February 27, 2014
Written by Cady Colosimo on BandBombshell.com

Photo by Cody Osen

Ed Note: Iowa is lucky to have a tightknit scene of musicians supporting each other's endeavors. Most of the time, you hear about the Ames powerhouse label Maximum Ames. We went out to highlight another group of friends who have been out there in the crowd for each other's shows time after time. You've heard all of their music--Foxholes, Holy White Hounds, and Viva Montesa. You'll have another chance to catch them all together on March 1st at the Gas Lamp for a show celebrating HWH's bass player Ambrose Lupercal's 26th birthday and Foxholes' new album. The show starts at 9pm, so make sure you give this a read and head on our to help celebrate.

Six strangers, picked to interview together on a Saturday night. Here’s what happens when musicians stop being polite and start getting real. I should clarify; they aren’t actually strangers. Holy White Hounds, Foxholes, and Viva Montesa are actually friends. Some go back as far as high school and some are new friends that met through the music scene.

When the three bands all came together on a cold winter night at Holy White Hound’s bass player Ambrose Lupercal’s home in Beaverdale, it was nothing but good vibes and copious amounts of alcohol. The laughs and dick jokes shared suggests this group genuinely enjoys bro-ing out together and does so often.

In fact, the camaraderie among different bands in Des Moines is what the three bands love the most about the city.

“The local bands are just awesome,” Foxholes bass player Jessica Villegas said. “It’s fun to go (to shows) especially because there are a lot of other bands that go to shows and stuff and you connect with them and there’s little connections you make and it’s just fun.”

“It’s fun to be around bands (where) we’re all kinda working our way up. It’s a nice place to be, to have friends that are doing the same thing,” Lupercal agreed.

Des Moines growing music scene is another reason the groups are excited.

“In the short time I’ve been here I’ve definitely seen an evolution of the music scene, with the addition of 80/35 and the Des Moines Music Coalition doing everything that they do, I think bringing in a higher caliber musician always helps amp up the local music scene as well,” says Foxholes’ drummer Ben Barndollar, who moved to Des Moines from the Quad Cities in 2007.

“80/35 was one of the first things that opened me up to (the fact) that were good bands in town and cool things going on,” Foxholes’ singer and guitar player Trevor Holt remembers.

Ben and Trevor reminisced about that first fateful year in 2008 when The Flaming Lips showed up with lead singer Wayne Coyne crowd surfing in his infamous-now-retired giant hamster ball, but what they really appreciated were the free stages with local acts.

“After coming back to Des Moines it just started exploding with really awesome (local) bands,” adds Villegass, who graduated from Iowa State University in Ames in 2011 and returned home.

“There’s a definite crescendo affect that’s going on right now,” Viva Montesa’s Ted Schwick AKA Eli Clark (Don’t worry, I’ll explain) said, citing Des Moines’ recent Forbes Magazine coverage and other media outlets spotlight on the capitol city.

Having formed in 2006/2007, Viva Montesa came together in the most earnest of ways. Eli Clark and Zach Walker met while working at an Applebee’s in Cedar Falls in 2006. Shortly after, the two separately relocated to Des Moines, and upon this realization decided to reconnect. It was this chance get together that spawned what would become Viva Montesa.

“I didn’t know anything musical about him… so he comes over and I have all this musical equipment in my basement, he sits down at the drums and starts playing and he’s like ‘Oh dude, we need to start a band,’” Schwick/Clark remembers.

It was this spontaneous attitude that set the tone for the band.

“We would be thinking about band names, and the shtick and the show and all that stuff, I think that’s where Schwick came from. It was like ‘I’m Ted’ and (Zach) ‘Well I’m Gary, I want to be Gary,’”

Shtick? Schwick? I think it’s a safe assumption. Schwick/Clark also credits their love of The Everly Brothers and The Ramones “fraternal bond” for inspiring the brother theme.

As for the actual band name, all the credit goes to Mr. Clark, Eli’s dad. One day during band practice Eli’s dad walked in wearing a shirt that said “Viva Montesa,” which was a slogan for Montesa brand motorcycles in the 1960’s.

“There’s our name, right there, it’s perfect and it just stuck,” he recalls.

“The names we had before that were absolutely terrible, so it was an easy sell,” he laughs.

All the bands have been through their fair share of bad band names before finding the right one. Holt explains how Foxholes took their name after the band Television’s song “Foxhole.”

“And everybody likes foxes,” Villegas smiles.

“They’re so trendy right now, they’re the new owl I think,” adds Barndollar.

“Owls are like a thing of 2010,” said Holt, agreeing on the now blasé owl.

Holy White Hounds quest for a great band name was a little different. Singer and guitar player Brenton Dean says he was inspired by high school band names.

“We were coming up with a band name and I said I just want a band name that sounds like a high school band name. They always have the best band names, it’s the dumbest thing and I want a dumb band name,” he said.

With that thinking in mind Lupercal threw out Holy White Squids, Dean came up with the Hounds, and the two were mashed together to create Holy White Hounds. While the name was initially meaningless, it means more now.

“It’s like tattoos and stuff, you just get drunk and get ‘em and they have meaning later,” Dean said.

“It’s supposed to be kind of a code, as far as the three words go,” Lupercal explains of what it means to him. He sees the “Holy White” side as everything that’s trying to be good, and “Hounds” as representing what’s awesome about rock n roll.

Dean enjoys a different take.

“I’m a hound and I’ll love you non-stop, but if you leave me alone I’m gonna shit the bed.”

It’s funny little anecdotes like these that will either make you love or hate Holy White Hounds. A crowd in Milwaukee, Wisconsin didn’t appreciate their humor and they were promptly kicked out. There were a couple issues with the show, but most of the controversy stems from a joke Lupercal told.

“I had to tune my guitar and I said ‘Ambrose tell ‘em a joke’ and he went with gang rape,” Dean recalls laughing. Needless to say, Milwaukee wasn't happy.

There was also an issue with Dean and a sound guy.

“I love sound guys, but I don’t love that guy. I don’t think he was the sound guy, I think he was the fuck with the knobs while I’m trying to sing guy,” Dean remembers, still sounding a little angry.

A slight altercation ensued and it was all downhill from there.

“He grabbed the sound guy, I told the joke, and we got out of dodge,” Lupercal said.

With the Milwaukee incident behind them, Holy White Hounds are psyched to be playing at the gas lamp again.

“It’s a great venue, great bar staff, great sound, I like playing there a lot,” Lupercal said.

The other bands are just as excited to be playing together and are eager to sing each other’s praises. It will be a lively time for sure and a great showcase of local music, not to mention it’s Ambrose Lupercal’s 26th birthday. Get there early and buy the bands an Irish car bomb, most agreed it was their preferred pre-show ritual. If that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about this group of merry pranksters than I don’t know what does.

Check out some video footage from the interview here, courtesy of Bluu Studios.

See the full article at http://bandbombshell.com/question-and-answer/2014/2/25/tk-tk-foxholesholy-white-houndsviva-montesa

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