HURTSMILE – Is That A Retrogrenade In Your Pocket..?

By Carl Begai

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Long before Extreme wrapped their Pornograffitti Live! World Tour celebrating the album’s 25th Anniversary this year, vocalist Gary Cherone was well into the second album from his other band, Hurtsmile. Entitled Retrogrenade, it’s the follow-up to the band’s self-titled debut from 2011 which was, by comparison, much harder to get into even though it does boast some memorable songs. It’s no accident Retrogrenade plays out as it does, being that Cherone and his brother Mark (guitars), Joe Pessia (bass) and Dan Spellman (drums) have finally hit their stride as a unit and no longer worry about people saying they sound like that “other” band on occasion.

“I think this is a better record than our first one,” says Cherone. “There were a couple songs on the first record that stuck in your head, but Retrogrenade is more melodic and I think the subject matter is more universal. There were more contributing elements on this record and everyone was more involved in the songwriting. The first album was mainly me and Mark. It’s a case of the band developing as a group, so thank you for saying that because it’s very encouraging.” Continue reading HURTSMILE – Is That A Retrogrenade In Your Pocket..?

GARY CHERONE – Service With A Hurtsmile

By Carl Begai

There are interviews where it feels like you’re getting together with an old friend. The conversation comes easy, there’s plenty of common ground to stand on, and a sense you only spoke yesterday even though it may have been years (in this case, 14 of ’em) since your last go round. This was one of those interviews. Therefore, I’m going to shoot the requirements of professional journalism full of holes by making this personal; the on-the-level formal portion of my discussion with Extreme / Hurtsmile frontman Gary Cherone can be found on the BW&BK site here.

Settling in to discuss the self-titled Hurtsmile debut, Cherone is well aware of the comparisons being made to Extreme. Given his signature vocals the lines being drawn come as no surprise, but one has to wonder if Cherone ever had to re-think his in-studio delivery because the songs sounded too much like Extreme material.

“I think it was the other guys, when we were recording the album, if I did something melodically or put a harmony in somewhere, it was either Mark (Cherone / guitars) or Joe (Pessia / bass) that would reference and Extreme track. I’d look at them, scratch my head and go ‘Yeah, you’re right…’ (laughs). That was going to happen, obviously. I’d agree that there are some similarities. The vocals, the harmonies, or just the guitar orientated aggressive rock n’ roll that you’ve heard from Extreme. I guess that’s a nod to the guys I play with in both bands. Nuno (Bettencourt / guitars) and I can get crazy, but we can also get crazy by ourselves, too.” Continue reading GARY CHERONE – Service With A Hurtsmile