A Conversation with Dave Hause

Photo Courtesy of New Frontier Touring

Do you like music that is equal parts Heartland Punk, Americana, and Folk? Do you enjoy when that music is made by a genuine person who has a sincere love for his craft? If so, you will appreciate the music of Dave Hause.

Dave is a veteran of the music industry, who has played with many bands, before starting his solo project nearly a decade ago. It was my pleasure to sit down and speak with him. I already admire Dave as a musician, now I also admire him as a person.

Below, amongst other things, we discuss his time in the Punk Rock scene, raising kids, and music from his solo career, past present and future. Check out Dave’s music here. If you dig what you are hearing, learn more about Dave here.

Joe:
What have you been up to the last year considering the circumstances of the world?

Dave:
We got cut short on our touring in March. Most of what I have been doing is raising our twin toddlers. My wife and I had identical twin boys in 2019. We have been super focused on them. A couple months into the pandemic, my brother Tim and I decided to start recording covers of Patty Griffin songs as well as Paddy from the Dillinger Four. We ended up with this cool two EP thing, on one vinyl, called Patty/Paddy. We put that out in the fall on our own label. Then, suddenly in January, we started writing songs like crazy. In last month we have amassed 13 finished songs, with about 20 more half baked songs to finish. It’s been a lot of raising kids, a lot of song writing, a lot of staying out of potentially dangerous situations.

Joe:
Sounds like you managed to keep yourself busy.

Dave:
Yeah. I’m very busy. Busier than I would like to be. I’d like to be spending a little more time with my kids. But you know I got to work. I’ve done some live streams and stuff like that. Some various celebrations of my first record. It turned ten years old this past month.

Joe:
How did you come up with the idea for the Patty/Paddy EPs?

Dave:
It’s an idea I was kicking around for quite a while. I did a cover of Dillinger Four’s “Minimum Wage Is a Gateway Drug,” randomly on YouTube, years ago. Somebody commented saying “you should make a whole record like this.” I thought, that’s a good idea. Typically, you get comments from people and they are terrible ideas. But that was a really good one. It was something I would actually do. I love Dillinger Four and I particularly love Paddy’s lyrics. Then the thought occurred to me, who else would I do this with. What other artist? It really had to be someone else specific. For me to go and cover someone like The Clash or Bruce Springsteen…I mean I kind of already sound like that or have a similar approach. You kind of have to go outside the lane you have already created, if you are going to make a covers album. I think, at least to hold my own interest. Those are two song writers I really love. I was flirting with the idea, and then of course the pandemic shut everything down. That gave me time to work on it by slowly chipping away and feeling my way around. My manager said, “you should put this out. Its really good and you’re probably the only person on earth that loves these two very different song writers this much. You won’t find another person who loves them the way you do.” He really encouraged the uniqueness of that. He said people love uniqueness. They love a perspective that they don’t get anywhere else and you can offer that by putting this out. I said okay that’s a really interesting way of looking at it, lets do it. People seem to really dig it, which was exciting cause I really dug it. I love those songs and feel like we were really disciplined about trying to do our best. So its nice when people like them.

Joe:
I thought you really made them your own. To be honest, I know of both artists, but I don’t know them intimately. I listened to both Eps before reading about them. So, originally, I had no idea that they were covers.

Dave:
That’s great. That door of discovery over the years. How many times have we all heard a song and gone, “Oh! I didn’t even know that was a cover.” If you check a little bit into it and find another artist, that is such a gift you can give to people. If I can be the doorway for you to find these artists that mean so much to me… its sort of a cool passing of the torch. Its something great that we can do as singer and songwriters.

Joe:
You seem to really love both artists you covered. I know if it was me and it was an artist I really loved; I would have trouble narrowing it down to five songs. How did you decide which ones to cover?

Dave:
It was tough. Some of it boiled down just to what works with my voice. What way can we re-imagine these that feels the most compelling. I have a list over here with all the other songs by them that I wanted to do. I just couldn’t finish them or find a way through on them. It was trial and error. A lot of little voice notes of trying it and then sending it to my brother Tim. Then Tim going, this one feels better or this one feels more cohesive or this one feels more you. There was a list of ways that we kind of got through the fog on it. With each one, it was a little bit different. There were some that just came really naturally. Really just came down to trial and error.

Joe:
You mentioned before that it was the 10th anniversary of your first album, Resolutions. How would you say you have grown or changed as a song writer since then?

