Hot Lunch interview with Aaron Nudelman, Charlie Karr, Eric Shea and Rob Alper
Sometimes you just need some good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll in your life! And if that’s the case you are gonna love some Hot Lunch… Nothing about them sounds like they’ve paid attention to anything post 1979, and I mean that as a compliment in the highest regards. I hear a lot of bands these days that try to sound like they are straight out of the 60’s or 70’s but most of them just come off as labored and pale impersonations of the real thing. Hot Lunch hasn’t heard any of those bands; they’re fresh out of the time machine. Just listen to the crushing fuzz, wah combinations on songs like “Killer Smile”, holy crap! Talk about face-melter! Then you have the slow burning explosive rave-ups that explode like frogs in a dynamite pond on “Gold Lyre”. Ranging the gambit from loud to somewhat-less loud and always busy rocking their asses off regardless of where, or when, they happen to be Hot Lunch has been at the top of my list to talk to for some time. It took some time to get the interview together on my end, I love these guys and didn’t want to leave anything out, sometimes you need that kitchen sink! But like their music would portray them they were the totally easy to deal with, kicked back dudes you would assume they were, the dudes abide after all; as they said to me “we live for putting killer smiles on silly faces”! And in that spirit I talked with all four founding members of Hot Lunch Aaron Nudelman, Charlie Karr, Eric Shea and Rob Alper about everything under the sun, well at least everything under the sun relating to Hot Lunch that is! I wish I could give you a better link to listen to the whole self-titled album or their early singles, the blazing guitars, dazzling vocal work and distorted thunderous rhythm section propelling some of the sickest tunes this side of ’79! But I can’t, and that’s okay. There’s a reason these guys draw comparisons to the MC5, Stooges and Dust! It only took me one song to get hooked and if you poke around you can find some more music but seriously, do yourself a favor and just pick up the LP. You’ll thank me later!
What’s the lineup of Hot Lunch currently? I know there have been some changes in the band’s lineup since you started, can you talk a little about the past lineups?
Hot Lunch Band Members:
Aaron Nudelman, guitar
Charlie Karr, bass
Eric Shea, vocals
Rob Alper, drums
Rob: It’s been all four of us dudes since day one. We had a second guitar player present during our first two or three rehearsals, but these early sessions mainly consisted of hanging out getting to know each other, drinking a couple beers, and jammin’ on a few Status Quo covers for fun. However, I believe “She Wants More”, the A-Side of our first single on Who Can You Trust? Records, and “Hit the Deck” recently recorded and released on a split 45 with Golden Void on Converse Rubber Tracks/Amoeba Records, were born during one of these sessions.
Are any of you in any other bands at this point? Have you released any music with anyone else? If so can you tell us about that?
Rob: Eric and I play in another group called Sweet Chariot, which I’ll let him define, and I also play guitar in a band called the SLA (Sonic Love Affair). We’ve all been in a bunch of bands and put out a bunch of records. I put out records with a bunch of other bands over the years… The Fells (Estrus, Italy, and Star Time Records), the Sermon (Alternative Tentacle Records), the SLA recently put out a six-song 12” EP too (All American Key Party Records) and there’s a pile of 7” releases with various other bands/projects.
Eric: Sweet Chariot started out as a 1970’s country-rock inspired quintet but we’ve since scaled it down to a four piece and turned up our amps. It’s still a bit twangy, but now it packs a punch. It initially picked up where my old band Mover left off, but it’s since evolved into its own thing. In between Mover and Hot Lunch I played in Parchman Farm and Hollow Earth.
Aaron: Been in bands since I was a kid. My first band was The Peddlers. We tried, but couldn’t play
“Free Byrd”, “For Your Love” and “Let’s Go To the Hop”. Other Bands: David Nudelman and the Wild Breed, Wig Torture, Mensclub, Sunless Day, and a few others.
Charlie: I used to play sax in Harold Ray Live In Concert (also on Alternative Tentacles Records). We called it quits a few years ago, but we’ve been playing some shows here and there. A few weeks ago we played a show opening for The Sonics, which was pretty amazing.
Where are you originally from?
Rob: Born in Pennsylvania, lived in Tucson for a few years in the 90’s, lived in San Francisco longer than anywhere else, so it’s really my home.
Eric: I’m a Northern California native, currently residing in Oakland.
Aaron: Northern California native, raised in San Mateo area and in San Francisco for over twenty years.
Charlie: Venice, California. I feel like the skate culture is something I was born into, even though I’m only a halfway decent skater.
