Just underneath the radar of trends in rock music, Zion, Ill.’s Local H has survived rock grunge, nu-metal, emo and a corporate merger that unexpectedly left them bereft of a major label. While most bands from that era have suffered similar fates and were never to be heard from again, save for the occasional Ribfest gig, Local H strived on.
The band’s 2004 release “Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles?” is still an underappreciated gem and this year’s “12 Angry Months,” a year-long look into the anatomy of a breakup, shows the duo still very much in their prime.
Between soundcheck and showtime at a tour stop in Grand Rapids, Mich., singer/guitarist Scott Lucas took the time for a quick Q&A about the new album, his sometimes poignantly direct lyrics and a song satirizing the Bush administration, “President Forever,” that was written during the president’s first term.
NUVO: “12 Angry Months” is a concept album by design. Do each of the 12 songs represent a month or is that just a convenient title?
Lucas: The record definitely has an arc. The songs aren’t just placed randomly. The first song is the first song and the last one is sort of an acceptance.
NUVO: Is everything on the record from your personal experience?
Lucas: The germ of it was personal but then it became this thing where I would examine every facet of a breakup and then write a song about it. Like, the gossip, and everyone talking, that would become a song. Or a song about meeting the girl’s new boyfriend. I sort of made a list and tried to tackle everything.
NUVO: What was the reason for the four-year gap in studio albums between “PJ Soles” and “12 Angry Months”?
Lucas: We just recorded the thing piecemeal. If it had been done like a regular record, where you check in and record in a month, it probably would have come out a couple years ago. We don’t have the money to lock down a studio anymore, so we’ll hit the road, get the money and go back into a studio to work on it some more. So that drags the recording process out, but we fund everything ourselves.
NUVO: Are you as big of a smartass in person as you are on the records?
NUVO: With the election coming up, are you guys keeping “President Forever” (from 2003’s “No Fun EP”) in the live rotation?
Lucas: Hopefully we won’t have to play that song anymore in a couple weeks.
NUVO: So if Obama wins, you’ll be able to retire it?