Tim, Jim, Dim and Tony just got tired of waiting around.
“Right when we got to backing vocals in the studio last year, Jim got sick and was in the hospital for a little while,” lead singer Tim Hoh Jr. said of bassist Jim Graz’s bad case of meningitis. “We wanted to stay proactive, so we said if we could get a couple of songs done, and exploit Tony’s talents, we could be doing something to stay in front of everyone’s eyes.”
Honah Lee, the four-piece punk band from Trenton took the new opportunity 2014 brought after last year’s unplanned hiatus and have been releasing a new music video every month for the entire year.
Honah Lee has kept the video production of its upcoming album, “33 on 45” DIY style, and put its drummer to work. Tony Goggles has been the director, editor and driving creative force behind the monthly music video releases.
“Oh, it’s been great,” Goggles said sarcastically, running his hand through a greying head of hair. “I had pitch black hair when we started.”
Goggle’s light humor is matched by the rest of the band’s, which translates heavily into its music videos, along with their collective motto to “Put the fun back in rock and roll.”
Releases have explored several concepts, including “Party Goggles,” the tale of Ricky the hand puppet as he became the life of a house-party-gone-wild, and “I Should Go,” a how-to on tough punk videos.
“On [the] record, there’s this energy that you don’t get from most bands,” guitarist Dim said, describing Honah Lee’s attitude. “Whether you like us, know us, or hate us you’re still going to watch. You’re going to watch to see, are they tight? Will they fall apart? Will they break bones? Are they going to throw stuff?”
“Are they going to shoot us in the eye with tequila?” Hoh Jr. said. “Because all of those things have happened.”
In the middle of all of the fun that has been had filming the past eight videos, August’s edition “Time Flies” has been the most surreal experience, Hoh said.
The band partnered with the Sage Coalition to transform a space in downtown Trenton’s Ghandi Garden with a mural of the Honah Lee boys. Artists from the inner-city beautification project Wil Kasso and Lank were filmed in the process of creating the graffiti artwork on July 13, while the band members hung out with fans.
“We have been able to include a lot of fans. We shot a video in North Jersey, we shot one on an off day on tour in Michigan,” Hoh said. “We’re trying to get as many of our fans involved in the videos as we can because that gets them excited to see it. They’ll share it with their friends and that’s a lot of people getting involved.”
Last year’s down time prepared the members of Honah Lee to be thrown into the spotlight, especially from the videos that were filmed on a whim, Goggles said.
“We have four more videos to shoot, and when it’s done I think I’m really going to miss how fun it’s been,” Hoh said. “We’ve gotten to do some things that people don’t get to do in their entire lives.
The entire collection of music videos for “33 on 45” will be released as a DVD on Nov. 26, at Honah Lee’s Thanksgiving’s Eve record release party at Trenton’s Mill Hill venue. The DVD will feature all 13 songs in visual format, as well as a pop-up single, “I Hate My Job” with behind the scenes footage.
Until then, Honah Lee will be making their rounds in Philadelphia with a show at The Fire on Sept. 16, and Kung Fu Necktie on Sept. 21 – all the while, on the lookout for new ideas.
“We basically have been able to get everything we have ever wanted, except for a Mariachi Band,” Goggles said. “There’s one walking the streets of Trenton all the time, except for the day I need them, they’re no where to be found.”
Brianna Spause can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @briannaspause