By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Now that Hoffman has released three CDs under his own name, however, anyone who's heard them should be recognizing a mature, serious (though not grave) songwriter.
"I still value the song above all," he says, in a rare moment when he's not making fun of himself. "You want to be as adventurous as you can, and still perfect this wonderful thing. And I don't embarrass myself lyrically as much as I used to -- my precepts are similar, but my aspirations are higher. I love something that will catch your ear on first listening because it seems ridiculous or untoward. But I also like it when you scrutinize the lyrics and they'll reveal more layers of meaning."
Take these: "We'd heard it said that only God can make a man. It's true. But only man can make a scarecrow out of you. And only man can make a God who might approve . . . Scarecrow, I know you."
In some ways, Hoffman's talent has gotten in his way: Thanks to his skill as a piano accompanist, he's spent a lot of time away from his own music, touring with the likes of Rufus Wainwright, El Vez, Abby Travis (one of whose CDs he co-produced) and Kinks guitarist Dave Davies. Supporting Davies was a special temptation: "When I was a kid in my bedroom, I listened to Face to Face with the lights out on my little portable stereo, just obsessing over every word, and here I am now touring with that guy."
Hoffman must have felt he could do anything after he traveled Europe twice in the early '80s with Lydia Lunch -- as her drummer. He claimed no kit proficiency, "but at that time in history it didn't matter. She did tell me, which I feel kind of proud of, that her tour with me was the most embarrassing thing she'd ever done in her life. And that's something coming from her!"
Hoffman will soon hit the asphalt to promote his new album, a duty he feels he's shirked somewhat in the past. Till then, you'll find him watching movies, but avoiding the newspapers. They're too depressing: "I've been a knee-jerk liberal all my life, and I'm ready to fight anybody about that!" He believes we should leave something for our children's children, though he declines responsibility for fathering any: "I'm not going to partake in planting my seed in those particular orifices."
Hoffman says he'd like to live in New Orleans, or in New York again, but he can't afford it. No problem; he's truly at home in his Montecito Heights 1911 Craftsman-lite house, packed with artifacts -- kitsch memorials to dead children, an umbrella stand made from the foot of an elephant killed by his white-hunter uncle. When it comes to planting seeds and putting down roots, "L.A.'s the place where you can have a wonderful old haunted house and a garden."
Look out the window. What's he growing out there? "Weeds."
Kristian Hoffman's CD-release party is at the Derby on July 10. His Web site iswww.kris tianhoffman.com.