the show but, but we would win quite handily. I
also moved to Hollywood (but only lasted there about 6 weeks) in an-
ticipation of competing on the show. I’m still waiting for them to call.
in the documentary you mention a reunion tour...
if you could go on a reunion tour with any 3 other bands
(currently active or old and/or dead) who might those bands be?
Please specify which incarnation of band, if appropriate.
SM. Motley Crue, in their heyday, or any hair metal band. Prince and the
Fucking Revolution. I’d also really like to tour with the Flaming Lips.
S. Any one of these contemporary New York dance bands like LCD
Soundsystem or The Rapture. That would be a great party. DAFT
PUNK, if only just to tag along and be in awe.
do all band members live in Pittsburgh now?
SM. Yes.
do you enjoy living in Pittsburgh?
SM. Kinda-sorta, Yes and No.
S. Pittsburgh enjoys us living in it.
Best thing about living there?
SM. Having the ability to do such things as construct our own under-
ground roller disco / recording studio, rapidly collect vintage gear, and
work many hours on our music without having to worry much about a
“real job”. In case you haven’t heard Pittsburgh is very inexpensive and
Brett Farve is a New York Jet!
S. The scene is big enough that there is a critical mass of people go-
ing to shows every night, but Pittsburgh is also not overwhelming in
terms of geography or population. Drinks are generally cheap here,
and many safe neighborhoods are afforable to live in. In addition to
indulgences like overstuffed french-fry sandwiches, there are piero-
gies everywhere. As a musician you have the advantage of having a low
cost-of-living and the ability to find and buy cheap vintage instru-
ments, a downward-spiral obsession which Sneaky and I have both
succumbed to recently.
worst?
S. Unfortunately the scene here, and the economy in general, seems
to be somewhat limited. Once you reach a certain point in the artistic
world you have to branch out. I suppose that this is true everywhere,
but it is also true that Urban Pittsburgh is not gaining people. There
are always pros and cons.
SM. No matter how big of a rock star I become, I will always be over-
shadowed be any and all members of the Steelers.
what is the hood Gang’s official position on andy warhol?
SM. I kind of like Andy. Notice how I called him by his first name? Yeah
we’re tight like that. But sometimes it gets confusing as I am also on a
first name basis with Andys Gibb and Dick.
Genius, manipulator, greatest artist of the 20th century, freak?
SM. Yes, I am all of those things... but enough about me.
S. We would look very similar if I dyed my hair white. My Aunt Shirley’s
co-worker was Andy Warhol’s brother’s wife. Pittsburgh Represent.
have any of you encountered the ghost of andy warhol?
S. I know nothing of the sort.
SM. Well, he was supposed to be haunting a Pittsburgh venue called the
Brillobox... so Scoob and the Gang (us) jumped in the Mystery Machine,
ate a bunch of scooby snacks and... I don’t quite recall what happened
after that. I do know our band is banned from the Brillobox, now.
what other bands (in Pittsburgh) do you enjoy playing with?
S. Pfunkt (our good friend Alex Burkat). Discuss. We mostly employ
DJ’s at our shows because our live performances tend to dominate the
proceedings. J. Malls, Keeb$, and Cutups are great DJ’s in Pittsburgh.
SM. I’m also into Pittsburghers like Black Moth Super Rainbow, Girl
Talk, Grand Buffet and Modey Lemon. Oh...and Donny Iris.
what inspires the hood Gang to write songs and play shows?
S. The adulation of the masses? A desire to have fun? Whichever
works out. This sort of music takes some effort, but once you’ve put
that in you’re free to use it as a release.
SM. The possibility of getting laid. Love of music. Love. Our parents
didn’t pay enough attention to us when we were kids. We are attention
whores, drama queens, and have enormous egos. Honestly, writing
songs and (especially) playing shows are my favorite things to do in the
entire world and they make me genuinely happy.
who writes the music/lyrics for the band?
SM. Tina Fey writes most of the lyrics. Sometimes Hemmingway
ghost writes. Most of the music is composed by John Williams or
Sam and Sneaky and Drunken Monkey and friends and family. Do
you want to write a song for us? We take requests and aim to please.
S. The way it’s been working lately is that Sneaky conceptualizes
an idea for a song, I will come up with a chordal/melodic frame-
work, and then we finish the process by bringing it to rehearsal
and letting different band members contribute ideas. Sneaky
and Drunk Munky generally take care of the lyrics, although I’ve
chimed in on a few songs.
what music are you listening to currently?
SM. Oh God! I listen to so much music, mostly on vinyl. I’m also con-
stantly going to shows. I think Sam listens to some good music too.
OLD: Prince – esp. Purple Rain and Dirty Mind. Bowie esp Ziggy
Stardust. Michael Jackson – Off the Wall. Daft Punk – Discov-
ery. Talking Heads, Devo, The Cars, Stevie Wonder, Madonna,
Nirvana, a lot of Motown, the 80’s radio station, classic punk and
old school rap.
NEW: The Death Set, No Age, Spank Rock, the Monotonix, Chro-
meo, M.I.A., Math the Band out of Boston.
S. OLD: Can, Led Zeppelin (always), Gang of Four, The Beatles.
NEW: Daft Punk, The Little Ones, Flotation Toy Warning, Justice,