What was your first exposure to music? Were either your parents or any of your relatives musicians or extremely involved and or interested in music when you were growing up?
Rob: My dad is a rocker and turned me on to great stuff at an early age… All stuff that totally shaped my love for and approach to making music: the Alice Cooper Group, Grand Funk Railroad, The Who, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes, and Captain Beefheart; off the top of my head. Iron Maiden was my first and eternal metal love, which I discovered around eight years old, and then the Ramones blew everything wide open when I was around thirteen. My dad never played music though. I scored my first drum kit around age twelve, an orange-sparkle Kent, and promptly painted a Bonzo logo on the bass drum head.
Eric: I love my parents, but their taste in music is pretty square. Growing up, I relied on a bellbottomed baby sitter to turn me on to bands like AC/DC, Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Being a bullseye for Casablanca’s target audience, KISS’ Love Gun was the first album I ever bought with my own money.
Aaron: My older brother Dave got me into rock, and simultaneously probably saved me from becoming a depraved criminal. I grew up with classic rock radio but met a bunch of cats through my brother who turned me on to Punk and 60’s Garage, etcetera. Also a cool babysitter when I was little that would come over and listen to Rush, Mahogany Rush and Ted Nugent and spaz out as soon as my parents split. I think Eric’s sitter was a hot chick, mine was a dude. My sister also got me into a lot of stuff that I still love, like Steve Miller. My dad used to play some folk guitar, like Old Mr. Fox and stuff, and got me psyched to play guitar as a kid. Mom was into old folk and country too.
Charlie: My dad played guitar and organ in bands in the 60’s and 70’s in New Jersey. He saw a lot of killer shows in the old days (Yardbirds, Zep, Hendrix, etcetera) and still goes to more rock shows than I do! Growing up, there was always a guitar, and sometimes a piano, in the house. I taught myself how to play guitar on his ’63 Strat; lots of good music in the house all the time.
If you had to pick a defining moment in music, something that just changed your perception of music or the world, what would it be?
Rob: I can’t isolate a single moment in time; music just always seemed like the most powerful and attractive force imaginable. But definitely hearing Live at Leeds and Kick Out the Jams for the first time left an indelible impression.
Eric: Watching The Blues Brothers made me pick up the guitar in third grade. Listening to the first Stone Roses album made me want to start my own band. Watching Granite Path open for Foghat made me want to ditch the swirly effect pedals and play rock ‘n’ roll.
Aaron: Seeing Godspell as a kid was one moment for sure. First listening of SF Sorrow was gnarly. GFR Red Album, also Closer to Home, Ted Nugent’s “I Got the Feelin’” off Weekend Warriors.
Charlie: I can’t think of a single moment, but something clicked when I started going to punk shows and I realized that people in bands I like, could also be cool people to hang out with.
What made you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music and when was that?
Rob: Again, I can’t isolate a single moment. I just always figured I was going to play music somehow.
Eric: My sister and I have been writing our own songs since we were little kids. It’s just something we did on road trips to entertain ourselves. If you listen to some of my more random lyrics like “Handy Denny”, the process today isn’t much different.
Aaron: Since the moment I could play E, A, and B7 open chords at ten years-old, for reasons I really can’t figure out; desperate for attention maybe, to ‘have something,’ but also just feeling fed by inspiration. Getting to be a part of creating music, beauty of a sort, always made me feel alive and comforted.
Charlie: See above.
Where is Hot Lunch currently located at?
Rob: The Bay Area, 75% San Francisco/25% Oakland.
How would you describe the local music scene where you all are at now?
Rob: There is an amazing crop of like-minded heavy rock bands around these days, Lecherous Gaze, OVVL, Glitter Wizard, Golden Void, Planes of Satori, just to name a few; help me out, dudes! Oh, man, The Feral Ohms single is unbelievably amazing! And there are still a pile of local clubs friendly to LOUD MUSIC!
Eric: I think now that it’s harder to get paid to play music, the people who are in it for the soul of it have stuck around while those who were in it to make a buck have moved on. I think this has given us a present day rock ‘n’ roll renaissance.
Charlie: Even though I feel like I’m less patient checking out new bands these days, I still get amazed by killer bands all the time.
Are you very involved with the local music scene there?
Rob: Well, I try to give more than I take.
Eric: Yes, but it’s more a family than a scene. This wasn’t always the case. Back in the early 2000’s it was still pretty sceney.
Has the local music scene played a large role in the sound, history or evolution of Hot Lunch over the years?
