Dave Hause doesn’t believe in musical guilty pleasures and neither should you
Dave Hause is a staple of the modern punk community. The former frontman of the highly revered defunct punk outfit the Loved Ones. He also had a short-lived stint as a guitarist in the legendary hardcore punk act Paint It Black. And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention his tenure in punk supergroup, the Falcon.
But Hause is best known for his solo career—blending the grit of punk with the storytelling of Americana folk rock with his backing band, the Mermaid. There’s not a blank space left on Hause’s punk cred card. But that doesn’t stop him from renouncing the idea of the “guilty pleasure.”
“I think that music should just be enjoyed,” Hause says. “We have enough strife and trouble in the world and people telling you what to do, what you can and can't say. Let music just be something that comes on and you enjoy. Now that I have kids, watching what they love, I can't imagine trying to steer them away. Bert and Ernie sing a song, and they're pumped. Why would you pull that joy away from them? I'm not into that.”
On his latest set of EPs, Patty and Paddy, Hause explores the spectrum of his musical tastes through the work of two of his favorite songwriters. On Patty, Hause delivers classic Patty Griffin songs with an added bar-rock bite. Conversely, he adds gentle restraint to raucous Dillinger Four songs on Paddy. Hause’s acoustic renditions of these D4 favorites allow Patrick “Paddy” Costello’s musicianship to shine like never before. The EPs were a product of Hause trying to stay creative during lockdown and document his adventures in home recording. They also reflect his tremendous range as an artist. He holds his own as both a tender singer-songwriter and a gruff vocalist belting out heartache and protest with coarse urgency.
Hause’s EPs also continue the long tradition of the punk-rock cover song. From Laura Jane Grace and Miley Cyrus’ incredible cover of the Replacements’ “Androgynous” to Rancid and NOFX covering each other, the art of the cover song is one of the most purely fun aspects of punk rock. In honor of his two new sets of covers, Hause revealed his 10 favorite punk covers exclusively to APTV.
His list is stacked with everything from the Damned to Sick Of It All. Hause also reminisces over the joys of watching the Bouncing Souls instill waves of nostalgia into their audience with their take on “Just Like Heaven.” His choices feature a who’s who of punk royalty dishing out their versions of beloved songs written by other artists. They’re all essential listens for every punk fan, pop enthusiast and hardcore devotee. But there was one band who recently permeated Hause’s dream-state but are noticeably absent from his selections...
Your choices for best punk cover songs are amazing, but I'll admit, Dave, I'm a little disappointed there's no AFI on your list. You were just tweeting about playing with them, and they've covered a million songs.
I thought about that. Besides Misfits, what have they covered?
They've done "Halloween," "Last Caress" and "Demonomania" by the Misfits. They did Guns N’ Roses "My Michelle." They did David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust." They also did the Cure's "Just Like Heaven" and "Man In A Suitcase" by the Police. You tweeted about playing with them this week, so I was hoping they would have made your list of best punk cover songs.
I had a dream where it's the equivalent of if you're an academic, having the dream that you show up to class, and you don't have your homework. The dream started, and I was standing, looking at my hands and looked over, and AFI were playing, and Davey [Havok, singer] was twirling. Adam [Carson, drummer]'s playing, and they're looking at me like, "Hey, it's your part. You're supposed to be playing rhythm." I [noodled around] to see what key the song was in. Dave spun around and was like, "What are you doing?" And Hunter [Burgan, bass] and Adam just looked and were like, "Sing!" And there was a mic right there, so I just started singing a "whoa" because it was an AFI concert.
So, you can't really go wrong with a "whoa." I was so bummed in the dream. I'm thinking like, "Oh, this would have been a good gig if they would have told me that I had to do this so I could prepare. I might have been able to keep up, but they didn't tell me a setlist or that tonight was the night I was supposed to play. Now I'm going to look like a chump."
Then between songs, Adam was like, "It's OK, let's just have fun tonight." And I was like, "No, but I want the gig! I've got twins now. If I could join AFI, it would be really lucrative." And he was like, "I don't think that's going to happen. You didn't prepare." This was the dream. That's what I was tweeting about. That was the night before Halloween. I think it was the anxiety of the election. And everyone's in a spooky mood. And here we go, AFI enter into the subconscious. But no, I didn't remember their covers for this list, and I'm sorry, guys. I do think you're wonderful, though.
With the Patty and Paddy EPs, the selections you chose to cover really complement your entire career. Your music lies in the middle of the spectrum between Americana folk and dirty punk rock. It's fitting that you would cover songs by both Patty Griffin and Dillinger Four. Do you agree?
OIt was something we were going to do and then maybe just not do anything with. Just to be creative during this time where we can't tour. One of the things that my booking agent suggested when I told him about it, he was like, "You're probably the only person on planet Earth who loves [Patrick] "Paddy" Costello's songs as much as you love Patty Griffin songs. Why wouldn't you put this out? It's so unique to your way of looking at songs and your interests when it comes to songwriters." I'm as into Brandi Carlile as I am into Social Distortion. That was one of the things that emboldened me to go ahead and put it out.
With Patty Griffin, it's a really tall hill to climb because so much of what she does is in that voice. The way that she delivers the lyrics is so heartbreaking. I don't have that kind of voice. We had to reimagine her songs in a way that I could deliver more believably, without the incredible talent that she has in the vocal part.
With the Dillinger Four songs, I felt a little more confident because we took them so far out of the original source material. In fact, John Hiatt, who's a world-class songwriter and his daughter, Lilly, is a friend of mine and an amazing songwriter. She sang on "Doublewhiskeycokenoice," and he heard it. John Hiatt did. He was blown away by how good he thought the song was. To me, that means we did the job because a guy of that stature, who's written hits and had a multi-decade career, heard the song and was like, "Yeah!"
The EPs have an unmatched level of intimacy within the recording. Was that intentional? Did you want these songs to sound as if they're being performed in every listener's living room when recording them?
It wasn't a goal that we set out with, but I think having the time and the focus [contributed]. Being in my own house, I could put my kids down for a nap and come out and sing, without distraction or pressure. It was a new thing. Every vocal I've delivered that you may have heard, if you listen to my music or my old band's music, was all under scrutiny. It was all someone recording it in an expensive studio, or there was some pressure on it.
With this, there was none of that. There was just me and this microphone and me trying to figure out if it was even on and working. I could go back in and sing verses if I didn't like how they came out, and it was just open-ended. Maybe that's what brings a certain level of intimacy.
As someone who loves Brandi Carlile and Social Distortion in equal measure, do you believe in the idea of a guilty pleasure? And if you do, do you have one?
No, I don't. I don't even think about that anymore. For a couple of reasons. I've always been a fan of all kinds of music. I was raised on pop, raised in the ’80s. It was just as normal to have Bob Dylan or Dire Straits or Tom Petty on as it was to have Christopher Cross or Lionel Richie. I was a sponge for music, and my folks were into all kinds of music. That all was something I learned later—that you could like this, and you couldn't like that. Now that the Internet is here, you can like whatever you want pretty much.
But I know what you mean by "guilty pleasures," though. I'm sure I could give you a long list of songs I think are great that people think are guilty pleasures. But I don't feel guilty. I just like to listen to it.