Holy White Hounds Talk Riot Fest Denver 2016 (And Enlightenment)

Meredith Schneider

If Holy White Hounds isn’t yet on your radar, they’re about to be. The four-piece rock group from Des Moines, IA is making a name for themselves, touring in support of their debut album Sparkle Sparkle. They played day 3 of Riot Fest Denver 2016, and we met briefly to shoot some band portraits before their 3:15pm set. But we wanted more from them, especially having witnessed their jaw-dropping performance first-hand. So, we met later that day in a stairwell on the festival grounds. Security wouldn’t let photographers back into the artist lounge area, despite the fact that we had sauntered right on in earlier that day to get some shots of the guys in their natural habitat. So we did what we could with what we had. They were hanging out, having just watched Chevy Metal perform, and were down to answer some questions exclusively for the IMPOSE audience.

I’ll admit, not a moment passed when I didn’t think, “What the fuck is this?” Which is great. Not only was James donning a rubber mask that made him look like a grubby old man, but Brenton developed an interesting form of speech while we spoke, making the other guys dissolve into fits of laughter at times. One thing is for sure: Holy White Hounds are charming, ridiculous, and endlessly entertaining. Get a taste of what I mean below.

What’s the first album you remember listening to and who introduced it to you?

Brenton Dean: First album I ever listened to was Toys In The Attic by Aerosmith. My dad had a record player and that’s the album he chose. The first thing I ever remember listening to was a 45 with “96 Tears” by Question Mark and The Mysterians on it that my dad had. I loved it. Holy White Hounds, trademark, go fuck yourself.

Seth Luloff: The first record I ever remember getting my hands on and listening to would be Paranoid by Black Sabbath.

Ambrose Lupercal: I don’t remember the first record, but I remember songs. I remember soundtracks and listen alongs. Like the radio version of The Batman Show.

James Manson: I made my way out to a show in New York City when I was about 10 years young. I saw The Ramones, which prompted me to get their album Rocket to Russia. That was my first album when I was just a young boy.

Brenton: He had a jack russell terrier. His name was Wishbone. There was a TV show about it, I’m pretty sure.

James: Didn’t get any money out of it. Dammit.

Brenton: No reception anyway.

What’s the Holy White Hounds origin story?

Brenton: We actually have not met yet. We’re still waiting to meet each other someday when we’re not playing songs. I might like these guys, I might not. And maybe this band is going nowhere because I might find out one of them believes in damn scientology. This country is going to hell and a hand basket. If I have to say it again, I don’t want to get into politics. This country was made a certain way. It was set up and bought and paid for. Then the goddam popo comes in here with their meatballs and their Irish whiskey. And I’m telling you something else, the trade war is real and it’s fucking my family business out of a business.

How’s Colorado been for you guys?

Brenton: High.

Ambrose: Enlightening.

James: I haven’t been this high in my entire life.

Ambrose: We’re a mile up. It’s really weird to be this high.

Favorite part of the fest so far?

Brenton: My favorite part of the festival so far was this interview. (laughing)

Seth: I can’t say my own band’s set, can I?

Ambrose: I saw Taylor Hawkins just beating the shit out of his guitar player. James stepped in, but he’s an old, frail man. How’s your hip doing, man?

James: It’s not good. It’s really sore. Honestly, I think I have shingles in my hip. (laughing) Also, I met Fat Mike. He has a mohawk and I told him his generation is a bunch of garbage and his band was only good in the 90’s. He punched me square in the teeth. No regrets though, bro!

Craziest tour story?

Brenton: Not on this one, we haven’t been out very long. One time, we were playing this show and there was a water tower. The town we were playing in caught ablaze. The houses were next to each other and they were setting on fire like dominoes. The fire was coming down. The townspeople said, “We need a hero.” So we plugged in our amps, and that water tower shattered like a wine glass on an opera singer’s titty. It busted open and the whole city got wet. But we don’t think it’s from the water tower, it’s because we were playing. All the women got so wet that the whole city became a swamp, but no longer on fire. So it’s like, would you rather die from drowning or burning? If your answer is drowning, then the Holy White Hounds are your heroes.

Ambrose: And that’s how we got Boston.

Did you get in trouble for this shit?

James: He saved a town!

Brenton: I’ll probably get in trouble for this interview. But no, I have never gotten in trouble by saving lives with the wetness of others.

What’s your favorite word?

Brenton: My favorite word? Maybe a name. Rumpelstilskin.

Seth: I have no idea.

Ambrose: AVOCADO.

Seth: That’s a good one.

Brenton: If you say it backwards. (Tries – and fails – to say it backwards. Still laugh-inducing.)

Ambrose: Salacious.

James: I like advantageous. Which rhymes with salacious. Freedom!

Brenton: AMERICAAAA. Be careful. You’ve got to be careful with him man, he’s an old man. Look at him.

James: I’ve been in the war. I’ve seen things.

If your music were an alcoholic beverage, what would it be?

Brenton: It would be a long island iced tea.

Ambrose: I disagree. It would be a Moscow Mule.

James: With a shot of whiskey!

Ambrose: Rubbing alcohol to a desperate drunk.

Brenton: Our music is just something that makes you blow dirty and you get in trouble for no goddam reason. Because really, we’re just out here to share the love. But if your momma catches you listening to our music, you’re grounded.

James: I was also going to say Listerine. A lot of people say we taste like the cream of some young guy, though.

Then the interview deteriorated a bit. Until we got to talking about how beautiful Colorado is. Then, the guys had something else to say.

Brenton: I think that Wyoming has an inferiority complex that they don’t need to have. Because you go up there, and they’re like, “The fucking Tetons are better than the Rockies! They’re more beautiful!” And I’m like, “Guys, I’ve been to the Rockies and not one person talked shit on the Tetons. I don’t know why you guys have to be like, ‘FUCK the Rockies man!'”

Ambrose: We’ve got our own thing, Mt. Des Moines. Right next to the capital. It’s not giant, but it’s like 8 feet. It’s above average. It’s like 7 inches tall. On a good day.

Brenton: Above sea level.

Ambrose: Fact check me on that. You do not spend enough time in Iowa. You need to spend more time in the beautiful capital of Des Moines at Mt. Des Moines.

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Catch the guys on tour with The Pretty Reckless this fall. Sparkle Sparkle is available now.

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