Rob: Well, we’re definitely aware of the musical lineage of the Bay Area, which has seeped into our collective consciousness, but it’s also very inspiring to have so many cool bands to share bills with these days.
Eric: Admittedly, I look toward the Bay Area’s musical past for inspiration. But bands like Ovvl, Glitter Wizard, Lecherous Gaze and Golden Void are getting more spins on my turntable these days than the old stuff that I’ve heard a million times.
Aaron: For me, going to shows and seeing the other bands at the shows we play is my biggest impetus these days when it comes to writing new material and making noise. I feel like every band I see, at least for a few minutes, is the best thing that could ever be. Live shows are just really inspiring.
When and how did you all originally meet?
Rob: I met Aaron in the summer of ’96 when our bands Mensclub and The Fells shared a stage in Denton, Texas, but we didn’t start really hanging out until the early 2000’s. Charlie and I shared stages with our bands in the early 2000’s, too. And I guess I met Eric last, at the Casanova in the Mission. We started chatting, and it turns out that Aaron and I were looking to put a band together and Eric and
Charlie were thinking the same thing… So we joined forces!
Eric: Parchman Farm had suddenly disbanded and I wanted to keep playing rock ‘n’ roll, but with more experienced people. Lucky for me, all three of these awesome guys were looking for the same thing.
Charlie: I knew Eric through his previous bands (Parchman Farm, Mover) and skating and stuff. I shared stages with Rob with his other bands (SLA, The Sermon). I saw Aaron play in a bunch of bands and was amazed by his guitar wizardry, but never got to know him until Hot Lunch started.
What led to the formation of Hot Lunch and when was that?
Rob: See above.
Charlie: Something clicked when I was at Eric’s apartment one day, eating tacos and watching Skateboard Madness. There’s a fragment of a song in that movie that Eric suggested making into a real song. We still play it live.
I dig the name. I don’t necessarily know why, but when I’m listening to your music it totally fits! What does the name Hot Lunch mean or refer to? Who originally came up with the name and how did you go about choosing it as the band name?
Eric: There really wasn’t much thought put into it other than the fact that I didn’t want a name that sounded too tried or too clever, or something so cliché that it made us sound like some kind of gang. I was eating at Tommy’s Joynt one day and saw the words “Hot Lunch” written in red chalk on a black sign. I liked the way the letters popped off the blackboard and that was it.
Aaron: I dig the name too now but not sure why. I love food.
Charlie: I like having a name that old people find charming, and teenagers find disgusting.
While we are talking about the roots and history of Hot Lunch let’s take some time and discuss your musical influences just a bit. You all have an extremely varied and adaptive sound that careens the listener through a cadre of styles and influences so I’m extremely interested to see who would site as some of your personal musical influences are? I hear a lot of people compare you to legendary rockers like The MC5, The Stooges and Dust. How do you feel about those comparisons? What about influences on the band as a whole rather than individually?
Rob: Man, those comparisons are mighty! Of course we dig all three of those bands. I’m not sure I’d be who I am today if it were not for the MC5. Their music is a towering influence in my life, and I’m listening to the first Stooges album as I write this… So these influences are definitely omnipresent. As far as rock music goes, a short list of my all-time faves would be: Pretty Things, MC5, Flamin’ Groovies, Grand Funk Railroad, The Who, Alice Cooper, Ten Years After, Small Faces, Faces, Humble Pie… Man, this could go on for a while…
Eric: In the late 1980’s I was really into European freakbeat and I still love bands like Wimple Winch, The Creation, Small Faces, The Poets, The Outsiders, John’s Children and The Attack. But it’s the heavier stuff that makes me want to ride skateboards and motorcycles. Stuff like Gedo, Flower Travelin’ Band, Rush, Funkadelic, Blue Cheer, Crushed Butler, etcetera. And growing up on early 1980’s, skatepunk gave me that thirst for fast tempos that sometimes fly off the rails.
Aaron: Yeah, I forgot Funkadelic! And Rush! Chocolate Watchband is big on my list. UFO, yes with Shenker too. I like classical and Irish guitar music like David Russell, John Renbourn, Donal Clancy and others; Renaissance guitar. I generally like stuff that has a relentless adrenaline, whether it’s out front or underlying. I’m stoked that our rock reminds people of this other stuff they love, that we love too.
Charlie: Yeah, Dust! I spent a lot of years not listening to anything later than 1968, but I can’t stop digging up early 70’s stuff that amazes me, Sir Lord Baltimore, Captain Beyond, Budgie, T2, and tons more. And the first few notes of the first Yes album. I grew up listening to a lot of Rush and Emerson Lake & Palmer, and I think that inspires me to find places for weird time signatures and changes in songs.