Sufjan Stevens, Trans Am, Boards of Canada, Caribou, Interpol,
The Knife, etc. etc. etc. Ratatat is one of my favorite bands of the
past few years, especially their first album. It had the purest,
most beautiful sound. Also, Radiohead tops everyone old and
new. Radiohead will always be the last word for me.
are any of these bands an inspiration for the hood Gang’s music?
SM. Of course.
S. There is an aesthetic I share with some of these newer electro
bands that I listen to which has an appreciation for old sounds.
This somehow translates into me spending most of the money
I save on vintage keyboards, and in turn incorporating that into
the music that I make. I like the idea that this modern, polished
sound is supplemented by an array of old, idiosyncratic analog
instruments. Justice is a fantastic example of this general aes-
thetic, if not a direct musical influence on The Hood Gang.
how do you feel about hall and oates?
SM. Love them!!! Ironically and sincerely. I’m starring at my
(vinyl) copy of Rock N’ Soul Part 1, right now. In fact [Sneaky:
goes over and puts on H and O record.] Ah... that’ll make the rest
of this email interview go down smooth. I just realized that this
is an interview and not another myspace survey...crap...and the
record is skipping...Say It Isn’t So. I do prefer Huey Lewis and the
News to Hall and Oates but it’s very close.
S. Great soul. Very underrated.
has art, theater, or film influenced the band?
SM. I saw productions of Tommy and the Technicolor Dream
Coat, Starlight Express, and the greatest stage show of all
time... Cats... How couldn’t these gems have influenced me.
I’m a huge fan of the power of influence. I had an epiphany at
Bonnoroo 2007 when Wayne Coyne dropped a spaceship on us.
It was a beautiful fucking spaceship... It made me realize that I
love all of humanity, and that we’re doing a crumby job of loving
each other... and we need to try harder... and it gave me a new
understanding about the power of influence and inspiration.
S. I have played piano for a lot of Music Theater, and some of
that works it’s way into our songwriting. Some of these songs -
which are still very structured - do not strictly follow a traditional
Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Chorus trajectory.
The same goes for theater, where the compositions are lead on
by a narrative, not 3-minute pop song constraint. In “Michael
Jackson” there is really only one “verse”, and it is bookended by
two “choruses”. I’m proud that these party songs incorporate
things like overlapping melodic lines and three-part harmonies.
are there any artistes in the band? do any members create
other things besides music?
SM. I do wonders with burlap, drift wood, and dried macaroni.
Drunk Monkey makes an artform out of air guitar... um
I feel that putting on and promoting the type of elaborate shows/
that we do is an artform... The parties that we throw should
be considered art... I am an artist and the party is my medium.
I am a pARTyist.
are there any props that you wish you could have for a hood
Gang show?
SM. Yes there is. It is Drunk Monkey and my dream to fly over the
crowd (sort of like in video for Van Halen’s – Panama but slower,
more dramatically) to the music of Europe’s – Final Countdown.
If we can pull this off then it will automatically be the greatest
party that time has ever known, and all of our dreams will come
true. So.. whatever props that can make this happen. That or a
spaceship.
how about a guest performer?
SM. A Jazzercize Team, Belly Dancers, breakdancers, magicians,
a fire breather, and synchronized swimmers simultaneously.
do hood Gang members enjoy the nightlife that Pittsburgh has
to offer?
SM. Too much. Ask my liver. He is not a happy camper.
S. I enjoy the karaoke immensely.
where are some of your favorite places to go in Pittsburgh?
SM. I get bored easily. I need constant stimulation. If no roll-
erskating is offered then there better be some swimming or
ziplines or if not some sweaty dancing and / or decent bands. I
also like hipster girls... so wherever they can be found... ideally in
swim suits and roller skates.
S. There are a few bars we hang out at all the time. Gooski’s is a
great Pittsburgh bar/venue, and there are a couple other places
I frequent, like Thunderbird Cafe, the Lava Lounge, the Brillobox
and Belvedere’s. Remedy is also an excellent newer bar.
do you feel that Pittsburgh has changed a lot over the past few
years? the new York times just wrote an article about Pitts-
burgh saying how hip and cool it has become. Comments?
S. Like I said, Pittsburgh is conducive to artists mainly because
of it’s affordability. The city has a post-industrial, resurgent feel,
an environment I believe appeals to musicians and artists. We
have resources like Carnegie Mellon University or the University
of Pittsburgh, which draw a lot of young people in as graduate
students. There are actually a large number of colleges in Pitts-
burgh, a fact which definitely works in our favor.
SM. Pittsburgh is New York’s lazy step child who’s been held
back a grade or two and you’re considering putting in special
ed. Pittsburgh has potential I suppose. It has some sort of weird
power about it. Sort of like the scene in the Wizard of Oz when
Dorthy and the gang get roofied or something, and pass out. But
