Mike Hood is the long-standing front man of legendary West Coast Hardcore band Hoods. Since their inception in 1995, Hoods have remained a staple of the West Coast Extreme Music scene, having released albums on some of most legendary independent labels in the world. Hoods have continued to tour around the globe, retaining an immense fan-base of music lovers that crave the old-school ethics and sound of the Hardcore Glory Days. Blow The Scene Editor-In-Chief, Joshua T. Cohen recently caught up with Mike Hood for an exclusive interview.
Joshua: Most of our readers know Mikey Hood as the long-standing front man and founding member of Sacramento based-hardcore band Hoods. The band has seen legendary releases amongst the best indie labels in world, ranging from Victory Records and Eulogy Recordings to I Scream Records. You do a lot more than just front a band. You are a patriarch in the Sacto Hardcore Scene, you run an indie label and screen printing operation entitled Westcoast Worldwide, and you are kickboxer and a barber! Rad. Take us back to the early years. What originally drew you into the hardcore scene? Was it a specific set of circumstances, group of people and/or bands?
Mike Hood: I have always loved hardcore music since i was a kid. I kinda just grew up into it. It’s like a family member to me. Whether I’m happy or sad hardcore is always there for me. The friends I have in the scene have been there for years. It’s my extended family for sure.
Joshua: Hoods have been together now over 15 years strong, toured the world and US countless times, and you still have a rabid following of fans that pack venues from coast to coast. That is quite an achievement for any band of any genre. Do you feel being labeled an “aggressive hardcore” band has helped your longevity or added to the trials and tribulations? Let’s be honest, Hoods fans are not known for placid reactions to your live shows. Your fans come to shows ready for action.
Mike Hood: I love our shows. They are totally honest as far as reaction. This world doesn’t give many releases. Especially releasing your anger. I’m not into kids fighting each other over stupid shit but there is a time and place. I love when kids get crazy at our shows. It makes us play better and people will remember the show.
Joshua: Hoods are nothing short of a touring institution. What is your favorite recent tour memory? And what can fans expect from your upcoming American and European dates?
Mike Hood: This tour will be great. We have a lot of steam to blow off. I just finished barber college and I am ready to go insane with all the pressure built up. This euro tour will rule and I will get a lot of stress of my chest.
Joshua: Bring us up to speed. Apart from tour life, what does an average day in the life of Mikey Hood look like? Start us with breakfast choice, first orders of biz to start your day, and how you unwind from all of the stress at the end of the night.
Mike Hood: I wake up and don’t really eat till lunch. I usually drink water then head to the barber shop. On days off I stay really busy with shipping for HOODS and planning tours and such. I also play soccer. I love soccer. I run and bike as well. I stay active. I’m getting old so I try my best to stay up.
Joshua: Let’s focus on Westcoast Worldwide for a moment. Can you tell us how the label and printing co. came to be? its current happenings? and what we should expect in the future? Right now even the largest indie labels are struggling to keep their heads above water with record sales at all time lows they are having to adjust their market strategies to stay alive. What advice would you give to the plethora of struggling indie labels fighting to make ends meet and to those trying to embark on their own label imprint for the first time?
Mike Hood: As far as starting a label it’s near impossible to break even unless the band tours tons. The screen printing came out with me and a friend of mine. He got too busy but I still rep the Westcoast Worldwide company as a hobby. I do my best to help out everyone as much as possible. Lately, however, time is getting less and less.
Joshua: Few people know the American Hardcore Scene better than you. You shared the stage with countless hardcore moguls and you’ve been active in the scene since the glory days. What is your take on the current state of Hardcore? How does it compare to a decade ago? Any specific bands or labels that are really exciting you at the moment?
Mike Hood: Hardcore has changed tons. Now it’s cool to be int hxc. When I was young we tried to be like no one else. We were the weirdos. Now the class president is hxc. It’s weird because it’s really accepted. With that a lot of kids don’t know the history or conviction of the scene. New band our right now I love is Beg For Life from Yuma, AZ. They rule. Folsom has been around a while and they still rule. Lionheart is making a name for themselves as well.
Joshua: Apart from music, what other forms of artistic expression strike your interest? Any special kills we should know about? I understand that you are now a certified Barber and a training kickboxer? How do these activities correlate into your artistic expression? Do you see a future with either of these endeavors or are they simply hobbies?
Mike Hood: Right now I’m all about being a barber. I do it and love it every day. I’m gonna open a shop really soon called Friendly’s. It’s named after one of my cats. I love cats. Also, I am really excited about the World Cup (soccer). I’m gonna be glued to the tv for a whole month.
Thank you soo much for the interview and if anyone wants to reach me hit me up:
Jun 18 2010 – 9:30P – The Distillery – Sacramento, CA
Jun 19 2010 – 8:00P – Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA
Jun 20 2010 – 6:00P – The Broken Spoke – Reno, NV
Jul 17 2010 – 7:00P – Burning Seasons Fest – Rohr bei Hartberg, Austria