I love almost everything about music. The one thing I don’t like is describing music though. I feel like an onlooker, some voyeur looking through a window trying to describe some intricate and beautiful scene unfolding before them. I can never do it justice and I just come off like a jabbering idiot. How would you describe Hot Lunch’s sound to our readers that might not have heard you before?
Rob: Tough one. I still like one of our earliest tags: Brown Acid Skate Punk.
Eric: Yeah that still holds true. Describing us as “punk ‘n’ roll” has always been fine with me but some of our arrangements involve the occasional prog influence. But I try not to say or even think “prog” because it’s still a four-letter-word to people who don’t understand it.
Aaron: Abrasively loud rock, fun, adrenaline.
Charlie: It depends on who you’re talking to. I avoid saying “prog”, in favor of “complicated rock”. We definitely have a gut-level ROCK thing, but I think we mix enough interesting stuff in there to keep it from being AC/DC. Not that there’s one goddamn thing wrong with AC/DC Rob!
Can you tell us about Hot Lunch’s songwriting process? Is there a lot of jamming and exchange of ideas that takes place in the practice space while you all are together? Or is there someone who writes something independently, maybe a riff or general idea of a song, and then brings it to the rest of the band to work out, tweak and compose with the rest of you?
Rob: Definitely a genuine full band process. Aaron and I tend to get to practice a little earlier than the other dudes and start simmering some riffage. Charlie and his Cup O Noodles usually barges in next and before he slams the last of his foam-enshrined broth, he’s loosening our bowels with his bass. Finally, Eric rolls in with a tallboy and a mouthful of LunchLyrics™ and the songs are born.
Eric: It’s organic and diplomatic. A riff is born. We play around with it and try to sense where it wants to go. Then we try to take it there. If a melody pops in my head, I try to keep the original words that brought it to me out of respect for the process. It’s not always easy. Then again, nothing good is ever that easy. And we want it to be good.
Aaron: The songs we end up liking the most, usually, are the ones we all hammer at together for the longest. Making music with this band is the best because I can bring anything to the table, even if I feel sheepish about its vibe, and they’re always like, “Yeah! Let’s do it”!
Charlie: There is a long gestation period for sure. I think “Lady Of The Lake” was brewing for over a year before it really started sounding like a song.
Do you all enjoy recording? You have a big enough back catalog I can’t imagine you hate getting into the studio too awful much but it can be super stressful working against deadlines and feeling like you’re wasting time also known as, in that situation at least, money! How is it in the studio with you all?
Rob: Well, it’s been a busy year. We’ve been in the studio four times for various singles and comp tracks, but we all love the process of making a killer record.
Eric: We love recording so much our recording projects almost can’t keep up with our songwriting process. But that just pushes us to write more songs. It’s symbiotic.
Aaron: Yeah, we’ve had to do some rushed recordings. Always fun to be in the studio, except for when it sucks, but looking forward to taking some real time in there soon.
Charlie: In the studio we basically play like we do live, with amps blazing. We’re all busy people, but it’s usually pretty efficient for us to record, since we just do our usual live thing for the most part and add a bit of fairy dust afterward. I got into recording years ago, and started building up a heavy, literally, collection of quality analog gear. It’s all at my friend’s studio, The Bronze Basement aka Trojan Caverns, where we recorded the recent Tym single and our track for Sweet Times Vol. 1. I get really obsessed on the gear side of things, and Aaron has a killer set of ears, so our self-recording project went really well. We’re talking about doing that kind of session again soon.
Does Hot Lunch do a lot of prep work nailing down songs and getting them just so before you head into the studio to record? Or is it more of an organic, off-the-cuff experience with room for variation, change and perhaps adaptation during the recording process?
Rob: We tend to cook ‘em up pretty well before getting in the studio, but we don’t wanna be, nor do I think we’re in any danger of being, too tight. We like to take songs to the very edge, so that they’re about to come off the rails, but just take us on a hell ride without crashing and burning.
Eric: I agree with Rob. It’s good to serve them up hot, but we don’t want to over study the song before rolling tape. We don’t want to expire the life of a song. It’s always better to try and capture the song’s initial energy for that lightning-in-a-bottle vibe.
Let’s take some time and discuss you seriously sweet back catalog a little bit. Your first release was 2010’s She Wants More b/w Alakazam 7” which was limited to 500 copies and released on Who Can You Trust? Records. Can you share your memories of recording that first single? Was it a pleasant experience for you? Where was it recorded? Who recorded it and when was that? What kind of equipment was used?