Dave:
Yeah, the anniversary was maybe three weeks ago. In regard to the album [Resolutions], I was just kind of trying things on that album. To try things, put them out, and then have it work. Which is basically, do you connect with people? That was encouraging. It sort of prompts you to try more and be more willing to share. Be more vulnerable in the songs and be more adventurous in the way that you deliver them. I guess that’s sort of it. I’m more open to it all. I guess I’m less worried than I was then. On the one hand, I was being adventurous with that solo record because I had a band. I had another lane I could work in. Then having those be the ones that kind of cut through more, to some degree, than the band. I sort of switched lanes. That has allowed me to be more open to it all, especially now. We are writing songs and there are so many different types of songs. I guess over time, I’m fine if we accidently make more of a Rock record or accidently make more of a mellow record. Or have a weird song or two. Or have a song that maybe doesn’t work. you know? I’m okay with that. That’s fine, not every painting is going to sell. It more about creating a longer narrative. A body of work that people can count on.

Joe:
How do you think your years in the Punk Rock scene has influenced your approach to your solo music?

Dave:
Punk Rock is a weird subculture. In the same way that the church offers that. It offers you an alternative to whatever the mainstream culture is perceived to be. It gave me some courage. I still struggle with imposter syndrome. Feeling like I’m not good enough at songwriting or playing guitar or singing to do it as a quote-on-quote job. In Punk Rock, there was this fierceness and veracity to embrace what is unique and do it. If you have to do it yourself, do it yourself and let people come to it. Those lessons kind of inform my creativity and my approach to things to this day. If you spend time in any sect, it gets in your blood in a way. For me, that’s also evangelical Christianity. I don’t subscribe to it, but I was raised that way. It just sticks and you can never quite get it all the way out. I certainly don’t plan to cut a mohawk anytime soon but there is a lot of that that is in my nature.

Joe:
I think it really comes through in your music. That you have sort of a unique voice in the realm of the music that you are creating.

Dave:
Thanks man. I’m glad that comes through.

Joe:
I love the Lawrence Arms and Alkaline Trio. Naturally, I love The Falcon, which both Dan Andriano [Alkaline Trio] and Brendan Kelly [Lawrence Arms] are in together. I realized when preparing for this interview, you joined The Falcon for their 2nd Album. What was that like?

Dave:
That was fun. It was weird. I’ve been friends with those guys for a long time, since The Loved Ones days. And even before The Loved Ones days, with Alkaline Trio, when I was working for the Bouncing Souls. They played together and I got to know Matt and Dan. I knew that The Falcon was something that Brendan had done. I never even heard it. I saw him on Twitter one day saying, “hey, were going to get the Falcon back together.” If your at least as famous as…I forget what it was he even said. He made some smart remark about being semi-famous, would you like to play second guitar in the falcon. I texted him and said “hey, do you need a guitar player?” He [Brenden] said, “I was joking but do you really want to do it?” I said, “Well I’ve never even heard it, but if its you Dan and Neal, it sounds like fun. And I got nothing really going on.”

There was a show that was booked for them to maybe headline The Metro, I mean it was a pretty big show. It was a couple months out. I thought, alright I could learn this. I remember turning it out and thinking, “Is this ska? What is this music that you guys made?” I was familiar with the Lawrence Arms and Alkaline Trio. I had forgotten those guys had come from Ska. So Dan asked me, “Are you really going to join The Falcon?” I told him, “I guess so.” I remember I got to the show. I was still taking drugs and drinking back then. I had learned all the songs and they had laughed at how prepared I was when I showed up for rehearsal. We were hanging backstage, there was a long ten band bill to celebrate the record label they were on. I took mushrooms with Brendan. I did the first show on mushrooms, which is not a great idea. We had so much fun that he started writing a record, that record, Gather Up the Chaps maybe a couple weeks later. They recorded a lot of it without me. The basic tracks anyway.

Over a couple years, I did a lot of driving. I was living in California, but I had stuff in Philly. I would take these long drives and bring back things back. A bunch of my books, for example. So, I had a bunch of my belongings and drove from Philly to Chicago. I laid all the guitars down in a couple days and then drove home. We ended up playing 30 shows or something for the release of that record. It was way more than I thought it was and it was fun. I don’t know if Brendan wants to do more or if we will ever have the time to do more. I mean now everybody has kids and other endeavors. I can’t imagine we could get together enough to do it.

Joe:
Well, I know I would certainly love to hear another one sometime in the future.

Dave:
Maybe we could make a record and not play shows. That would be a lot easier. Who knows? I wrote one song for it and played a lot of weird lead guitar and sang a lot on it.

Joe:
Is the one you wrote for the album, the one you sung lead vocals on?

Dave:
Yeah, its called “If Dave Did It.” I wrote a couple more sort of outrageous Punk Rock songs and they are just sitting around. Maybe they could go on a Falcon record. Otherwise, I don’t know what to do with them. They are sort of screamy and bizarre.

