Seth "Hunx" Bogart: I mostly write Disney pop songs for teens
Seth Bogart -- better known as the titular frontman of Hunx and His Punx -- has constructed an image of someone who probably doesn't write from a dark place. You wouldn't think that his sonic Twizzler ropes would be pulling him out of any misery ditches.
However, his latest, Punx-less LP, Hairdresser Blues, mixes the malt-shop doo-dahs we saw in 2011's excellent Too Young to Be In Love with a newfound sadness. Not the afore heard dreamland sadness of "my boyfriend left me," but palpable, no-bullshit depression that came as a result of his friend and mentor Jay Reatard's death in January of 2010. Bogart admits writing the "HB" songs in a delirium of despair, finding tapes he didn't even remember singing over.
"I like those songs where you can hear that sadness in someone's voice and you can tell it's a real thing," Bogart says. "Not that that's all that I do. I mostly write Disney pop songs for, like, teens."
City Pages called him the day after his birthday/album release, which he claimed had him narrowly avoiding getting beat up by a Korean gangster on a Titanic-themed boat, concluding with a late night of ding-dong ditch and spin the bottle in the L.A. heat. When pointing out that he leaves for tour soon, he protested like a teenager who didn't want to go to school. Reluctant or not, he'll round it off with a stop at the Triple Rock tonight.
That Bogart is a gay man is far from a secret -- it's a major theme in his music and he flaunts it unabashedly, almost daring the homophobia to come out of his audience. He said that Reatard invited him on tour in part to freak the macho out of his testosterone-fueled audience. It doesn't surprise Bogart that his sexuality comes to the forefront of his music, but that doesn't mean it doesn't get a bit annoying.
"It bothers me once in awhile, but I think it's important. In the world I deal with there's so few gay punk bands," he says. " ... I guess it's political just by doing it."
If his sexuality is an issue for you, that's about the only inaccessible aspect to his tunes. Bogart is intentionally elementary with his song structure, shamelessly rhyming "school" with "fool" and forming his choruses around "oohs" and "yeah yeah yeahs" -- to the point where you know his songs by heart midway through the first listen. It's a technique that Bogart calls "so stupid, but effective."
"My goal is to get stuck in your head," he says. "I've listened to music where you have to listen to it ten or more times before I can remember it and I get obsessed with it. But personally I like to do stuff that's obnoxious and obvious right away." The insouciance in his songs paints a picture of a life of sunshine and bubblegum, but he said that he usually writes during an annual period of feeling "crazy depressed."
And that seems natural considering the velocity of his live sets. You can't leave a car in fifth gear and not expect a breakdown here and there. It's then when the lipstick of his Hunx persona comes off, and he doesn't put it back on until he hits the road.
"As a person I'm more of a grandma. Sit-in, stay at home, work on projects. Then when I'm on tour and all that I become wild and outgoing. So [the difference between Hunx and Seth] is like a teenager and a grandma," he says.
You can probably expect the Triple Rock to bring out the wild teenager in Bogart, so you might want to leave your warm milk and knitting supplies at home.
Seth Bogart Wears Lipstick in a Black & White World (from LA Weekly)
Hunx and His Punx at Triple Rock Social Club at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 27. 612.333.7399
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