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Hail!Hornet’s Erik Larson: The Gun Shy Interview

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Erik Larson
On January 20, heavy metal supergroup Hail!Hornet will be heading out on its inaugural U.S. headlining tour. Actually, it’s their first tour period. And drummer Erik Larson (a member of the now-defunct Alabama Thunderpussy and the very much alive Birds of Prey and Parasytic) is a little nervous.

“We played a show once with Deadbird and Lord By Fire here in Richmond a couple years back, so we’ve played one show — but that was also the first record’s material,” Larson tells Gun Shy Assassin, one of the sponsors of the Hail!Hornet tour which also boasts Zoroaster; find out how to win tickets for the tour and a copy of Hail!Hornet’s Disperse The Curse here.

“You have to understand — I finished tracking my parts on the record over three years ago, so we basically have to get together and re-learn all this shit,” Larson says, adding that the band just started rehearsing together this week at Weedeater’s practice space.

“Hail!Hornet is not your normal group,” the drummer says. “It was something we were doing for fun and it’s just becoming something more than what was initially intended, which I’m stoked on. I love the songs, and love hanging out with the dudes in the band. But it’s a little bit stressful, because we actually have to be a band now. We can’t just show up and make songs.”

Each night of the tour will also include a special screening of Rwake lead-singer C.T.’s critically acclaimed documentary on southern metal, called “Slow Southern Steel.” Just for the record.

Hail!Hornet also boasts Weedeater’s “Dixie” Dave Collins on bass, Beaten Back To Pure’s Vince Burke on guitars, and Sourvein’s T-roy Medlin on vocals.

“It feels weird,” Larson says ahead of the tour. “And almost like I’m cheating people because there’s all these killer bands out there that deserve an opportunity like this, and somehow, I lucked into it. I’m sure after one or two shows, we’ll have it down, but more than likely, that first show, we’re all going to be looking at each other like, ‘What the fuck is going on?’ I hope that doesn’t happen. But people are going to be getting drunk while we’re playing.”

During my conversation, I learned a lot about Larson. He was very open with me. For one, he loves music.

“I’m 39 and have a 13-foot wall with 20,000 LPs, 15,000 7-inches, 5,000 CDs — we’re audiophiles here at my house, with everything from Dave Brubek to the Cro-Mags,” he says.

He’s also getting into satellite radio, but avoids the metal channels. They may play some crabcore.

“It’s in my kitchen and it’s in my van,” Larson tells me, when I ask him if he’s a Howard Stern fan, like myself. “When I’m driving, I’m not really trying to hear a bunch of diatribes about shit, and when I’m in the kitchen, I just wanna have some cool tunes going on while I’m cooking with the family.”

Larson tells me Hail!Hornet have not “thought of doing another record” yet. But time will tell if another springs forth.

“Now that we have the opportunity to be a band, who knows?,” asks Larson. “Maybe this tour will start opening some doors and we actually will be a band.”

Larson tells me that despite practicing in Weedeater’s rehearsal space this week, he’s not a weed man.

“I’m a drunk,” he says. “I drink bourbon every day. I just don’t do that. I do bourbon. There’s a song on the new album called ‘Beast of Bourbon.’ That’s awesome. I consider myself a bourbon dog. I will have a half gallon of Evan Williams sitting by my side in the van, next to the driver’s seat, every day. I drink every day. I am not kidding with you at all. That is what will happen, and you will see it when you come out. I need my whiskey every day or else I can’t go to sleep, I shake in the morning. I am an alcoholic. I drink every day. That’s sad. And I know it.”

Larson tells me that Parasytic are working on a new record, “but every band says that. Our bass player is having a baby in March, so I will be laughing and pointing at him for about six months, and hopefully we’ll play some shows.”

He is also active with a band called The Might Could who are signed to Small Stone Records. Larson is also currently finishing his third solo album, and worked on an instrumental record under the name Trails with Tony Aguilar of Totimoshi.”

Then, somehow, our conversation turns to Jerry Sandusky, and, I think this is a good note to end on.

So, Larson…what’s your take on Jerry?

“Oh, he’s gonna get it for sure,” says Larson. “Here’s the thing that’s so stupid about it. He’s not really going to go to jail. He’s either gonna shoot himself in the face…he’s like 60-something-years old. We all get sentenced to go to jail. And he’s gonna be like, ‘What are my choices? Do I go to jail and get butt-raped the rest of my life and destroyed because I’m a fucking piece of shit, or shoot myself in the face and just go and die?’ He’s gonna shoot himself in the face. I guaran-fucking-tee it. He is going to kill himself.”

Go see this tour when it comes to your town. Gun Shy is sponsoring it and Erik is a cool dude who will party with you before the show. Rock out. Find all the tour’s dates here.