I just read some heartbreaking news this afternoon. Bryan Harvey (formerly of the bands House of Freaks and Gutterball), his wife, and two young daughters were murdered a few days ago in their home in Richmond, Va. Click here and here for more complete coverage.
In 9th grade, I was introduced to House of Freaks by a neighbor who also introduced me to many other bands during that time. I really liked their first LP Monkey on A Chain Gang. The band consisted of just Harvey on guitar and vocals and Johny Hott on drums. Harvey could sound amazingly like John Lennon at times and I enjoyed the minimalism of the band's sound.
Seven years later, I was booking bands in Harrisonburg, VA. The band was just about to put out their swan song Invisible Jewel. After never quite hitting the big time on major labels, they had moved back to their native Richmond from L.A and put out the record on an independent label that I don't think exists anymore (based near me in Brooklyn, odd). I called Bryan in Richmond and ended up booking House of Freaks.
They were amazing. They brought a real charm, energy, and eccentricity to their live show that wasn't as apparent on their recorded output. Even some people I knew who weren't that excited to see them were quite impressed.
After the show, a number of us hung out with them. They both were super cool. I booked them a few months later and the second show was even better than the first - the small off-campus venue was much more conducive to the band's sound than the huge ballroom on campus.
Just recently, I listened to their debut album with Youthlarge because she had never heard of them. While this band's recorded output doesn't blow me away, they always will hold a special place in my heart for helping me form my burgeoning musical tastes as a kid and for being so damn nice to me as a young adult.
What a fucking waste.
The two House of Freaks photos are from the late 80's.
The Harvey Family
One of my favorite House of Freaks songs - "40 Years" from 1988.
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