Dave Hause doesn’t consider himself a “reasonable adult.”
But, the 35-year-old Philadelphian and singer/songwriter is still living the punk rock dream. Armed with a guitar, for years Hause has been fighting adulthood with gusto.
Clad in tattoos and a flannel shirt, he doesn’t quite fit the mold of a typical singer/songwriter. However, with influences ranging from punk and heavy metal to Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, he’s not exactly a typical musician.
“I’m kind of trying to melt all of that into whatever it is I’m doing,” Hause said. “It’s all there, and I’m just trying to write an honest song.”
Hause got his feet wet with perennial Philly hardcore bands The Curse and Paint It Black before moving on to a more rock-centric group, The Loved Ones. Following the release of his first solo full-length, “Resolutions,” Hause’s second offering, entitled “Devour,” started to come to fruition.
“Devour,” released via Rise Records, is not an album that developed on a straight tangent. The first four or five tracks, Hause said, were originally slated to be the Loved Ones songs. However, stagnancy and a lack of drive on his band mates’ parts to tour caused him to reevaluate the purpose of the new material.
“When it felt like it was almost time to get back on the horse with The Loved Ones, they were all a bit ambivalent about touring,” Hause said. “They wanted to record a record, but they weren’t sure how much touring they wanted to do to support it, which was kind of the green light for me to be like, ‘You know, I’m not going to make a record and not tour on it.’ It’s just not the way I’m wired. That was a big sign.”
In addition to writing the record solo, Hause was able to incorporate lyrical themes from his personal life. Although Hause said he didn’t approach the writing process any differently, the end result was a record that was distinctly him.
Described by Hause as being segmented into thirds, the record first addresses the issue of how his generation got where they were. It then touches up on the impact it had on how they are now, before invoking a sense of hope and asking, “Where do we go from here?”
Hause presents a brand of folky rock music in a manner akin to songwriters such as Bruce Springsteen. Also present is a palpable amount of Americana-inspired lyrics about the trials and tribulations of being a member of the American working class. So it’s no surprise that this was the type of music that was present in the Hause household.
“Those were the luminaries when I was a kid,” Hause said.
Born to a religious, working-class Philadelphia family, Hause took no small influence from his surroundings.
“It’s a working-class, underdog, rough, gritty town that definitely suffered through the Reagan era,” Hause said. “And I was raised in a religious upbringing and all those things swirled into the person that I am. So all of those things are definitely in there. All those distinctly working-class Philadelphian outlooks are in there.”
As a teen, Hause dabbled in heavy metal and punk music before integrating himself into the city’s underground punk scene. His former band, Paint It Black, is often considered one of the more important hardcore bands to come out of Philadelphia.
Today, however, Hause is not so much interested in playing extremely fast or loud. He’s more prone to grab an acoustic guitar or lay down an anthemic rock chorus.
“It’s been an organic transition,” Hause said. “If you trace from The Curse to Paint It Black through to The Loved Ones, there’s been a softening of the sound, for sure. But I’m the same person, I go through different things. I don’t find it strange.”
However, Hause eventually found something that suited his style.
“I felt like the punk rock thing was — the thing I got from it was a lot more based on your approach,” Hause said. “And what I learned as I went on was that there’s more rules involved with that than anything. And it was limiting in terms of being creative, and they were limiting in terms of outlook and worldview, too.”
“I got frustrated with a little bit of the dogma that was associated with punk rock,” Hause added. “I think it’s more important to be creative and think for yourself than to have someone hand you what you’re supposed to believe in the world. It just doesn’t interest me that much. The punk rock community that I know and love, the local scene here and people who were supportive and creative is terrific. But it’s important to me to be a musician and not a specific kind of musician.”
More than anything, Hause said he’s a fan of music.
“I like to go to all kinds of shows,” he said. “I love to go to the Academy of Music to watch music. I’m just a fan of music. I don’t really know much about the scene or care much about how it’s delivered as long as it’s done with integrity and dignity. To me, I’ll watch a show in a church basement, or I’ll watch a show in a record store or I’ll watch a show in a subway. I don’t really care about any of that stuff. It’s the spirit in which you do it.”
David Zisser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.