A hard day’s work
No Gods, No Girlfriends
No Gods, No Girlfriends is Josh Hageman’s solo project. Hageman is the veritable heartbeat of Reno’s bourgeoning all-ages scene, the drummer for some of its most vital sounds, including the pop punk of Pink Black, the political hardcore of Bafabegiya and the artier rock of Disconnect. His pseudonym is a play on the popular anarchist phrase “no gods, no masters,” associated with early birth-control advocate Margaret Sanger, as well as the legendary crust punk band Amebix.
Hageman, a lo-fi “demo warrior,” played all the instruments (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, vocals) for the home-recorded, self-released, full-length CD No Gods, No Girlfriends, an album focused more on songwriting than musical showmanship.
Though currently in high demand as a drummer, he started out as a guitar player and grabbed attention in the noisy, tricky This Computer Kills, a band that, though long broken up, retains a cult following. Hageman recalls meeting fans from as far away as North Carolina with tattoos of the band’s record cover.
As a songwriter, he honed his chops writing complex, technical hardcore. “After playing so much noodly stuff, and screaming and shouting, I wanted to write some songs with two chords that I can just pick up a guitar and play,” he says. “It took me a long time to get there.”
The result is a batch of songs that combines punk energy with sophisticated songwriting. It’s the sound of a guy from a bunch of great bands who’s been thoroughly absorbed in an even better record collection. One surprise of the record, considering Hageman’s reputation as a drummer and a guitar player, is how great the bass playing is. He has a low-end approach that perfectly serves the songs.
“I have a rich and fruitful history, quite an arsenal of bands,” says Hageman. He’s joking, but it’s true. Even before This Computer Kills, he played in the surfy punk band The Rejected with Mark Norris of The Juvinals and Nick Delehanty of The Spotlight Syndicate. Hageman took up the drums for The Rejected because they didn’t know any drummers. He joined Norris in two other bands, The Shook-Ups and Dick Bob and The Nobs. He played guitar in the awesome sonic attack of Tate-LaBianca, who were about the best band in Reno for a while, had a brief stint in piratecore favorites The Scurvy Bastards and was the drummer for the fist-in-the-air rock of the Reno music supergroup The Lords of Rad Success.
He’s currently in a mere three full-time touring bands: Bafabegiya, Disconnect and Pink Black. He’s also in rehearsals for a new project with his most appealing sonic foil, Ty “Fighter” Williams (also of Disconnect, Pink Black and formerly of Tate-LaBianca) to be called The Young Lions.
The No Gods, No Girlfriends repertoire includes tributes to two key predecessors. A cover of The Replacements’ “Androgynous” transcribes that atypical piano ballad to the sort of rollicking guitar song one normally associates with that band and the aptly named “This One Sounds Like The Pixies” is an ode to making out while listening to the titular band.
Other songs range from the cheekily obsessive “Thrift Store Song” to the morbidly catchy “Cemetery Song.” The rousing “Battle Song” encapsulates Hageman’s agenda: “Hey brother, let’s quit our jobs and start 10,000 bands, just you and me and the four-track and the guitars in our hands.”