Those who revere street punk look to the pure, unadulterated music of the Hanover Saints
Believe it or not, punk rock is more than the Sum 41 of its parts. In truth, most of today’s Johnny-Rotten-come-latelys have the style, but not the substance, of what punk rock is supposed to be about. Punk started out as something deeper and rootsier; something that came from the streets. That’s what Brian Faucett, vocalist and guitarist for local street-punk band the Hanover Saints, says his band is all about.
Faucett—who is joined in the band by brothers bassist Sean Hills and guitarist Patrick Hills, and drummer Wyman Harrell—explained that while his band’s sound encompasses hardcore punk and straight-up rock ’n’ roll, the Saints primarily exhibit a street-punk sound, as well as the genre’s core values.
“Street punk is where the attitude comes from the streets,” Faucett said. “It’s the ethics, the morals.” Any discussion of street-punk ethics must travel back to punk rock’s start in the 1970s, when bands eschewed the production and musical excesses of the mainstream rock music of that era and strove to take things back to a much simpler, basic approach.
“There’s definitely a more do-it-yourself ethic [to street punk],” Faucett said. “I think punk music encompasses a feeling and not just the music itself. It’s the attitude and soul.”
Plenty of both can be heard on the Hanover Saints’ new CD, Murdertown. Though Faucett and Harrell started playing together back in 2001, the band really found its stride a couple years ago with the current lineup. The Saints released one record on Faucett’s own label before last year’s Blood, Guts & Glory on Facedown Records. Now they’re back with a new release on a new label, GMM Records, run by Anti Heros singer Mark Noah.
It’s small wonder that Noah heard something he liked in the Hanover Saints’ music. Not only does the group have strong, melodic punk songs, but the band also has honed its sound by performing more than 400 shows.
However, that pace has slowed a bit. “I had a kid and Wyman had to get a job and support his family,” Faucett said. “And with gas prices being the way they are and not being able to get good guarantees a lot of times, it really affects [touring] a lot.”
Murdertown was recorded at the Hangar here in Sacramento and was produced by Mike Erickson and engineered by Eric Broyhill, the same team who helped put together Blood, Guts & Glory. Even with that comfort zone, there were some stressful moments during the recording process, but Faucett believes that’s a good thing.
“Where there’s a lot of yelling or frustration, that seems to produce a good record,” he said. “I’ve seen videos of the Clash where they’re throwing chairs. It wasn’t that bad, but there was always some sort of tense thing, which in my opinion, brings out a good record.”
“It’s definitely the best sounding album we’ve put out,” Sean agreed. “If you listen to the Hanover Saints from album to album you’ll notice an increased production value on each CD. This is definitely the best one production-wise and sound-wise.”
Murdertown contains a few surprises. For the first time, the band steps out and performs an acoustic song—a cover of “Bad Man!” by Cockney Rejects. There’s also a cover of 7Seconds’ “Young ’Til I Die.”
Faucett explained that that song in particular, written by good friend Kevin Seconds, just summed up a feeling for him. “It’s not my favorite 7Seconds song, but I think it wrapped up an attitude for me that I’m going to keep doing what I do,” he said. “I may not be that successful, but I’m still having a good time doing it. That song is still one of the most important songs live; just to see Kevin still doing it at this age. The song encompasses a lot of positive things.”
So do the Hanover Saints—especially the real essence of punk rock.