LOCAL SHOW PREVIEW: THE HUDSON FALCONS AT THE KREEPY TIKI LOUNGE
In the mid-’80s punk rock was a state of mind more than a style of music. Yes the music was important but if you were D.I.Y. and were doing it with integrity the punk scene would welcome you with open arms.
Punk record labels like SST, Cruz, Dischord, Slash had a roster that encompassed bands far and wide. Sharing a label with Black Flag was Dinosaur Jr. and the Meat Puppets.
Hell, even Tom Petty’s first record was put into a punk category for awhile.
They are a throwback band while retaining a sound all to themselves. Shades of the Smithereens, Jason and the Scorchers, the db’s, the Hooters, and Bruce Springsteen can be heard in their songs. They play aggressively and you can’t deny the truth of their energy.
It’s real rock -n- roll. Dressed down, blue collar music.
You won’t find them having Mohawks or dangling safety pins from their cheeks. You won’t find a NOFX t-shirt on any of them either. What you will find is a bunch of guys playing music for the people. Working class cats that have no other desire than to play loud and give a great show.
I recently spoke with singer, guitarist and founding member Mark Linskey about the long history of the Hudson Falcons, the future of the band and their upcoming show in Ft. Lauderdale.
Mark Linskey, third from the right, is the founding member and only original member of the Hudson Falcons.
Mark Dubin: Thanks for taking some time out on the road to answer a few questions for us at TuffGnarl.com I’ve been reading up on you guys, hailing from New Jersey and having your first record, Desperation and Revolution, released in ’99. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about the journey from then till now?
Mark Linskey: We’ve done lots and lots of touring since we first started, in the US, Canada and in Europe. We’ve put out 6 full-length CDs, and about another 2 full-length’s worth of music over the years. We have a bunch of different guys/gals in the band, people tour when they can.
On this tour right now is Chas Snyder from Kansas City on drums. He’s played about 250 shows with us over the last few years. Nick Ferrero is playing guitar. He’s from New Hampshire and has been playing with us on and off for about 2 years.
This tour has us being split up with 2 different bass players. The first half of the tour is Kristofer Bengtsson from Sweden who we know from touring with his band The Bombdolls in Europe. The second half will be Josh Welf from Albany, NY who has been booking shows for us for a really long time.
I hear so many different individual influences in the songs, from the stripped down rock of 70’s grit rock to the jangly power pop guitars of the 80’s and then a tinge of Southern culture from the alt-country scene of now. I absolutely love that you defy genres yet still have a core sound of roots rock. Give me a primer on some of the influences the band has. How you’ve molded it all into a very original sound of your own?
Thank you for the kind words and for the super cool comparisons. For me, it starts and ends with Springsteen. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t have started writing songs in the first place. Growing up and playing on and listening to the Asbury Park music scene stuff like Springsteen, Southside Johnny, and John Eddie.
I was also very influenced by the Stones and a lot of Blues. I listened to a lot of Tom Waits and Steve Earle as well as a bunch of Texas country. On top of all of this, I always just wanted to play harder and faster than those bands. That’s what the Hudson Falcons are doing.
I’ve been reading that you guys tour a lot on the punk circuit. Even here in Ft. Lauderdale, you’re performing with some local punk bands. How was it that you guys, having a lot of levity and mid-tempo songs in your set, found a home amongst the punks?
I didn’t grow up listening to punk rock at all besides the New York Dolls and the Clash. Past them, I knew absolutely nothing about the genre. I was playing a show in the mid-’90s in Jersey and a buddy of mine came out to see us. He was the local punk rock guy.
After he saw us he was telling me that what we were doing was punk rock. I was just trying to emulate Springsteen and the Stones playing it just a little harder. He wound up making me a bunch of mix tapes from every late 70’s British and Irish punk bands you can think of Blitz, Sham 69, the Undertones, the Partisans, the Ruts and the one that really stuck with me Stiff Little Fingers.
When I heard them it blew my mind, that was the style of music I was trying to play but didn’t even know existed. From that point on we started working in the punk scene. Our early CDs were a lot harder or punkier than the stuff I’m writing now. We’ve been in this scene for a long time and love being a part of it. I’ve always liked the DIY ethic of the scene and the way all bands help each other out.
You label yourselves Working Class Rock n Roll and I think that really nails down what I felt from listening to you guys. As a working band, touring and recording in 2017, how do you feel the music business has changed, for better or for worse, since you guys first came about?
On our earlier records we sang a lot more about workers’ rights and the plight of the working class. I work as a union organizer for my day job. I try to practice what I preach.
The music business is terrible. Always has been, always will be. Luckily we’ve been at this for a long time and generally work with good people as far as labels and clubs.
In a lot of ways it was easier to tour when we started hitting the road 18 years ago. There was a scene in almost every city you played in. People would come out to shows more often. It wasn’t as easy to socially network as it is now, but you could make your presence felt by touring constantly.
This is what we do. There will always be obstacles to doing what we love doing. You just need the passion and determination to adjust to the changing landscape.
Finally, what’s been some of the highs and lows of touring as much as you do?
I don’t mean to sound cliche but anytime someone is singing along to a song I wrote or asks me about a certain lyric I wrote it is an amazing feeling. It never gets old. If a songwriter takes that for granted, they should stop playing rock ‘n’ roll and start writing jingles for detergent.
The most horrible experiences are when something bad happens at home while you are on the road. Last year, my wife’s Mom had a stroke when we were out on the road. We were over in Europe a few years back when my Mom had to be taken to the hospital. You feel so disconnected and helpless.The best parts of touring are the people you meet and the places you travel to.
I wish I didn’t have to work a day job and that I was able to give the guys a good salary but how many people get to love their dream and have it exceed their expectations?
The Hudson Falcons will be performing with local fan favorites the Shakers, Menudo Death Squad, the Gazms, and Union at the Kreepy Tiki Lounge, this Sunday the 22nd at 7 pm. DJ Rev will be filling in the silence between sets. Want more info? Click here for the Rock -n- Roll Bike Night event page
Featured image provided by the band. All rights reserved to the owner.
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