An interview with headhoncho and labelfounder Larry Hardy. From Savage #4

So how did In the Red start?

It started in 1991. I wanted to put out a Gories single. That’s how I started. They were the first band I ever talked to.

But it’s not the first single that came out

No. It was supposed to be, but then it took them a long time to get it to me. I put out two other singles before that.

Did you start In the Red as a kind of full-time label?

No, it was a hobby to begin with. It kinda grew.

How come you decided to put out records?

I collected records, and there was a few bands at one particular time that I thought were really good. So I just thought it would be cool to put out some singles by them. I figured that was all I was ever gonna do. Just put out a few singles.

So what happened?

Pretty much the big development was, I met the Gibson Brothers and they came thru’ Los Angeles and they stayed with me and I wanted to do a single with them really badly. Which I got to do. They broke up right afterwards and all the guys in the band contacted me wanting me to do records with their new bands and one of ’em was the Blues Explosion. Then, yeah, the Bassholes and ’68 Comeback. And the Bassholes had a whole album and they were like ”Do you wanna put out a whole album?” I said sure. The Cheater Slicks, at the same time, did the same thing. They wanted to do another record with me besides the single. A kinda half-hour long song. I thought ”Oh well, I’m doin’ albums now.” It just kept growin’.

Do you do it full-time now?

Yeah…I do. There’s this other label that I work for as well. It’s owned by a friend of mine who works at Warner Brothers and it’s this little label called Birdman and it does a lot of really strange releases.

I’ve got the Headcoats ”Knights of Thrashville” LP

Yeah, we did that. That’s like the only garage record on the label. It’s a lot like noise records and electronic records and we’re about to put out an Othar Turner record, a blues record. It’s really amazing. I’ll tell you some bad news that came in today, JR Kimbrough died over the weekend. He died Saturday night.

Oh man

I was really sad to hear that. We’re all sittin’ around here listenin’ to him.I wanted to go to his jukejoint and see him

Me too.

It’s the same here. I always wanted to go and never did and now I’ll never see him.

How old was he?

I don’t know how old he was, but he’s been sick for a long time. I think he’s just in really bad health. I’ve been hearing he had health problems for a couple of years. Every time he was supposed to play California he cancelled.

Where did your fondness for the kinda music you put out come from?

That’s the sort of stuff I always really liked. I loved the Gories straight away. As soon as that first album came out I wrote ’em a letter. That was just it. I always liked that, it probably comes from listening to a lot of Rolling Stones as a kid or something.

So what’s coming up on In the Red?

The Pussy Galore album I’m gonna have this week. In March I’m gonna have this album out by Andre Williams.

Oh yeah. ”Silky”.

Yeah. And that’s…that’s really good. Mick and Dan from the Gories plays on it and wrote the music. Mick produced it and… It came out really good. You’ll be blown away when you hear it. And I got a Dirtbombs album coming out and Mick is getting here today and he’s gonna work on this album with this band called the Screws. That’s gonna be another one of Mick’s new bands. He’s doin’ it with the two guys from Johnny Hash and one of the girls from the Red Aunts playing guitar. And that’s gonna be, as far as I can tell, it sounds like it’s gonna be really bluesy. The girl from the Red Aunts I think has been writing most of the music and it’s all been slideguitar stuff.

Sounds great.

Yeah, so that’ll be really good. And then in the Summer I’ve got a Bassholes double album coming out.

What’s that like?

It’s really…it’s by far their best record. They recorded it in a proper studio and this guy from Clawhammer came in as put some sax and harmonica on it. And some of it’s like big and loud. It’s punkrock sounding. It doesn’t sound like their other stuff. It’s a lot harder and…yeah, it’s their best record.

What about this album they have coming out on Matador?

That one is really good too. It sounds kinda like the last one on In the Red. It’s really lo-fi and really weird. A lot of it’s just Don and a guitar. Like there’s not even drums. So yeah, it’s gonna be interesting cause he’s gonna put out a really weird lo-fi album on a really big label and he’s gonna come out with this big rock album on In the Red.

Go from extreme to extreme

Yeah, I think that was his plan. And there’s talk of him and Bim from the Bassholes doin’ a band with Mick as well. But that hasn’t happened yet.

So what about this other band Mick had with Matt Verta Ray

Oh, I’ve only heard one song from it. They went out and they did it in New York and…it was Alex from Blacktop. I think it was Alex’s idea to hook up with Matt and when they got there…like they only got six songs done and from what I’m told all six sound completely different. One of ’em’s even a disco song. So I don’t know what to do with that because they’re asking me if I wanna put it out but I haven’t heard it and Mick is telling me that he thinks I’m not gonna like some of it. He says one song sounds like the Beach Boys and he says another song is a Beatles cover and I hate the Beatles. But yeah, I’d probably put out anything with Mick singing on it so

Yeah, he’s got a great voice.He’s my favorite singer.I dont’ understand why more black people aren’t involved in rock’n’roll today

Yeah, well I think, over here in America anyway, black culture is like toatally into rap and electronic and r’n’b. No one listens to rock’n’roll or punkrock.

Have you heard any new stuff that you like, demos or stuff?

Yeah… Most of the demos I get are really bad. But this band sent me their single… I don’t know if I’m gonna end up doin’ anything with ’em or not but it’s amazing. It’s a band called the Blowtops they’re outta New York and it’s really good. The only thing is that I think it sounds quite a bit like the Necessary Evils. But it’s really good.

If it’s that good it might be worth it anyways.

Yeah, I’m thinking about doin’ something with them.

What label is that on?

They put it out themselves. I forget… I can tell you, I can look right at the record here… The label’s Big Neck Records. It’s really, really good. You’ll definitely like it. It’s a four song seven inch. It’s really noisey. You’ve ever heard the very first Dwarves album ”Horror Stories”?

Only some of it

It kinda sounds like that only noisier.So it’s more punkrock?Yeah, you can definitely hear Cramps and everything goin’ on, but it’s almost as noisey as like a Guitar Wolf record or something.

Wow, sounds good.

Yeah. I just got a single that Eric Oblivian put out by this band called Gasoline and that’s really good.So, are the Cheater Slicks playing over there?

Yeah, they’re playing… They’re hopefully doin’ three gigs in Sweden and one in Norway. And two in Denmark. So that’s gonna be cool.[Unfortunately we had to cancel the gigs in Sweden and Norway because of lack of interest from the clubs.]

Yeah, that will probably be cool. They’re really good live.