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
Hitting the road out in Middle America has brought Health a number of benefits, not least of which was the experience of being co-billed with several hardcore and metal bands, who showed them by example how to toughen up their sound and not come off like just another bunch of art geeks. And they've had the chance to sway a lot of kids who might have previously occupied an entirely different cultural planet.
"Some hardcore kids in a punk basement in Reno," says John, "they love intense music but might not necessarily get the chance to hear a band that is maybe more..."
"That isn't hardcore," says Jupiter.
"We played shows where half the people left the show because our merchandise wasn't black," says Jake. "And then we'd play and there's some drunk heckler, he's just like, 'Hey... sorry... you guys are actually really good.'"
John: "It's like we were able to satisfy people who wanna get off on really heavy or intense music. That's exactly what we wanted to do, same with, like, how you listened to a Sabbath record when you were 12 and you'd be fuckin' stoked. We would do that but then try and make it new and maybe a little more artistically adventurous."
Goes without saying that the Internet is making all this weirdness possible, 'cause bands can locate their specific niche "markets" and get the word out accordingly. But they do have to get out there. Fortunately, hard-working Health love to do just that, and even they seem a bit taken aback by all the approval they're getting.
"I mean, you go to noise shows, whatever, and people are screaming; that would have never happened before," says John.
"Or you get, like, L.A. Weekly announcing, like, shows at the Corral, places where we cut our teeth playing," says Jake. "And if you ever went to shows there, it's just like CalArts noise dudes just playing pure harsh noise. That's what's truly fun about the L.A. scene, is that you have no class concept. Whereas if you really think about it, this kind of music is very abstract and it asks a lot of you as a participant, but without sort of highbrow aesthetics — with people just getting drunk, goofing off and going crazy, but then doing actually very experimental music.
"The difference now is that you've got, like, 19-year-old kids doing that, which I don't think you saw before."
Jake: "Noise is the new punk rock."
John: "I don't think that's true, exactly."
Jake: "But it's a good line."
Health performs with Autolux at the El Rey on Fri., Feb. 1.