Dynamite Hack

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dynamite hack

1997 – It all began in Austin, Texas where roommates Mark Morris (guitar/vocals), Chad Robinson (bass/vocals) and Mike Vlahakis (guitar) began a musical assault on the “cancerous funk/blues-rock cyst that has imbedded itself into the heart of the ‘Austin soul'”and they named it Dynamite Hack. They drew inspiration from albums by bands including Weezer, Pavement, Radiohead, Jawbreaker, and U2 as they began to form their sound.

It was the disturbingly appealing and contrasting vocal styles of singers Mark and Chad that quickly landed the band regular spot at Austin’s now defunct underground music club Bates’ Motel. It was in the urine and beer soaked creative atmosphere of this local proving-ground that the Hack spent years playing every show they could get their grubby little hands on while learning quite simply: how to rock.

1999 – After a couple years of rocking, Dynamite Hack decided it was time to record an album. An ad in a local paper produced David Eaton who would help the band realize their rock ‘n roll recording dreams. The band also started a label (Woppitzs) so they could rip themselves off later. Suddenly, a few months before recording, Dynamite Hack’s roommate/drummer John left the band. The band’s search for a replacement yielded drummer ChaseTexas.

Armed with a new drummer and producer Eaton, Dynamite Hack strolled into the Firestation Studio at Southwest Texas State University and began to lay down the moronic magic that would become their album Superfast . The finishing touches were put on the tracks at their hero Willie Nelson’s magical studio in Pedernales.

The album took about 2 weeks of studio time but was spread out over 5 months because of the band’s lack of money, time and talent. In late November, while waiting for the CD to be completed at the duplication house, one of the songs (“Boyz in the Hood”) was picked up by local radio.

“A local DJ, Ben Blaze, at 101X in Austin and he kept coming up to us and saying ‘Man, this version of “Boyz-in-the Hood” is great, you’ve got to get it on the radio,’ so I finally gave it to him to play,” remembers young Mark Morris.

Dynamite Hack’s “Boyz in the Hood” was put on “Like It or Spike It,” a local listener request competition. The song sweeps the voting and advanced to the next night. The band rejoiced. The next day, the Hack lost to a local band on “Like It or Spike It.” Downtrodden, the band saw its dreams of rock ‘n roll stardom slipping away. However, in the weeks following, “Boyz in the Hood” became the most requested song on 101Xwhich lasted for nearly 3 months.

The band also met its soulmate in the music business, manager George “The Hitman” Couri, who presented the band with an offer they couldn’t refuse. Soon thereafter the song went to 94.5 The Edge in Dallas, gaining an equally huge response from listeners.

The band soon began to receive flack for taking a gangster rap song and making it so damn white. “We were all rap fans growing up,” says Chad, “listening to lots of Public Enemy, NWA and the Ghetto Boys. One day Mark was playing this really sugary-sweet riff on the acoustic guitar and singing Eazy-E’s ‘Boyz ‘N the Hood’ over the top. Genius! When it came time to pick songs to record for the album there was no way we were leaving that one off just because it was so different from the rest of our songs. And it definitely fit with our sensibilities.”

Another of the many highlights on Superfast is the song “Anyway,” which appears (if you look hard enough) in two radically different versions. One is a bitter rock song and the other a passionate ballad featuring guest vocalist and Mark’s sister, Emily Kate.

“That came about because I was tooling around with ‘Anyway’ on the piano when Chad came in and said that it would be cool to record it with a girl singing it,” says Mark “So we got my sister. She came in and nailed it in two takes.”

February 1999 – The album sales in Austin & Dallas for Superfast were impressive enough to provoke offers from nearly every major label.

March 1999 – Moving quickly, the Hack signed with Universal/Farmclub and headed to New York to witness the remixing of their album by Chris Shaw (Weez, Ween) who gave the album the “black rage” it had previously missed.

With the successful recording of their first album now behind them, the members of team Hack are more than ready to hit the road. Audiences entering into a Dynamite Hack show expecting an unforgettable high-energy assault to the senses will not be disappointed.

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