Huggy Bear / Taking the Rough with the Smooch

Something had to give, so a bunch of tasks, commitments, and extras broke, including writing here. Writing about influential albums, spurred by the playful prodding of an old friend, was fun. I'm getting back to it now.

Day 5. Influential albums.

Huggy Bear. Taking the Rough with the Smooch.
Released 1993

Huggy Bear's album Taking the Rough with the Smooch - the songs average about 2 minutes. Chaotic, catchy, noisy, full of attitude. British. They were lumped in with the riot grrrl scene. I mostly missed experiencing riot grrrl firsthand. I just didn't have access to the shows. All I had were a couple records.

Huggy Bear was a bridge for me. They were a co-ed band. Their rawness made making music possible for me. I went from listening to punk and hardcore to finally finding myself in a band. Prior to finding the frenetic sounds of Taking the Rough with the Smooch, most bands I encountered were piloted by men only. Some of those bands included friends - good guys, just no women.

There were a few exceptions. A very, very few. Even at ABC No Rio, a forcefully inclusive show space, I rarely saw women musicians. The Girly Men were one band with women (a three piece with two or three women... can anyone speak to this band?). Timmy was another NYC/NJ band with a female bassist. I saw some crusty punk bands with women musicians or singers at ABC. An female acquaintance did sound at ABC. Mostly, the women were in the audience.

There are some obvious big name exceptions - Liz Phair, Courtney Love, PJ Harvey, the venerable Kim Gordon, and certainly many others. However, they were not peers. I was looking for other women who I'd stare into their eyes while their spit and sweat flew over their instruments and directly onto me.

And vice versa.

Eventually, it happened. I picked up a guitar in a friend's basement, plugged in, and shrieked into the microphone. Despite a year of guitar lessons as 13 year old, I didn't know how to tune or play a guitar. Simply, I was pissed and made noise.

I had two friends (men) who played instruments, actually played, in fact, one played acoustic guitar really well. Ranging from very pretty, very sweet to very intense stuff. Anyway, they liked me. I liked them. They liked that I didn't know how to play. We spent days and days in the basement or garage making noise. I played in many bands with those guys. Some lasted a month, some lasted years. ISCKYA and TENS Unit were the first two bands, inspired by that raw girl/boy revolutionary spirit of Huggy Bear.

Right now, I'm listening to my favorite track, "Herjazz". I have goosebumps.