Rob: It was recorded in a tiny 12X10 room at Francisco Studios called Screaming Viking by Matthew Johnson in an afternoon on 1-inch tape and mixed down to 1/4inch.
Eric: I don’t remember much about recording those songs other than the fact that our first time recording together felt like we had been doing it for a long time, which we had; in other bands. But there was a palpable familiarity between us recording our first songs that made me very relieved and happy.
Aaron: Yeah, the whole experience was super-fast and raw with few worries. We were just stoked to be doing our first sesh and we were stoked with the outcome, slop and all!!
Charlie: Yeah, it was a 1-inch 16-track in a hot room!
It was almost two years later when your second single, Killer Smile b/w You’re Alright again on Who Can You Trust, this time limited to 400 copies. Was the recording of that second single very similar to the session(s) for your earlier 7”? Where and when was that material recorded? Who recorded it and what kind of equipment was used?
Rob: Those tracks are from the same session with Tim Green at Louder Studios in San Francisco that produced the debut LP. Other dudes?
Eric: Yeah, you can tell the difference in studios just from the fidelity. Our second seven-inch was recorded on two-inch tape with tons of awesome old gear by Tim Green.
Charlie: Yeah, all dream gear on that one. Check out the Fucking Champs liner notes for a representative list of gear at Louder.
January of this year (2013) saw the release of your first full-length album, the Self-Titled Hot Lunch 12”, this time a split release with Who Can You Trust pressing 500 copies to be distributed from Germany and then Tee Pee Records here in the states with an open ended pressing here in the U.S. I understand that Burger Records has just joined the party and released the album on cassette tape. Is the Burger Records tape limited? I know they used to do a lot of really limited runs but they’ve been doing more and more open ended releases as they’ve gotten bigger these last two years.
Rob: There are 250 copies of the cassette.
Eric: Yeah, we’re only getting 50 copies, which is fine with me. I’m all for limited runs, makes the release more special in my opinion.
How did get hooked up with Who Can You Trust? Records originally? How is your relationship with them? It seems like you all have to get along pretty well since they put out your first several releases! Do you plan on continuing to work with them in the future? I know you have several release coming out on other labels this year, but they’re singles and I didn’t know what you had in mind for your future full-length albums?
Eric: Christian approached me about doing a cassette. But I was more interested in doing a seven inch because I love vinyl more than any other format. He was amenable to it and then when he heard the album, he liked it so much that he wanted to release our LP which was WCYT?’s very first LP release.
Let’s talk a little bit about the recording of the Self-Titled album. I understand it took some time and serious effort to fund the recording of the album. If I understand correctly you all self-funded the recording of the entire album and it was in finished for several months before its release. Can you tell us a little bit about what you went through to get this wicked slab of vinyl pressed up? Was the recording of the album different than the sessions for your earlier singles? Did you try anything new or drastically different with Hot Lunch? When and where was it recorded? Who recorded it? What kind of equipment was used in the recording of this album?
Eric: Maybe compared to more zealous bands, it took a while. But to me, it took as long as it needed to take. The album was recorded with Tim Green at Louder Studios. He uses vintage analogue gear and we wanted it to sound timeless, so he was obviously the right man for the job. We self-funded the album because we save money from shows to do just that. People already pay money to see us, personally I’d feel like asking them to also help us record an album would be kind of tacky. Nothing against crowd sourcing, the four of us are very lucky to have full time jobs, so we just feel that any money made from playing music should go back into the music. Other than that, the main reason why it took so long is that we wanted to get the mastering tweaked just right. Working with Golden on that was great. They were very patient with us and our particular tastes.
Aaron: Yeah, we took some time, but as Eric says, not too much time with the record. Just enough time to indulge most ideas (overdubs, etc.) but not get ridiculous about it. Tim Green at the helm created a fantastic experience, super pro but totally mellow with the right suggestion at the right time to make something happen or get us out of log-jam moments. Most of all, Tim really understood how to translate us to tape; we also barbequed in his front yard every day, which likely has more to do with the sound of the record than anything else.
Charlie: I think the moment it all clicked was when we were talking to Tim Green at one of our shows. He’s an amazing producer/engineer, and he knew exactly what we wanted recordings to sound like. We were toying with the idea of making a full-length, but we weren’t looking at labels or anything yet. We just decided that he could make a great sounding record and we’d figure it out from there. It was done with the basic tracks, drums, bass, guitar, done all at once to tape, with minimal isolation. I think that’s the only way we could do it. I asked Tim a bunch of nerdy questions about how he wanted to record the bass, and he just said, “set up like you play live, and we’ll get it”. He got the most amazing sound for Rob’s drums in no time at all.
