Interview by Roxanne Blanford
â€œA new vocabulary needs to be built â€¦â€?
If youâ€™ve ever navigated the funky downtown music haunts of lower Manhattan, NYC, you would no doubt have seen their posters.
At one point, this bandâ€™s celluloid visages and prominent logo was splayed over so many walls, doors and street light poles, they took on an almost legendary life of their own. Itâ€™s not uncommon to hear someone say, upon meeting any band member in person:
â€œIâ€™ve seen your posters everywhere â€“ but I never believed you actually existed.â€?
Oh yeah. The Hypertonics exist all right!
â€œOriginally, we were out there, on the street, in your face and our music was in your head. Now, with the rise of the Internet, thereâ€™s a second, equally prominent front for interaction with the community-at-large and with the world. And as a band that originated under the umbrella of personal liberation through rock n roll, we wholly intend to beat back the crappiness of modern music by being relevant, visceral and intellectual simultaneously.â€?
Those defiantly assertive words belong to none other than Brian Lord, executor of the Hypertonic vox, and youâ€™d better listen. Lordâ€™s philosophy is shared, debated, and ultimately reconstructed and revitalized by his fellow Hypertonics band mates (bassist Mike Rogers; guitarist Joe Tiernan and drummer Don DiPaolo), and brought to life via their corroborated musical expressions.
As of this writing, theyâ€™ve released two albums (NOBLE SAVAGE and the recent ASBESTOS), both on Inner Noise Records. Musically, The Hypertonics are a unique composite of everything thatâ€™s come before, from the Clash and the Ramones, to the Smiths and U2, with a lot of topical nuance and unparalleled energy thrown in. Lyrically, they pull no punches, choosing to combat such issues as politics, environ-mental hazards, societal complacency, war, poverty, ignorance and, yes, they also write the occasional love song.
But within their incisive lyrics, if you look closely, there exists a twist and turn of a phrase, cogent cues to make synaptic leaps towards embracing a different mindset and a new way of approaching the world we all inhabit.
If you wanna make money play the people's fears
Take away their hearts, steal their tears
Give them the disease then sell the cure
That's what the pain is for
And that's why my heart's so poor. (lyrics from â€œCry, Cry, Cryâ€?)
Mike Rogers explains: â€œOur music can be interpreted somewhat like a math riddle. The ideas and language may perplex and spin in your head, but in the end, you come to realize that the answer was right in your face all along.â€?
MusicEmissions.com seized the opportunity to put these guys to the test. Are they truly the defenders of Rock n Roll, here to save the day and free your soul?, to liberate your mind and provide kick ass music all at the same time? Mike Rogers and Brian Lord stepped up when the gauntlet was laid down, met the challenge head on and revealed a bit about the minds behind this eclectic and thought-provoking band.
MUSIC EMISSIONS: Who has had the greatest impact on your life?
MIKE ROGERS- I have. Both positively and negatively.
BRIAN LORD- Ralph Nader, Joe Strummer, Joey Ramone, St. Paul, Dee Dee Ramone, and Mikeâ€™s brother, Dave Rogers.
MUSIC EMISSIONS: What goes into a Hypertonics song that â€˜makesâ€™ it a Hypertonic song?
ROGERS- Laying down laws and then finding interesting ways to break them. Ideas, both lyrical and musical that depart from anything familiar. Honesty. A new vocabulary.
LORD- Counterpoint, contrast, an attempt at intelligent and illuminating lyrics. The lyrics shouldnâ€™t just be emotive, they should illuminate. It shouldnâ€™t be cynical and it shouldnâ€™t be dumb. The knife shouldnâ€™t just dig in, it should be twisted.
MUSIC EMISSIONS: What place does music hold in your life?
ROGERS- Music is my greatest passion. Helping people and preserving life is my destiny. The intersection of the two is The Hypertonics.
LORD- I remember the first show I ever played. The experience was so close to actually flying, so close to full-tilt lift off that Iâ€™ve been chasing it ever since. I think humans must have once had the ability to fly, and weâ€™ve somehow lost it. Music is the closest thing we have now, and itâ€™s as if Iâ€™m trying to recapture that with each performance.
MUSIC EMISSIONS: Where do you think youâ€™d be now if you had never discovered music?
ROGERS- Iâ€™d probably be nowhere on this earth. Deaf, dumb, blind, unable to taste, smell or feel. I believe if youâ€™re alive and in this world, itâ€™s impossible to not discover music.
LORD- I suppose Iâ€™d be looking for something similarly physical, intellectual and spiritual. Jumping off mountains would be physical, but not intellectual. Politics would be intellectual, but not spiritual. The military would be physical, but immoral. Iâ€™d probably have to invent music if I didnâ€™t realize it already existed.
MUSIC EMISSIONS: Why do governments so often get it wrong and the The Hypertonics get it so right?
ROGERS- Good question. Governments set out to rule people, while The Hypertonics set out to serve the people. Ideally, those who strive to lead should be creating more leaders, not creating more followers.
LORD- Thank you for saying The Hypertonics get it right. It makes me feel good to know other people see that.
The problem with having power is that you spend so much of your time seeking ways to hold on to that power, to maintain it. Instead of running the government, politicians are always running for re-election. Theyâ€™re too distracted by the means to do anything truly effective towards the ends.
Power is a means, not an end in itself. So theyâ€™re always floating and never swimming.