Stomping Grounds: The Hussy (Madison, Wisconsin)

The Hussy (Photo by Karen Gauger)

Some bands are heady and cerebral, expecting audiences to stand thoughtfully with arms crossed quietly enjoying their music.  Others deliver bash-em-up-spit-em-out garage rock trash for listeners with short attention spans and inducing crowd-surfing, beer spilling and pogo dancing.  Madison, Wisconsin’s The Hussy, a male/female duo, have been cranking out infectious two-minute blasts of shrieking, spastic guitar, and rhythmic punches since 2008.  The March 20 release of their sophomore LP, Weed Seizure, via Tic Tac Totally records follows a highly successful debut (Cement Tomb Mind Control in May 2011), which sold-out in under a year.  The latest album delivers the crude force of bands like The Oblivians, while retaining pop centrism of artists like Ty Segall Jay Reatard.  Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Bob Hussy to talk to him about life in Madcity.
1. What’s your town’s nickname?
Madcity, Madtown, Ten Square Miles Surrounded By Reality (FOR REAL PEOPLE CALL IT THIS).
2. What’s your nickname for your town?
3. Why do you live there?
Because it’s home. Because Heather lives here. Because my best friends live here. I love the food/culture, and I love Madison as a city. It’s safe and clean and nice. The music scene isn’t as exciting as Milwaukee, but we get enough good shows to keep ourselves occupied. We spend so much time playing shows outside of town that we’re not even in Madison that much on weekends anymore. 
4. Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?
I grew up about an hour and a half from Madison in a small town called Plymouth. I moved to Madison for college at UW Madison. I’ve been here ever since. After I graduated I moved out to the Bay Area for close to a year before coming back.
5. What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?
Lots of things. Weird shows at the Corral Room. Fun shows at Mickeys. Halloween in Madison is nuts. It used to be worse when I was in college, they would riot and the cops would use tear gas to get rid of the crowds smashing shit. Mostly weird shit happens out-of-town when we’re on tour.
6. What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
Vilas Zoo is pretty great. It’s like one of the nicest free zoos you will ever go to. I like to hang out anywhere on Williamson St. (Willy St.). Lots of great things to see downtown too. 
7. What is your favorite local event or festival?
Chopperfest. Our bud in the Midwest Beat, Chop, is in like a ton of bands and he always throws a fest with the Hussy on it during the fall. This will be the 5th year! I’m very excited! He has like three of his bands play the fest and then two others. It’s always a fun time! Always one of my favorite shows of the year.