Rob: In 45 minutes!
Charlie: We were the last band to track in his San Francisco studio before he relocated to Grass Valley, so we were able to be there for overdubs and mixing in the evenings.
While it might have taken a while to get the album out it has received a lot of attention inside of the industry and raised a lot of interest with listeners all around the world and led to a slew of recent, and upcoming singles in 2013. The first of these singles is the “Uprooted” b/w “Human Being” single on Tym Records.
Rob: Yeah, we’re so stoked by the LP’s reception! Isaiah Mitchell turned Tim Brennan at Tym Records on to us, which led to that single. Also, Scion A/V and Converse started working with us to get some tracks out. We’ve got a split 45 with Golden Void on Converse Rubber Tracks/Amoeba Records that just came out, and we have a split 45 with Lecherous Gaze coming out on Scion A/V Records on December 16th. We also have a track on the Scion 10 Series Music Release Compilation, which came out in June and also features The Melvins and White Hills. We’re also presently working on three more releases for early 2014… More on those later!
Aaron: Yeah, we’re really stoked that it’s getting heard. Makes everything fun!
While the Tym Records pressing is limited to only 100 copies on blue vinyl and costs an arm and a leg here in the states I understand that there’s also supposed to be an upcoming reissue of this single through Tee Pee Records sometime in the near future? Are there any details on when that might be seeing a release? Is that just going to be a straight reissue of the original single and is it going to be pressed on blue vinyl as well?
Rob: There are 200 copies on clear vinyl in the states via Tee Pee, but they’re almost gone!
Eric: Yeah, but Tee Pee is also going to release the songs as a digital single on iTunes and Amazon.
You also released a split with one of Isaiah Mitchell’s incredible bands, Golden Void this year. It was released in October, you contributed the track “Hit The Deck”. Can you tell us about the recording of that track? Was it something that you had already finished and was looking for a home or did you record that specifically for the split? Can you tell us about the recording of that track? When, where, who and why – you know the drill by now ha-ha!
Rob: We recorded that for Converse Rubber Tracks at Different Fur Studios in June. We weren’t initially certain that it was going to be a single, but we’re stoked that it is! We love Golden Void!!!
Eric: We’re joining them on a version of Pretty Things’ “Sickle Clowns” at our next show with them and Harsh Toke. Golden Lunch! Hot Void?
Aaron: Yeah, what was the main engineer’s name at Different Fur? Patrick? He was cool and knew his shit. That studio is so pimp you just set up, play, and stuff comes out sounding, well, pretty good.
Charlie: Different Fur is a full-time “real” studio, and it was one of the few times I’ve recorded in a studio that isn’t also a home or practice space. They have a giant SSL console, and tons of killer mics and outboard gear. It was our first time recording to digital, and they did it right! Only downside; we couldn’t barbecue in between takes!
I did some looking and if I understand correctly the split with Golden Void was a free giveaway at select Converse Outlet stores and Amoeba Records who jointly released the single? Can you fill me in on the details of exactly how that release worked? Is there any way to get a copy of the single or the tracks from it if you weren’t lucky enough to have scored a copy yet? Was it a limited release and if so how many copies was it limited to?
Rob: Hmm, I think there are 500 copies out there and it’s a promo only item. We can hook you up!
Aaron: We might be able to get you shoes too! But don’t do it if you have plantar fasciitis.
You’ve got a split 7” with Lecherous Gaze coming out on the Scion A/V label. What track(s) are you contributing to that split? Where and when was that material recorded and who recorded it? What kind of equipment was used?
Rob: Yeah, we recorded a track called “There’s Nothing Like Revenge For Getting Back At People” at Light Rail Studios in San Francisco!
Eric: This goes back to what I was saying earlier about family. Since Isaiah, Graham and Josh helped us get on Tee Pee, it only makes sense to do co-releases with Golden Void, The Shrine and Lecherous Gaze. Did we mention that we’re doing a split EP with The Shrine? Very excited about that, words can’t express how hard that band rules.
Aaron: Yeah, my very old pal Ed Cuniffe (aka: Elton) owns LightRail Studios in San Francisco and engineered/helped produce some recordings, including the song for the Scion split. He has this huge live room, a giant Trident board (I think the Dead used to use it or something; It has some ridiculous rock story connected to it) and like hoards of rad mics. We did almost all condensers on the drums. He goes analog first, straight into super high quality digital so you get the best of both.
