For a brief moment in their career, the Gainesville, Fla. band Hot Water Music was in both categories.
Chuck Ragan (vocals/guitar), Chris Wollard (vocals/guitars), George Rebelo (drums) and Jason Black (bass) broke up early in their career at Hot Water Music, but found that the decision wasn’t the right one for them personally or musically.
“We broke up due to a lot of work without any results,” Jason Black told me from his cell phone in Providence RI at sound check. “We all just got tired of it. So we broke up, took some time to reevaluate music and ourselves to see what we were going to do.”
Early in any band’s livelihood, the smallest things can be detrimental to its future. There is a process of sorting out the new role of being musicians together on a daily basis.
Now it has been 10 years since Hot Water Music began as a band and they have just released their third album on Epitaph Records entitled The New What Next. This is their tenth release overall.
After 10 years as an independent band, some may wonder if the enthusiasm is still there and where they find the creativity to keep going back into the studio. But for Hot Water Music, it is only a matter of progression.
“I think we are ahead of the game right now,” Black told me. “As long as we can keep on going into the studio and keep on doing something different and progressive then we will always have a passion and drive in this band.”
That progression and passion all started back in 2001 when they signed to indie mega label Epitaph Records and HWM released A Fight and a Crash.
“Signing with Epitaph gave us a sense of security,” Black Explained. However minimal, we felt we had a label that push us as a band and push our releases until they can’t anymore. As a band I feel that gives us some balance.”
In 2002, HWM released Caution, an album that pushed the band further to the forefront of rock music. They were getting rave reviews from fans and critics world wide with their second release under the Epitaph umbrella.
Now, with a little more pressure to produce another exciting gem of music, Hot Water Music has released The New What Next and any fan can tell you they hear a new side of the band with one of their most diverse releases to date.
“With this new album we had a lot more time to record so that made everything easier. We weren’t rushed to meet a release date or tour. That was the most important part of recording,” Black explained.
With a new album will come more touring. The band has been on and off the road for months at a time since the release of this album supporting it the best they can.
After so many shows over so many years, touring must seem like a piece of cake. But it never gets easy. So how does HWM find the strength to keep on getting in the van?
“The 23 hours you are off stage pretty much suck,” Black said with a laugh. “But once you go on stage and you see all the fans those 23 hours are worth it just for that one hour.
“Sure there are tough times. You are eating strange food everyday, you are sleeping in strange places and occasionally see a friendly face, but you miss home a lot, especially your own bed.”
So why do they keep on doing it? Is that one hour worth all the downsides of touring?
“Well yeah it is. I was thinking the other day, if we didn’t have the shows to look forward to, we would be just driving across America like a truck driver. Now when I see a truck driver I can kind of relate.
“Only he doesn’t have a show to go to or fans that scream and sing back to you. That is the end result. That is what makes it all worth it. The fans, if they didn’t buy the CDs or come to the shows or wear the shirts it would be meaningless. The fans are the ones that got us here and we can never forget that.”