8. What is the best time of year to be there?
The summer! Winter is brutal in Wisconsin, but it also gives you an appreciation for the summer (which is really beautiful in Wisconsin as well). I miss having sun all the time out in California, but there’s something really special about all four seasons. It really makes you appreciate the Earth or something hippie like that. Haha. 
9. Who is your favorite local celebrity?
Tom Laskin from this awesome Madison band Appliances SFB (80s-90s band) I don’t think he lives here anymore. He used to write for the local paper and was a great journalist, but for some reason got pushed out. Goofy. I miss his writing. I never saw the band, but the records are great and he’s a nice guy. So yeah, Tom.
10. Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
Mickey’s Tavern no matter what. Mickey’s is THEE best bar in Madison. It’s where we throw shows all the time! The shows are always free so that’s their specialty.  They have great Old Fashioneds and great Long Islands. And great food. 
11. Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
See above. Mickey’s has the best juke! Velvet Underground, Reed, Stooges, Replacements, Killdozer, Local shit, etc. Great stuff!
12. Where is your favorite place to play?
Mickey’s Tavern again. Haha. I could talk about it for hours. That or the Frequency are fun to play. It seems like venues switch around and shit about every five years, but Mickey’s has been going strong for a long time now and I hope to keep it like that. Heather and I really love to play at Mickey’s the most in town. It just feels like home.
13. Does where you live influence your music?
To some extent sure. Sometimes we have a humor about our city (“Social Critique of Madison”), and sometimes just being in Madison makes me feel creative and alive. It’s definitely a part of this band. We definitely identify ourselves as a Madison band.
14. What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
High Noon is great for really good bigger indie shows like Ty Segall and the Black Lips, both of which were excellent. I’ve seen a bunch of bands slay there. But if I wanna see some gritty punk band that’s not on a big label I go to Mickey’s. And that’s mostly the types of shows I wanna catch. 
15. What is your favorite local band?
The Midwest Beat. Dead Luke. Lonesome Savages. There are a slew more from Milwaukee. But those are the Madison ones I love. 
16. What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
Ha Long Bay – AMAZING Mango Curry
The Torta at Taqueria Guadalajara is pretty great
Smoky Johns BBQ has great pulled pork
17. What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
Madcity Music Xchange! I work there! It’s the best store in town! I’ve found too many countless great records. Recent great scores: First press of the Ramones’ first LP, Fear’s The Record, The Fugs second LP first press, a lot of punk/garage stuff.
18. What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
The Onion. The national Onion was started here when two kids graduated from UW Madison. Now it’s huge all over. So good for them! But yeah they have the best record reviews and best show picks, so it’s definitely the best paper in town. 
19. What is your favorite local shop?
Good Style Shop rules. Great people run it and they’re really vital to the music scene. They get a lot of people excited about shows and the current owner, Peter is a great dude! The previous owners (Indra and Aaron of Peaking Lights), were great as well but they ended up moving back out to California so Peter took over the shop full time now. 
20. If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
Back in San Francisco or Nashville. Both places are amazing, but I’m not sure I could handle the heat in Nashville. 
(The Hussy’s West Coast Tour Dates for the band’s second LP, Weed Seizure, have been announced and begin later this month:

5.18 – Madison, WI @ Mickey’s Tavern w/ Street Smells, German Art Students
5.23 – Minneapolis, MN @ The 108 (108 Arion St. W) w/ Ex-Nuns

5.24 – Minot, ND @ Pangea House
5.25 – Missoula, MT @ The Palace w/ BLACK BANANAS (Ex-Royal Trux), The Shahs
5.26 – Seattle, WA @ The Rendezvous w/ The Pharmacy, Night Beats
5.27 – Tacoma, WA @ The New Frontier w/ Night Beats
5.28 – Olympia, WA @ Le Voyeur w/ Hotegaia
5.29 – Portland, OR @ The East End w/ Stay Calm, Free Weed
5.30 – San Francisco, CA @ The Hemlock Tavern w/ Sir Lord Von Raven (Greg Ashely of Gris Gris, and members of Wrong Words and Time Flys)
5.31 – Oakland, CA @ White Horse Bar for 1234 Go! Records Fest Day 5 w/ Uzi Rash, CCR Headcleaner, Twin Steps, White Fang
6.1 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Redwood Bar w/ The Shrills, Magic Trash
6.2 – Tempe, AZ @ Meat Market Garment Factory w/ A Ryan Wong (Ex Reatards, Destruction Unit, ETC) band!
6.3 – Las Cruces, NM @ Backyard BBQ 1335 Evans Drive
6.4 – Austin, TX @ 29th St. Ballroom
6.5 – Fort Worth, TX @ 1919 Hemphill w/ Hunger Artists, Ralpheene
6.6 – Dallas, TX @ TBA
6.7 – Memphis, TN @ The Buccaneer w/ Burning Sands, The Vignettes, Modern Convenience
6.8 – Nashville, TN @ The End w/ Useless Eaters, Western Meds
6.9 – Carbondale, IL @ The Lost Cross w/ The Hakks, These Magnificent Tapeworms
6.29 – Madison, WI @ Mickey’s Tavern w/ Outer Spacist, The Vignettes
6.30 – Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s for Firecracker 500 Festival!
7.12 – Milwaukee, WI @ Quarters w/ The Man
7.13 – Chicago, IL @ The Burlington w/ The Man
7.15 – Fort Wayne, IN @ The Brass Rail w/ The Slow Pokes, No Bails)