With an unusual two-man set up, cynical and darkly humorous lyrics, intense drums, and catchy riffs, Local H has remained a grunge-rock icon for over two decades. This year marks their 25th anniversary, and they’re celebrating with a world tour. Despite so many years of performing live, front man Scott Lucas still has plenty of stage dives and raucous, high-energy antics for every show, making Local H’s live performances a driving force behind the band’s edgy appeal. BuzzTonight’s one and only Rachel Brunell recently had a chance to catch up with lead singer Scott Lucas about Local H’s past, present, and future.
Moments before performing at Highline Ballroom…
Rachel: You’re on tour with Helmet right now. How’d that happen?
Scott: Uhh… They owed us a lot of money.
Helmet band member: That’s not true!
Scott: We were on a tour where we were both opening up for Filter, and we just really got along on that tour. And so it was just, uh…I don’t know, you know, they didn’t have anybody else to open up for them.
Rachel: So you guys are friends?
Scott: Yeah, I’d say so.
Rachel: You guys are unique for your two-man setup-
(Scott’s phone goes off; his ringtone is a scream)
Rachel: And before this show, you guys were touring with Joe also. You had two drummers.
Rachel: So how’d you guys work the logistics of that out?
Scott: Um, we just didn’t have an opener and it was a thing of… Where I just thought it would be fun, you know, just to do, like, a show with a couple of different sets, and it’s kind of like a challenge to do that. Which makes this set a breeze.
Rachel: Right, ‘cus Joe…When did Joe leave? And also why?
Scott: That’s not important.
Rachel: Well I mean, what show did he stop touring with you guys this year?
Ryan Harding: September 1st at Big Shots, that was his last show.
Rachel: How has Ryan changed the way Local H sounds?
Scott: Come on, earmuffs, Ryan.
Rachel: Sorry to be talking about him when he’s right there.
Scott: I mean, it’s good, you know. We’re enjoying ourselves. Sometimes…he is…a nut.
Rachel: Joe’s not coming back in the future, right? He’s not going to tour with you again?
Rachel: So what’s the craziest thing that a fan has done to you, or you’ve done to a fan? Like, what’s the craziest story you got?
Scott: The worst- and this is when I stopped giving a fuck about phones- is we were playing and these girls standing in front of me in San Diego, and they were just handing this phone back and forth, it was almost like they were playing a pass-and-play video game on their phone. You know, like, I’ve got feelings too, I don’t want to be doing a show with people standing right in front of me, ignoring me. I mean, go to the back and do that shit. And so I was kind of like, “I can’t stand this anymore.” So I reached down, grabbed the phone, I turn around, she’s grabbing the headstock of my guitar and pulling on it, and I’m like uhh… And I pull it, and she’s pulling, and I turn around, and [it turns out that] she hadn’t pulled the headstock at all. The headstock had gotten caught in her hair, she had really long, curly hair, and I was yanking it out of her head, and I was like, “oh, no…” And I felt so bad after that that I was like, “Look, you guys want to watch the show on your phones? Fuck it. I don’t care.” I’m never getting into a situation like that again.
Rachel: Was she mad about it?
Scott: Oh, she was so mad. She went in the back and got a salt shaker and threw it at my head.
Rachel: I mean, the fact that she was still mad, even after getting all that attention…
Scott: No, no, it wasn’t cool.
Rachel: I guess losing some hair isn’t great, but…
Scott: Yeah, I felt bad.
Rachel: One of my favorite songs, “How’s the Weather Down There?”, seems to be directed at someone in particular. Can you tell me about that?
Scott: Yeah, you know, just somebody that sucks.
Rachel: Are there any songs that are very personal and difficult for you to play right now?
Scott: That are hard for me to play? Not really. But, you know, sometimes, I’ll be doing something, and something will, a song will… like a lyric will just come alive when I’m on stage and make me think of something.
Rachel: Bring back some memories?
Scott: Yeah. But you know, it’s not like it makes me want to break down and cry or anything.