Charlie: Yeah, our second session at Light Rail, where we previously recorded some other tracks that will be coming out soon. That was on the legendary Trident A-Range console, into a Studer tape machine with a long history of hits.
You’re headed back home as well. Who Can You Trust? Records has an upcoming four-way split featuring tracks from OVVL, Glitter Wizard, Dirty Fences and yourselves who contributed the track “Love Is All Around Me”. Did you write that song for the split or was it something that you had lying around? Where and when was it recorded? Who recorded it and what kind of equipment was used?
Rob: That was one of the first, if not the very first song, we ever played together years ago and when Christian pitched the idea of the comp to us we figured we’d dust that one off! We recorded it at Bronze Basement Studios in San Francisco.
Eric: It’s a Crushed Butler song that we turned into a Lunched Butler song. It’s also one of the very first songs that we mostly recorded by ourselves with help from our friend Joe.
Charlie: Yeah, that was from the same session as the Tym single.
Is the Who Can You Trust four-way split a limited edition affair? If so do you know how many copies it’s going to be limited to?
Eric: You’d have to ask Christian about the specifics.
Does Hot Lunch have any music that we haven’t talked about yet?
Rob: Lots more in the works… Three more vinyl releases planned for early 2014!
Eric: We’d also like to put all our singles, EPs and B-sides onto a compilation while we’re building and recording what will eventually be our second proper album.
Aaron: New ideas/songs coming down the pike.
Charlie: Many song embryos are being born.
Where’s the best place for U.S. readers to pick up a copies of your music?
Eric: Go to your neighborhood record store and ask for it. If they don’t have it, ask them to order it for you. Failing all else, head to the internet. But before clicking anything, I feel it’s important to support brick and mortar storefronts and independent businesses.
Are there any major goals that Hot Lunch is looking to accomplish in 2014?
Rob: Put some more records out, play killer shows with our friends, and get over to Europe and Australia!
Aaron: Totally what Rob said, party!!! I wanna tour Hawaii.
Where’s the best place for readers to keep up with the latest news, like upcoming shows and album releases from Hot Lunch at?
Eric: We’re social guys who lean on social media: http://www.facebook.com/HotLunchRocks, on Instagram we’re HOTLUNCHSF and on Twitter we’re @HotLunch_SF.
Do you have anything planned as far as touring gores for the rest of the year? With 2014 rapidly approaching what about the New Year?
Rob: Nothing for the rest of the year, but looking at Europe and Australia for 2014!
Aaron: Hopefully continued appearances in Los Angeles and San Diego too.
Charlie: It’s time for us to go transcontinental. Keep your ears peeled.
You have played with some of the best acts going right now, I mean between Earthless, Golden Void and Feral Ohms you’ve already named some of the best bands going right now, and that’s all been in the last couple of months for you all! Who are some of your personal favorites that you’ve had a chance to share a bill with?
Rob: Lecherous Gaze, High on Fire, the Shrine, OVVL, Glitter Wizard, Black Cobra, Pins of Light…
Eric: I grew up in San Jose going to Sleep shows, so definitely High On Fire. Also we’re big fans of Mudhoney so playing with them was definitely one for the books. Looking forward to playing with Planes Of Satori and Once & Future Band.
Aaron: I really liked playing with ASG at the Scion Fest last summer too.
Charlie: Mudhoney was awesome. I never got too into them in the old days, but they’re so good live, it doesn’t even matter. I was stoked just to be there, let alone share a stage with them. We’re always stoked to play with The Shrine. And Graveyard was great. Hoping to do something with those guys on their home turf!
Do you do a lot of touring? Do you enjoy touring?
Eric: Having full time jobs makes touring very difficult. So if we’re going to get out of town, we’d like to plan it so that it fits into our work schedules. This is easier said than done.
Aaron: Yeah, it’d be great to tour more but when we get out its more super sweet.
Charlie: Yeah, planning is tough. Also we’re generally more into making it fun, instead of trying to find a floor to crash on at 3AM every night.
What’s it like on the road for you all?
Eric: When we do hit the road it’s great. Listening to stand-up comedy makes the miles go by faster and it’s always rad to share our favorite music with each other.
Aaron: Yeah, super fun. Finding good food and trying to schedule in some beach time is always a good idea. So far we’ve done fun shows on the road so it’s been alright.
Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to share with our readers here?
Eric: Not now, but one day we will publish a tell all book titled “Smiling Gruntley & The Space Shammy T-Shirts”.
