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Honeycut Q & A

Red Hot Dance Moves

Is Honeycut the coolest thing since sliced bread? Quiet possibly. The Bay Area trio has been blowing up spots throughout the Bay Area and at show dates throughout the country with a wall of sound that is nearly unfathomable from a sparse three-piece. Armed with Keyboards (RV Salters), a MPC drum machine (Tony Sevener) and the human voice (Bart Davenport), Honeycut returns to the stage Nov. 10 at The Independent.

Davenport recently spoke with SF Station during a phone interview before rehearsal.

SF Station (SFS): You have some pretty good dance moves on stage. Where did you learn to dance?

Bart Davenport (BD): I learned from years of hanging out in clubs and bars where there are good DJs and people in San Francisco, New York and London. I learned from dancing with people that are really good and copying their moves, and maybe some old soul train videos and old videos of 60s bands.

SFS: Your music shows some influence from old soul and funk records. What influences you when you write lyrics?

BD: Leonard Cohen, Curtis Mayfield, Gil Scott-Heron, stuff like that, and Mick Jagger, who I think is one of the most overlooked lyricists in pop music. I guess his personality is so flamboyant that it kind of overshadows how good the words to a lot of those Stones songs really are.

SFS: Is there a song that really sticks out for you?

BD: I think any of them: "Sympathy for the Devil", "Wild Horses", or even something totally wack like "Under Cover of the Night". If you read it on paper, you might be surprised on how well written the lines are.

SFS: Working with the MPC -- a drum machine -- does that change the way you approach a song as opposed to working with a live drummer?

BD: It is a live drummer. Itís a live drummer playing the MPC with his fingers. Itís the human element, there is nothing sequenced that is going to keep perfect pitch or time. Every beat of the snare, kick or high hat is happening live. There are live drums, they are just electronic drums.

It does really change the way we sound on stage because with real drums you get all this ambient noise you have to work around. The beautiful thing with the MPC is the sound man can mix the band like itís a record because the MPC is simply one sound that is on one fader. The sound man can dial in a really clean sound from the band, so itís exciting sonically.

As far as using it to record and write songs, it gives you so many possibilities for tone and the feel of a song. Itís a wonderful instrument.

SFS: Have you been challenged by people who say the beats are pre-recorded?

BD: There has never been any accusations of it being canned, Iíve just occasionally heard more rock-orientated people complaining saying, ďThat guy is just playing that little machine.Ē But, that is just because they donít understand what a rare and unique skill that is.

I really like it. It means at rehearsals we can play at about 1/10 of the volume that a rock group would at rehearsal. That means this fucking ringing in my ear that happens to me 24 hours a day -- itís called tinnitus -- is not going to get much louder any time soon. Itís a blessing for me to be able to rehearse at that sound level.

Honeycut performs with The Bad Plus at the Independent on Nov. 10. Tickets are $20. Doors open at 8:30pm and the show starts at 9pm.