Joe:
What do you miss most about touring? What do you not miss?

Dave:
Honestly, the food. Oddly enough, getting new kinds of food everywhere. Right now. I mean it changes day to day and week to week. Were about to get to a year since our last show. I really miss being in Europe. There are certain things about it that I don’t miss. I really toured hard for a long time. This break has been hard financially, I mean this whole time in American history has been. It been kind of a blessing for my family, I’ve been with my kids the whole time. Watching them develop has been great. I don’t miss the racing around to airports, you get over that after a while. It just becomes frustrating. I do miss connecting with the fans. Hearing the words sung back, without any masks or impediments. I really miss that.

Photo Courtesy of New Frontier Touring

Joe:
I saw you on tour with Bad Religion and Against Me. I think maybe you were on tour for your second album or maybe it was between the second and the third.

Dave:
We had just recorded the third one and it came out a couple months later. Yeah…I had Resolutions and Devour out at the time. Where did you see the show?

Joe:
At The Paramount, out on Long Island. We chatted about Bad religion for a few minutes and you signed my record.

Dave:
Yeah, Bad Religion is great.

Joe:
This is one question that we ask everybody. Do you collect records, CDs, cassettes? Or do you just enjoy music digitally?

Dave:
I listen digitally. Mostly because I had a sizable collection of all that, Vinyl, CDs. Then I got divorced. It put me on the run. I do not mean in a criminal sense (laughs). I just mean that I started touring and moving around a lot. I didn’t know where I was going to land. It’s cumbersome, those collections. Collections of anything are cumbersome. So, I don’t anymore and its kind of freeing. Now that I’m settled with my wife and kids, I could see getting back into it. But then I would just sort of lament the records I don’t have anymore. I had so many records. I just started staying light on my feet. I am very appreciative of the fact that it does exist. It helps us. The purchase of our albums is a big part of how we stay afloat.

Joe:
Are there any albums that are of personal significance to you?

Dave:
I still have a couple albums that really spoke to me as a kid. A copy of Thriller, The Hooters Nervous Night, Heart’s Self Titled record, Reckless by Bryan Adams, Lionel Richie’s Dancing on the Ceiling, and a Christopher Cross record. These are all bizarre, I know. These are the records I would sit and stare at as a little boy. They were how I became super in love with music of my own. My parent’s records, I listened to as well. I loved a lot of their music, which has become my music too. Bob Dylan and things like that.

Joe:
What do we have to look forward to in the future? I know you said you were working on a lot of new songs.

Dave:
Yeah, you can look forward to a lot of new songs. As long as we stay healthy and can get them recorded and get them out. That’s the plan. (Smith, Dave’s adorable son, came to hang out with us for a few minutes). For whatever reason we as humans look at things in ten-year spans and say alright

What’s the next ten year going to bring? I have a lot of songs that I didn’t put out. There was a big gap between Devour and Bury Me in Philly. To be succinct, it was basically me fighting with my then manager to be able to do what I wanted to do. They were saying “wait, wait, wait, keep writing, keep writing.” I knew what I wanted to put out. It was mostly what Bury Me in Philly became. That’s not a mistake I’m going to make again.

In the period of 2014, 2015 and most of 2016, I didn’t put music out. I was touring a lot and I was able to keep going. I could have put out a record a year, for those 3 years, easily. I’m going back through and cataloging all these ideas, and lyrics and songs and melodies. I’m like, “dammit, I should have put those out.” I think looking forward, looking at my 40’s, looking at the next ten years, the plan is to but them out on our own label, my brother and I. The plan is to get these songs done and put them out. Be more prolific and put out records of his where the songs are a little bit more of his footprint. Sort of just embrace that it’s a family business, a little niche. Really do that and not be worried about some of the things I was worried about on the first four records. Do we have a single? All the stuff is not really what people care about. Its, Do you have a song that you like? Does it connect with people? That’s the whole thing. That’s the game I’m playing. I want to play it more often.

Interested in learning more about the work of Dave Hause? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full archives of Records, Roots & Ramblings, by Joe O’Brien, here: https://vinylwritermusic.com/records-roots-ramblings-archives/

Published by Joe O'Brien

Joe has always been a huge music fan. Growing up on Long Island, NY, USA, Joe did chores and dumpster dove for bottles with his best friend Andrew to trade bottles for money to buy vinyl. Joe is a Registered Nurse in the ER by day, and a life-long music lover by night. Having been an avid consumer of all things music since he was a child, Joe’s diverse collection of over 3,000 vinyl albums, plus several hundred tapes and CDs, tells the story of a man who simply loves music. Joe’s goal is to write about what he is most passionate about and share new and exciting music. Joe lives on Long Island, NY with his beloved dog Scarlett.

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