The Eye of the Beholder; An interview with Jordan Hudkins of Rozwell Kid

Any music fan whose old enough to have lived through the grunge, ska, Britpop, electronica, emo, etc. booms that captured music press and ignited fandom during recent decades knows, whether or not they choose to internalize it, that critical darlings come and go. On the flipside of that coin, the bands who remain in the mind’s eye long past year-end, “best-of” lists are those who deliver quintessential albums that combine pop and nostalgia that outlive changing tastes and trends.
Rozwell Kid epitomizes this phenomenon as the West Virginia quartet’s latest, Precious Art, which was released by SideOneDummy in late June, is a perfect storm of pristine pop songwriting and nostalgic influence.
“We’re always carrying the influence of Weezer, Green Day, The Darkness and Thin Lizzy with us, but specifically while we were making Precious Art, I was thinking a lot about early Superdrag records and Ben Kweller’s Sha Sha,” admits Rozwell Kid vocalist Jordan Hudkins.
Fluent in pop, alternative and metal, Rozwell Kid are a band that speak a universal language; they’re thoughtful without being overwrought, nerdy, but not without a ballsy sense of courage, and poppy, without pandering. Nowhere is this youthful, Peter Pan spirit more evident than in the album’s opening track for “Wendy’s Trash Can,” which the band debut a video for earlier this year. Directed by Blackmagic Rollercoaster (Neon Indian, Funny Or Die), the video closely follows the four members of Rozwell Kid, their van, and an unknown victim in a wacky, never-ending Groundhog Day meets Raising Arizona-style adventure.
“[Blackmagic Rollercoaster]” came up with the idea of a POV chase sequence to match the frantic pace of the track,” Hudkins recalls. “So we started from that point and spit-balled ideas based on what locations, props and costumes we had at our disposal.”

Hudkins is less forthcoming when asked if the song is based on some first-person experience.
“I’d rather remain ambiguous on the lyrics. The song is more allegorical than anything. Let’s make a movie about disappointment and frustration, escape and inspiration.”
The remainder of Precious Art offers food, Simpsons and booger metaphors, unequivocally catchy melodies, and goat-throwing, harmonized double guitar runs, but there are also moments where Hudkins lets his guard down and it becomes apparent that he, like most of us, struggles with moments of anxiety and insecurity.
“I’m a pretty anxious person, and I struggle with a lot of self-doubt. I guess writing about these things is one way I try to exorcise these emotions and gain some perspective.”
Over the past three years the band have performed alongside nearly every relevant pop-punk and emo band in recent memory — most recently The Menzingers and labelmate Jeff Rosenstock. If their current schedule, which keeps the band busy well into the Fall, is any indication, they have any plans of slowing down. And despite some of the pitfalls of the transient musician’s lifestyle Hudkins seems likely to find a silver lining.
“We were denied access to a green room once because Cannibal Corpse was eating dinner in there. It was great.” (Tim Anderl)