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"We've had some complaints about volume, but that just seems to make us play louder," Meininger boasts.
No one could anticipate the intensity HFC produces solely by their appearance. Knapp's benevolent round cheeks don't prepare you for the concentrated shrieking the skinny kid can muster. And his boyish innocence adds much humor to his antics. One time, he needled FEAR front man Lee Ving during a show in Flagstaff, angering the diminutive old-school punker enough for him to dismount the stage and threaten the much-taller college student. "He had long hair, and I was like heckling him about it because he called some kid out in The Decline of Western Civilization [an '80s punk rock documentary] because he looked like a hippie," Knapp recalls.
"He started calling me a pinko."
Hotfoughtcold have recently contributed a track to an upcoming compilation being assembled by local rock collective Theshizz.org, scheduled for release later this month. They guarantee the quality of the disc and rattle off another litany of band names that will either accompany them or are names of bands they respect. Those band names are as inspired as they are comic: Financial Panther, World Class Thugs, I Hate You When You're Pregnant . . .
In an unusual grouping, HFC found itself lumped in the Best Punk category in last month's New Times showcase with Fourbanger and Sixth Year Senior, two of the Valley's more effervescent "bubblegum" punk bands. No Gimmick and Glass Heroes, both decidedly old-school, were also nominated. (To make a suggestion, Fourbanger should rename themselves No Gimmick, injecting a bit of irony into their formulaic pop-punk, and No Gimmick should become Fourbanger, and . . . well, Sixth Year Senior should become Turk 182 or something. Nope. A Google search has just revealed that the name Turk 182 has already been taken by a "stoner rock" outfit from Italy. Sorry, fellas.)
HFC, understandably, is weary of the categorization. "If we start saying we're punk, someone is going to say something like, They're not punk -- punk died with Black Flag in '84,'" confides Knapp.
"We didn't really understand the groupings. I mean, we're louder than all those assholes," Meininger offers with a sly grin, expressing irony over the fact the band was excluded from the ambiguously titled Loud Rock category.
If anything, HFC is the antithesis of bands like Fourbanger and Sixth Year Senior, though they do admit to admiring Green Day. Hotfoughtcold plays with discordant juxtapositions and a sentiment closer to a psychological breakdown than a senior prom. By not adhering to a prescribed formula but instead an irreverent originality, however, the band may have assigned itself to relative obscurity. With the promise of a tour bus equipped with a computer to play the latest version of Porrasturvat between gigs in the not-too-foreseeable future, all four members of HFC have careers other than that of "punk rocker." Knapp is a high school art teacher with a degree in art education, Meininger designs Web pages, and Arp, a senior at Arizona State University, has clandestinely joined the daily grind as an intern at the state Legislature.
"Yeah, as a teacher I change minds, Arp changes laws, Jeff doesn't change anything and Iverson . . . Iverson is a repo man," Chad quips.
Anticlimactically, Fourbanger won Best Punk Band, and Iverson was five dollars richer -- Chad and he had a bet going on the eventual winner. Knapp insisted he didn't care about the loss, and he's believable -- sorta. It would've been a great big "fuck you" if HFC had won as the proverbial underdog, but it wasn't to be.
For now, the quartet will continue to play monthly shows on Mill, inviting other relatively obscure local bands to play with them, such as moody punk-rockers Vinegar Sting. But HFC only wants to play there once a month; they say they don't want to attract a reputation, in their words, as a "Mill Avenue band."
"I was watching King of the Hill the other day, and I was like, Who is that, the Pistoleros?'" Knapp says, referring to the show's theme song composed by the Refreshments. "We don't give a shit about any of that."
"We're going to put on another show at the Farmer house' in the near future," he continues. "Try to charge enough dough to set up our neighbors in a hotel for the night, so we won't have any interruptions," Meininger reports.
If it's anything like the past shows, then perhaps the "Farmer house" should apply for a liquor license, and downtown Tempe's musical center might just have to shift a few streets west.