Local H Rocks Chicago...and Everywhere Else!
by Randy J. Klodz
The name Local H may sound like some type of hemorrhoid cream or even the name of a hometown recreation center of some kind, but this name belongs to an established Chicago rock band. A band that has earned its stripes by garnering early radio success with the 1996 hit Bound for the Floor and relentless touring through Chicago and its suburbs--and any other city across the nation.
Though Local H treats its hometown fans to many local appearances, Local H singer/guitarist Scott Lucas wants to make one thing clear. ďI donít want to be like a local band, we tour everywhere,Ē he says.
Lucas hails from Zion, where he grew up listening to classic rockómostly Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, music he calls "pretty standard stuff for a teenage kid." With his thirst for music, joining a rock band seemed like the right thing for him to do. "I couldnít really think of anything else; nothing else really interested me," Lucas says. And with a band comes the knack for touring. Some bands love it, while some bands loathe it.
Touring is something that the members of Local H look forward to doing. And they enjoy it so much that they are often touring when they donít have a current album to promote, a rare feat in the music business. ďWeíve always been the kind of band that always plays out,Ē Lucas says. ďEven if we donít have a new record out we play live.Ē
Bands that play well during live performances usually have one thing in common: they have extensive catalogs of songs to play. With four full-length albums Ham Fisted (1995), As Good As Dead (1996), Pack Up The Cats (1998), Here Comes the Zoo (2002) and the No Fun EP which released in May, Local H has a full bag of tricks to work from.
And playing out is something that Local H does with authority. Lucas, whose energetic performances seem to be fueled by liquid courage, rocks on his guitar during vocal breaks while is chin-length hair often falls into his eyes, still leaving fans with the site of his dimpled chin.
During a March 1 performance at the Clearwater Theatre in suburban West Dundee, Lucas kept his hair from covering his face by borrowing a red, white and blue headband from a fan in the front row. He later made use of a pair of large, brown sunglasses that he obtained from another front row fan. Sure, Lucas looked somewhat goofy for the hour that he wore his new get-up, almost like Richie Tenenbaum, the character played by Luke Wilson in 2001ís The Royal Tenenbaums, but Lucas was all about rocking out with songs with titles such as Rock and Roll Professional and Eddie Vedder. Lucas confirmed his new look after a short break in the set, when he giggly announced: ďYou know who I look like now? I look like ĎThe Baumer.í Dude. Ē
The noise of Local H is created mostly by Lucas and drummer Brian St. Clair, with crew members filling in on spot guitar and vocal parts. St. Clair, with his long curling hair and well-groomed goatee somewhat resembles Chad Kroeger, the frontman for the popular Canadian rock band Nickelback. Lucas had to search for a new drummer when the original drummer Joe Daniels parted ways with the band after completing three albums together. With a band of only two members, each player has to be great. "I wouldnít want to keep the band going if I couldnít have found a great drummer," Lucas says, "I donít think a two-piece works unless the drummer is phenomenal."
With the noise coming from mostly two players, most notably without the use of a bass player, the members of Local H make adjustments to their gear allowing the two members to sound like a quintet. "Iím playing out of three different amps,Ē says Lucas. ďWe mix up the amps and the partsóone amp is for the bass, another amp is for the clean guitar and another amp is for the distortion. I try to think of it as three different things, use dynamics, and we just turn it up really loud."
The No Fun EP, Local Hís most recent release, features the track Cooler Heads, which became a May radio favorite on Q101, was released on Track Records, a Chicago-based recording label. For more information on Local H log on to www.localh.com.