Aaron: Then a follow up “mature” graphic novel simply titled, “The Adventures of Gruntley and Zorch”.
Charlie: F’n hippies.
Do you have a music collection at all? If so can you tell us a little bit about it?
Rob: Yes; records.
Eric: No, none of us ever listen to any other music ever. We’re more into spoken-word books read by Ace Frehley.
I’ve got a problem. I’m an addict and the first step is admitting it. My name is Roman Rathert and I have a ridiculous obsession with physically released music. CD, records, tapes, DVDs, VHS – if you can put musical content on it I probably collect it! There’s something about having an object to hold in your hands and experience along with the music that is indispensable to me. Having artwork to look at, liner notes to read, it makes for a more complete listening experience, at least for me. Do you have any such connection with physically released music?
Rob: I absorb records with all my senses.
Eric: Possessions are fleeting. Music is ephemeral.
Aaron: Less and less. I love my records, though, especially when I’ve been drinking.
Charlie: I’ll admit that these days I do a lot of listening to music in the car or on the train. It’s a good way to make the time go by, but it’s not nearly the same as sitting down and putting on a record. Dropping the needle on an LP means that you’re going to listen to at least a few songs in a row, and it’s a very active listening experience. Also, the sequence of the tracks on the album is something that the band/engineer/producer have put a lot of thought into, and songs often do go together best in a certain order.
Now as much as I love my music collection in all manner of forms I’ve always dreaded having to take it on the go with me. Digital music has really changed that though. It still blows my mind that I can take my entire collection on the go with me. On my phone! The times they are a changin’. Digital music, when teamed with the internet especially, seems to really level the playing field for independent artists willing to create and promote a real online presence. Though on the same side it is definitely not doing the major labels any favors. As an artist during the reign of the digital era what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?
Rob: I have a pile of music sitting in my dropbbox and elsewhere on my computer that I swear I’m gonna listen to. One day. Hold on, gotta go flip the Feral Ohms single again…
Eric: While it’s convenient to tote a sizable library in my pocket, I prefer opening up a beer and sitting down with a pile of records.
Aaron: I think I might kind of like all of it.
Charlie: I think it’s mostly very good. I prefer to listen to physical records, and go to actual record stores to buy them, but I often find myself digging around online and getting into stuff that even the cool record store might not carry. And we have definitely benefited from that. It’s pretty cool getting the word out to people in countries we’ve never even been to!
I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can and a lot of the best tips that I get come from musicians such as yourself. Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I should be listening to that I might not have heard of?
Eric: Scroll up and make note of the aforementioned bands. Also, look out for Once & Future Band. They’re the future of the past.
What about nationally and internationally?
Eric: Neither; only cosmically.
Thanks so much for taking the time to make it through this, I hope it wasn’t too awful painful for you! God forbid, but is there anything I missed or anything that you’d just like to talk about here?
Rob: Our pleasure, Uncle Jerk!!!
Eric: No, this was easily the longest and most thorough interview we’ve ever done. The rest is yet to be written.
Aaron: No problem, thanks for talking to us.
– Roman Rathert
(2010) Hot Lunch – “She Wants More” b/w “Alakazam” – 7″ – Who Can You Trust? Records (Limited to 500 copies)
(2012) Hot Lunch – “Killer Smile” b/w “You’re Alright” – 7″ – Who Can You Trust? Records (Limited to 400 copies)(2013) Hot Lunch – Hot Lunch – Cassette Tape, 12” – Who Can You Trust? Records (Germany, January) / Tee Pee Records (USA, March) / Burger Records (USA, October 2013) (Who Can You Trust? Records pressing limited to 500 copies)
(2013) Hot Lunch – “Uprooted” b/w “Human Being” – 7″ – Tym Records (Limited to 100 copies on blue vinyl)(2013) Hot Lunch/Golden Void – Hot Lunch/Golden Void Split – 7″ – Converse Rubber Tracks/Amoeba Records (Contributes the track “Hit the Deck”)
(2013) (USA, December) Hot Lunch/Lecherous Gaze – Hot Lunch/Lecherous Gaze Split – 7″ – Scion A/V Records (contributes the track “There’s Nothing Like Revenge for Getting Back at People”)
(2013) (Germany, December) Hot Lunch/OVVL/Glitter Wizard/Dirty Fences – Hot Lunch/OVVL/Glitter Wizard/Dirty Fences Split – 7″ – Who Can You Trust? Records (Contributes the track “Love is All Around Me”)