PREMIERE: Dave Hause reflects on his rock and roll journey in "The Flinch" - WXPN
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Dave Hause and The Mermaid | photo by Tara Redavid | courtesy of the artist

When I caught up with Philly born rocker Dave Hause by phone a couple days ago, he was enjoying a quiet day off at home, still basking in the afteglow of his recent wedding. Looking ahead at the calendar, he was stoked to connect with his band The Mermaid this weekend for the XPoNential Music Festival. Their Saturday appearance warms up for a modest run of August dates, launching into full-blown road warrior mode in September as Hause and the Mermaid share stages across the country with (at various turns) Tiger Army, Gogol Bordello and Beach Slang.

It’s a heavy haul, but Hause is up for it. “I’ve kind of shifted the focus of how to work,” he says. “Having toured as a duo with select band stuff to augment it, you’re really lean and mean. You can eke out a nice living when its just two of you. You can work a little less and make a lot more. With this band, though, I’m trying to establish my own E Street or Heartbreakers vibe. And to do that, you have to play a lot.”

Going all-in like that is part of the reason Hause left his home Philadelphia, where he was born and creatively based for over a decade, and relocated to Santa Barbara, California a few years back. As evident from his 2017 album Bury Me in Philly, though, his hometown loyalties lie very much on the east coast — he even rings me up via a 215 cell phone number.

Hause’s new music video for “The Flinch,” which we’re excited to premiere for you today, is a testament to that journey. In the video, a young Hause is represented by his nephew, Judah — who gets a copy of Bury Me In Philly, marvels over the sleeve and artwork, drops the needle on the turntable, and is off on his way into the world of rock.

The video was shot locally, in Ambler and Roxborough, intermixed with footage from Hause’s Free at Noon performance from earlier this year; that show serves as an representation of a wide-eyed kid at their first rock concert, and as the video hits its peak, Judah takes a triumphant stage dive and surfs across the outstretched hands of the crowd.

Hause had this experience in his own way; the video’s closing shot of Judah holding Bury Me in Philly dissolves into an old photo of young Dave holding The Hooters’ 1985 album Nervous Night.

“That video is trying to show what that first step was,” Hause says. “Long before I knew punk rock, or who The Ramones were, I saw [The Hooters] leaving East Side Studio in Roxborough one night. I thought ‘Maybe there’s a chance I could do that! I’m from this little town, I’m not form New York or LA.’ We wanted to capture that in the video and also pay that forward.”

As he puts it, The Hooters werethe first band that felt like his, kind of the the way The Beatles were his parents’ band — and on Bury Me in Philly, Hause brings it full circle, working in the studio in Philly with The Hooters’ main man Eric Bazilian on production. The record serves as a memoir in a way.

“I may be out in the world, living in Cali, playing in Germany, but Philly is where most of my formative years are based,” Hause says. “To make that claim was important to me, and to write about that was cathartic.”

And it does stretch back decades; before being a solo artist, he was in the anthemic pop-punk outfit The Loved Ones, who reunited last year to great acclaim. Before that, he played guitar in Philly hardcore heroes Paint it Black. Before that, even, he was a roadie for bands like Bouncing Souls and Kid Dynamite. And before that, he was a kid playing in a small Roxborough band called Step Ahead. He’s taken lessons from all those experiences and carried them with him to this day.

“I’ve been doing this since 1999: first tour I went on, selling t-shirts,” he said. “Without feeling old, I can say I’ve done this a long time. I know how to do it. I just had to start over two or three times.”

Below, listen to Bury Me in Philly and check out Hause’s tour dates, starting with this weekend’s set at the XPoNential Music Festival at Wiggins Park in Camden. For tickets and more information, head to the XPNFest website.

Tour Dates

JULY
29 – Camden, NJ – XpoNential Fest

AUGUST
18 – Buffalo, NY – Waiting Room *
19 – Toronto, ON – The Garrison *
20 – Montreal, QC – Bar Le Ritz *
24 – Asbury Park, NJ – The Stone Pony *
25 – Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel (w/ Strand of Oaks)
26 – Port Chester, NY – Capitol Theatre (w/ Gogol Bordello)

SEPTEMBER
01 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theater #
03 – Lubbock, TX – Jake’s Ballroom #
05 – Tulsa, OK – The Vanguard #
06 – Columbia, MO – The Blue Note #
08 – Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre #
09 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater #

OCTOBER
30 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn ^
31 – Nashville, TN – The Basement East ^

NOVEMBER
01 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar ^
02 – Newport, KY – Southgate House Revival ^
04 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club ^
07 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater ^
08 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge ^
10 – Boise, ID – Neurolux ^
11 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey ^
12 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater ^
14 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall ^
16 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex ^
18 – Phoenix, AZ – The Rebel Lounge ^
20 – Austin, TX – Barracuda ^
21 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall ^
22 – Dallas, TX – Curtain Club ^
24 – St. Louis, MO – The Ready Room ^
27 – Pittsburgh, PA – Cattivo ^
28 – Washington, DC – Black Cat ^
29 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza ^
30 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair ^

DECEMBER
02 – Philadelphia, PA – Theater of Living Arts ^

* = headline show
# = w/ Tiger Army
^ = w/ Beach Slang

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