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M897 Artist Spotlight: April 2014

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THE HARD LESSONS

The Hard Lessons Are In It For Life

Detroit rockers rock the long haul

Story by LCC Radio Staff Reporter Karen Hopper

The Hard LessonsThey’re something of a cult hit, and they probably don’t mind. “After ten years and being off the radar for a few years, we lost some fairweather fans. And places where we used to get a thousand, maybe we’ll only get a few hundred. But that’s fine. I’d rather do this for the people who know every word,” says Augie Visocchi.

Let’s back up. The Hard Lessons got their start when they were students at MSU. Augie and Korin were dating and they started a band. “I remember having conversations when we put out our first 45. We weren’t really stressing because we might not be doing this six months from now, but it snowballed ... We toured the US within a year, Europe in 2.”

Seven hundred shows, seven years, one marriage, one baby, and ten drummers later (some of them have come back), The Hard Lessons have released their latest album, Start What You Finished.

It’s a throwback, says Augie, to their early work. “We started as aloud, messy garage band,” he says.

And that’s who they are again, following 2009’s Arms Forest, the most “studio” album they’ve ever done.

“We went as far as I wanted to go as far as studio production, and I’m so proud of it.”

So, naturally, “What we wanted to do next was to break everything. Tear our room apart and burn it down.” A back-to-the blues-rock basics approach had them showing up at a friend’s studio and turning the amplifiers up.

It was cathartic.

“Before, it was like ... Our live show was what people talked about.” The new album, Augie says, feels like they’ve finally distilled the Hard Lessons.

“The record sounds like what we sound like live . . . We re-discovered ourselves. Let’s start what we finished.”

One thing that’s not hard to discover about Augie is that he loves being a in a band. He likes screaming audiences, sweaty people, and crowd-surfing. The validation is nice. So becoming a father in 2011 as the Hard Lessons went on hiatus was a culture shock.

“So much of my identity is wrapped up in being the Hard Lessons . . .  When I didn’t have that, it was like, how can I be a husband, a father? I’m the guy from the Hard Lessons! …Having an infant is tough because they don’t talk to you or smile even in the beginning … Not having that definitely took some work.”

What’s it like to be married to your bandmate? Augie says he and Korin have their own bond apart from the band. But as to what she brings musically, it’s clear he counts himself lucky to be paired with her.

“I can honestly say that this band would be nothing without Korin . .  She’s the soul of the band, more talented than the rest of the band could ever be. She was blessed. She was born with this talent. Her voice is Other. But I’m the guy that’s obsessed with the details. I’m the main songwriter. She’s the soul but I guess I’m the heart.”

One of the reasons LCC Radio is so excited to be featuring the Hard Lessons for the month of April is that the band has its own version of an M897 Artist Spotlight.

Every holiday season, the Hard Lessons host a big show the day after Christmas.

“We always put 3, 4 opening bands in our shows. I’m proud to say that if you see the list of bands that open for us, they go on to do great things.”

Just a couple of those bands include Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr and Frontier Ruckus.

As for what’s next for The Hard Lessons, Augie says “We have our mini-tour coming up. Flint, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Lansing ... We have a new set of music, new tee-shirts … We’ll work on music videos for the album. The mission now will be to write more songs more often, and put them out  . . . whether it’s online or on a 45. I think people that like the Hard Lessons are going to be excited for the next couple of years.”

You can listen to the whole record at hardlessons.bandcamp.com or buy it at gangplank records.com.

And! You can catch the Hard Lessons at Mac’s Bar on April 10th, something Augie says is a homecoming--because while they self-identify as Detroiters these days, it’s Mac’s Bar in Lansing where the Hard Lessons first learned how to be a band.

Videos

Joshua Davis, "It Won't Be Long"



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