Hard Girls is a California punk trio comprised of Mike Huguenor (guitar, vocals), Morgan Herrell (bass, vocals), and Max Feshbach (drums). The passionate rock band just wrapped up a tour with Jeff Rosenstock and Katie Ellen. Now, they’re working on an album that will be released in early 2017. Over the years, Hard Girls has opened for the likes of Say Anything, Modern Baseball, and Cymbals Eat Guitars, which speaks to their talent and dedication.
Recently, we had the chance to catch up with Mike Huguenor to ask him a few questions about the band’s latest activity. Read on to hear his thoughts about songwriting, today’s punk rock scene, and Donald Trump.
Mike Huguenor: Well, we drove cross country twice—once with the three of us and two shows to patch the gaps, and then once just me and Morgan with no shows at all, just taking 80 from New Jersey to Fairfield, California. So that bookended the tour. But the tour itself was great. I (Mike) play with Jeff [Rosenstock] too, so I was doing double-duty every night. Jeff, Christine, Kevin, John, they’re all like family now, so it was great playing with them consistently. And Katie Ellen are great. I had met Drew and Anika before, but I got to know them a lot better on this tour, and the whole band is talented, driven, funny. Good peeps.
Huguenor: After the election we were all miserable. I kinda got in trouble with Jeff’s band for wanting to burn an American flag onstage the next day, which, realistically, I can see why they wouldn’t want me to do that. I fucking hate fascists, mostly just because they don’t seem to understand logic. But we were in Madison, Wisconsin that night, and during both sets I was chanting “Fuck Paul Ryan.” Paul Ryan described some of Trump’s comments as “the textbook definition of racism” but he still supported Trump. That right there is some cowardly bullshit. Anyway, after the set, one of the guys who worked maintenance at the university came up to me and said, “Were you the guy saying ‘Fuck Paul Ryan?’” I said yeah, and he stuck out his hand to shake, and said “Seriously, fuck Paul Ryan.”
Huguenor: It was all Katie Ellen. As I understand it, the idea came together between Anika and Cody, the sort of fifth Beatle of the band. By the end we had raised over $2,500 for local organizations like Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, the Boston Rape Crisis Center, various organizations for homeless LGBT youth, and all the people who would be negatively affected by having a certifiable dipshit in the White House.
Huguenor: That was Morgan. We all divvied up social media on the tour. I took Twitter, Max took Instagram, and Morgan took Facebook. So every day we were just all putting some of our personal takes on those fun forms of mass surveillance, and Morgan was making daily flyers, just drawing while we were driving between cities every day.
Huguenor: It was an honor. It was definitely fun, but I sprained my ankle mid-set so I had to adjust how I was moving on the fly. All in all though, I think it went over really well. It was cool to see so many people singing along and psyched. We don’t have inflated egos by any means, so it was affirming to feel like we still could connect with people at an event with so many exponentially bigger bands.
Huguenor: I like to write story songs when possible—whenever I have the germ of one to work on. To me, that song is the story of two people who don’t really know each other very well yet, walking around a lake together at dusk.
Huguenor: They are the promise of connection, love, a sense of home, comfort, an end to wanderlust, etc. They are the sounds heard from the threshold of a place that the narrator has never been to before.
Huguenor: That song was all Morgan. I’ve never asked him, and I’d hate to speak for him when I don’t know the answer… but I’ll do it anyway. 100% a real dream.
Huguenor: Generally, no. There are some exceptions, but largely, and for years, it seems like it has been just about fun—having it, singing about it, friends, whiskey, touring, etc.… which is probably why less people were paying attention to punk. But I think now that we are entering a demonstrably dystopian state (one where we’re seriously talking about keeping a registry of Muslim Americans, looking at internment camps as inspiration for policy, and a White House full of bigots, climate change deniers, propagandists, gay conversion therapy believers, and a president who is endorsed by both the KKK and the American Nazi Party), hopefully more people will start being vocal. And I mean, like, can’t-shut-them-up vocal. We need that now.
Huguenor: I’d like it to be a float in the shape of America with a leash on it, William Gibson at the front of the float holding the leash and walking it out of the parade route and off a cliff.
Hard Girls’ latest EP Dulcet Tones can be purchased from their Bandcamp page.