You'd think after a band supporter offered to let them crash at his place after a show in the Ohio suburbs, only to have that same supporter pull guns out on them after they got to his house, the guys in Honah Lee would be a bit shaken by the memory, but no. They just laugh it off as each one interjects his own take on what happened, taking it in stride as if it's nothing more than a normal night on tour, or an epic prank pulled on them by a friend. This is how the entire interview went, as if the fun, high energy, straight-up pop-punk rock-n-roll of the music they play onstage is a reflection of their determination to have a good time above all else.
With a sound reminiscent of early Green Day, the Trenton, N.J., natives formed Honah Lee in 2008 with Tim, guitar and lead vocals; Jim, bass guitar; Dim, lead guitar; and Tony on drums, reminding me of the Kevin Smith movie Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and the joke about Justice's name not matching the rhyme scheme. When I told them this, they laughed and swore the names were real and the rhyming was just a fluke.
Well on their way to a national stage, they opened for the Foxboro Hot Tubs, a side project band consisting of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool of Green Day, and Kevin Preston of Prima Donna at the famed New York night club Don Hill's in the spring of 2010. They've also played a live show on the Philadelphia area radio station Radio 104.5 Live at Five for an audience of approximately three million people, as well as recently headlined the New Jersey Art All Night festival in June. Added to their growing list of credits is a song in the trailer of the upcoming Lionsgate film Mancation. Honah Lee is everywhere these days, which makes their tour through the Midwest in October all the more exciting.
In addition to music, Honah Lee's drummer, Tony, also does visual arts and film, and as a writer, I always love a good story. So the band explained to me the story behind the recently released music video for their song "Girls." According to Tim:
Tony had just finished working on Jeff Stewart, the director's, new movie the Velvet Elvis and we had discussed that in return he would shoot our next video. Jeff came out to our local watering hole, the Mill Hill Basement, in Trenton, N.J., to catch a live set and get an idea of what it is we do. Our songs are pretty catchy and we tend to have a large female audience. On this particular night we were headlining and the two bands before us were aggressive punk bands, not the ladies cup of tea. So they all hung out at the upstairs bar and drank their asses off waiting for Honah Lee. So Jeff walks in as our set starts and witnesses this eruption of drunken energy. The place was packed and the first four rows of people were all girls, moshing and throwing beers everywhere! It was pretty out of control! The funniest part was all these tough punk guys standing in the back, arms folded, with looks on their faces like, 'I ain't fuckin with that!' The women owned that room! So Jeff decided that night that was what he wanted to capture. As soon as Jeff said that I was like, 'We have the perfect song for that video!', and the rest is history!!
So Jeff Stewart, award-winning music video director and producer, created a Honah Lee-inspired version of Girls Gone Wild.
It's been a little over a year since the release of their album Life Won't Let Me, through GTG Records, so they're spending the next two months in the studio recording the next album before their upcoming tour. Expect to hear a lot of buzz about Honah Lee in the next year.
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