The Hopeful Monsters

The Hopeful Monsters


In styles ranging from straight-ahead rock, to jazz balladry, to folkie introspection, to stripped-down prog rock, the Hopeful Monsters maintain their signature catchy but intricate melodies, unexpected chord progressions, sophisticated lyrics, and alternately subtle and bitchin' guitar work.


Larry Hardesty went to grade school on a scholarship from the Washington Cathedral Choir. When he was 12, he wrote a 64-bar piano piece celebrating Leonard Bernstein's 64th birthday, which Bernstein himself declared "touching and gifted". But Larry's classical-music ambitions were derailed when he discovered that the girls at his high school preferred the pop song he'd knocked off in an evening with his friend Brad to his chronically incomplete piano scores. He blitzed through the University of Virginia in three years--English major, music minor--so he could play keyboards for his first professional band, the Young Men Carbuncular, which moved to Boston in the summer of 1991. The band fell apart within a year, no doubt in part because of its terrible name.

Brant Grieshaber entered the Berklee College of Music intending to become the next Great Rock Instrumentalist but found himself overwhelmed by the sheer variety of the types of music he'd never really listened to before. After detours into composition and music production, he eventually majored in film scoring--though he still found time to study guitar with Garrison Fewell. Later, as a grad student at the Boston Conservatory, he studied composition with Osvaldo Golijov. In addition to his work with the Hopeful Monsters, Brant plays solo classical guitar, plays jazz guitar with several groups, and teaches guitar in Boston. His website is



Written By: Larry Hardesty

When I was in Paris, alone, before the war,
To make ends meet, I played piano at the old Hotel d'Empire.
The gaunt maitre d' helped her coat off at the door,
And what had driven me from home at once came clear.

She asked for "Night and Day."
"For the same, in turn," I said.
She had eyes like summer thunder,
And lilac petals in her bed.

Her family was Prussian--estates, a coat of arms--
And they had hoped a trip abroad might mend her father's failing health.
For his part, he seemed...unimpressed with my rude charms.
But love, like anything, seems richer plied in stealth.

We'd meet in low cafes.
We would meet along the Seine.
But when Poland fell she told me
That we could not meet again.

And I have always held abstention from the roundelay of violence as the only moral course
For only force, and never principle, is learned from all our principled deployments of force.
And if it's true that all this mayhem's just the aftermath of what we'd called "the war to end all wars,"
That's further proof that we should learn how to forget, and not to try to settle, all our old scores.

And though adoption of this stance may have cost me
All my best tips and half my friends,
I'd fall asleep at night sure I'd be proved right in the end.

And you know the rest--how, at last, on Norman sands,
Across a body trail, the allies ran the German guns to ground.
She stood at my door, bloodspray on her face and hands,
And said that it would mean her life if she were found.

But love is blind as justice,
And the blind may lead the doomed.
So I found her passage homeward:
Among her dead, she lay entombed.

You say she bore secrets. Well, this I could not know.
But if you're right, and if I had, I fear I would have done the same.
You see, I still loved her, and whatever winds now blow,
My only crime was love, and love my only shame.

Carve these words below my name.

If You Change Your Mind

Written By: Larry Hardesty

That's all it was then: a fling, and now we're through.
I had a good time. You say that you did too.
And even though we're not getting younger
You shouldn't settle for the first warm body you find...
...but I won't be back if you change your mind.

I guess I misjudged what you were in this for.
The way you kissed me, I thought you wanted more.
The way we'd talk in bed for hours each morning
The way you curled into my arms as the day declined...
...but I won't be back if you change your mind.

I've been around the block
And given better than I got
Could be my bill has just come due
Relax, I'm not a child:
I won't make scenes or drink and dial
I'm not pretending: I grant that this hurts
But I've been through worse
And I'll get through this too

Outside the wind's shooting spray from drifts of snow
I've lit a fire and uncorked a good bordeaux
The Sunday paper's on the couch beside me
Where a week ago our bodies lay entwined...
...but you can't come back if you change your mind.
You can't have me back if you change your mind.
So don't waste your breath if you change your mind.

The Avenging Son

Written By: Larry Hardesty

The Avenging Son

The city is burning. The fountains are dry.
But this you must have known,
Dressing again for the games.
The weight of it on your head:
Time but stone from stone reclaims.
Blood still greases the wheel
That ground a bronze bull into steel.


So...what'll you take me for
Reflecting on what you've done?
A lunatic preaching doom,
Or the avenging son?

A frayed, blood-basted tendon
A pennon wedged in a lipless grin
That flails a naked eye to clumsy lust
And that half-naked crowd to cheers
Until a cringing clown sings,
"Oh my God, take me home."

Where lions disgorge a fountain,
A woman and man entwine, and laughing,
They sway across a cobblestone square,
His skin a sun-patined olive
The soft effusion of her hair


But scrutinize them more closely:
Their flashing eyes and their perfect teeth.
At what whetstone were those canines ground?
Can you see the skull beneath?
But never mind: they're happy.
Wouldn't you be if you were me?

But if I concede this moment,
In stone I conceive an age, a gesture
The last collapsing stars will repeat.
Against that you weigh this wet love
That fades with tumescence and heat?


The city burns under a ceiling of ash
Known as sufficient
To render wonders from a garage.
You'll have your moment too:
I still have faith in you.
If you're all there is, you'll be all we've been,
And since you need a place to begin,
Why not start with original sin?


Set List

Old Haunt
Proximate Causes
The Avenging Son
Public Domain
The Caliph of Amity Heights
Mt. Nebo
Same Girl
At the Library
Tides of Autumn
Maria Consuela
The Big Wheel
Ishtar Club
Sally and Kate
Parable of the Cave
If You Change Your Mind
Joe Sent Me
Strange Days