they seem content and they had to be very tired anyway. It’s like
that but with slightly less opiates. But yeah I’m from Pittsburgh...
in fact I am Pittsburgh so Pittsburgh’s C.A.F: Cool As Fuck!
tell me a little about your past shows...
SM. There is no way I can possibly do justice to one of our shows in
words. The only way I can describe how awesome it is, is by perform-
ing the actual show for you. We have to share the experience with
each other. It is very special.
do you have a different theme each time?
SM. Pretty much. We haven’t a couple times as of late... but you know,
even KISS took off the make up. I enjoy the themes though, and I think
a lot of our friends do too. I like to give people a different show every-
time / a reason to keep coming back.
the documentary mentions a dead rock Stars show, a karate kid
show, a Pee wee herman show, a Pimp show, a Scooby doo show,
a Baby show, a Pink Bunny show, and a roller Boogie... who comes
up with the themes for each show? what was your favorite show of
all time?
SM. I’ll take credit for this... esp. for Roller Boogie. I love roller boogie
and roller boogie loves everyone. I know this because I’m a level 13
scientologist; levitation, telepathy, time travel are all old news to me.
Right now, I’m enjoying my new golden gift: communication with
inamnimate objects. Thanks Grandpoppa Hubbert.
S. Sneaky comes up with most of the themes. We played a house
party in January which was totally bonkers; that was probably my fa-
vorite show with The Hood Gang. The floor was shaking. Roller Boogie
3 was fantastic also. The moment Jupiter One (from Brooklyn) began
was magical.
Please tell me a bit about the roller disco... how did it come into
existence? i was a roller skating maniac as a pre-teen and am very
intrigued by the existence of a roller rink in Sneaky Mike’s loft!
SM. I did have a few roller skating birthday parties as a youngster, but
Roller Boogie was founded essentially from trying to think of innova-
tive ways to get people to come out to shows. That is quite the chal-
lenge in Pittsburgh. That and my passion for fun. But yeah... it wasn’t
as hard as it sounds. I bought 50 pairs of roller skates off the internet
and built a stage in the center of one of the rooms in my place. I have
a 3600 sq ft commercial place for only $850 a month... See what we
mean about Pittsburgh being cheap? Basically I willed it into exis-
tence. Come roller skating some time. Roller Boogie 4 is October 11th.
Lots of people are coming in from all over the country to attend this
event. It’s like Woodstock on skates.
how important is the performance aspect of your band? it seemed
to me when i saw you play at Bodega in Brooklyn the other week that
your main concern was making people feel good. and having a good
time, of course... the hood Gang certainly created a party atmosphere.
have you ever played to a crowd that didn’t “get” what you were doing?
or do your shows usually result in a massive dance party?
SM. You can’t win em all, but we try our best. Each performance is an
opportunity for people, of all ages, races, classes, preferences, and
world views to come together, have fun, feel special, dance, laugh,
throw their hands in the air, produce positive energy, and...well, to party!
I feel that we have taken the party the next level. It is evolving, hopefully
into something more... world peace, perhaps... love for all humanity.
Remember everyone is in the Hood Gang and we love you all very, very
much!!!quite like what you were doing at Bodega. i have never been in
an audience with such a diverse group of people... (well since
i saw Gang of Four and Public enemy play together, i guess).
describe a typical hood Gang fan.
SM. Anyone. Human.
when will you play Brooklyn again?
SM. Hopefully soon. October 3rd, Glasslands, I hear.
do you enjoy nYC?
SM. NYC enjoys us. I especially enjoy Brooklyn... There is so
much flavor and energy... It feels like the center of culture. I can’t
wait to spend more time there.
S. I immensely enjoy NYC. I feel like it is my “final destination” (in
a non-foreboding way). Hopefully we will be setting up two shows
near the end of September in Brooklyn again (one is already set).
I would love to live in New York.
hijinx, party anthems, and a sense of humor?
SM. See, you get it. Again, refer to Bill and Ted’s Excellent
Adventure... no actually Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, the last
scene when they some how are the best band and are uniting
the universe while playing “God Gave Rock N Roll to You” by
KISS. Shit is going to get all radical if I get my way.
S. No doubt. The world awaits.
describe the Future if the hood Gang had any influence in
shaping it...
SM. The future, Conan? I don’t know. I’ve been doing some time
traveling and the space time continuum keeps getting altered...
there’s no sure fire way to predict the future but we can make
some educated guesses and play the percentages. Right now
I’m training for 2012... I’d like to say for the next Olympics but
I feel that it may be way more complex than that... I also see
wedding bells for Kirsty Alley. Limp Biscuit will make a come
back. You will have great financial success and a long happy
life... Eat your heart out Silvia Brown.
Source:
http://www.plastiquepeople.com/cheapweb/issue7_cheap35.html - Cheap and Plastique Magazine


