It's a cold Boston Saturday in November and the four members of The Hush Sound are on a mission to find a Whole Foods with a hot bar. Once it's been decided that drummer Darren Wilson was incorrect in his belief that the closest store was lacking this feature, he, along with the rest of the group -- which includes vocalist and pianist Greta Salpeter, bassist Chris Faller (styling a Bill Cosby-esqe sweater), and vocalist and guitarist Bob Morris (who is attempting to protect every inch of his body from the cold) -- troop onward. Fans planning on attending the band's sold-out show that night at T.T. The Bear's could easily walk by and not look twice at the ragtag individuals passing them by.
It's been about three-and-a-half years since The Hush Sound first decided to take a break, but it seems as though no time has passed for the quartet. The band began back when high school friends Greta and Bob began writing together. Chris and Darren met in concert band at another high school and soon after formed a band in which Chris first switched from drummer to bassist, the position he continues to play today. When the four came together, they became The Hush Sound, and have -- to a certain extent - been ever since.
But starting something successful so young can take its toll, and a few years ago, they decided to take a break to try other bands, other jobs, other places, and for Darren, an exploration of his interest in international relations as a student at Loyola University Chicago. Yet the music called, and after a conversation which Darren describes as something like "Hey, let's play music again," the band re-formed and hit the road.
So here they are, on a mini-tour to get back in the swing of things, and spending yet another night on the road in search of the comfort of warm prepared foods. In the store, Chris seeks out Greta's sage advice on which avocado feels riper, while Darren explains that the band is currently putting butter in their coffee as part of a new diet and marvels at the peaceful nature of the woman at checkout. Bob asks for it to be written that the band stole everything they bought in order to build street cred. After so many years, though, this is just a typical Saturday night. As Chris explains, their relationship is very "sibling-like".
"It's cool 'cause we've seen the best and the worst of all of us," says Chris. The group then goes on to recall such touring memories as Bob throwing up out of the window, accidentally leaving Darren behind in another state, and Greta tripping over a monitor on stage. They may not have been pleasant at the time, but all memories are remembered fondly now.
While some things never change, others do, and for the better. As the band begins to dip back into the writing process, Greta says she can see their positive growth in this area.
"Early on, it felt very much with every album like it was a child, and we all wanted to raise it slightly differently, and now it's almost like the child has taken on a life of its own, and we are all respecting that," says the singer. As you get older, it's a little less about your own perspective, and a little more about letting an object freely shape itself."
Despite their upbeat attitudes, a journey back to the venue shows the wear and tear this kind of life has on the musicians. Packed into a small room filled with not only themselves and their gear but also members of the opening acts and their gear, the band quiets down before their performance. After getting only three hours of sleep the night before and putting on a show earlier that day, Darren shuts his eyes for a minute while next to him Greta and Chris work away quietly and the band's tour manager packs up his "office" for the next city.
Bob is the most energized, putting on several layers of coats to go on stage with the opening act and surprise the crowd and chatting away about his dog, basketball, and other random thoughts. When the topic of Justin Bieber comes up, the red-headed whirlwind pauses for a moment, then says "I envy his money... I don't envy his life."
It may not be the glamorous rock- or pop-star world many dream about -- no, this is the real world, where you may end up changing your pants in a room filled with a dozen other people -- but The Hush Sound like that their eclectic tastes and backgrounds bring together parents and their kids, and that their particular brand of music is "inoffensive" and "non-polarizing", as Chris and Darren put it earlier.
"I feel like we're obscure enough that if someone seeks out our music, it's because they like it," says Greta. "We're just below the level where people want to bash you because they feel that your success is undeserved."
Finally it's time for the group to hit the stage for a crowd filled with characters, and as Darren requests a backrub from Greta and the others laugh at the odd expressions crossing his face during the experience, an interaction with the band earlier that day comes to mind:
Bob: We're not trying to be super cool.
Greta: We don't have time.
Chris: We're a bunch of weirdos, and we attract the weirdos, and it feels good. We make weird music for weirdos.
Greta: By weirdos, for weirdos.
As the concert gets going, some audience members dance spastically and Greta quotes a joke from a 1960s edition of Playboy, and it becomes clear that for this group of weirdos, this is the coolest place to be. It may not be an easy life to live, but for The Hush Sound, there's no better fit.