Rachel: So what’s your favorite song to play at the moment?
Scott: “That’s What They All Say” is a lot of fun right now. It just feels very of the moment, and like, most of the lyrics are about the empire falling, and things burning, and just, Armageddon, and [I’m] just really feeling it right now.
Rachel: I don’t know if I’m allowed to ask this, but what are your thoughts on the recent election results?
Scott: I think it’s a bunch of bullshit. I’m just pissed off that people didn’t think this could happen. You know, they didn’t take it seriously. And I’m more angry at people who just didn’t give a fuck, and who… It was like, “Oh, I’m not gonna vote” or “I’m gonna put a protest vote in. I’m gonna vote for Gary Johnson,” who’s a fuckin’ idiot himself. I just… I don’t know what you have to do to make people pay attention and participate and take things seriously. Well, I mean, it’s done now. We’ll just see what happens, you know?
Rachel: Yeah, I totally understand that. I actually had a lot of friends- much older than me- that just didn’t vote. So I completely understand that sentiment.
Scott: It’s nonsense, it’s nonsense.
Rachel: You know, my generation is so apathetic now.
Scott: I just don’t think anybody really thought it could happen.
Rachel: That too.
Scott: So why should I even bother?
Scott: This is why.
Rachel: Pretty much. I guess it’s like a lesson a learned, huh?
Scott: Yeah. Did people learn lessons? Yeah, that’d be a lesson learned, but people won’t.
Rachel: So at your August show in Brooklyn, at Rough Trade, you came out on crutches. I’ve heard the Dave Grohl rumors, I know it’s a joke… So what actually happened and how the hell did you still manage to do a stage dive at the end?
Scott: Yeah, I just couldn’t walk. I mean, I could stand and I could, obviously crowd surf, but I just couldn’t walk.
(Scott’s phone screams in the distance)
Scott: Yeah, it wasn’t… I didn’t want to cancel or anything like that, and I was getting around at home on that office chair that I brought out.
Rachel: I was wondering about that.
Scott: I was just like, I’ll just bring that out and kind of motor around on that.
Rachel: So that was cool. You weren’t in any pain, were you?
Rachel: Sometimes? You didn’t let it show at all.
Scott: I was on a lot of drugs.
Rachel: That’ll do it. So your tour right now, and in general, is pretty grueling, you guys don’t have a lot of time for yourselves. Do you ever get to spend any time in New York City, and if so, where do you hang out?
Scott: The Lower East Side a lot.
Rachel: Have you ever heard of Manitoba’s?
Rachel: That’s my favorite! Did you know they almost closed and Joan Jett saved them?
Scott: No, I did not.
Rachel: So you’ve also mentioned Goodfellas as your favorite movie. Why?
Scott: Kicks ass. It’s awesome.
Rachel: Any other reasons, or you just really like it?
Scott: It’s just a lot of fun. It’s just…so entertaining, so watchable. There’s just nothing about it that I don’t love. I mean, it’s not a risky choice, at this point I would think it’s a pretty obvious choice.
Rachel: So this is like a really standard question, how’d you get into music? Did you ever do any really shitty jobs to support yourself?
Scott: Uh…No. No, I just always wanted to play music.
Rachel: So…you never had to take any jobs that you really didn’t want?
(Whiskey bottles opens in the background)
Scott: I haven’t worked a real job in 20 years.
Rachel: So I heard that you guys have a documentary in the works.
Scott: A what?
Rachel: A documentary.
Rachel: I also heard that you’re looking for the kids from the “Bound for the Floor” video.
Scott: We were… We thought it’d be interesting and fun, and that didn’t really go to far. We were able to find one and then… you know, wouldn’t have been enough.
Rachel: You couldn’t find any of the other ones?
Scott: No, in this day and age, isn’t that crazy?
Rachel: Yeah, seriously, with all the social media and whatever.
Scott: Yeah, I know.
Rachel: Bummer. So I guess that’s all my questions for you, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!
Scott: No problem.