"Weekend Hotlist / Party in Garfield"

Party in Garfield

Sneaky Mike, mastermind of such parties as Roller Boogies 1-5 and frontman of the partycore band The Hood Gang, is throwing a party during and after Friday's UnBlurred gallery crawl.

Along with the Hood Gang, it will feature an eclectic mix of artists including Secret Tombs, Ekofield, Soul Vibe, Professor Purple, Comic Strips, Johnny Jitterz, DJ James Gyre, DJ Harry Lurker and The TypewriterGirls.

It will be an all ages, BYOB event at the former site of GPAC, 5001 Penn Ave., Garfield, with a $5 cover charge. It begins at 7:30 p.m.

Go to www.thehoodgang.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10154/1062637-388.stm#ixzz0rXHG2eiL
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette


Discography

"Bounce, Bounce" - 3 song demo -2004
"We Came Here to Party" -1st full length - 2005
"Keg Party" - 3 song demo -2006
"Everyone's in the Hood Gang" - 2nd full length - 2007
"The Greatest Party That Time Has Ever Known" - EP - 2008
"Party, Dance" b/w "Dondé Estas Mi Amigos?" - 7" - slated for release, early 2010

Photos

Bio

The Hood Gang is a band. The Undisputed no.1 Most Partyingest Band! It’s an opportunity for people, of all ages, races, classes, preferences, and world views to come together, have fun, feel special, dance, laugh, throw their hands in the air, produce positive energy, and…well, to party.
So what does it sound like??? The soundtrack to a party evolving into world peace and love for all humanity - Pure, passionate fun. Rock, rap, dance, funk, electro, pop, the 80’s, the 90’s, the future, now, the 50’s…and yes the 60’s and 70’s as well. We call it Partycore: Andrew WK via Outkast via LCD Soundsystem via The Beastie Boys. A 7 piece, original live band version of Girl Talk with a Flaming Lips attitude and showmanship. Literally, something different every show, musically and thematically with costumes and theatrics.
But, it’s more about how it feels. It feels really f-ing great, for everyone! It really is a natural high. It’s totally unpretentious, post-modern, reflexive, music / pop culture obsessed performance art. It’s a happening, an event, an experience, a movement, energy incarnate…like I said, a party: The Greatest Party That Time Has Ever Known and everyone’s invited. Everyone’s in the Hood Gang, and we love you all very, very much!